Misuse of Anti-Extremism in June 2021
On June 4, the president signed a law prohibiting those “involved” in the activities of an extremist or terrorist organization from being election candidates. We wrote about this law in more detail here. So in this review, we shall only reiterate that, in our opinion, the breadth and ambiguity of the “involved person” concept can lead to law enforcement abuses. In general, the introduction of such broad passive suffrage restrictions, especially for actions committed in the period preceding the ban of the organization or even the filing of charges against it, looks exceedingly problematic in terms of compliance with Article 54 of the Constitution.
Also in June, both chambers of parliament adopted five laws that were signed by the president on July 1.
In accordance with one of the newly signed laws, the media now has to accompany references to organizations recognized in Russia as terrorist with explicit indications that their activities have been banned. Failure to comply with this requirement leads to fines. Until now, such a requirement existed only for references to organizations recognized as extremist. In our opinion, such purely formal requirements are superfluous, and their implementation leads to numerous mishaps. Instead of monitoring for the presence of particular disclaimers in informational publications, the authorities should be ensuring that the media does not promote misanthropic ideas.
Two of the newly signed laws represented the next stage in the symbolic “fight against Nazism,” which the Russian authorities have recently embraced with particular enthusiasm. Both laws are vaguely worded and invade freedom of expression for no apparent reason. The law “On Immortalization of the Victory of the Soviet People in the Great Patriotic War” now includes the ban against “publicly equating the goals, decisions and actions of the USSR leadership, the USSR commanders and military personnel with the goals, decisions and actions of the Nazi Germany leadership or commanders and military personnel of Nazi Germany and the Axis countries during World War II, as well as denying the decisive role of the Soviet people in the defeat of Nazi Germany and the humanitarian mission of the USSR in the liberation of the European countries.” It is not clear what kind of statements will be regarded as “equating” in practice. The sanctions for violating this law remain unspecified since the corresponding amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses or the Criminal Code have not yet been submitted to the State Duma. The other law has provided the instrument for recognizing portraits of Nazi criminals and collaborators as extremist materials. We view the proposed mechanism for combating the display of such images as poorly thought out and de facto unusable.
Other legislative innovations pertained to the sphere of control over the Internet. The President signed a law obligating the foreign Internet companies whose daily audience includes over 500 thousand Russian users to open representative offices in Russia; the requirement also applies to foreign hosting providers that work with Russian citizens as well as owners of email services, instant messengers or advertising networks, regardless of the size of their Russian audience. Among other requirements, the law stipulates that these companies must restrict access to materials prohibited in Russia. Various coercive measures are provided for failure to comply with this demand: informing search engines users that a resource violates Russian legislation, a ban on the distribution of its advertising in Russia, a ban against advertising on the company's websites, restrictions on accepting monetary transfers and payments from Russian individuals and legal entities, a ban on being delivered by search engines, and the prohibition on collecting and cross-border transfer of personal data. In addition, a refusal to interact with Roskomnadzor, to open a representative office, or to store personal data of Russians on the Russian territory can entail measures such as partial or complete restriction of access to the resource using the “sovereign Internet” mechanisms; these measures can also be used as sanctions for “censoring” Russian media and citizens.
Finally, the list of information subject to extrajudicial blocking has expanded once again; it now includes “unreliable information that tarnishes the honor and dignity” of a citizen or “undermines their reputation and is associated with charges... of committing a crime.” A citizen who found such information online can send a request to a prosecutor of a subject of the Russian Federation containing a “reasoned justification” of the information’s inaccuracy and requesting the measures to have it removed or blocked. After the claim is verified by the prosecutor's office, the prosecutor general (or their deputy) sends their decision to Roskomnadzor, which then takes action to remove or block the relevant information. We would like to remind that, in our opinion, the current Russian legislation that restricts the dissemination of online information has systemic shortcomings. Its application, especially as it relates to the rules on extrajudicial blocking, often unreasonably and disproportionately restricts freedom of speech.
