MOSCOW -- Russia's lower house of parliament approved a bill Tuesday that would raise the fine for participating in an unauthorized protest 150-fold.
If, as expected, the bill becomes law, protesters whose rallies aren't officially sanctioned will face fines of up to 300,000 rubles ($9,000), up from the current 2,000 ($60).
The potential punishment is far more severe than for many other crimes.
A sampling of other offenses and their maximum penalties under Russian law:
_ Prostitution: A fine of 2,500 rubles ($75).
_ Illegal use of an automobile: 120,000 rubles ($3,600).
_ Nuclear materials storage violations: 5,000 rubles ($150) for regular citizens, 40,000 ($1,200) for public officials.
_ Performing an abortion without medical qualification: 80,000 rubles ($2,400).
_ Violating safety precautions in designing, building and using nuclear energy facilities that could cause danger or radioactive contagion: 200,000 rubles ($6,000).
_ Organizing prostitution: 500,000 rubles ($15,000) or three years in prison.