Russia Dramatically Expands Definition of “Treason,” Move Will Further Strengthen Putin’s Hand

By Charles Clover. Russia has broadened its definition of treason, in a move prompting fears that state authorities will have a new weapon to clamp down on the press and non-governmental organisations.

The law was passed on Tuesday by the lower house of parliament, one of several pieces of legislation overseen by President Vladimir Putin and seemingly designed to clamp down on political opposition.

The changes and additions to an existing law on state secrets will make it illegal not only to pass on state secrets but also to receive, transmit or publicize them.

“It is a very worrying situation, you could become a traitor or a spy without even knowing it,” said Igor Kolyapin, head of the Nizhny Novgorod-based Committee Against Torture.

“Anyone who does not have access to state secrets does not, by definition, know what is secret and what isn’t. How thus can they thus be understood to carry responsibility for this?” Read more from this story HERE.

Comparison of New Treason Law and Law it is Replacing

By BBC. Under the proposed new law, high treason and espionage will include supporting “those seeking to damage Russia’s security”.

Those illegally obtaining secret state information could face an extended prison sentence.

The bill is expected to be swiftly passed by parliament’s upper house.

The legislation, which was voted through the Duma 375 votes to two, will then need to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.

Current law describes high treason as espionage or other assistance to a foreign state damaging Russia’s external security. Read more from this story HERE.