Putin is toughening his legislative clampdown on blasphemy and offensive acts against religion. This looks like a reaction to the Pussy Riot case and a response against the appeal made by Dmitry Medvedev for greater leniency for the three female members of the band, sentenced to two years in prison.
The first section of the new article to be added to the Russian Criminal Code, prescribes sanctions for public insults made to religious faiths, in places of worship and during rites and ceremonies. The punishment for such crimes will be a 300 thousand rouble fine (10 thousand dollars), 200 hours of hard labour or up to three years confinement.[link]
During the 90's most neo-liberals expected religious faith and tribalism to collapse under the free market and globalization. We, as individuals, would concentrate on rationally maximizing our own happiness and move away from irrational and dangerous ideologies like religion and nationalism by instead satisfying our irrational urges through consumption. Instead of being Irish Catholics, or Russia Orthodox Christians, we would become consumers and workers. Self-development and community building would take place around the office instead of the local church. Wealth and material goods and emotional well-being were to be our reward.
Nothing of the sort has happened. This blasphemy bill is yet another retreat from reason and a return to the legal privileging of religion. Merely offending the precious feelings of religious worshipers can earn you 200 hours of hard labor or up to three years confinement. This is yet another fop to religious organizations who seek to strengthen censorship and criticism of faith.
The bill is expected to be passed with the support of the four main parties.