On Friday 8 June 2012, the Russian parliament adopted a bill that will impose heavy fines against the organisers and participants in unsanctioned protests, a move that has been widely condemned in Russia and beyond.
The Russian PEN Centre has issued a statement to President Putin, against the new law.
STATEMENT FROM THE RUSSIAN PEN CENTER
We, the members of the Russian PEN centre, an international human rights writers’ organisation, are protesting against the so called “Laws Regarding Congregation” passed in the darkness of night by the State Duma and speedily approved the following day by the Federation Council of Russia, which increased hundreds of times the fines for causing a disturbance at a street rally and places people walking freely on their own land in the same light.
This rushed, poorly thought-out document passed through the efforts of representatives from “United Russia”, the only party managing to establish a parliamentary majority last December will only assist further division in our society and bring it to the brink of civil war.
Limiting freedom of speech and contradicting many other, rational Russian laws, this “law” also infringes on the Russian Constitution, of which you yourself are the guarantor, and it gives free reign to lawlessness, and to what is referred to in contemporary language as an “outrage” and has a multitude of other negative consequences.
That is why we call upon you, as the President of the Russian Federation, to veto this “law”, which benefits only those who are determined to turn our great country into a police state, at war with its own people.
The Executive Committee of the Russian PEN Centre