The idea behind wanting to ban fake news seems simple enough: you find the “news” content that isn’t representing the truth objectively and legitimately, then prevent those sites from disseminating their material. However, in practice, laws are written and enforced by a nation’s government—making a legal ban on “fake news” into something else: a powerful censorship tool.

On Monday, March 18th, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed two new national censorship bills that, it’s safe to say, numerous Americans would probably support in the good ol’ U.S. of A. The first bars the creation and distribution of “fake news” and allows the government to levy fines against news outlets found guilty of repeat offenses. The second bill establishes legal justification for the arrest and punishment of individuals who share online content that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Put simply, the first bill makes it illegal to make “fake news,” and the second one makes it illegal to share it—or to insult the government. But what do these laws really do?

Russia doesn’t exactly have a history of defending speech. Putin is informally implicated in the deaths of numerous journalists and outspoken critics, who often die in ways that make it clear to the Russian people their behavior was being punished by the Kremlin—like poisoning your tea with a rare radioactive isotope found primarily in Soviet weapons programs. Heavy-handed as it may seem, it’s also proven rather effective, allowing Putin to enjoy consistently high levels of national support thanks to his stranglehold on state-run media and the government’s intimidation of individual journalists and sources.