The European Union expressed its concern on Thursday over Russia’s controversial new legislation that increases penalties for participation in unauthorized demonstrations.
The controversial law, passed by both houses of the Russian parliament, raises fines from the current 5,000 rubles (around $150) to 300,000 rubles (around $10,000) for participants and up 600,000 rubles for rally organizers.
"We are concerned about the possible implications of this bill," said Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the EU‘s diplomatic service.
"As a neighbor and as Russia‘s strategic partner, the EU believes that the recent civic activism offers a valuable opportunity for the state to engage in a constructive dialogue with civil society.”
A member of the upper house of the Russian parliament dismissed the EU concern as politicized.
The new legislation, quite the contrary, makes public rallies “better organized and more secure,” Alexander Borisov said.