Russian Government Prepares Bill to Confiscate Assets of False Information Violators and Alleged Criminals Amid Ukraine Invasion

MOSCOW, Russia – In a move that intensifies Russia’s crackdown on the spread of false information and its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Russian government has announced its preparation of a bill that would allow the confiscation of money and property. The proposal aims to target individuals who violate laws related to false information and the Ukrainian invasion, as confirmed by Russian officials on Saturday.

Chairman of the Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, shared details of the bill through the messaging platform Telegram. Volodin explained that the draft law would enable the authorities to seize assets, including money and valuables, used or intended to finance criminal activities against the security of the Russian Federation.

Specifically, the bill seeks to address Articles 207, 354, and 280 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation of 1996. Volodin emphasized that these articles pertain to offenses such as deliberately spreading false information about the use of the Russian Armed Forces, inciting extremist activity in public, discrediting the role of the Russian Armed Forces, publicly advocating actions that threaten the integrity of the Russian Federation, assisting non-party international organizations, and calling for sanctions against Russia and its citizens.

This latest proposal follows a disturbing trend of censorship laws that have restricted reporting and media coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Penalties for circulating or reporting “false information” about the invasion carry prison sentences of up to 15 years.

Volodin plans to present the draft law to the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, on Monday. If passed, the bill would grant authorities sweeping powers to seize assets deemed connected to criminal activities against Russia’s security.

However, critics argue that the proposed legislation further curtails freedom of expression and consolidates state control over information. Concerns over the erosion of press freedom have grown as Russia tightens its grip on the flow of information surrounding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The international community has been closely monitoring Russia’s actions in Ukraine, with condemnation voiced by various nations. Critics perceive the bill as part of a broader effort by the Russian government to suppress dissenting voices and manipulate the narrative around the conflict.

As the draft law moves forward, human rights organizations and defenders of freedom of speech fear that its implementation would have a chilling effect on independent reporting and public discourse, exacerbating an already tense environment in Russia. The implications of this legislation extend beyond domestic boundaries, as it could have far-reaching consequences for anyone deemed to be spreading information that diverges from the state-sanctioned narrative.