Misuse of Anti-Extremism in July 2021
On July 2, the President signed a decree approving the new National Security Strategy. The updated Strategy differs significantly from the previous version adopted in late 2015. Its emphasis is on protecting traditional Russian spiritual and moral values, culture and historical memory and countering the Western influence, especially on the Internet. Our summary of this document is available here.
In late July, the FSB submitted a draft order “On approving the list of information on military and military-technical activities of the Russian Federation, which, when received by a foreign state, its state bodies, an international or foreign organization, foreign citizens or stateless persons can be used against the security of the Russian Federation.” The draft was developed as an addition to the law, according to which deliberate collecting of information on military and military-technical activities of the Russian Federation, which a foreign source, upon receipt, can use “against the security of the Russian Federation” constitutes possible grounds for recognizing an individual as a “foreign agent,” in the absence of signs of crimes under Article 275 of the Criminal Code (treason) and Article 276 of the Criminal Code (espionage).
The published list consists of 61 items. Among other entries, it includes “information on preparation, signing, content, implementation, termination or suspension of international treaties and agreements” (Paragraph 18) and “information on the progress and results of the review of reports on crimes and preliminary investigations carried out by investigators of the FSB or by military investigative agencies of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, except for information made public in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation with permission of the authorized employees of the FSB and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation” (Paragraph 22).
We believe that information on Russia's implementation of ratified international treaties, including in the field of human rights, and the information on preliminary investigations of cases under the FSB jurisdiction are of public interest, in particular when anti-extremist legislation and law enforcement are discussed. In and of itself, assigning the “foreign agent” status to an individual collecting such data already constitutes an excessive restriction of civil liberties. In reality, however, an individual would face an immediate threat of criminal prosecution – if a person becomes a “foreign agent” specifically in connection with collecting such information, they will be immediately punished under a criminal rather than administrative procedure for any violation of the legislation on the foreign agents’ activities.
On July 27, an interdepartmental Russian delegation headed by Deputy Prosecutor General Pyotr Gorodov submitted a draft convention on countering cybercrime to the UN special committee. The draft includes 23 offenses that can be committed using information and communication technologies. The wording proposed by the Prosecutor General's Office is based on the terminology used in the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation in the context of countering terrorism and extremism, so it includes such categories as “humiliation of dignity” on the basis of belonging to various groups or “justification” of various illegal acts. We believe that attempts to introduce the wording of Russian anti-extremist legislation into international law are irrelevant, since its problematic nature has been repeatedly noted by authoritative international experts.
The resolution “On Amendments to Certain Resolutions of Plenary Meeting of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on Criminal Cases” adopted by the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of the Supreme Court on June 29 was published in July. Among others, the resolution amended Resolution No. 28 of December 21, 2010 “On Forensic Examinations in Criminal Cases.”
In particular, the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court clarified its position on the impermissibility of posing legal questions before forensic experts, adding that “an expert cannot be asked to assess the reliability of a testimony provided by a defendant, a suspect, a victim or a witness.” If the expert opinion contains conclusions on the legal assessment of the act or the reliability of the testimony obtained during interrogations, the corresponding part of the opinion cannot be admitted as evidence.
At the same time, the Supreme Court completely excluded from the resolution all indications that the court could possibly bring in specialists to assist in criminal proceedings, including “to assist in evaluating the expert opinion and interrogating the expert,” that is, for reviewing forensic examinations.
The Practice of the European Court Of Human Rights
In early July, it became known that the European Court of Human Rights ruled on the complaint of Sergei Yezhov, Oleg Bespalov and Grigory Tishin – three former members of the National Bolshevik Party (NBP), banned in Russia. In August 2004, they participated in the action, during which the NBP members enteredthe Ministry of Health and Social Development building while shouting the slogan “Benefits for the People; Executions for Ministers,” barricaded themselves in several offices, waved NBP flags out of the office windows, and threw Vladimir Putin’s portrait out of a window. The action was directed against the adoption of the law transforming social benefits in kind into monetary compensation, which, as the National-Bolsheviks insisted, would have led to impoverishment of the most economically vulnerable segments of the population.
