Russian Government Moves to Confiscate Property from Critics of Ukraine War

Moscow, Russia – The Russian government is pushing forward with a proposed law that would enable the confiscation of property and valuables from individuals convicted of criticizing the country’s military actions in Ukraine. The bill, which has gained support from all major political parties, aims to crack down on those who undermine the Russian army or call for foreign sanctions. If passed, the legislation would allow authorities to seize money and assets used or intended to fund illegal activities or deemed a threat to national security.

Under the proposed law, journalists or researchers convicted of disseminating “fake information” about the invasion of Ukraine could have their honorariums seized. Furthermore, individuals found guilty may face the confiscation of more valuable assets like cars or apartments. The new legislation is part of a series of laws introduced by the Russian government to suppress criticism and punish those who spread information about Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the chair of the State Duma, has expressed the need to punish individuals who discredit the Russian army or support opposition to the ongoing war. He stated, “Anyone who tries to destroy Russia, betrays it, must be punished as they deserve and compensate the damage caused to the country at the expense of their property.”

The proposed law would not only target individuals who spread false information about the army but also those who call for extremist actions, support international decisions that exclude Russia, or criticize the government’s policies. Human rights activists and legal professionals have raised concerns about the potential for abuse, highlighting the government’s ability to target anti-war Russians who have already fled the country.

Maria Nemova, a lawyer for the Memorial human rights group, warned that the amendments are primarily aimed at silencing war critics. Evgeny Smirnov, the head of the independent legal firm First Department, echoed this sentiment, stating that the law would provide law enforcement agencies with a new tool to pressure dissenters.

If enacted, the legislation would allow Russian courts to revoke public awards from individuals and organizations that speak out against the war and subsequently face trial for spreading “false information.” Critics argue that the law would further curtail freedom of speech and infringe on human rights in the country.

Public reaction to the proposed law has been mixed, with some supporting the government’s efforts to protect national security and others expressing concerns about the erosion of civil liberties. The bill is currently pending in the State Duma and is expected to pass into law, further tightening restrictions on dissenting voices in Russia.