New bill would require candidates in Russian elections to declare crypto

The bill must still go through two readings in the Duma before going to the Federation Council.

Russia’s State Duma has approved a new draft bill in its first reading that would require election candidates to disclose their crypto holdings, expenditures and purchases.

The draft bill also asks election candidates to indicate a source of income for cryptocurrency purchases and requires crypto declarations not only from the actual candidates, but also their spouses and minor children for the past three years.

Introduced in March 2021, the draft bill includes a set of amendments to existing Russian law like those on presidential and State Duma deputy elections, guarantees of the electoral rights, as well as the country’s major cryptocurrency bill, “On Digital Financial Assets” officially enacted in January this year. The next step in the draft bill’s development will be the consideration of potential amendments in mid-June.

Elections for the State Duma are scheduled for September 2021, with the pro-Kremlin ruling party, United Russia, expecting to take over two-thirds of the Duma’s 450 seats. 

The Duma is apparently concerned about the crypto activity of new deputies as the Russian opposition is widely known for accepting Bitcoin (BTC). Russia’s “Anti-Corruption Foundation” — founded by jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and now declared an extremist organization — had accepted Bitcoin donations since 2016.

The Russian government levied crypto reporting requirements on public officials earlier this year, even forcing some to sell their crypto. 

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