In December 2004, the Tverskoy District Court of Moscow sentenced seven defendants under Article 213 Part 2 of the Criminal Code (group hooliganism with the use of objects that can be used as weapons) and Article 167 Part 2 of the Criminal Code (intentional destruction or damage to property on a large scale). Like the rest of the defendants, Yezhov, Bespalov and Tishin were sentenced to five years in prison. In March 2005, the Moscow City Court on appeal reduced Bespalov's sentence to three years in prison, and Tishin and Yezhov to two and a half years.
The ECHR concluded that Russia had imposed disproportionately severe penalties on the applicants and had also violated the applicants' right to freedom of expression (Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights), supporting its conclusion by the following arguments.
First, the court of the first instance failed to establish the individual roles of Yezhov, Bespalov and Tishin during the protest with all due diligence and did not describe them in sufficient detail the extent of their involvement and their individual acts during the protest. This deprived the applicants of an opportunity to contest the verdict in a reasoned way, since it was based on the totality of all events, and not on the specific actions of each of the protesters.
Second, in the reasoning part of the decision, the court expressed its negative attitude not only toward the disorderly conduct by the National-Bolsheviks but also toward their political views. The ECHR considered this a violation of the principle protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, according to which the state must remain neutral with respect to legitimate political positions and should not interfere with critical statements against itself.
On July 13, the ECHR published a decision on the complaint by Vladimir Karataev. The applicant challenged the fine of one thousand rubles imposed on him in 2007 under Article 20.3 Part 1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (propaganda and demonstration of Nazi paraphernalia or symbols) for publishing photographs of Slavic peoples’ household and religious worship items decorated with solar symbols.
Karataev published an article entitled “In Defense of the Swastika” in Zakubanye (the newspaper issued by the Union of Slavs of Adygea). The article discussed the initiative of British Hindu organizations that launched a public campaign to rehabilitate the swastika, which “turned into the main symbol of fascism in the course of the previous century for most people,” but was, in fact, an ancient symbol used in different religions and by different ethnic groups. Karataev insisted that he had not published Nazi symbols but had instead informed readers about an important public campaign, but these arguments failed to convince the Russian courts, which simply stated that the symbols shown in the article were similar to the Nazi ones to the extent of confusion.
When reviewing Karataev's complaint, the ECHR referred to several of its own earlier decisions and pointed out that, guided by the then-current wording of Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, the Russian courts made their decision without the necessary consideration of the content, context and purposes of the publication, thus violating the applicant's right to freedom of expression guaranteed by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Passive Suffrage Restrictions
In July, election commissions across the country denied registration to candidates connected in any way with Alexei Navalny's organizations or annulled their nomination in elections at different levels. The legal basis for these actions was the law that entered into force on June 4, prohibiting persons “involved” in the activities of organizations recognized as extremist and terrorist to participate in the elections.
The district election commission annulled the nomination to the Perm City Duma of Sergei Ukhov, the former head of the local Navalny Headquarters. Later, the Dzerzhinsky District Court of Perm upheld this decision.
In Saratov, the territorial election commission refused to open an electoral account for Dmitry Tsibirev, an ex-coordinator of the local Navalny Headquarters who intended to run for the City Duma. The Kirovsky District Court of Saratov upheld this decision as legitimate.
In St. Petersburg, the territorial election commission annulled the nomination of Irina Fatyanova, the former head of Navalny Headquarters in the city, to the Legislative Assembly. The decision was approved by the city election commission.
In Kaliningrad, the territorial election commission annulled the nomination of Ivan Luzin, a former member of the regional Navalny Headquarters to the State Duma.
In Berdsk of the Novosibirsk Region, the city election commission refused to register Kirill Levchenko, the representative of the independent Novosibirsk-2020 coalition. The politician himself assures that he never was a leader of any Navalny Headquarters, but earlier the press had named him as a staff member of the Novosibirsk Headquarters.
In the Nizhny Novgorod Region, the election commission refused to register journalist and activist Natalia Resontova, who collaborated with the Navalny Headquarters of Nizhny Novgorod in 2017, as a candidate in the State Duma elections.
In addition, in early July, the Moscow City Court recognized as legitimate the decisions made in June not to admit Oleg Stepanov, the former head of the Moscow Navalny Headquarters, to the State Duma elections and oppositional politician Ilya Yashin – to the Moscow City Duma elections.
We believe that there are no legal grounds for banning Navalny’s organizations as extremist. We also believe that the amendments prohibiting those “involved” in the activities of extremist organizations from participating in elections unduly restrict freedom of association and voting rights.