The Practice of the European Court Of Human Rights
On June 15, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the complaint of Olga Kurnosova, an opposition activist from St. Petersburg. Kurnosova's complaint pertained to the events that took place in 2007 when she was fined 1,000 rubles under Article 20.2 Part 1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (violating the established procedure for arranging or conducting a mass event). The charges were related to an article published by the Yabloko Party St. Petersburg branch newspaper and written by Andrei Dmitriev, the leader of the National Bolsheviks of St Petersburg. The article called on the NBP supporters to join the Dissenters’ March. At that time, the activities of the NBP were suspended in connection with the ongoing review of a claim to ban the party as an extremist organization. After considering the case, a magistrates’ court ruled that that Kurnosova, as the Dissenters’ March organizer, had involved members of the NBP in participating in this public event by publishing Dmitriev's article while the party's activities had been suspended. The judge referred to Article 16 of the Law “On Combating Extremist Activity,” which covers the prevention of extremist activity during mass actions. According to the ECHR, the magistrates’ court used an expansive and unpredictable interpretation of this norm, since the law defines an extremist organization as an organization that has been dissolved or banned by a final judicial decision on the ground of its extremist activities, rather than simply suspended. Thus, Kurnosova could not reasonably foresee that by publishing an article she would breach this provision and become liable under Article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offenses – especially since, at the time of the article’s publication, the law did not provide for the existence of a published list of suspended organizations. Thus, the ECHR decided that the case against Kurnosova was legally unfounded, and the Russian state had violated Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights protecting freedom of expression interpreted in the light of Article 11 protecting freedom of assembly. Russia now has to compensate Kurnosova for material damage, moral damage, and legal costs. It is worth reminding that the Moscow City Court recognized the NBP as an extremist organization on April 19, 2007 – in our opinion, without due justification.
Sanctions for Oppositional Activities and Criticism of the Authorities
In early June, the Moscow City Court satisfied the administrative claim of the Moscow prosecutor and recognized the Anti-Corruption Foundation (Fond borby s korruptsiyey, FBK), the Citizens Rights Defense Fund (Fond zaschity prav grazhdan, FZPG), and the Navalny Headquarters network as extremist organizations. As a reminder, FBK and FZPG were previously recognized as organizations “performing the functions of a foreign agent.” The prosecutor's office argued that the FBK, the FZPG and the Navalny Headquarters were “acting in active coordination with and were commissioned by various foreign centers conducting destructive actions against Russia” and engaging in extremist activities “by calling for violent actions, extremist activities, mass riots, and by attempting to involve minors in illegal activities, as was confirmed in a number of cases by the judicial acts that have entered into legal force.” The materials of the lawsuit mentioned that a criminal case was initiated against Alexei Navalny, FBK director Ivan Zhdanov and former head of the Navalny Headquarters Leonid Volkov under Article 239 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (creation of a public association whose activity is fraught with violence against individuals or with the infliction of injury to their health). The sessions were held behind closed doors keeping journalists and spectators out. The unclassified part of the materials contained several lists of people previously prosecuted for extremist offenses and crimes, violating the legislation on public events, or participating in the activities of an undesirable organization. Notably, the lists included not only the staff of the Navalny Headquarters or FBK but also citizens whose connections with Navalny's organizations have never been confirmed in any way; some of them were subscribed to social network pages associated with Navalny. It should be noted that acts, such as violating the legislation on rallies, participating in undesirable organizations, or committing actions that fall under Article 239 of the Criminal Code, are not listed in the definition of extremist activity. The claim presented no evidence to indicate that employees of the Navalny Headquarters, FBK, and FZPG systematically faced charges specifically for their extremist activities. In our opinion, there is no causal relationship between the activities of Navalny's organizations and isolated sentences issued to social network subscribers of the Navalny Headquarters or FBK under the “extremist” articles of the Criminal Code. We see no reason to classify as activities of the Navalny headquarters all the heated political discussions conducted by social network users in the headquarters’ online groups. We regard the Moscow City Court decision as inappropriate.
Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaking at the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council in late June, called on the Russian authorities to respect the right of citizens to express criticism ahead of the September elections to the State Duma and condemned both the fact that the structures created by Alexei Navalny's supporters were declared extremist organizations and the newly adopted law banning those “involved” in the activities of extremist organizations from running for the elected office. “I call on Russia to uphold civil and political rights. Legislation restricting the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association should be brought in line with international human rights norms and standards. I further urge the authorities to end the arbitrary practice of labelling ordinary individuals, journalists, and non-governmental organizations as “extremists”, “foreign agents” or “undesirable organizations,” said the High Commissioner.
