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She complained that the bill could lead to “abuse and arbitrary rulings” against what remains of Russian free-speech rights.

President Vladimir Putin could sign the bill into law as early as Monday. The bill criminalizes “public acts held near religious sites that show blatant disrespect for society and [are] intended to offend believers.” Violaters would face fines of up to $9,000 and one year in prison or a year of forced labor.

Embassy Row is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. James Morrison can be reached at jmorrison@washingtontimes.com or @EmbassyRow.