Inappropriate enforcement of anti-extremist legislation in Russia in 2013
CREATION OF REGULATORY ACTS
MAJOR TRENDS IN 2013 : “Excessive Vigilance” : The Internet and Anti-Extremism : Incidental Victims of Inappropriate Anti-Extremism
PRINCIPAL TARGETS OF PERSECUTION : Religious Groups : Political and Civic Activists : Media Topics
A Bit of Statistics
In general, the year of 2013 was characterized by decrease in political activity in Russia , although the authorities were still clearly concerned about the rise of a new oppositional movement of some kind. These concerns were reflected in both in legislative and law enforcement trends in the area, designated in Russia as “counteracting extremism.”
This counteraction targets primarily radical nationalist movements and groups; this topic has been covered in another SOVA Center report and we noted the incidence of controversial or even clearly excessive law enforcement decisions in this area. This report focuses exclusively on the anti-extremist policy measures that we view, regardless of their target, as excessively restricting the constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms. 
The above-mentioned federal government concerns resulted in a very active creation of new legislative acts in 2013. A number of existing rules were tightened, and new repressive mechanisms were created. In some cases, particularly repressive intentions of the lawmakers even had to be moderated either in the course of the adoption of laws or by amending the existing ones. Some measures - such as criminalizing incitement to separatism or insults to religious feelings - seem simply far-fetched; others implicitly addressed specific groups, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist party. However, some changes had a general impact, primarily a dramatic expansion of prerogatives for blocking Internet resources.
Together, all these developments warrant some serious concerns regarding the growing scale of repressive law enforcement in 2014, especially when taking into account the aggravated foreign policy situation and intense debates it has prompted in the country.
Interestingly, in the criminal law enforcement, that is, in its most critical part, the repressive use of anti-extremist legislation actually decreased over the past year, compared to 2012. This holds true for two most persecuted categories - political and civil society activists (mostly various moderate nationalists) and religious and religio-political activists (this group is more populous, and persecution against followers of Said Nursi merits our particular attention) - despite the fact that politics in the sphere of religion does not appear directly related to the intensity of the opposition movement in the country.
A common feature that characterized the wrongful criminal convictions in 2013 was the disproportionate response by the law enforcement system. Unconstitutional, but peaceful Hizb ut-Tahrir propaganda was prosecuted not as such, but as a preparation for a coup d'etat; intolerant, but not specifically inciting, statements by various activists and bloggers were penalized as incitement to hatred and enmity; preaching superiority of one’s own religion or criticism of someone else’s – the position, which, while unpleasant to others, is natural for a religion - was punished as incitement to religious hatred.
The proportionality of anti-extremist law enforcement is becoming an increasingly dire problem, but, so far, no solution has been found.
The problem becomes particularly evident from the decisions made under administrative and civil law. The Federal List of Extremist Materials has been growing faster with every year, while its use to combat really dangerous groups is still extremely rare. Prosecutors keep expanding their already extensive inspections of schools and libraries in order to check their supervision over online or offline access to something extremist, despite the fact that such practice has long been discredited.
The 2011 Supreme Court recommendations reduced the number of clearly fictitious charges, but, nevertheless, such cases continue to occur – for example, there was a charge of inciting hatred towards a social group of “men.” The Supreme Court recommendations are also clearly ignored when filing criminal charges for criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church or its leadership.
In general, anti-extremist law enforcement has shifted to the virtual realm. This applies both to a growing share of verdicts specifically relating to the online materials and to creation of new regulatory acts, which, in 2013 and in early 2014, focused on the Internet regulation as a priority among control-tightening policies. Internet users, however, have solid resistance potential against such policies, and this is likely to trigger new repressive norms and measures.
Creation of Regulatory Acts
In 2013, the creation of regulatory acts was characterized by active implementation of the program of expanding measures to “combat extremism” adopted in the preceding year; anti-terrorism legislation was significantly toughened as well. At the same time, regardless of the arguments, provided by the government in support of these measures - from the Islamist threat to the nationalist one - its legislative policy in this area was, clearly, largely dictated by the overall political situation in the country. The state seeks to strengthen its control over the sphere of information and to expand the set of tools it can use to suppress opposition activity. In addition, the authorities increasingly insert themselves into the sphere of religion with obvious intention to protect the interests of the Russian Orthodox Church and to control other denominations. We maintain that harsher legislation and expanded mandate of the authorities will inevitably lead to proliferation of anti-extremist legislation abuse. Notably, some measures adopted in 2013 were so harsh that the state had to soften them by the year’s end.
