Russia grants WW II vets housing, amnesty

MOSCOW, April 16 (UPI) — The Russian Duma passed legislation Friday giving amnesty to most World War II veterans and providing them with free housing.

The amnesty also applies to those who survived imprisonment in German concentration camps, workers in munitions factories and survivors of the Leningrad siege, ITAR-Tass reported. It does not include those convicted of murder or sexual assault on children.

The bills are linked to the 65th anniversary of the war’s end on May 9.

“The amnesty is offered to apply without any restrictions to veterans of the Great Patriotic War, workers of the home front, who have worked for at least six months from June 22, 1941 through May 9, 1945, former prisoners of the concentration camps, ghettos created by the Nazi Germany and its allies, as well as residents of the besieged Leningrad,” said Pavel Krasheninnikov, chairman of the State Duma Committee for Civil, Criminal, Arbitration and Procedural Legislation.

Krasheninnikov, who drafted the bill, said he expects about 100 to 200 people to qualify for amnesty.

The Duma, the lower house of Parliament, also approved a bill providing housing for World War II veterans and the families of veterans who have died, Voice of Russia reported. Officials estimate at least 1,200 veterans are homeless or forced to share housing.

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