At the same time, two Moscow electoral commissions banned oppositional politician Ilya Yashin and Oleg Stepanov, the former head of the Alexei Navalny headquarters in Moscow, from collecting signatures for the elections to the 8th State Duma. The commissions cited Article 4 Parts 8.1-8.4 of the Federal Law “On the Election of Deputies to the State Duma” based on the recent amendments, which prohibit citizens from running for office if they participated in the work of organizations recognized by courts as extremist. It should be borne in mind that the court decision to recognize FBK, FZPG, and the Navalny headquarters as extremist organizations has not yet entered into legal force, although it is subject to immediate execution in terms of discontinuing their activities. Moreover, this decision mentions Yashin only as an organizer of the permitted rally on Academician Sakharov Prospect in 2019 when Navalny and his associates also took part in organizing the event.
Meanwhile, the lawyer of a suspect in the criminal case related to the Alexei Navalny graffiti in St. Petersburg announced in early June that the decision to open the case had been canceled as illegal and unfounded. The case under Article 214 Part 2 of the Criminal Code (vandalism committed by a group of persons motivated by political enmity) was initiated in late April based on the graffiti painted on an electric cabin in Petrogradsky District – Alexei Navalny’s portrait captioned “The Hero of the New Times.” The image appeared on the cabin at night and was immediately painted over by the municipal services. In our opinion, neither the image of Alexei Navalny with his hands folded in a shape of a heart nor the image caption contained any signs of inciting political enmity. In addition, we generally tend to believe that the motives of political and ideological enmity should be treated as aggravating circumstances only in the context of legal norms that cover the use of violence, and they are inappropriate in an article on vandalism.
In early June, the Kalininsky District Court of Tyumen imposed a fine of two thousand rubles under Article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (mass distribution of extremist materials) on Alexei Knyazhev, an activist of the group “Tyumen Sofa Troops” (Divannyye voyska Tyumeni). The case was based on a video “Let’s Remind Crooks and Thieves about Their Manifesto-2002,” created by supporters of Alexei Navalny and recognized as extremist in 2013, which was found on his internet page. The video merely lists a number of unfulfilled campaign promises from the 2002 United Russia party manifesto and calls to vote for any party other than United Russia. Opposition-minded users of social networks often face sanctions for sharing this video. We consider the ban against it unreasonable and sanctions against its distribution inappropriate.
The Oktyabrsky District Court of Arkhangelsk arrested a local activist Ruslan Akhmetshin for 10 days in mid-June under Article 20.3.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (incitement to hatred or enmity and humiliation of human dignity). The charges were based on the post published by Akhmetshin on his VKontakte page in September 2020 and several comments he made in the discussion that unfolded under this post. Akhmetshin's statements contained crude characterizations of residents of the Arkhangelsk Region who did not vote in the elections of the governor and of those who voted for Alexander Tsybulsky (United Russia). According to the law enforcement, these statements were aimed at humiliating the dignity of the following groups: “residents of Russia, citizens of Russia,” and “the Russian population living in the Arkhangelsk area of the North.” In our opinion, not only did the activist never call for violence, but he also never insulted the Russian people in general and the Russian population of the North in particular. His statements pertained to those among the region’s residents whose actions in the elections left him disappointed. However, citizens grouped by their electoral behavior do not form a vulnerable social group in need of protection from hatred. In essence, Akhmetshin's statements were made within the framework of intense political polemics typical of the election period and could not lead to dangerous consequences. Therefore, there were no sufficient grounds for bringing the activist to responsibility under Article 20.3.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses.
Meanwhile, the Leninsky District Court of Krasnodar issued a two-year suspended sentence with a three-year probationary period to local resident Vladimir Yegorov in mid-June finding him guilty under paragraph “b” of Article 213 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism based on hatred or enmity towards a social group). The criminal case was initiated following Belov’s actions during a protest in Krasnodar on January 23, 2021. Yegorov climbed a Kuban Cossacks monument (in the form of a Cossack on horseback); after that, according to law enforcement agencies, he “placed underpants on the horse's hoof, then took off his pants exposing his buttocks, turned... towards the administrative building and slapped his buttocks, thus grossly violating public order.” The court ruled that Yegorov had committed a crime motivated by hatred and enmity towards the Kuban Cossack Host and the Krasnodar Krai Administration. We consider the verdict inappropriate. Neither the Kuban Cossack Host nor the administration of Krasnodar Krai can be considered vulnerable social groups in need of special protection from manifestations of hatred. In addition, Yegorov's actions can hardly be regarded as a gross violation of public order; in this case, one can more appropriately speak of disorderly conduct that falls under Article 20.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses.
