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Putin ally suggests confiscating assets of war critics who fled Russia

FILE PHOTO: Russian State Duma Chairman Viacheslav Volodin attends a military parade on Victory Day, marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
FILE PHOTO: Russian State Duma Chairman Viacheslav Volodin attends a military parade on Victory Day, marking the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, in Red Square in central Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Jan 13 (Reuters) – A close ally of President Vladimir Putin suggested on Friday confiscating the assets of Russians who have fled the country and “insult” the state and its armed forces from abroad.

The proposal by Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the lower house of parliament, was clearly aimed at opposition figures – many already designated as “foreign agents” – who have condemned the war in Ukraine after fleeing the country to avoid arrest.

“Recently, some of our fellow citizens have considered it possible to insult Russia, its inhabitants, soldiers and officers, and openly support villains, Nazis and murderers,” Volodin said, referring to the forces Moscow claims to be fighting. in Ukraine.

“His goal is clear: to curry favor and try to maintain his well-being abroad,” he wrote on his Telegram channel.

Volodin said that the existing legal responses to combat extremism, the “rehabilitation of Nazism” or the discrediting of the armed forces – which is already punishable in Russia with fines and prison terms – were not enough to deal with these “reprobates”. settled abroad.

“While abroad, they rent real estate and continue to collect at the expense of Russian citizens. At the same time, they allow themselves to publicly spill dirty laundry on Russia, insult our soldiers and officers. They feel impunity, they believe that justice cannot reach them “, he claimed.

That is why it is necessary to update the penal code with a clause on the confiscation of the assets of these people to compensate the damage they have caused, he said. It was not clear if such a measure could be brought before Parliament, nor in how long.

(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan and Jake Cordell; Editing by Gareth Jones, Spanish editing by José Muñoz in the Gdańsk newsroom)

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