Parliament's lower house on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation that would give President Vladimir Putin more freedom to send forces abroad to fight terrorism, and tighten restrictions on media coverage of anti-terror operations inside Russia.
In a 429-0 vote, State Duma lawmakers approved amendments to a series of laws in a move they said was connected to Russia's ratification of a Council of Europe anti-terrorism convention.
One change would remove a requirement that the president provide details about a planned operation when requesting permission from the upper parliament house, the Federation Council, to use military or security forces for anti-terrorist operations abroad.
Existing law requires that he provide details on operations using forces outside Russia; Backers of the legislation said that could jeopardize operations by telegraphing information to terrorists. And according to the newspaper Kommersant, existing law mentions only armed forces - not special forces.
Putin ordered special forces a week ago to hunt down and "destroy" the killers of four Russian Embassy staffers who were kidnapped and slain in Iraq, and the vote appeared aimed at giving such operations a legal stamp of approval.