Moreover, the court decision to recognize 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 has not even fully entered into legal force yet – although it is subject to immediate execution in terms of terminating their activities.
Meanwhile, Roskomnadzor in late July blocked access to 49 websites associated with Navalny’s organizations on the basis of the decision by the Prosecutor General's Office and demanded (unsuccessfully) that the global networks block a number of personal accounts belonging to Navalny’s associates. The grounds for the extrajudicial blocking were not specified but probably related to the fact that the organizations of Navalny’s supporters had been recognized as extremist.
Sanctions for Oppositional Activities and Criticism of the Authorities
In July, Vladimir Kotov, an activist from Kotlas of the Arkhangelsk Region, was fined two thousand rubles under Article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (mass distribution of extremist materials) for publishing on his VKontakte page an image “featuring the face of a man in a black mask (balaclava), [as well as] the caption “Citizens of Russia, be vigilant! The approval numbers are falling – expect terrorist attacks." The image accompanied by this text was recognized as extremist in 2017. We view the prohibition of this material as unfounded since it contains no accusations or other allegations that could be considered extremist.
During July, law enforcement agencies continued to file cases against the opposition under Article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Offenses for distributing the video “Let’s Remind Crooks and Thieves about Their Manifesto-2002” created by supporters of Alexei Navalny. An administrative offense report for the video was compiled in late July against Nikolai Bondarenko, a deputy of the Saratov Regional Duma and a State Duma candidate from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. It should be noted that, if found guilty in court, Bondarenko will not be able to be elected to state bodies for another year after the term of his punishment is over.
The video “Let’s Remind Crooks and Thieves about Their Manifesto-2002,” was recognized as extremist by the Kirovsky District Court of Novosibirsk in 2013 along with several materials by Russian nationalists. 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. We consider the ban against it unreasonable and sanctions against its distribution inappropriate.
In Ishimbay, the Republic of Bashkortostan, activist Grigory Gorovoy was arrested for five days under Article 20.3.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (incitement of hatred or enmity, as well as humiliation of human dignity). The arrest was based on a video titled “Police Goons of Bashkiria, I brought you bad news!!!,” which Gorovoy posted on VKontakte in April of this year.
In the video, Gorovoy, a defender of Kushtau and a supporter of the Concept of Public Security (KOB), repeatedly spoke about the activities of the Bashkortostan police in a rude manner. The activist emphasized that this emotional video was recorded after the beating of his friend Ildar, which, according to the activist, could have been organized by police officers or their relatives. At the same time, he noted that the police force also includes some decent officers; however, in his opinion, they were too few. According to Gorovoy, law enforcement officers of the republic often “interpret the law in their favor,” protect corrupt officials rather than the people, and incite ethnic and social enmity. The activist stressed that he supports “the authorities” and “following the law,” while also urging his viewers to come out and hold a “peaceful gathering,” and urging police officers not to interfere with the constitutional rights of citizens. He also said that he was ready to “smash the face” of a certain VKontakte user, presumably an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who posted threats on a social network against Gorovoy, and other town residents.
We view the sanctions against Gorovoy as inappropriate. In general, Gorovoy did not call for violence against the police; the threat made against a specific employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who insulted him cannot be qualified under Article 20.3.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses. In addition, he emphasized that his characterizations did not apply to all the law enforcement officers, but only to those who, in his opinion, had violated the law. In addition, the emotional intensity of his speech was triggered by a specific situation related to the beating of his friend.
In Novokuznetsk, the court arrested local activist Igor Gorlanov for three days under Article 20.1 Part 4 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (repeated dissemination of information expressing in indecent form obvious disrespect for the society and the state). Gorlanov published on his YouTube channel a video “Appeal to the President from a Kuzbass Resident,” which, according to the court decision, contained “a negative assessment of P., the President of Russia, using taboo jargon, rude swear words, as well as neutral language that carried negative lexical meaning.” In our opinion, Article 20.1 Parts 3-5 of the Code of Administrative Offenses targeting the opposition and local activists are clearly aimed at suppressing criticism of the authorities, who are sufficiently protected by other legal norms.
