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Amnesty Bill Passes Second Duma Reading

Published: December 19, 2013 (Issue # 1791)

  • Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, at a protest in 2012, may be eligible for release.
    Photo: Denis Bochkarev / Wikicommons

The State Duma gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to an amnesty that could set free members of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot among other high-profile inmates, and was expected to pass the bill in its final reading later in the day.

Hopes and expectations still vary as to how far — or how little — the final version of the amnesty would depart from President Vladimir Putin's original bill, which critics said was much too narrow.

In its second reading, the Duma introduced amendments that extend the amnesty to people who are accused of participating in "riots" at the Bolotnaya opposition rally in May, 2012, in addition to those who have already been convicted. The amendment, however, still does not cover the supposed organizers of the "riots."

Dmitry Agranovsky, a lawyer for two Bolotnaya defendants, approved of the amendments but added, "These are only amendments, let's wait until the evening,"

Opposition lawmakers Dmitry Gudkov and Ilya Ponomaryov had proposed extending the amnesty to the Bolotnaya "riot" organizers, as well as to the mothers of disabled adults and to people with severe illnesses, but the Duma voted down the proposal.

The second reading bill's pardon of those convicted of hooliganism is thought to apply to charges against the environmentalists activists aboard the Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise," who were originally charged with piracy for attempting to hang a banner on a Gazprom oil rig off Russia's northern coast.

It remained unclear whether the amnesty, which covers non-violent first-time offenders, would extend to former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. He faces negligence charges for the use of 56 million rubles ($1.7 million), but has been thought to be a candidate for the amnesty.

Besides mentioning first-time non-violent offenders, the amnesty bill also states that it would apply to the mothers of young children, war veterans, police officers and elderly people

"There might be some pregnant women and the mothers of small children among Serdyukov's acquaintances, but these categories probably don't refer to this individual himself," Pavel Krasheninnikov, head of the Duma's Legislation Committee, said.

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Wednesday, Apr. 23

Problems facing the elderly are in the spotlight at Senior Generation 2014, an international forum at LenExpo beginning today that focuses on drawing attention to and providing information about some of society’s most vulnerable members. An exhibition combined with a trade fair will help those interested be better equipped to help this demographic.

Thursday, Apr. 24

Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegation’s visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.

AmCham’s Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.

Friday, Apr. 25

Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finland’s Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from

Saturday, Apr. 26

At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping mall’s Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.

Sunday, Apr. 27

Families shouldn’t miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.

Monday, Apr. 28

The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBA’s Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.

Tuesday, Apr. 29

Improve your English at the British Book Center’s Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.