In mid-June, we became aware of three cases filed under Article 20.1 Part 3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses for disrespect for the authorities and the society. A report was compiled against Sergei Salazkin a lawyer from Buzuluk of the Orenburg Region, and a fine of 30 thousand rubles was imposed on Sergei Usoltsev, a resident of Shalya village in the Sverdlovsk Region, for their statements about the president. Lawyer Artur Khaziev from Yekaterinburg was fined 30 thousand rubles for using a hashtag that crudely characterized a local court’s actions. We would like to reiterate that the law on disrespect for the authorities and the society is directly aimed at suppressing criticism of the authorities already sufficiently protected by other legislative norms.
In early June, a criminal case under Article 205.2 Part 2 of the Criminal Code (public justification of terrorism on the Internet) was initiated against videoblogger Yuri Khovansky from St. Petersburg; he was taken into custody. The case was based on the song about the terrorist attack on Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater in 2002, which Khovansky performed as part of the stream of another blogger, Andrei Nifyodov. The song began with the line “Nord-Ost – it was *** [great],” and called terrorists Shamil Basayev and Salman Raduyev “real heroes.” According to the expert opinion, cited by the Investigative Committee, the song contained “signs of public calls to carry out terrorist activities, public justification of terrorism and its propaganda; signs of threats, humiliation, and use of violence against a group of persons based on nationality, as well as calls and justifications of the need to carry out aggressive, violent and brutal actions (terrorist acts), endangering human lives.” We doubt the legitimacy of prosecuting Khovansky under Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code. Although the song he performed was obviously provocative, in our opinion, it was intended not to provoke terrorist activity, but to ridicule the discourse that had developed around this topic – both the incitement by the supporters of militant Islamism and the official tactics of using the threat of terrorism to instill fear in the population. Taking into account the song’s tone, the audience of Khovansky and Nifedov, as well as the Russian live streamers’ culture of irony, we believe that the public danger of such a performance was extremely small. At the same time, relatives of those killed in the terrorist attack on Dubrovka may find such creative output offensive, and a discussion about the ethics and acceptability of such “black humor” would be a completely natural social reaction. However, the criminal article that covers justification of terrorism does not imply penalties for insults or unethical irony.
Sanctions for “Rehabilitation of Nazism” and Display of Nazi Symbols
In the second half of June, we found out that a criminal case under Article 354.1 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (rehabilitation of Nazism) had been initiated against a 19-year-old resident of the village of Roza in the Chelyabinsk Region.
According to the investigation, in early May, the suspect uploaded a photo of an unspecified Nazi criminal to the Immortal Regiment website to be published on May 9. We believe that qualifying such actions under Article 354.1 Part 1 of the Criminal Code is incorrect. Uploading photos of Nazi leaders to a website, even on May 9, does not constitute a public endorsement of Nazi crimes or dissemination of any information that pertains to war veterans or the activities of the USSR during the war.
It is worth reminding that law enforcement agencies have initiated many such criminal cases recently. A sentence in a similar case was just overturned by the Supreme Court of Russia. We are talking about the verdict of the Supreme Court of Tatarstan, which, on December 2, 2020, issued a one-year suspended sentence and a fine of 150 thousand rubles to Muhammed El-Ayyubi, a 21-year-old student from Kazan, under Article 30 Part 3, Article 354.1 Part 1 (attempt to rehabilitate Nazism) and Article 228 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (illegal possession of narcotic substances). The prosecution was based on the fact that El-Ayyubi had uploaded a photograph of Hitler to the Memory Bank website using the VKontakte app, to be displayed as part of the Immortal Regiment project. We don’t know the reasons for the overturn of the sentence; the case was sent for a new trial. It is worth noting that El-Ayyubi’s case, among others, was mentioned in the prosecutorial claim seeking to ban the organizations of Navalny's supporters.
