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Leader of the Officers of Russia organisation Anton Tsvetkov has turned to RF President Vladimir Putin with a request to transfer from the RF Code of Administrative Offences to the RF Criminal Code the articles on disobeying police. This initiative has already evoked criticism of the opposition, and experts said that they see in this the authorities’ reaction to the intensifying activity of citizens. Attempts to toughen the Criminal Code are becoming the political fashion, media report.
It is said in Tsvetkov’s appeal that “the outrageous practice of some citizens’ disobedience to legal demands of the police in the so-called unauthorised mass events is exacerbating,” RBC Daily reports. In this connection he proposed to factually transfer the administrative article on disobeying to the lawful demands of the police to the RF Criminal Code, despite the fact that the Criminal Code already has a similar article. Tsvetkov said that citizens who disobey policemen should be punished by a fine of up to 1 million roubles or imprisonment for up to six months. This proposal has evoked a wave of criticism of people of very different views.
An RBC Daily source in the RF presidential administration pledged that the proposal of Tsvetkov is his personal initiative. The Kremlin so far is not ready to give a clear answer whether it is necessary to introduce criminal liability for disobeying law enforcers. “The question is debatable. It is necessary to study the Criminal Code and the public mood,” the source explained, did not excluding any scenarios.
Deputy Director of the Centre for Political Technologies Alexei Makarkin places the “appeal of the officers” on a par with the proposals to classify the media as “foreign agents” and put to trial for criticizing referees.
Leader of the Left Front movement Sergei Udaltsov, quoted by Nezavisimaya Gazeta, called Tsvetkov’s idea “a wild, uncivilised initiative: we already know how Article 19.3 of the Code of Administrative Offences is applied in the country – it’s a perfect tool to deal with dissidents. Today, the authorities so broadly interpret disobeying police that almost any action can fall under this notion.”
Members of the State Duma lower house of parliament are not ready for the implementation of the initiative of Officers of Russia – at least until it is approved by the RF president to whom Tsvetkov appealed, the newspaper notes. Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Civil, Criminal, Arbitration and Procedural Legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov is confused by the legislative itch of various public figures: “We are trying to solve all the problems through the Criminal Code. It is not the best tool, in fact, it is a scalpel. And if we start to solve all problems with a scalpel, no good will come of it.”