According to an Associated Press report, Putin’s United Russia party proposed the new bill after a series of rallies held against the President – including a protest just a day before Putin’s May 7 inauguration, which saw violent scenes between protestors and the police.
Though all three of the other political parties in the Kremlin’s elected lower house had voted against the bill, the United Russia party’s majority vote ensured that the bill received preliminary approval on Tuesday. Subsequently, the anti-protest bill must now pass through two additional votes before being passed into law.
Putin’s United Russia party is believed to be targeting for the law to be passed ahead of a June 12 holiday – when opposition politicians have called for the next large protest.
The Kremlin's human rights adviser though urged Putin to veto the bill, or risk facing further credibility issues with his reign.
Putin however later scolded Fedotov for publicly criticizing the bill and described the bill as necessary for “strengthening democracy.”
"We must guard people against some kinds of extreme, radical displays. Society, the state has a right to defend itself," Putin said.
Opposition leaders though have, rather unsurprisingly, denounced the bill to be a crack down on civil rights and freedom.