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Duma Approves Sanctions Compensation Bill

Russia's State Duma, the lower house of parliament, has passed in the first reading a bill aimed at compensating Russian individuals hit by Western sanctions.

The draft law would allow individuals affected by property seizures outside Russia to receive compensation from Russia's state budget.

The draft law would also allow Russian judges to order the confiscation of property of foreign states.

Members of Russian opposition parties opposed the bill and it passed only by a vote of 233 to 202.

Russian Economy Minister Aleksei Ulyukaev has warned that passage of the bill would accelerate already high levels of capital flight.

The law was first proposed in April but was withdrawn after a government memo criticized it as being against international law and the Russian Constitution.

It was resubmitted in September, one day after Italian authorities seized $40 million of property belonging to Arkady Rotenberg, a Russian businessman and longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin.

Based on reporting by Interfax, AP, and AFP

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