MOSCOW, January 31 (RAPSI) – Russia’s ruling United Russia party reinvigorated on Friday a bill – shelved five years ago – that aims to curb attempts to justify or deny Nazism and Nazi crimes.

The proposed amendments would ban the justification of Nazism in general and Nazi crimes in particular, and would ban the denial of the fact of Nazism and Nazi crimes. Such offenses could be punishable by a fine of up to 500,000 rubles (over $14,000), or up to five years in prison.

State Duma lawmaker Irina Yarovaya said the bill should be passed as soon as possible in order to preserve history from any attempts to corrupt it. “Attempts to whitewash Nazism are becoming uglier,” the MP said.

According to Yarovaya, the bill was submitted to the Duma five years ago and it is ready for consideration with the new amendments.

Concerns about whitewashing Nazi history were drawn into discussion amid the scandal over Russian TV channel Dozhd which held a controversial World War II poll. It posed the question of whether Leningrad (present-day Saint Petersburg) should have surrendered to the Nazis in order to avert civilian casualties caused by the subsequent siege. It was removed shortly after the initial appearance but caused an outrage throughout the social media and the Internet.

The Prosecutor’s Office of Saint Petersburg initiated a probe over the allegations which is still ongoing. A number of major Russian telecommunications services operators such as Rostelecom and Vimpelcom has suspended Dozhd broadcasts.