In June 2013, the government submitted a draft law “On amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (with regard to increasing liability for extremist action)” to the State Duma for consideration; the deputies started working on it in December, and it was signed by the President in early February 2014. The new law increased the punishments under the Criminal Code Articles 280 (“incitement to extremist activity”), 282 (“incitement to hatred and hostility”), 2821 (“Participation in an extremist group”) and 2822 (“Continuing the activity of an organization banned for extremism”). Fines and terms of forced labor were increased for all these articles, and upper limits for prison terms were increased for three of them (except for Article 282). The maximum terms now constitute four years under Article 280, up to ten years under Article 2821, and up to six years under Article 2822. Thus, the corresponding crimes were moved from the category of minor offenses to the category of moderate and even severe offenses. As stated in the explanatory memorandum to the bill, such arrangements created “legal conditions to conduct necessary search and discovery operations for the purpose of solving the crimes and bringing the perpetrators to justice” and were needed in order to give the right signal to the public in a situation of intensifying extremism, fraught with increasing terrorist activity. Raising the upper limits of fines and terms of forced labor can be regarded as a reasonable innovation. However, lengthening the maximum prison terms runs contrary to the general policy in the criminal law. From our perspective, deviation from this policy for the sake of “sending a signal to the society” and investigators’ convenience is inappropriate. It should also be noted that intimidation, as a method of fighting against radical groups, was proved ineffective.
On November 3, 2013, the President signed a law introducing a range of new anti-terrorism measures. Along the lines of the anti-extremist Articles 2821 and 2822 , the Criminal Codenow included Articles 2054 (“organizing a terrorist community or participation in it”) and 2055 (“organizing activity of a terrorist organization or participation in it”), which provided for much more severe punishment than the corresponding extremist articles (which such offenders were previously charged under, since our legislation views terrorism as a form of extremism) 10 to 15 years ofimprisonment with a fine of up to one million rubles for organization, and 5 to 10 years of imprisonment with a fine of up to 500,000 rubles for participation. The Criminal Code also added Article 2053 (“undergoing training in order to carry out terrorist activities”), so the same sentence is imposed for apprenticeship with terrorists as for participation in activities of a terrorist organization. Note that the introduction of these items makes life easier for law enforcement agencies that often seek to indict as terrorists people, who were not involved in any attacks. Among other cases, the law will cover future prosecutions of people, charged with membership in Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamist party that could have been banned as extremist, but, instead, was inappropriately banned as a terrorist organization. The first such case was filed in February 2014 against five residents of the town of Dyurtyuli in the Republic of Bashkortostan .
The prohibition of “separatist propaganda” was signed into law on December 28, 2013, adding Article 2801 (“public calls for action violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation ”) to the Criminal Code. The new article mimics the wording of Article 280. Actually, since “violation of the integrity of the Russian Federation ” is part of the definition of extremist activity, public calls for it had previously fallen under the Criminal Code Article 280; it is still not entirely clear what changes the new wording brings to the current law. We remain convinced that, in the spirit of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, only secessionist acts associated with violence should be considered illegal.
On June 28, 2013, the Federal Law No.134-FZ “On the Introduction of Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation with Respect to Countering Illegal Financial Operations” was signed. In accordance with this law, Russian banks had to freeze all accounts and operations of all listed entities and individuals who were reported as involved in extremist activity or terrorism (the so-called Rosfinmonitoring List) and of those not included on this list but suspected of involvement in terrorism. An opportunity was provided to appeal the inclusion on the Rosfinmonitoring List in court. As a result, in addition to convicted offenders, suspects charged under anti-extremist articles and their dependent family members were de facto deprived of livelihood and ability to make any financial transactions, and were unable even to pay their court-imposed fine. We believe that these measures were not only excessively harsh, but also unnecessary - it would have been sufficient for the authorities to monitor the accounts of the “extremists,” as previously done. It is also worth noting that a significant portion of transactions related to individuals’ illegal activities (for example, buying weapons on the black market) is conducted in cash.
By the end of the year, this striking innovation was finally relaxed. The Federal Law No. 403-FZ “On Amending the Federal Law “On the National Payment System” and the Federal Law “On counteracting legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime and financing of terrorism” was signed on December 28, 2013. Among other things, the new law mitigated the aforementioned amendments to some extent. Now, the law stipulates the right of individuals included in the Rosfinmonitoring List “in order to ensure their livelihood and the livelihood of family members who share their residence and have no independent sources of income” to carry out operations for the receipt and expenditure of wages (in an amount not exceeding 10,000 rubles a month per family member), pensions, stipends, benefit payments, etc., and also for payment of taxes, fines, etc. Citizens also gained the right to apply for permission to perform operations on the amount exceeding 10,000 rubles; Rosfinmonitoring has to make a decision to allow or deny such an operation within five days.
