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Putin Signs Controversial Antiprotest Law

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill that dramatically increases the potential fines for people found guilty of participating in unsanctioned rallies.

The measure sharply raises the potential financial penalty for people found guilty of participating in unsanctioned protests to up to 300,000 rubles ($9,150).

Government officials found guilty of such offenses could face fines twice as high.

The maximum fine currently is 300 rubles ($9.15).

Russia's Federation Council -- the upper house of parliament -- approved the bill on June 6 before Putin signed it two days later.

The new legislation has been criticized by opposition groups and rights activists as anticonstitutional.

Russia’s leading human rights activists had urged Putin to veto the law.

The law has been signed as opposition activists are planning to hold a mass protest action in Moscow on June 12.

Based on reporting by Rossiyskaya gazeta and ITAR-TASS