MOSCOW, December 30 (RAPSI) – Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a bill introducing prison sentence as punishment for online defamation into law.

The law envisages imprisonment for up to 2 years for folk leasing. 

Previously, legislation stipulated fines of up to 1 million rubles (about $14,000 at the current exchange rate) or community service for up to 40 hours for defamation in media or public speech.

The initiative’s author, United Russia party’s lawmaker Dmitry Vyatkin also found disturbing that many Internet resources not affiliating themselves with mass media but having large attendance could not fall within the purview of the existing law, an explanatory note to the bill reads.