A United Russia lawmaker proposed a tenfold increase in fines for insulting religious beliefs, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, said on its website on Friday.
The draft also stipulates an administrative arrest of up to 15 days for particularly offensive actions.
So far, the offence of religious beliefs and desecration of holy objects or symbols is punishable by an administrative fine ranging from 500 to 1,000 rubles ($17-$34).
Lawmaker Alexander Sidyakin, who initiated the bill, said the move was due to a provocative stunt staged by feminist group Pussy Riot in downtown Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
He said the current fines are “insignificant and cannot serve as a deterrent against offending religious feelings.”
Five masked members of the female group stormed the Christ the Savior Cathedral to perform a “punk prayer” attacking the church for its ties to the Kremlin. Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin demanded that blasphemy be made a criminal offense following the incident and city police opened a case on charges of hooliganism, punishable by up to seven years in prison.