The State Duma’s proposal to forbid foreigners to participate in meetings
A bill imposing restriction on the presence of foreign nationals at meetings and demonstrations held on the territory of the Russian Federation was introduced in the State Duma.
The author of this project was Yevgeny Fyodorov, the deputy of the fraction “United Russia”. As his aim the author of the amendments considers further strengthening of the security arrangement during public events, demonstrations, marches and rallies, prevention of possible provocations and unrest.
“In this way, the bill imposes restrictions on the presence of foreign citizens during the formation and expression of opinions, as well as during making demands on various issues of political, economic, social and cultural life of the country and on the foreign policy of the Russian Federation” – the explanatory note is quoted by the international news agency Rossiya Segodnya.
While commenting on the bill, the head of the State Duma Committee for Public Associations and Religious Organizations Jaroslav Nilov noted that the proposed amendments were not circumspect and were technically unrealizable. “Let's imagine, for example, the holding of the big rally on the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea to Russia. This event will bring together 100 000 people. What if Belarusians, Armenians and visitors of the capital also want to participate there? How technically can they be barred? What if someone was there just out of curiosity. Are they to be fined for it?” – the official was quoted by the Russian News Agency “TASS”.
At the same time, the project does not take into account the features of religious holidays and traditions. For example, the traditional religious procession can attract Orthodox believers of different nationalities. The adoption of such a law can lead to restrictions on the exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and religion.