The Bagaevsky District Court of the Rostov Region in June fined local resident Maxim Katigarokh one thousand rubles under Article 20.3 Code Part 1 of Administrative Offenses (public display of banned symbols). The case was based on the VKontakte post of “the Tom and Jerry cartoon featuring Nazi symbols.” Attempts to prosecute social media users for similar Tom and Jerry videos already took place in several regions, but the decisions have been canceled. We believe that Katigarokh was fined inappropriately – display of Nazi symbols should only be punished if intended to promote the corresponding ideology. We would also like to remind that, according to the note, added to Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, the article should not be applied in the cases when the use “formed a negative attitude” toward Nazism and contained “no signs of propaganda or justification” of Nazi ideology.
Prosecution for “offending the feelings of believers”
In mid-June, the Investigative Committee announced that it was opening a criminal case under Article 148 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (public actions expressing clear disrespect for society and committed for the purpose of offending the religious feelings of believers) in Moscow. The following incident formed the grounds for the prosecution. On June 11, several young people on Nagorny Boulevard recorded a TikTok video, the plot of which could be summarized as two young men pretending to have a feast, using a girl as a table with an Orthodox icon standing on the ground nearby. The recording of the video was interrupted by a man who expressed his dissatisfaction with what he saw and slapped the girl on the cheek. He was never prosecuted for this action, unlike the youngsters, who, according to the Investigative Committee, “pursued the goal of desecrating an Orthodox icon – a religious object revered by believers and publicly committed acts expressing clear disrespect for others with the intent to offend the religious feelings of believers.” It is worth reminding that we opposed the amendments that introduced offending the religious feelings into the composition of Article 148 of the Criminal Code since we believe that this vague concept does not and cannot have a clear legal meaning and should not be used within the legal framework.
Persecution against Religious Organizations and Believers
The mass prosecutions against Jehovah's Witnesses continued in June; they were charged with involvement in the activities of local religious organizations banned as extremist. We believe that these prohibitions had no legal basis, and, therefore, prosecutions against the believers are inappropriate. According to our records, at least ten verdicts were issued in June to sixteen Jehovah's Witnesses. Below we provide information only about the principal punishment; in a number of cases, it was accompanied by a ban on organizational or online activity and by restrictions of freedom.
In Minusinsk of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Dmitry Maslov was found guilty under Article 282.2 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (organizing the activities of an extremist organization) and sentenced to a fine of 450 thousand rubles.
In the city of Krasnoyarsk, Andrei Stupnikov was sentenced to six years in a minimum-security colony under Article 282.2 Part 1.
In Zeya of the Amur Region, 78-year-old Vasily Reznichenko received a suspended two-year sentence under Article 282.2 Part 2 of the Criminal Code (participating in the activities of an extremist organization).
The most severe sentence in recent years was pronounced in Blagoveshchensk of the Amur Region. Alexei Berchuk was sentenced to eight years in prison under Article 282.2 Part 1, and Dmitry Golik – to seven years in prison under Parts 1 and 1.1 of Article 282.2 (involvement in the activities of an extremist organization) of the Criminal Code.
In Komsomolsk-on-Amur of Khabarovsk Krai, Nikolai Aliev received a suspended sentence of four and a half years under Parts 1.1 and 2 of Article 282.2.
In Chelyabinsk, Dmitry Vinogradov received a two-year suspended sentence under Article 282.2 Part 2.
In Kemerovo, Alexander Bondarchuk and Sergei Yavushkin were issued four-year suspended sentences under Article 282.2 Part 2 and Article 282.3 Part 1 (financing of extremist activities) of the Criminal Code.
In Birobidzhan of the Jewish Autonomous Region, Yevgeny Yegorov received a two and a half year suspended sentence under Article 282.2 Part 2. Tatiana Sholner from Birobidzhan was sentenced under the same article to two and a half years in prison.
Five believers were sentenced in Kursk. Andrei Andreev received four and a half years in a minimal security colony under Article 282.2 Part 1, the rest were sentenced under Article 282 Part 2: Andrei Ryshkov received three years in prison under Article 282.2 Part 2, Artyom Bagratyan – two and a half years, Alevtina Bagratyan – two years in a penal colony, and Alexander Vospitanyuk – a suspended sentence of two years.
In June, we learned about one case, in which the sentence issued to Jehovah's Witness has been mitigated – the Krasnodar Regional Court reduced Alexander Scherbina’s term of imprisonment under Article 282.2 Part 2 from three to two years.
