Russia Intends to Force Foreigners to Sign Loyalty Agreement

( – It’s unlikely many Westerners are planning a holiday in Russia anytime soon, but just in case, Vladimir Putin’s regime has worked out a new way to put people off visiting. From now on, all foreigners entering Russia will have to sign a loyalty oath. It isn’t just a worthless piece of paper, either — the agreement will be backed up by law.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, most Western countries have imposed heavy economic sanctions on the rogue state. President Putin hasn’t hesitated to push back. Russia has already placed restrictions on citizens of “hostile” countries — meaning any that have enacted sanctions — as well as cracking down on the free speech rights of Russians in an attempt to silence his critics. Now he wants to combine both of those.

Russia’s interior ministry has now drafted a law that would make all visitors to Russia sign a legally binding agreement regulating what they can say in public. Among other things, the new restrictions would ban foreigners from criticizing Russian foreign policy or “distorting the historical truth” about the USSR’s role in WWII. The law also cracks down on LGB people, making it illegal to spread “propaganda about non-traditional sexual relations.”

According to the Kremlin, the law is necessary because Russia is fighting a war, and criticism of the military can’t be allowed. However, although the internal affairs committee of the Duma, Russia’s parliament, says the law is well into the drafting process, some details still aren’t clear. For example, it isn’t certain what the penalties will be for breaking it — but, going by the long prison terms handed to critics of the regime, they could be harsh.

Before the new rules become law they have to be introduced to the Duma, voted through then reviewed by a committee, and then signed by the president. However, in Russia’s deeply corrupt political system, if Putin wants this law passed, it will be. Western travelers now have another reason to avoid Russia.

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