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Russia: Stricter Punishment for Drunk Driving

(Nov. 24, 2008) On November 14, 2008, the State Duma (legislature) of Russia adopted amendments to the nation's Criminal Code that prescribe heavier punishments for driving while intoxicated or under the influence of narcotic or alcoholic substances. Article 264 sets forth penalties for violations of the Rules on Road Traffic and Operation of Means of […]

Russia: Limited Digitization Permitted for Three Libraries

(Oct. 24, 2008) On October 15, 2008, the Federal Assembly (legislature) of Russia adopted amendments to the nation's Federal Law on Libraries, which designates the newly established Presidential Library in St. Petersburg as a national library and obligates this institution and Russia's two other national libraries to create electronic copies of all materials in their […]

Russia: Citizenship Acquisition to Be Simplified

(Sept. 30, 2008) On September 22, 2008, the upper chamber of the Russian legislature, the Federation Council, adopted amendments to the Russian Federal Law on Citizenship, aimed at the simplification of the citizenship acquisition procedure for nationals of the former Soviet republics – if they were born in the territory of Russia when it was […]

Russia: Self-Governance Granted to Caucasus Republics

(Aug. 29, 2008) On August 25, 2008, the State Duma of the Russian Federation (the lower house of the legislature) adopted a law that provides for the creation of self-government institutions in Chechnya and Ingushetia, constituent republics of the Russian Federation where, regardless of constitutional requirements, local governance was abolished by the federal authorities in […]

Russia: Public Control over Penitentiaries Introduced

(July 2, 2008) On June 10, 2008, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev signed into law the bill on public control for the implementation of human rights in penal institutions and legal aid to the incarcerated. The Law allows members of non-government organizations to visit penitentiaries, review the living conditions there, and meet the prisoners. For this […]

Russia: Supreme Court Lifts Confiscation Clause

(June 2, 2008) On May 18, 2008, the Supreme Court of Arbitration of the Russian Federation, the highest judicial body in the country to resolve commercial disputes, announced its ruling regarding the application of article 169 of the Civil Code, which allows confiscation in the state's favor of revenues from transactions running counter to the […]

Russia: Ban on Wi-Fi Connections in Private Residences

(May 2, 2008) On March 19, 2008, the Russian Federation's Federal Agency on Telecommunications Supervision (analogous to the FCC in the United States) issued a regulation that restricts the use of personal computer routing devices and provides for mandatory registration of all Wi-Fi equipment according to the procedure established for radio broadcast systems with state […]

Russia: Supreme Court Rules to Acquit Military Deserters

(May 2, 2008) On April 3, 2008, the plenary session of the Russian Federation Supreme Court reviewed the lower courts' practice in resolving cases related to draft dodging and ruled that a conscript who left the place of his military service will not be held criminally responsible if his first-time desertion was committed because of […]

Russia: Import of Blackberry Phones Permitted

(Apr. 2, 2008) On February 26, 2008, the Federal Security Service (knows as the FSB, successor to the former Soviet KGB) issued permits to two major Russian cellular telephone service providers allowing them to work with encrypted electronic communications. This means that Blackberry phones, whose use was previously prohibited in Russia, can now be imported […]

Russia: Wiretapping Ordered for All Telephone Conversations

(Apr. 2, 2008) On March 4, 2008, the Russian Federation Information and Telecommunications Ministry published a regulation that obligates all telecommunications companies and Internet providers to guarantee to the Russian Federal Security Service (known as the FSB) unrestricted and uncontrolled wiretapping of and access to all information possessed by the providers. Although the Constitution allows […]