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Russian Duma Approves Bill To Protect Top Officials' Personal Data


Recent nationwide anticorruption protests drew tens of thousands of people to the streets of Moscow and other Russian cities.

Russian lawmakers have approved a law classifying the personal data of top state and corporate officials, their families, and other individuals who are under the protection of the Federal Protection Service (FSO), less than two weeks after tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in anticorruption protests.

Russia's lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, approved the bill in its third and final reading on June 21. The law requests the FSO "provide protection of personal data of individuals under state protection and members of their families."

Individuals under FSO protection include Russia's top officials, regional governors, heads of state-owned companies, as well as their family members.

According to the draft law, personal data such as information about their real estate and bank accounts could be classified if the FSO determines it is necessary.

The bill now has to be approved by the parliament's upper chamber, the Federation Council, and then signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law -- a move that would complicate investigations into alleged corruption among top officials.

The vote in the Duma follows nationwide anticorruption protests on March 26 and June 12 that drew tens of thousands of people to the streets of Moscow and other Russian cities.

Those protests were prompted by a video released by opposition politician and anticorruption activist Aleksei Navalny -- which has garnered more than 23 million views on YouTube since it was released in March -- that accuses Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of using a network of purported charitable foundations to control wealth both in Russia and abroad.

Medvedev has called the allegations "false statements of political adventurers."

Navalny, who is seeking to run for president next year, has spearheaded the nationwide anticorruption protests that took place in more than 100 Russian cities.

With reporting by TASS and Interfax