Russia gives KGB successor sweeping powers

Russia gives KGB successor sweeping powers

Brushing aside the opinion of his aides, President Dmitry Medvedev signed the controversial bill empowering the country's powerful security service - FSB to issue warnings to individuals and entities for their alleged intentions to carry out crimes.

"Russian President Dmitry Medvedev endorsed the Federal law on amendments to the federal laws on the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Code of Administrative Offences", the Kremlin announced.

The opposition leaders, including former vice premier Boris Nemtsov have called the government proposed bill a 'draconian law'.

Officials said the new legislation was aimed at combatting extremism and follows recent devastating twin sub-way bombings in Moscow, that left 40 people dead. Under the new law government can impose hefty fines or detain people upto 15 days on mere suspicion.
In its commentary the official news agency ITAR-TASS said the law signed by Medvedev allows "preventive measures" against individuals and organisations by the Federal Security Service (FSB) allegedly planning to commit extremist actions.

Earlier this month, the Speaker of the Upper House Sergei Mironov who was the only person to vote against the bill, said it was directed against political opposition.
Rights' activist and chairperson of Presidential advisory council on promoting civil society Ella Panfilova, flaying the bill as restoration of Soviet-era KGB practices, had expressed hope that Medvedev will refuse to sign it.

The amendments give the right to the FSB to issue official warnings to natural persons about the inadmissibility of their actions that create conditions for the commission of crimes, the investigation of which is within the FSB competence, when there are no grounds for criminal prosecution of these persons.

The amendment also lays the procedure for issuing such warnings and fining the individuals and organisations for disobeying the orders of the FSB officials.