In late July, a magistrates’ court in Perm terminated the criminal case of Pavel Lisin charged under Article 214 Part 2 of the Criminal Code (vandalism motivated by political enmity) and sentenced him to a court fine of 20 thousand rubles. The case was based on the incident, in which Lisin, while under the influence of alcohol, painted the statement “Putin Is a Thief” on the walls of two houses. The damage to building management companies amounted to 285 and 263 rubles respectively. The court fine was imposed due to the fact that the defendant had fully admitted his guilt, compensated for the damage he had caused and even personally repainted the walls of the houses.
It is worth reminding here that we question the legitimacy of using political and ideological hatred or hostility as a motive in the article on vandalism – we believe that motives of political and ideological hostility should be used as aggravating circumstances only in articles that pertain to violence. In addition, Article 214 of the Criminal Code is often applied when property damage is insignificant – and we think that it would be more appropriate in such instances to terminate the cases due to insignificance or to qualify them as administrative offenses. Termination of criminal prosecution with the imposition of a court fine, as it was done in Lisin’s case, also seems reasonable.
In Kemerovo, a criminal case was opened against local blogger Mikhail Alferov under Article 282 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (incitement of social hatred) in connection with a video published on his YouTube channel and dedicated to Alexei Navalny’s detention upon his return to Moscow. In this video, Alferov expresses his support for the opposition leader, discussed the detention procedure, and criticizes the actions of law enforcement agencies calling them criminals more dangerous than street robbers.
We view the prosecution of Alferov under Article 282 of the Criminal Code as inappropriate. In his video, he sharply condemned the actions of law enforcement agencies and judges but did not call for violence or any illegal actions. At the same time, as noted by the ECHR, law enforcement agencies should be extremely tolerant of criticism, unless a real threat of violence is present. Moreover, we believe that police officers should not be considered a vulnerable group protected by anti-extremist legislation.
Sanctions for Inciting Ethnic Hatred
At the end of July, an administrative offense case under Article 20.3.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses was initiated in Moscow against stand-up comedian Idrak Mirzalizade. The case was based on his statements in an episode of his YouTube show Razgony released on March 1, 2021. In a conversation with other comedians, Mirzalizade spoke about the difficulties faced by “non-Slavs” in finding housing. He also related an incident when a neighbor had expressed contempt for him and his friend, a native of the Caucasus, when he saw the two of them throwing away a dirty mattress. Mirzalizade noted, in a rude manner, that Russian tenants had used and soiled the mattress and expressed his opinion that the neighbor, also an ethnic Russian, had no moral right to automatic negativity against him and his friend.
According to a press release from the prosecutor's office, Mirzalizade's speech was found to contain “linguistic and psychological signs of humiliating a group of persons identified on the basis of their ethnicity, as well as propaganda of a group’s inferiority.” Meanwhile, the prosecutor's office is known to have never reviewed the full episode of the show but only an excerpt from the comedian's speech published on social networks. We believe that the grounds for the case against Mirzalizade are insufficient. His speech, albeit somewhat provocative, was intended as critical of xenophobia faced by immigrants from the Caucasus, and the comedian directly emphasized his negative attitude towards any nationalism.
Sanctions for “Rehabilitation of Nazism” and Display of Nazi Symbols
The practice of prosecutions under Article 354.1 of the Criminal Code (rehabilitation of Nazism) for uploading photos of Nazi criminals to the Immortal Regiment Project website continued in July.
A verdict in one of such cases was issued in late July. In the Orenburg Region, the court found Andrei Akimov, a resident of Orsk, guilty of condoning the crimes established by the Nuremberg Tribunal using the Internet (Article 354.1 Part 2 Paragraph “c”) and sentenced him to a year of imprisonment, which was replaced by a year of compulsory labour with 15% salary deduction. The court found that Akimov submitted a photo of Adolf Hitler to the Memory Bank website via a social network application in April of this year.
Two additional similar cases were reported in July. Their defendants were a 47-year-old resident of Smolensk and a 29-year-old from Chelyabinsk.
We believe that the actions of users who uploaded photos of Nazis to the Immortal Regiment website are qualified under Article 354.1 of the Criminal Code incorrectly. In and of itself, uploading photos of Nazi leaders to a website, even shortly before the Victory Day of May 9, does not constitute a public endorsement of Nazi crimes, or dissemination of any information about the days of Russia’s military glory, or desecration of symbols of military glory.