At the same time, the restrictions of the voting rights for certain categories of convicted offenders were also relaxed. On December 13, 2013, the State Duma adopted in the first reading the draft law “On Amending the Federal Law “On Basic Guarantees of Electoral Rights and the Right to Participate in Referendum for Citizens of the Russian Federation” (pertaining to the voting rights restrictions for certain categories of citizens of the Russian Federation).” According to this document, persons convicted of serious crimes are barred from electoral participation as candidates for 10 years (15 years for particularly grave crimes) from the date of removal and expunging of their criminal records. The bill was intended to fix the situation that arose after the amendment to the law No. 67-FZ “On basic guarantees of electoral rights and the right to participate in the referendum for citizens of the Russian Federation ” imposed a life-long ban on eligibility for these categories of citizens on April 2, 2013. The Constitutional Court pointed out the impermissibility of this situation. Note that lifetime disenfranchisement would also apply to those convicted of extremist crimes, now shifted to the category of grave offenses. However, in any case, this move translates into a prolonged restriction on passive suffrage rights for offenders, convicted under these articles; given the current state of anti-extremist legislation, this situation should be a cause for concern, as it gives authorities greater leverage in the electoral process.
Let’s review the laws designed to establish control over the sphere of information.
On December 30, 2013, the President signed the law (known as “Lugovoy’s Law”) on extrajudicial blocking of websites that call for extremist actions, riots or even conducting public events without a due permit. Access to such information must now be blocked immediately without judicial process, as it is done in child pornography cases. The difference is that, according to the Lugovoy’s Law, only the Prosecutor General's Office can make this decision (implemented by Roskomnadzor), thus limiting the potential number of arbitrary bans. However, the Prosecutor General's Office is not obligated to inform editorial offices or site owners about its reason for blocking (and, indeed, as it became evident in March 2014 when the law went into force, the prosecutors don’t provide this information), hindering the owners’ efforts to resolve the problem. We view extrajudicial blocking of the materials based merely on suspicion of extremism as unacceptable, since it inevitably leads to arbitrary actions and abuse by the law enforcement and to an attack on freedom of speech. Even if the law enforcement views the materials as hazardous and in need of urgent blocking, they must, nevertheless, act with court approval, which can be issued in an expedited manner, as it is done for search or arrest warrants. Note that the Russian Association of Electronic Communications (RAEC) also spoke against this law, stating that it was untimely and contradicted the Federal Law “On Combating Extremist Activity.” The Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights stated that the law would lead to a serious infringement on the constitutional rights and freedoms pave the way for the growth of legal nihilism and create an illusion of fighting extremism rather than contributing to real work to eradicate it.
Next, we turn to the legislative acts in the sphere of religion.
On July 1, 2013, the Federal Law “On Amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in Order to Counter the Insult of Citizens’ Religious Beliefs and Sensibilities, the Desecration of Subjects and Objects of Religious Veneration (of Pilgrimage) and Places of Religious Rites and Ceremonies.” This bill on offending religious sensibilities, submitted to the Duma in 2012 in response to the performance of Pussy Riot punk band inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, was met with a strong reaction from the press and non-governmental organizations, and with protests from human rights activists. In late 2012, the Russian President proposed to defer consideration of the bill for a few months, and the parliament passed it in the first reading in spring 2013, with the proviso that the bill was to be substantially amended in the second reading. Indeed, the most odious components - such as a vague concept of “insulting the believers’ convictions” and discriminatory character of protection, provided only for the religious sentiments of those “religious associations which are professing religions that constitute integral part of the historical heritage for the peoples of Russia” – ended up excluded from the bill.
As a result, the law changed the composition and sanctions under the Criminal Code Article 148 (“obstruction of the right to freedom of conscience and religion”) and the Administrative Code Article 5.26 (“violation of the legislation on freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and religious organizations”). The new Part 1, added to Article 148, stipulates penalties for “public actions, expressing obvious disrespect for society and committed in order to insult religious feelings of believers” - a fine of up to 300 thousand rubles, or compulsory labor for up to 240 hours, or imprisonment for up to one year. If these acts are committed in places of worship, or places intended for religious rites and ceremonies, the fine could constitute up to 500 thousand rubles, the term of compulsory work could be extended up to 480 hours, and the term of imprisonment - up to three years with a possible restriction of freedom for up to a year. There were no changes to the sanctions for unlawful obstruction of religious organizations’ activities or performance of religious rites and ceremonies (they now constitute part 2 of the article), but if these acts include abuse of authority or threats of violence, an offender can face a fine of up to 200 thousand rubles, correctional labor for up to 480 hours or one year of imprisonment.
