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ISW: Kremlin intensifying efforts to limit criticism of war ahead of presidential election

by Dmytro Basmat January 16, 2024 8:06 AM 2 min read
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on Aug. 2, 2023. (Photo by Alexander Kazakov/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russian State Duma deputies have brought forth a bill proposing the confiscation of personal property from those convicted of spreading "fake news" about Russia's war in Ukraine, a move aimed to increase censorship ahead of the 2024 Russian presidential election, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed in its latest report on Jan. 15

Citing reports from independent Russian outlet Meduza, the ISW notes that lawmakers from the ruling United Russia party have proposed a bill targeting activities "against the security of the state," seeking to confiscate assets like computers, tablets, or mobile phones owned by individuals convicted under this legislation.

The draft bill, first proposed through the Government Commission on Legislative Activities was supported without any objections. The legislation is now set to go to the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Federal Assembly, for consideration.

The ISW assesses the proposed bill as an attempt to quell any brewing dissent and silence concerned relatives who would otherwise be outspoken about their support for troop demobilization. Recently, women-led protests have emerged throughout Russia, with wives and mothers of mobilized Russian soldiers advocating for the demobilization of Russian troops from Ukraine.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is seeking a fifth term in office, in a vote that is likely to be heavily rigged. Analysts have predicted that Putin has sough to minimize decisions that irritate Russia's electorate ahead of the upcoming Russian presidential election, including the issue of mass mobilization.

Last November, Putin signed a law restricting media freedom during the presidential election, only allowing journalists who have an employment contract with registered media outlets to cover election commission meetings.

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