Proposed amendments to Russia’s citizenship law would allow for the stripping of acquired citizenship for treason and discrediting the military operation in Ukraine, Russian media reported on Wednesday.
Soon after sending its army into Ukraine just over a year ago Russia introduced sweeping wartime laws to silence dissenting voices. It has been extending censorship ever since.
Russia calls its action in Ukraine a “special military operation,” while Ukraine and its allies say that is a euphemism for a full blown aggression to grab land.
The amendments on stripping the citizenship of those who have acquired it relate to “treason, discrediting the special military operation,” the RIA news agency quoted Konstantin Zatulin, first deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) affairs.
The proposed amendments have been submitted to the committee.
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The CIS was formed in 1991 by Russia and a group of former Soviet republics. In 2022, based on data from Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, more than 691,000 people received Russian citizenship, with nearly half coming from CIS countries.
On Tuesday, Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, voted to approve a bill amendment that would punish those found guilty of discrediting “volunteer” groups fighting in Ukraine.
The Kremlin says the majority of Russians support its action in Ukraine and opinion polls back that assertion.
Hundreds of thousands who disagree with the decision or fear conscription have fled the country, however, and those who remain, risk being jailed if deemed to have discredited the army.
“Discrediting” the army can be punished by up to five years in prison, while spreading deliberately false information about it can attract a 15-year jail sentence.