We view the reform of Article 148 as redundant. The content of Part 1 overlaps with the content of Article 213 in its part pertaining to explicit manifestations of disrespect for society (without reference to violation of the public order) and with the content of Article 282 in its part pertaining to offending religious feelings (compare to the vague wording of Article 282 about “humiliation of dignity”). Thus, the Criminal Code added a new article with nebulous content, because it is extremely difficult to understand what constitutes an “action, expressing an obvious disrespect to society” that involved no violation of public order, or an action committed “with the purpose of insulting religious feelings,” which possibly had no such effect. In such circumstances, qualifying acts against religion or believers becomes problematic. Indeed, the law enforcement practice based on the new law is non-existent at the time of writing this report.
The fines under the Administrative Code Article 5.26 for “obstructing the exercise of the right to freedom of conscience or freedom of belief” increased tenfold or more. The penalties now constitute 10,000-30,000 rubles for ordinary citizens and 50,000-100,000 rubles for officials. The wording of Article 5.26 Part 2 and sanctions under it were changed as well. Intentional public desecration of religious or theological literature, objects of religious worship, signs and emblems of worldview symbolism, or their damage or destruction became subject to a fine of 30 to 50 thousand rubles for the citizens and 100 to 200 thousand rubles for officials. In this case, questions arise about the terms, used by the authors of this new formula in the second part of Article 5.26. “Desecration” is a religious concept, and its meaning within the secular law is not obvious. It is also not clear whether all signs and emblems of “worldview symbolism” fall under its protection, and, if not, exactly which ones do.
On July 3, 2013, President Putin signed the law “On Amendments to Article 9 of the Federal Law ‘On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations.” The document added to Article 9 of the current law “Creation of Religious Organizations,” a new Paragraph 3, which stipulated that foreigners or stateless people “in respect of whom, in accordance with the judicial procedure of the Russian Federation, the decision was issued about the undesirability of their stay (residence) in the Russian Federation,” andpersons, whose activities have been deemed by a Russian court to be extremist or subject to the law on combating money laundering and financing terrorism, were prohibited from becoming a founder, participant or member of a religious organization. Since the Russian law does now define participation in a religious organization, and many such organizations have fluid memberships anyway, the adoption of this law provides new opportunities for law enforcement abuse. For example, a mosque can be closed just for being attended by a convicted anti-extremist.
On June 8, 2013 a bill “On Amendments to Articles 4 and 24 of the Federal Law “On Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations” was signed into law. Initially, authors of the bill suggested (following the example of Tatarstan, where such measure already exists) to give the subjects of the Russian Federation the right to establish “requirements for religious education of ministers and religious personnel.” From our perspective, establishing state requirements for religious education constitutes an unacceptable interference of the state in the religious sphere of the society. However, these amendments have been excluded from the law. The new norm has left requirements for religious education of ministers in the hands of religious organizations.
Major Trends in 2013
In the abundance of legislative initiatives launched in 2013 no opportunity was found to change the wording and clarify controversial formulas in anti-extremist legislation, which have long attracted criticism from lawyers and human rights defenders.
The text of Article 282 still includes “abasement of human dignity by reason of religion, national, or racial affiliation.” As you may remember, we believe that, in its extent of social danger, such an offense is close to the ones covered under the article on insult and, likewise, should be moved to the Administrative Code, but lawmakers have taken no steps in this direction. The state took the course on increasing extremism-related penalties, rather than clarifying its definition. This course also implies increased vigilance and, particularly, control over citizens’ online activity. As the authorities expand their fight against provocative statements on the Internet, the number of criminal cases, based on incidents that merit no law enforcement attention at all or deserve merely warnings or administrative measures, is growing as well. (This also applies to many cases of prosecutions for racist statements, which formally fit the wording of Article 282, but pose no significant public danger due to their small real audience. See more on this in our report on combating xenophobia.) 
In March, the sentence was issued in the notorious case of Ivan Moseev, the president of the Association of Pomors of the Arkhangelsk Region. It was opened in July 2012 under Part 1 of Article 282 (“incitement of hatred or enmity, or abasement of human dignity”). According to the investigators, Moseev left a comment, insulting ethnic Russians, on the Web site of the online news agency Ekho Severa under the username “Pomors.” In our opinion, this comment, of which Moseev denies authorship, can be classified as hate speech, but provides no grounds for criminal prosecution. Moseev was sentenced to a fine of 100,000 rubles, and, in addition, he was expelled from the university upon request of the prosecutors, expelled from the membership of all Russian public organizations upon request from the Ministry of Justice, and added to the Rosfinmonitoring List upon request from the FSB Department of the Arkhangelsk region – the latter action resulted in blocking of all his financial accounts. As a result Moseev was left unable even to pay the fine, to which he had been sentenced. After fruitless attempts to appeal the sentence, Moseev appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in November.
