Russian President Vladimir Putin signed laws increasing liability for separatism and violation of regulations for holding rallies, kremlin.ru reports.
A fine of up to 30,000 rubles may be imposed on a person found guilty of ‘calls for separatism’, the maximum punishment being imprisonment of up to four years.
Public calling for separatism on the Internet, or in media outlets, will be punished by up to 480 hours of community service and a maximum of five years in jail.
At the same time, the Kremlin openly supported pro-Russian separatists in Crimea, which served its purpose of annexing the peninsula. Vladimir Putin even awarded a number of people who had distinguished themselves in the course of the Crimean campaign. The Russian authorities made no disguise of their backing terrorists in eastern Ukraine either.