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Russia raises fines for election fraud

July 12, 2012 at 10:36 AM

MOSCOW, July 12 (UPI) -- The Kremlin announced it signed a measure that amends a section of the Russian penal code, raising the penalty for election violations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a document amending Russian law that governs "hindering fulfillment of electoral rights or the operation of election commissions."

The measure doubles the fine for interfering with operations of the election commissions to $2,445, with as much as $9,100 in fines for bribery or deception. The maximum financial penalty for violations of election laws remains at its current level of around $15,000, reports state-run news agency RIA Novosti.

Opposition voices in Russia have grown louder since December. Mass protests erupted when Putin won a third non-consecutive term as president early this year.

Several members of a presidential human rights council have since resigned in opposition of Putin's re-election.

Last year's elections for State Duma were seen as skewed in favor of the ruling United Russia Party. Claims of election fraud followed later after Putin trounced his rivals in the polls.

Political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin, a former member of the presidential council, described Putin as "an illegitimate president."

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