Pavel Khotulev faced the fine of the same amount under the same article in February in Kazan. He was accused of publishing several anti-Tatar comments in the users group “Russian Language in Tatarstan’s Schools” on the social network My World (Moi Mir). Khotulev asserted that the Tatar language instruction in schools should be made voluntary; he also criticized local authorities. Experts saw signs of extremism in such expressions as “so-called Tatarstan,” “losers,” “Tatar encampment,” and “the province of Russia .”
In the summer of 2013, a criminal case under Article 282 Part 1 was opened against Vasily Purdenko, the editor of the blog Svobodnoe Slovo Adygei [Free Speech of Adygea]. Criminal charges where initiated over the publication of the article “Being a Russian in Adygea is Possible, but Hopeless” on September 5, 2012. Purdenko asserts that the text was written by a certain A. Ivanov, but the investigation still believes that it was written by Purdenko. Clearly written from the nationalist perspective, “Being a Russian in Adygea is Possible, but Hopeless” contained criticism of local authorities: their cronyism, violations of national parity, and their generally misguided personnel policies. However, the material contained no signs of incitement to hatred or enmity towards the Adyghe people, and, certainly, no incitement to violence.
A criminal case under Article 282 Part 1 was opened in Bashkortostan, in February against Guzalia Galimova, a history and social studies teacher in an Ufa lyceum. She was charged for her Facebook message, in which she spoke rather sharply about the behavior of Russian women at Turkish resorts. The experts found in her text “negative information on members of Russian nationality, prompting sharply negative psychological attitudes against another person or group of persons in a reader.”Note that negative judgment, or distribution of negative information are not mentioned in the text of in Article 282, and the law enforcement mentioned no calls for aggression in Galimova’s text. The teacher voluntarily resigned from the lyceum; she was charged in April.
As in the previous years, such element of the definition of extremist activity as “propaganda of superiority or inferiority of a person on the basis of their social, racial, national, religious or linguistic or religious affiliation” continues to bear its sad fruits. We have repeatedly pointed out that this vague wording underlies the majority of inappropriate bans against religious literature, which, in turn, lead to unfounded persecutions against believers for “inciting hatred or enmity.” In 2013, three criminal cases were initiated against the believers under Article 282. They will be described in detail in our section on religious persecution.
An extremely unfortunate wording “inciting hatred or enmity towards a social group” - which constitutes a part of the law “On Combating Extremist Activity” and of Article 282 and which law enforcement agencies tend to use in order to prosecute verbal forms of ideological confrontation - was not as widely utilized in 2013, as in the previous years. Presumably, this component of Article 282 was originally designed to protect certain vulnerable population groups that constituted potential targets for aggression, but the vague notion of a “social group” has never been clarified by the legislators. This law sets the stage for numerous abuses, since, as interpreted by law enforcement agencies, the social groups in need of protection are, first of all, the government officials and the law enforcement agents (although the Supreme Court decision of 2011 has seriously affected the practice), and, additionally, the Russian Orthodox Church, which is closely affiliated with the authorities.
As a rule, people accused of inciting social hatred include civil and political activists, journalists and bloggers (this will be discussed in the relevant sections). Sometimes, however, such charges could be brought against citizens far removed from politics, and the social groups in need of protection are particularly creatively defined. Among the juicier anti-extremist cases filed in 2013 is the case of Zhanna Tsaregradskaya, the founder and the head of Rozhana Center for perinatal care and breastfeeding support in the Kaluga region. In addition to the Criminal Code Article 239 Part 1 (“Creating a public association whose activities involve violence against citizens”), Tsaregradskaya was charged with inciting hatred or enmity or debasement of human dignity on the basis of gender (the group in question being the “men”) and on the basis of belonging to a social group of spouses. Tsaregradskaya was also accused of rejecting the family as social institution, advocating rejection of health care, education, employment, military service and alternative service - all this, of course, bears no relation to the content of Article 282. The investigation in the case is currently pending.
The Internet and Anti-Extremism
In 2013, the total number of sentences under the Criminal Code Articles 280 and 282 for inciting hatred by placement of extremist materials, symbols or provocative comments on the Internet continued to grow, exceeding the figure for 2012 by about a third. We recognize 131 verdicts issued in 2013 for online xenophobic propaganda as appropriate As usual, we have been frequently unable to assess the validity of these verdicts, since, for example, the offending comments are usually promptly removed from the network. Recall also that prosecutors and courts still don’t take into account a level of publicity, i.e. online propagandists’ real audience size, and their corresponding degree of social danger.
We view three verdicts under Article 282 for online activity as inappropriate – to Radik Nurdinov of Bashkortostan for posting an article by Tatar nationalist Vil Mirzayanov, certainly separatist in its tone, but containing no calls to violence; to Pavel Khotulev from Kazan for speaking out against requirement to study Tatar language in schools; to Ivan Moseev for uncivil remark about Russians on the Ekho Severa website. We also disagree with the verdict under Part 2 of the Criminal Code Article 119 (“threat of murder motivated by hatred or enmity”), issued to journalist Elena Polyakova from Klin for her aggressive comment under the article about the activities of the head of the Klin Department of Education Alena Sokol'skaya, since this comment couldn’t be interpreted as a genuine threat.
