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Russian parliament moves to ban people with ties to extremist groups be elected as MPs

The ban will apply to senior and ordinary members of extremist and terrorist groups

MOSCOW, May 4. /TASS/. A bill prohibiting citizens with links to extremist or terrorist organizations from being elected as lawmakers was submitted to the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, on Tuesday.

The document was drafted by a group of MPs including Chair of the State Duma Committee on Security and Corruption Control Vasily Piskarev of the United Russia faction.

According to an official summary of the bill, the document "stipulates that a citizen, linked to activities of a public or religious group, or to any other organization recognized as an extremist or terrorist organization in the court of law, has no right to be elected as a member of the State Duma."

The ban will apply to "founders and members of a collective ruling body; heads and deputy heads of extremist and terrorist organizations; heads and deputy heads of their structural units" as well as to "members, participants, employees and other individuals involved in activities of those organizations."

At the same time, the duration of the ban will be different depending on a person’s role: senior members will be barred from running in State Duma elections for five years after their organization is officially recognized as an extremist one, while ordinary members face a three-year-long ban.

Russia’s current legislation prohibits those convicted for "extremism-related crimes <…> and having an unexpunged or unspent conviction for the above-mentioned crimes" from running in parliamentary elections. Those whose crimes were serious or particularly serious will have to wait for 10 and 15 years, respectively, after their conviction has been expunged.

"Due to the special status that lawmakers have, it would be reasonable to impose such restrictions on individuals with extreme views, stemming from the ideology of radicalism, xenophobia and religious intolerance, on those who see no problem in violating the law, including by committing terrorist acts or engaging in guerrilla warfare. We need to rule out the possibility of them using the parliamentary rostrum and a lawmaker’s mandate for promulgating and justifying their views and for recruiting supporters," one of the bill's authors, Vasily Piskarev, said.