In Voronezh, the court placed Pavel Sychyov, a local activist and candidate for State Duma from the Yabloko party, under arrest for five days under Article 20.3 Part 1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (public display of Nazi symbols).
The case was based on his post on the Free People of Voronezh (Svobodnye lyudi Voronezha) chat tied to the eponymous Telegram channel. According to the statement by the Free People of Voronezh movement, the chat, of which Sychyov was an administrator, automatically published a post from the Telegram channel. The post was dedicated to the release from custody of the Novosibirsk traffic police inspector who had stopped the car and then shot its passenger to death. The author of the post was critical of the actions of Alexander Bastrykin, the head of the Investigative Committee, and illustrated the post with a collage depicting Vladimir Putin dressed in a Nazi uniform.
On July 27, Stanislav Yegorov was fined a thousand rubles in Voronezh under Article 20.3 Part 1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses for publishing a photo of Putin with a swastika on the background and the caption “The Russian People Are Guilty toward Humanity of Not Resisting Putin, Just as the German People Are Guilty of Not Resisting Hitler” on his Facebook page.
We consider both cases to be inappropriate. In our opinion, display of Nazi symbols should only be punished if intended to promote the corresponding ideology. Both Sychyov and Yegorov used the swastika not for the purpose of Nazi propaganda but as a means of political polemics.
Sanctions against Alleged Supporters of the AUE Ideology
In July, at least two criminal cases were initiated against prisoners for being alleged supporters of the criminal AUE subculture. It is worth reminding here that, although we do not doubt this subculture’s illegal orientation, its prohibition as a structured extremist organization was, in our opinion, legally questionable (for more details, see here.)
In the Kirov Region, a criminal case under Article 282.2 Part 1.1 of the Criminal Code (involvement in activities of an extremist organization) was opened against a foreign citizen serving his sentence in a penal colony in the region. According to media reports, from December 2020 through January 2021, the defendant urged one of the prisoners to become a “squad watcher,” explaining to him the AUE ideology and even gave him leaflets on this topic.
In Khabarovsk, a case was initiated against a prisoner of Penal Colony No. 3 under Article 282.2 Part 1 of the Criminal Code (organizing activities of an extremist organization) for “painting and embroidering images that depicted executions of law enforcement officers and symbols of an organization banned in Russia.”
Among numerous administrative cases initiated under Article 20.3 Part 1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses in connection with the demonstration of AUE symbols in July, most notable is the case of Alexei Seryogin from Yoshkar-Ola, press secretary of the Branch of the National Democratic Party in Mari El. The court fined him fifteen hundred rubles for an image with the letters AUE and an eight-pointed star displayed on Seryogin’s VKontakte page in the Photos section. According to the activist, this picture accompanied a post on his wall about an attack against State Duma deputy Boris Chernyshov by teenagers, who were shouting “something in the AUE format.” Seryogin told the court that his post was intended to show that the AUE symbols had a negative impact on the population. We believe that Seryogin was brought to justice inappropriately, since he did not engage in promoting AUE, but only illustrated the post about the actions of individuals who represent this criminal subculture.
Sanctions for “Offending the Feelings of Believers”
In early July, a magistrates’ court in Moscow dismissed the case opened 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) against Alina Vlaskina, Maxim Zamyslaev, A. Barsukov and E. Ispolinova. The prosecution was based on an incident that took place on June 11. Several young people on Nagorny Boulevard recorded a TikTok video where two young men pretended to have a feast, using a girl as a table with an Orthodox icon standing on the ground nearby.
Once the case was officially opened, one of the participants, Alina Vlaskina, recorded a video apologizing to believers. Later, Vakhtang Kipshidze, deputy chairman of the Synodal Department for Relations between the Church and the Media of the Moscow Patriarchate, said that the ROC accepted the girl's apology.
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 July; 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 against sixteen Jehovah's Witnesses in July. 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 Chelyabinsk, 75-year-old Vladimir Suvorov was found guilty under Article 282.2 Part 1 of the Criminal Code and received a six-year suspended sentence.
In Kirov, Andrei Shchepin, Alexander Shamov and Yevgeny Udintsev were found guilty under Part 1 of Article 282.2 and sentenced to fines of 500, 420 and 200 thousand rubles, respectively.