According to our data, nine new unjustified criminal cases for online publications were opened in 2013 - eight under the Criminal Code Article 282 and one under Article 280. Extensive prosecutorial activities also took place in two previously opened cases.
Two websites with the works of Turkish theologian Said Nursi were inappropriately banned in 2013 in Volgograd. A ban was also imposed on oppositional website ingushetiaru.org in Ingushetia – yet another successor to the ingushetia.ru website banned in 2008 - for publication of the materials containing serious and unsubstantiated accusations against the head of the republic Evkurov. From our point of view, in such cases law enforcement agencies should seek the removal of the offending material or block it, but the entire website should not be deemed extremist. A Muslim website firdauz.ucoz.net was banned in Pyatigorsk also because of a single item, the video lecture “Aliens” by Sheikh Khalid Yasin, which presents no danger, but was legally recognized as extremist. In addition, the Central District Court of Tver banned the official site of Jehovah's Witnesses jw.org in August, since several brochures, posted there, had been recognized as extremist, but the decision was reversed by the Tver Regional Court in January 2014.
Until March 2013, the old mechanism of removing materials from the Internet was in operation; it involved a number of possible scenarios: a court decides to ban a site for extremism and then issues a separate judgment for its blocking; a court makes a decision merely to block access to the site for hosting forbidden information; or the prohibited or suspicious information is deleted by the website owner or blocked by the provider upon request from law enforcement agencies.
The first case of blocking websites due to their inclusion on the Registry of Banned Websites for their “extremist” content, in accordance with the law on control over the online information, was reported in the end of March 2013. Thus, a new blocking mechanism has been launched. Based on the court rulings of 2013, only six pages, appropriately recognized as extremist, were added to the Registry. However, the mechanism as a whole appears problematic, since Roskomnadzor often blocks large websites due to minor content fragments, which are later removed, and the sites are subsequently unblocked.
The aforementioned very first case can serve as an example. On 28 March 2013, the Internet provider Rostelekom blocked access to the social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki and the video sharing portal YouTube in the Orel region and the Ryazan region, as well as to the blog platform livejournal.com (the latter was blocked only for Ryazan users). When attempting to access these sites, Rostelekom, customers encountered a message stating that the resource had been blocked due to its ban and inclusion on the Federal List of Extremist Materials or on a Uniform Registry of Banned Websites. Later, it was established that the resources had been entered into the Registry due to presence of specific materials, banned for extremism, and then taken off the Registry on the very same day, but Rostelekom had already implemented the decision. In a short while, Rostelekom customers have regained their access to the resources.
In fact, similar incidents of users temporarily losing access to entire large resources due to a particular controversial page and then having to wait until the authorities sort things out, are taking place regularly. Reasons for imposing access restrictions could vary, since extremist materials represent only one possible kind of “forbidden information.” Obviously, the only viable solution to the problem is blocking separate offending pages, but it is not always technically possible, and, indeed, the convenience of the Internet users is obviously not a top priority of the law enforcement system, which shows no interest in reducing the number of blocking errors. The only way to improve the responsible agencies’ quality of work is to block access to prohibited online materials only after a court decision, in which the courts would be obligated to specify exact addresses of pages that are subject to restrictions.
Numerous cases of inappropriate blocking of websites and sanctions against Internet providers were recorded in 2013. Unfortunately, the law enforcement and the media often do not identify the blocked resources to the public. We noted 83 cases, in which the proper basis for denying access or imposing sanctions was arguably absent. In the course of the year, prosecutors repeatedly demanded that the ISPs block online libraries (due to individual banned items they contained), websites with inappropriately banned Muslim literature, Jehovah's Witnesses materials or other religious writings, Ingush opposition websites, and non-banned websites of banned organizations. Some restrictions against major Internet resources, implemented due to individual problematic pages, were evidently temporary; we have no information on the length of time they were in place.
In 2013, prosecutors continued their campaign for content filtering by organizations that provide citizens with the Internet access: educational institutions, libraries, Internet cafes and clubs. Similarly to Internet providers, these organizations are required to block illegal content.
Schools and libraries still face prosecutorial claims more frequently than any other organizations. Their computers have to be equipped with filters that block access to restricted information, including extremist materials. If the system of user protection malfunctions or doesn’t perform as expected (and perfect filters simply don’t exist), the prosecutors issue warnings not to the program developers or distributors, but to the administration of educational institutions; the “responsible parties” subsequently face disciplinary charges.
