MOSCOW, (Xinhua) — The lower house of the Russian Parliament, or the State Duma, on Friday declared amnesty in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, Russia’s term for World War II.
Head of Duma’s Legislative Committee Pavel Krasheninnikov said that about 350,000 to 400,000 inmates could be released, the Interfax news agency reported.
The amnesty comes into immediate effect and will be effective for six months, but it is not applied to those convicted of serious crimes or participation in mass disorders.
According to the Russian Constitution, the State Duma is the only institution authorized for declaring amnesty.
As the Victory Day anniversary celebrations on May 9 are just around the corner, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Alexander Lukashevich announced earlier in the day that leaders of 26 countries have confirmed their participation.
“Among them are leaders of member states of the BRICS bloc (grouping Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), and the Commonwealth of Independent States, as well as some European, Asian, African and Latin American countries,” Lukashevich said.
World War II veterans from former Soviet republics, Israel and countries of the anti-Hitler coalition would also take part in the celebrations, said Lukashevich.
The scheduled celebrations include a military parade and evening concert on the Red Square and a reception at the Grand Kremlin Palace.