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MOSCOW, June 6 (Itar-Tass) — On Tuesday night, the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament adopted a bill in the second reading to toughen fines for violations at rallies: up to 300,000 roubles for citizens. The decision was carried by the votes of 239 House members, with the necessary number of votes being 226, 207 voted against, and one member abstained.
The bill was brought up for the House consideration by the United Russia party (URP) group of House members headed by Alexander Sidyakin following the May 6 developments in Moscow when the Opposition's action ended in clashes with police and street rioting.
Originally, a fine for violations at rallies was suggested to be one million roublels for citizens and 1.5 million roubles for officials. However, resultant of the second reading of the bill, the maximum amount of fines was lowered to 300,000 roubles for citizens (as against 2,000 roubles in the present wording of the Code on Administrative Offences) and 600,000 roubles for officials (as against 50,000 roubles in the present Code).
The bill was upheld through the efforts of only one Duma faction -- that of the URP which has, however, the necessary majority of votes for adoption. The three opposition factions -- those of the CPRF, LDPR, and "A Just Russia" -- voted against the bill.