The number of audits in schools and libraries, and various acts of prosecutorial response based on their results has dropped slightly in 2013, compared to the previous year. According to our very conservative estimates,  the sanctions were imposed in 378 cases in 2012 and in 349 cases in 2012.
Incidental Victims of Inappropriate Anti-Extremism
People and organizations that are clearly not related to any radical activity, but simply happened to attract attention of law enforcement agencies, still become victims of inappropriate enforcement of anti-extremist legislation.
The number of sanctions against public libraries that arise from the contradiction between the law “On Librarianship,” requiring them to provide unfettered reader access to collections, and anti-extremist legislation forbidding mass distribution of prohibited materials, continued to grow in 2013.
Prosecutors charge libraries with a variety of offences from presence of banned materials (usually books) in their collections (despite the fact that libraries have no legal ground for de-accessioning these materials) to the text of libraries’ bylaws that fail to mention the ban on the dissemination of extremist materials. 
According to our admittedly incomplete data, in the period from mid-2008 through the end of 2010, at least 170 cases of inappropriate sanctions against library administrators (including school libraries) were recorded; there were at least 138 such cases in 2011, at least 300 in 2012, and at least 417 in 2013. 
As a rule, the penalties are limited to disciplinary actions, however, occasionally, the library personnel also faces administrative sanctions. Three librarians were fined in 2013 under the Administrative Code Article 20.29 for possession of extremist materials with intent of mass distribution. They were, de facto, punished for performing their professional duties.
For example, in late April 2013, a court in Ivanovo sentenced the Director of Central Joint Academic Library to a fine of two thousand rubles under the Administrative Code Article 20.29. The reason for the prosecution was the book What is Scientology?, found in the library collection (in our opinion, the book had been banned inappropriately). In addition to the fine, the Leninsky District Prosecutor’s Office of Ivanovo issued a motion to eliminate violations of the law, addressed to the Director. Two additional employees faced disciplinary charges. The book was withdrawn from the general library collection, marked with a special label and deposited in a specially designated place.
Some cases, when citizens became a target of specifically anti-extremist law enforcement, can only be explained by desire of some law enforcement officers to improve their report statistics in the area of combating extremism.
We classify into this category the warnings about impermissibility of violating the anti-extremism legislation issued to organizers of various mass events and public gathering, regardless of their relation to extremism or lack thereof.
In 2013, we recorded eight cases of sanctions for displaying of Nazi symbols, in which the purpose of promoting Nazism was clearly absent. In the past year, media outlets, antique dealers, and activists, who used Nazi symbols in the images denouncing their opponents, were all fined under the Administrative Code Article 20.3 (“propaganda and the public display of Nazi paraphernalia or symbols”). For example, the editor-in-chief of a newspaper in the Smolensk region was fined for using a swastika to illustrate material on countering extremism. The editorial board of Bereznikovskiy Rabochiy newspaper in the Perm region was penalized for the mistake of their technical staff, who illustrated an article with a 1930s photograph of girls wearing the Hitler Youth uniform.
Principal Targets of Persecution
In 2013, the extent of inappropriate prosecution of members of various religious and religio-political groups exceeded that of political and civic activists.
As in the previous years, anti-extremist legislation was used, first and foremost, against Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami party, which had been banned as terrorist in 2003. We view this ban as inappropriate, since Hizb ut-Tahrir does not practice violence and does not view it as a method in its struggle for building the global Caliphate. In any case, the court decision cited no instances of illegal activity by the party members. In connection with the above mentioned law introducing a complex of new anti-terrorism measures, adopted in October 2013, the position of Russian Hizb ut-Tahrir followers has worsened considerably. While they were previously persecuted for organizing or participating in the organization, banned as extremist, under the Criminal Code Article 2822, now their activities fall under the new Criminal Code Article 2055, which stipulates the punishment for organizing the activities of a terrorist organization and participation in it, and provides much lengthier prison sentences. Article 2055 was not utilized against Hizb ut-Tahrir followers in 2013;  prosecutors operated mostly under an old scheme, involving Article 2822, but in November 2013 five people in Chelyabinsk were convicted of involvement in the Hizb ut-Tahrir not only under Part 2 of Article 2822 , but also under part 1 of Article 2051 (“involvement in the commission of terrorist offenses or other assistance in committing them”) as well as under Part 1 of Article 30 and Article 278 (“actions aimed at the forcible seizure of power.”) Four Hizb ut-Tahrir supporters were each sentenced to six years' imprisonment in the maximum security penal colony and to a fine of 150 thousand rubles; the fifth one was sentenced to 6.5 years in the maximum security penal colony; all of them also received an additional penalty of one year of restrictions on freedom following their release. Meanwhile, the charges of incitement to terrorism and preparations to seize power were based only on the fact of the defendants’ party-related activities (meetings, distribution of literature, etc.); no other evidence of the allegations was submitted. The Memorial Human Rights Center recognized all defendants, convicted in the case, as political prisoners.
