MOSCOW, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – People who attempt to "whitewash Nazism" will face fines and long prison sentences under legislation put forward Friday by Russia’s ruling party.
United Russia’s bill would be based on the Nuremberg Trials of 1945-1949, lawmaker said.
The trials, held by the Allies, convicted most surviving Nazi leaders of war crimes, denounced fascism and proclaimed most Nazi organizations as criminal.
Questioning the Nuremberg trials would be punishable with up to five years in prison or a fine of 500,000 rubles ($14,000), Yarovaya said at a meeting of the party’s conservative wing.
The bill has been in drafting limbo for five years, but has finally become legally unambiguous with the mention of the Nuremberg Trials, she said.
The bill also proposes to criminalize “dissemination of deliberate misinterpretations about the Soviet Union’s role in World War II.” No further explanation was given.
The party did not say when the bill would be introduced to the State Duma.
World War II is a key element of modern Russian history. War-related anniversaries are marked by lavish state-funded celebrations and war history is taught extensively in schools, where children learn the Soviet Union played the most important role in defeating the Axis powers through unprecedented public effort, which cost up to 27 million lives.
This week, conservatives criticized a liberal online television station, Dozhd, for putting up a poll that questioned the Soviet strategy in the bloody siege of Leningrad from 1941-1944.
The opposition-minded channel was dropped by many broadcast companies and faces a check by prosecutors on extremism charges over the poll.
Channel representatives alleged that this was politically motivated retribution for Dozhd’s hard-hitting coverage of contemporary domestic affairs, particularly corruption in the Kremlin.
Russian lawmakers, including Yarovaya, have also long criticized the “glorification of Nazism” in some post-Soviet republics, such as Ukraine and the Baltic states, which had resilient insurgencies that alternatively cooperated with and opposed both the Soviets and the Nazis during World War II.
Many modern radical nationalists in these countries see the war-era resistance as national heroes despite their cooperation with the Nazis and, in some cases, involvement in genocide.