Russia's State Duma, the lower house of parliament, has passed an amnesty bill submitted by President Vladimir Putin in a first reading.
If approved, the amnesty could see some high-profile figures freed from Russian prisons, including members of the female punk performance-art group Pussy Riot.
As the bill is worded now, the amnesty would not apply to former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, opposition blogger Aleksei Navalny, or members of a Greenpeace ship who face trial after a protest against Russian oil drilling in the Arctic.
The bill must pass three readings. The second and third readings are expected to be conducted on December 18.
The amnesty bill does not require approval from the Federation Council, the upper house of parliament.
Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, and Reuters