Russian Lawmaker Urges Tougher Penalty for Insulting President

Russia should toughen the punishment for those who insult the country’s president, the chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs committee, Leonid Slutsky, has said, TASS reported.

“We should toughen the punishment for those who insult the president,” he said in an interview on the Solovyev Live YouTube channel on Saturday. “In Belgium, such offenses are punishable with a prison term of 2-4 years, in France – with a fine of up to 45,000 euro, in Germany – by between three months and five years behind bars.”

“The president defends the country, defends us all. Therefore, our laws should be way more tough in order to defend the head of our state from such inexcusable insults,” the lawmaker added.

At present, Article 319 of the Russian Criminal Code stipulates that insulting a representative of the power who is performing his official duties or in connection with performing official duties is punishable with a fine of up to 40,000 rubles ($524 at the current exchange rate), or with up to 360 hours of compulsory work or with up to one year of corrective work.

In an interview recorded on March 16 with ABC, US President Joe Biden said that the Russian government must “pay a price” for allegedly meddling in US elections. Moreover, when asked whether he considered Putin to be a “killer,” Biden answered that he did. Later, the White House and the US State Department issued statements that said that Washington expects to have constructive cooperation with Moscow in spheres of mutual interest, however, it has no plans to smooth out the differences in bilateral relations. After these statements, Russian Ambassador to US Anatoly Antonov was summoned to Moscow for consultations.