Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russian Duma Passes Bill To Punish Organizers Of Protests That Include Children

A 14-old year boy is roughly detained by police in Moscow during an antigovernment protest earlier this year.
A 14-old year boy is roughly detained by police in Moscow during an antigovernment protest earlier this year.

The lower chamber of the Russian parliament has passed a bill setting out punishment for people who involve minors in unauthorized protests, rallies, and demonstrations.

In its third and final vote, the State Duma approved legislation under which organizers of unsanctioned public gatherings in which people under the age of 18 participate will face up to 15 days in jail and a fine of up to 50,000 rubles ($750).

Thousands of teenagers have taken part in antigovernment protests in the past few years, including demonstrations organized by opposition politician and anti-corruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny.

The bill was submitted to the Duma in May after police in cities across Russia detained more than 1,600 people, some of them teenagers, on the eve of rallies organized by Navalny to protest President Vladimir Putin's May 7 inauguration to his fourth term.

Some critics say the government has overstated the role of children in such protests, and Kremlin opponents fear the legislation could be used to discredit opponents by suggesting they are roping children in and putting them at risk.

In February, Putin called on the Interior Ministry to "vigorously put an end" to the activities of groups that try to engage teenagers to participate in unsanctioned protests.

The bill must be approved by parliament's upper house, the Federation Council, before it is endorsed into law by Putin.

  • 16x9 Image


    RFE/RL journalists report the news in 27 languages in 23 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established. We provide what many people cannot get locally: uncensored news, responsible discussion, and open debate.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.