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Russia Protest Bill: President Vladimir Putin Supports Controversial Anti-Protest Law

05/23/12 08:45 AM ET AP

Putin Antiprotest Bill
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting while visiting the Tsiklon research institute in Moscow, Friday, May 18, 2012. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Government Press Service)

MOSCOW -- Russia's President Vladimir Putin says he supports a controversial bill that would introduce a 200-fold increase in fines for those taking part in unsanctioned protests.

The bill received a preliminary approval by the Kremlin-controlled lower house on Tuesday.

Putin said in remarks broadcast Wednesday that it would strengthen democracy in the country by protecting citizens from "radical actions."

Some have warned that the law may stop the middle class from protesting in Moscow but would fail to stem likely outbursts of anger against a series of planned reforms that would hike energy prices and cut social benefits.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • Russian opposition protesters gather near the monument of Kazakh poet Abai Kunanbaev in the opposition camp at the Chistiye Prudy, or Clean Ponds, where they vowed to continue the roving protest in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 13, 2012. At least 5,000 are marching along Moscow Boulevard Ring in a rare unsanctioned gathering led by popular Russian novelists. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

  • Russian opposition protesters sing and dance as they gather at the Chistiye Prudy, or Clean Ponds, where they vowed to continue the roving protest in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 13, 2012. At least 5,000 are marching along Moscow Boulevard Ring in a rare unsanctioned gathering led by popular Russian novelists. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

  • Russian writer Dmitry Bykov, center, signs a book as he attends a protesters march in downtown Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 13, 2012. At least 5,000 are marching along Moscow Boulevard Ring in a rare unsanctioned gathering led by popular Russian novelists, defending people's rights to gather on the streets without authorities' permission. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

  • Russian famous writer Boris Akunin, center, attends a protesters march in downtown Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 13, 2012. At least 5,000 are marching along Moscow Boulevard Ring in a rare unsanctioned gathering led by popular Russian novelists defending people's rights to gather on the streets without authorities' permission. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

  • Protesters march in downtown Moscow, Russia, Sunday, May 13, 2012. At least 5,000 are marching along Moscow Boulevard Ring in a rare unsanctioned gathering led by popular Russian novelists, defending people's rights to gather on the streets without authorities' permission. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

  • A Russian youth opposition activist makes a portrait of Vladimir Putin win cocoa powder on a pancake as they gather at the Chistiye Prudy, or Clean Ponds, where they vowed to continue the roving protest in Moscow, Saturday, May 12, 2012. Some 200 activists have camped out in central Moscow to protest the election of Vladimir Putin and arrests of opposition leaders. Activists were distributing white ribbons, the protest symbol, and settling in at a plaza on a central boulevard. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

  • A Russian youth opposition protester rests as they gather at the Chistiye Prudy, or Clean Ponds, where they vowed to continue the roving protest in Moscow, Saturday, May 12, 2012. Some 200 activists have camped out in central Moscow to protest the election of Vladimir Putin and arrests of opposition leaders. Activists were distributing white ribbons, the protest symbol, and settling in at a plaza on a central boulevard. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

  • Russian youth opposition protesters rest as they gather at the Chistiye Prudy, or Clean Ponds, where they vowed to continue the roving protest in Moscow, Saturday, May 12, 2012. Some 200 activists have camped out in central Moscow to protest the election of Vladimir Putin and arrests of opposition leaders. Activists were distributing white ribbons, the protest symbol, and settling in at a plaza on a central boulevard. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)


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Filed by Ryan Craggs  |