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Desecration of the Russian anthem may become a crime

Desecration of the Russian anthem may become a crime The Supreme Court approved a draft law on criminal liability for desecration of the Russian anthem, prepared by senators Vadim Tulpanov and Andrey Klishas and deputy of the State Duma Raziet Natkho. Currently criminal liability (up to one year of imprisonment) is provided only for offence against the national coat of arms and flag. Amendments to the Criminal Code will allow for legal protection of all national symbols of Russia, as desecration of them is an offence against the nation and the state as a whole, in the opinion of law-makers.

The amendments in discussion provide criminal liability measures not simply for deviation from the official procedure of using the anthem, but for desecration of it as a national symbol, council of YUST Law Firm and patent attorney Dmitry Seryogin explained to vedomosti newspaper. The anthem, as well as the flag and coat of arms, is an official symbol, so the introduction of criminal liability for desecration of it is quite logical. “Nevertheless, we should understand that desecration of the anthem and violation of the procedure of its use are different offences. Desecration includes intentional offensive, humiliating, abusive, obscene actions dishonoring national symbols”, Seryogin underlined. Besides, this crime can be characterized by the purpose of these actions - offence against the state, the motive can also be criminal - from molester motives. An example of desecration of the anthem may be replacing the official text with obscene words, the lawyer believes. “But violation of the procedure of performing the national anthem that is not of offensive nature cannot be recognized as a crime. From this point of view, it should be mentioned that the music of the current anthem is similar to the national anthem of the USSR, but the lyrics to these anthems are different”, Seryogin reminded. In his opinion, it is important that performance of the anthem of the USSR, including public performance, is not considered a desecration of the Russian anthem.

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