Russia introduces criminal responsibility for whitewashing nazism

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill making attempts to “whitewash Nazism” punishable with hefty fines and prison sentences, the Kremlin press service said Monday. The bill is based on the results of the Nuremberg Trials held by the Allies in 1945-1949, which convicted most surviving Nazi leaders of war crimes, denounced fascism and proclaimed most Nazi organizations as criminal.

“The Federal Law makes it a criminal offence to deny facts recognized by the international military tribunal that judged and punished the major war criminals of the European Axis countries, approving the crimes this tribunal judged, and deliberately spreading false information about the Soviet Union’s activities during World War II,” the Kremlin press service said in an English-language statement.

The Federal Law also makes it a criminal offence to publicly spread information on military and memorial commemorative dates related to Russia’s defense “that are clearly disrespectful of society, and publicly desecrate symbols of Russia’s military glory,” the Kremlin said.

Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, approved the bill on April 29.

The bill was backed by a total of 130 Russian senators and opposed by just one, while two senators abstained from the vote.

Under the proposed law, the rehabilitation of Nazism is punishable by a fine of up to 300,000 rubles ($8,400) or three years in jail. If a state official commits that offense, he or she would be sent to prison for up to five years or face a fine of up to 500,000 rubles ($14,000) and be barred from government posts for up to three years.

Publicly desecrating symbols of Russian military glory or spreading information disrespecting public holidays related to the country’s defense will be punishable by a fine of up to 300,000 rubles ($8,400) or community service for up to a year.

The Soviet Union’s role in the Allied victory in World War II is heavily relied on by Russian authorities to instill a sense of pride and patriotism among the population, with spectacular anniversary parades and ceremonies held each year.

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