There were also new cases on the charges of being involved in the Jehovah's Witnesses' activities.
In Zeya of the Amur Region, Evgeny Bitusov and Leonid Druzhinin, who had previously served as witnesses in the case, were charged with participation in a banned religious community under Article 282.2 Part 2.
In Gryazi of the Lipetsk Region, Alexander Popras and Valery Khmil were charged under Article 282.2 Part 1. The court imposed no preventive restrictions on Popras; Khmil was placed under house arrest.
In Solnechny, a working settlement in Khabarovsk Krai, Boris Yagovitov was placed under house arrest following the searches carried out as part of the investigation of a case under Article 282.2 Parts 1.1 and 2.
Law enforcement agencies conducted a series of searches in Novokuznetsk of the Kemerovo Region; a 74-year-old believer and an elderly couple were detained and interrogated; one person was placed under travel restrictions.
In Astrakhan, 55-year-old Anna Safronova became a suspect under Article 282.2 Part 2 and Article 282.3 Part 1; she was placed under house arrest.
In the town of Asha in the Chelyabinsk Region, searches were carried out as part of the investigation of a case under Article 282.2. Two married couples, including a believer with the first-degree disability, were detained and taken for interrogation, and then released.
In Alatyr of the Chuvash Republic, seven citizens were questioned after a series of searches in the course of investigating a case under Article 282.2.
In mid-June, the Russian Military Court of Appeal overturned the verdict against Tolyatti residents Radik Khairutdinov and Elmar Mamedov found guilty of involvement in the Islamic radical party Hizb ut-Tahrir, banned in Russia, and sent their case for a new trial to the Central District Military Court of Samara. In March, this court sentenced Mamedov to 12 years in a maximum-security colony for participating in a terrorist organization (Article 205.5 Part 2 of the Criminal Code) and public calls for terrorist activities committed on the Internet (Article 205.2 part 2 of the Criminal Code), and Khairutdinov – to 11 years in a maximum-security colony under Article 205.5 Part 2. We do not know the reasons for the overturn of the sentence.
In the second half of the month, we were informed about the searches and detentions of alleged followers of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Ufa. Six people were detained and three of them were arrested: Radik Talipov and Timur Khabibullin – as suspects under Article 205.5 Part 2 and Farit Kharisov – under Article 205.5 Part 1 (organizing the activities of a terrorist organization).
Let us reiterate that we view prosecutions against Hizb ut-Tahrir members under the “terrorist” Criminal Code articles based solely on their party activities (holding meetings, reading literature, etc.) as inappropriate, since this party, recognized as terrorist in Russia, has never been implicated in violence.
In Dagestan, a criminal case under Article 282.2 Part 2 was initiated in June against two residents of the republic. According to the investigation, they took part in meetings to study the “ideological sources” of Nurcular, a religious association banned in Russia, in order to continue its activities. We regard the ban against Nurcular, which, in fact, never existed in Russia at all, as inappropriate, and we oppose prosecutions for membership in this organization against Muslims who study the books of the Turkish theologian Said Nursi.
In June, the Tsentralny District Prosecutor's Office in Orenburg opened an administrative case under Article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (storage of extremist materials for the purpose of mass distribution) against the charitable foundation Miras (Heritage). At the same time, the foundation’s leader, Bakhtiyar Amersheev, was warned about the impermissibility of extremist activities. The prosecutorial intervention took place because, in the course of an inspection, the Prosecutor's Office found on the foundation’s premises 12 copies of Fundamentals of Islam, a textbook used for teaching. An expert psychologist engaged by the Prosecutor's Office found that one paragraph from this textbook was identical to an excerpt from the publication Introduction to Islam. Muhtasar Ilmi-hal, banned in 2012. Miras intends to challenge the actions of the prosecutors. We believe that the prosecutorial response was unjustified in this case. The Prosecutor's Office never established that the discovered book was identical to the banned publication; the similarity of one paragraph can’t confirm the fact of distribution of an entire forbidden book. In addition, the paragraph itself contained no inflammatory appeals; it merely asserted the truth of Islam and the falsity of all other religions. Such an attitude is typical for many religions and, in our opinion, cannot, in and of itself, be considered illegal. We also consider the ban against Introduction to Islam. Muhtasar Ilmi-hal inappropriate.