Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law broadening the definition of treason which opponents say could be used to smother dissent and put almost anyone who has contact with foreigners at risk.
The law allows Russians representing international organizations to be charged with treason, as well as those working for foreign intelligence. It took effect on Wednesday when it was published in the official gazette, despite a promise by Putin on Monday that he would review it.
Political opponents and rights activists say the legislation is the latest in a series of laws intended to crack down on the opposition and reduce foreign influence since he returned to the Kremlin in May for a six-year third term.
Unsurprisingly, Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency has been anything but good news for those hoping to see an expansion of individual freedoms in Russia. Between the incarceration of several Pussy Riot members, increased hostility towards protesters and other political opposition, and newly strengthened treason laws, the future of those opposed to Putin’s return is looking grimmer by the day. source