On Wednesday, the Russia's Federation Council approved such controversial bills as Internet blacklists, criminalizing defamation, branding some NGOs “foreign agents" and others.
The upper chamber of the Russian parliament has also approved a visa deal with the United States and ratified child adoption treaties with France and the United States and Russia’s ascension to the World Trade Organization.
The bill on NGOs provides for all politically active non-governmental organizations who receive foreign funding to publicly label themselves “foreign agents.” Failure to comply can lead to big fines or even jail terms for NGO organizers.
Defamation was included to the Russia's Criminal Code and not it can be punishable with fines of up to 5 million rubles ($150,000), but no jail terms.
The government is also poised to obtain the right to create a blacklist of websites that can be banned over their illegal content, such as drugs, child abuse or suicide.
The three controversial bills were criticized by many rights activists, who insisted they were aimed to pressure the political opposition. But the ruling party repeatedly denied any political motivation to the laws.
On the whole, the senators approved about 40 bills, among them bills on advertisement of alcohol, funding of the newly incepted public television and banking regulations during bankruptcy or economic recession.
All the bills will have to be signed into law by Russian President. No exact date for a signing was set.
Author: Julia Alieva