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Putin Sends Draft Text Of Amnesty Bill To State Duma

The Kremlin's press service says Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent the draft text of an amnesty bill to the State Duma.

Putin has said the amnesty would not apply to those convicted of severe or violent crimes.

He said last week the amnesty should underscore the government's "humanism" but should not be interpreted as meaning criminals can commit crimes and "expect forgiveness from the state tomorrow."

Earlier media reports said the amnesty could mean the release of Greenpeace activists and jailed members of the punk performance art group Pussy Riot.

But Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev indicated last week that Pussy Riot members and former tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky will not be included.

Medvedev said Russians oppose releasing those "who committed violent crimes... crimes against society, including hooliganism," or "state crimes [and] major embezzlement."

With reporting by Interfax
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