MOSCOW, April 1 (RAPSI) – President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday enacted bills toughening punishment for violation of sanitary and epidemiological rules and penalties for distributing fake news about emergencies and epidemics into law. Copies of the documents signed by the Head of the State were published on the official website of legal information.

Criminal liability

Amendments are to be introduced into the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

The initiative in particular tightens punishment for breaching quarantine by individuals. During the coronavirus pandemic such actions increase a prompt mass virus infection hazard, according to one of the bill’s authors, the head of the lower house’s Committee on State Building and Legislation Pavel Krasheninnikov. By the second reading the document was amended by sanctions for the distribution of fake news on the matter.

Thus, violation of sanitary and epidemiological rules resulting in the crowd disease or poisoning would result in fines from 500,000 to 700,000 rubles ($6,500 – 9,000). Also, imprisonment for up to 2 years is possible.

Sanitary rules violations led to death by are to be punished with fines starting from 1 million rubles ($13,000) or imprisonment from 3 to 5 years. If such breachs result in the death of two or more people, violators would face prison sentence of up to 7 years.

Distribution of fake news about circumstances posing threat to life and safety of citizens or security and protection measures would be pubishable by fines ranging from 300,000 to 700,000 rubles or restriction of liberty for up to 3 years. If a fake results in the health harm, the fines could reach 1.5 million rubles and prison terms – 3 years.

In cases the fake news disseminating leads to death or other grave consequences, violators would face fines ranging from 1.5 to 2 million rubles ($19,000 - 25,500) or imprisonment for up to 5 years. According to Krasheninnikov, these penalties would apply to individuals. Sanctions for legal entities are stipulated by the Code on Administrative Offenses.

Administrative sanctions

Amendments to the Code on Administrative Offenses  introduce fines from 15,000 to 40,000 rubles for individuals, from 50,000 to 150,000 rubles or suspension of activity for up to 90 days for officials doing business without company formation, from 200,000 to 500,000 rubles ($2,500 - 6,400) or suspension of activity for up to 90 days for companies violating sanitary rules and hygienic regulations, failing to fulfil sanitary, hygienic and anti-epidemic steps during emergencies or mass decease outbreaks, threat of their appearance or quarantine period.

Such violations resulted in death or health harm, if they do not contain acts punishable under criminal law, would result in fines raging from 150,000 to 300,000 rubles for individuals, from 300,000 to 500,000 rubles or administrative suspension of business activity for up to 90 days for officials and from 500,000 to 1 million rubles ($6,400 – 12,800) or administrative suspension of business activity for up to 90 days for legal entities.

Legal entities would also face fines varying from 1.5 to 3 million rubles for such violations. If a publication leads to a person’s death, health or property damage, mass breachs of public order, fines for them would reach from 3 to 5 million rubles ($38,000 – 64,000) for distribution of fake news about epidemics.

Violations causing stops to the operation of critical and social infrastructure, transport, credit organizations, energy, communications and industry facilities would result in fines from 300,000 to 400,000 rubles for individuals, from 600,000 to 900,000 rubles for officials and from 5 to 10 million rubles ($64,000 – 130,000) for legal entities.