MOSCOW, May 25 (Itar-Tass) —— Rally laws are an internal affair of Russia, U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul said after the Friday meeting with United Russia faction head Andrei Vorobyov.
He said the U.S. was glad that people in Russia had a possibility to take to the street and to speak up, while Russian authorities were free to choose rally conditions.
As for the bill tightening punishment for rally violations, McFaul said the U.S. and Russian legislations were different. There is no such a law in the U.S. because the matter is regulated by city authorities, the ambassador said.
The State Duma passed in the first reading on May 22 a bill, which increased up to 1.5 million rubles fines for rally violations. Only United Russia voted for the bill. The fines may be reduced by the second reading of the bill, from 20,000-30,000 rubles for individuals, up to 500,000 for legal entities and 600,000 rubles for officials, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Development Vladimir Pligin said. The bill caused a broad public response and opposition protests were held near the parliament edifice.
President Vladimir Putin said on May 23 that any amendments and innovations must build up the democratic nature of the country and the society. “Certainly, we must protect people from radical sanctions. The society and the country have the right to protect themselves from that,” he said. Putin stressed through that legislative amendments must be well balanced.
Vorobyov said that the second reading of the bill would take place on June 5 or 6 and the law might be adopted before Jun e 12. “There is plenty of time for suggesting amendments,” he said, “Everything will be done in compliance with regulations and democratic procedures.”