Russian secret service bill clears last hurdle
A law expanding the rights of the Russia's secret service (FSB) cleared its final hurdle Monday when the Federation Council voted in its favour, the news agency Interfax reported.
The law now only needs the signature of President Dmitry Medvedev, who put forward the bill, DPA reported.
Once implemented it will allow the FSB to act against citizens without any evidence. Those of whom it is suspicious can be invited to "precautionary talks" to prevent the possibility of a criminal act "against the country's security."
Those who refuse to show up for such "precautionary talks" could face a fine of around 1,500 dollars or spend 15 days in detention.
Officially the law is supposed to aid the fight against terror and extremist tendencies.
But civil rights activists and opposition politicians have strongly criticized the law, saying it signals a return to Soviet- style authoritarianism.
"This is the decree of a police state," said Sergey Ivanenko, from the Jabloko party, not represented in parliament.
The State Duma passed the law on Friday in a third and fourth reading, supported mostly by the votes of Prime Minister and former KBG boss Vladimir Putin's United Russia.