27 Apr 2010

New Russian Legislation Increases FSB's Authority

The Russian government has submitted a bill to the State Duma that would allow the Federal Security Service (FSB) to take "preventive measures" against individuals suspected of engaging in "extremist" activity.
The bill, which was sent to the lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, on April 24, also allows the FSB to punish citizens who do not comply with what it describes as the service's "legitimate demands."

Current legislation allows the FSB to impose official warnings and fines on organizations whose activities it deems extremist. Until now, however, the FSB has not been allowed to target individual citizens.
The FSB says the bill -- which comes in the aftermath of the March 29 subway bombings in Moscow that killed dozens of rush-hour commuters -- is necessary due to what it describes as a sharp rise in extremist activity in recent years.
But rights activists and opponents of the government say it will give the security services a free hand to intimidate citizens and harass political rivals.

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty - FSB Website