MOSCOW, June 18. /TASS/. The Supreme Court of Russia has upheld a bill on introducing criminal responsibility for insulting Russia’s national anthem. The relevant amendments were submitted to the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, by member of the Just Russia faction Oleg Mikheyev about 18 months ago.
"The bill is upheld on condition that it will be marked up with due account for proposed changes," says the official response of the Russian Supreme Court. It recalls that the Russian legislation envisages administrative liability for violating the procedure of official use of Russia’s state insignia, but criminal liability is envisaged only for insulting the state emblem and the state flag.
To that end, "… on the basis of the state symbols equality one may consider well-grounded raising the issue of introducing criminal law protection of the Russian national anthem," the document says.
Mikheyev told TASS that he would prepare a new version of the bill soon. Earlier he said that, while preparing the document, he relied on the provisions of Russia’s Civil Code that protect the rights of an author, including of musical and poetical works (which is also true of the national anthem) in the event of "distortion, mutilation or other changes in the work, which discredit honor, dignity or business reputation."