In Birobidzhan of the Jewish Autonomous Region, Irina Lokhvitskaya, Anna Lokhvitskaya and Natalia Kriger were found guilty under Article 282.2 Part 2 of the Criminal Code (participating in the activities of an extremist organization); both of them received suspended sentences of two and a half years.
In Zeya of Amur Region, Konstantin Moiseenko received a six-year suspended sentence under Article 282.2 Part 1.
In Rostov-on-Don, Arsen Avanesov and Alexander Parkov were sentenced to six and a half years in prison, and Vilen Avanesov to six. They were all found guilty under Article 282.2 Part 1. Avanesov was also charged with financing extremism (Article 282.3 Part 1 of the Criminal Code); it was not specified whether he was found guilty on this charge.
Also in Rostov-on-Don, the court issued a two-year suspended sentence to Olga Ganusha under Article 282.2 Part 2.
In Karpinsk of the Sverdlovsk Region, the court sentenced Venera Dulova to two years of imprisonment, issued a one-year suspended sentence to Daria Dulova, and a suspended sentence of either two or two and a half years (reports vary) to Alexander Pryanikov – all under Article 282.2 Part 2.
In Arkhangelsk, Yevgeny Yakku was found guilty under Article 282.2 Parts 1, 1.1 and 2 and sentenced to a fine of 850 thousand rubles.
There were also new cases based on the charges of involvement in the Jehovah's Witnesses activities. The following believers were suspects or defendants in such cases:
· Alexander Starikov and Sergey Naumenko under Article 282.2 Part 1 in Konakovo of the Tver Region;
· Alexey Kupriyanov from the city of Kovrov and Roman Adestov from the village of Ivanovo under Article 282.2 Part 2 in the Vladimir Region;
· Alexander Filatov under Article 282.2 Part 1 in Krasnoyarsk;
· Yuri Ponomarenko under Article 282.2 Part 1 in Luchegorsk, Primorsky Krai;
· Yunona Ilyasova and Alexei Yeliseev under Article 282.2 Parts 1 and 2 in Snezhnogorsk of the Murmansk Region; Denis Merkulov under Article 282.2 Part 1 in Apatity of the same region.
·, Maria Portniagina, Kristina Golik, Yekaterina Olshevskaya and Valentina Yermilova under Article 282.2 Part 2 in Blagoveshchensk of the Amur Region;
· Pyotr Zhiltsov under Article 282.3 Part 1 and Article 282.2 Part 1 in Yalta, as well as Daria Kuzyo under Article 282.3 Part 1 only;
· Ildar Urazbakhtin became a suspect under Article 282.2 Part 1 in Kodinsk of Krasnoyarsk Krai;
· Suspects under Article 282.2 Part 2 Valery Minsafin and Ilya Yershov were detained, while defendants under Article 282.2 Part 1 Sergey Skudaev, Anatoly Isakov, and Alexander Lubin, were taken into custody in Kurgan and Shadrinsk;
· A. Lancheva, V. Ponomarenko and N. Smaglo also became defendants in the case under Article 282.2 in Nalchik.
In early July, it became known that the alleged leader of the local branch of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical Islamic party banned in Russia, was detained in Tatarstan. According to media reports, a criminal case was opened against him – probably under Article 205.5 of the Criminal Code (organizing activities of a terrorist organization). The detainee’s name was not provided.
The names of Hizb ut-Tahrir supporters detained in Penza and Chelyabinsk (except for Marat Bazarbayev and Vadim Nasyrov who already had a prior conviction of participation in this organization) also remain unknown. According to the FSB, fifteen people have been detained since the end of June in the Penza Region, the Chelyabinsk Region and the Republic of Bashkortostan – “four leaders and eleven active participants” from four “cells” of the party.
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 July, we became aware of another case, in which administrative charges were brought in Mari El under Article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Offenses for distributingThe Miracles of the Quran video. Rozaliya Timurgalieva was fined for posting this video on her VKontakte page. From our point of view, The Miracles of the Quran was recognized as extremist inappropriately. We found no calls to violence, incitement to hatred, or discriminatory statements in this more than two-hour-long educational video. The film speaks about other religions in an emphatically respectful tone (although, of course, it affirms the superiority of Islam; the opposite would be strange). However, Russian courts have punished citizens for disseminating the video on a number of occasions.