The bill was drafted last year after the punk band Pussy Riot performed a protest song against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral.

Two Pussy Riot members are now serving prison terms in remote penal colonies.

The bill says blasphemy could incur up to three years in jail or a fine of up to 300,000 roubles ($9,700;£6,300).

Russian commentators say the bill appears to have strong backing from Mr Putin. It was passed by the Duma - Russia's lower house - in a first reading on Tuesday.

To become law it has to pass two more readings in the Duma, then a vote in the upper house - the Federation Council - and get a final sign-off by Mr Putin. The entire parliament is dominated by Mr Putin's supporters.

The text refers to offences against religions that are "an integral part of Russia's historical inheritance" - implying that it covers Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.