In early April 2013 in Moscow, four Hizb ut-Tahrir followers, previously detained in the course of the criminal investigation under part 1 of the Criminal Code Article 2822, were indicted under the same Articles 30 and 278. Similar charges were brought in Ufa in August against four local residents, who had been previously accused under Part 1 of Article 2822 ; they were arrested. Finally, on suspicion of crimes, which fell under the three above-listed Criminal Code articles, three Hizb ut-Tahrir followers were arrested in Dagestan in December.
As for the charges against Hizb ut-Tahrir followers under Article 2822 , we no longer include such cases in our statistics. As we noted earlier, the ideology of the party shows signs of extremism in the context of Russian legislation, but the Russian authorities have never considered this issue on the merits. In March 2013, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), when ruling on the complaint, submitted by Yusup Kasymakhunov and Marat Saybatalov, issued a special decree on the Hizb ut-Tahrir activities. The complaint by Kasymakhunov and Saybatalov stated that the decision on their conviction as members of Hizb ut-Tahrir had been made prior to the publication of a closed-court decision by the Supreme Court to ban the organization as a terrorist. The ECHR agreed with these arguments and condemned the violation by Russian courts of Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that “no one shall be held guilty of any criminal offense, which did not constitute a criminal offense under national or international law at the time it was committed.”
However, regarding Hizb ut-Tahrir in general, the ECHR stated that, although neither the doctrine nor the practice of the party was sufficient to consider it a terrorist organization, it had many features that could provide a reason for a state to ban the organization. These features include the calls to overthrow the existing political systems and establish a Sharia-based dictatorship, anti-Semitism and radical anti-Israeli propaganda (for that, in particular, Hizb ut-Tahrir was banned in Germany in 2003), categorical rejection of democracy and political freedoms, and justification of the use of force against the countries, which the party considers to be the aggressors against the “lands of Islam.” Despite the facts that Hizb ut-Tahrir ideology contains no direct incitement to violence and justifications of violence against democracy as such are “suspended” until the start of the jihad led by the somehow restored Caliphate, the Hizb ut-Tahrir goals run manifestly contrary to the values of European Convention on Human Rights, in particular its commitment to the peaceful settlement of international conflicts, sanctity of human life, recognition of civil and political rights and democracy. All of the above makes it impossible to raise the question of whether Hizb ut-Tahrir followers are covered by Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights that protect freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
Recognizing the validity of the ECHR decision, we believe that the Russian authorities should reconsider the Hizb ut-Tahrir ban, focusing not on the imaginary terrorist activities of party members or their non-existent preparations to seize power, but on potentially dangerous elements of the party propaganda. We continue to monitor the inappropriate legal cases, in which adherents of Hizb ut-Tahrir face unfounded accusations of violent acts or preparations to commit them, as well as the cases of inappropriate prohibition of the party materials that, in our opinion, contain no dangerous propaganda. Unfortunately, the content of the Hizb ut-Tahrir materials is usually not considered in courts, and they are essentially prohibited simply by association with a banned organization.
For example, one of the defendants in the Chelyabinsk case was also found guilty under Part 1 of the Criminal Code Article 280 (public incitement to extremist activity) solely on the basis of sharing a video that called for boycott of the elections.
In August 2013, it was reported that Roskomnadzor had issued a warning to the editorial board and the founder of the Khanty-Mansiysk information agency muksun.fm for online publication of the material “They do not appear in mosques,” which merely cited the banned book The Concepts of Hizb ut-Tahrir, written by the party's founder Taqiuddin al-Nabhani.
The author of the material criticized the Hizb ut-Tahrir precepts and quoted from al-Nabhani’s book in support of his criticism, so the sanctions against the publisher in this case were completely unfounded.
The Criminal Code Article 2822 were issued in 2013 against the members of Tablighi Jamaat religious movement. This movement was banned as extremist despite the fact that it deals exclusively with promoting Islamic religious practices and was never implicated in inciting violence.
One person in Orenburg was sentenced to a fine of 200 thousand rubles under Part 1 of Article 2822 for creating a “Tablighi Jamaat cell” in Sol-Iletsk; one of his followers in the Sol-Iletsk was fined 250 thousand rubles under the same Part 1 of Article 2822 , and three others were found guilty of participation in the cell under Part 2 of Article 2822 and fined 150, 100 and 50 thousand rubles respectively. A resident of Kansk (the Krasnoyarsk region) was fined 100 thousand rubles under Part 1 of Article 2822 for conducting religious meetings aimed at disseminating the ideas of the movement.
Another case, initiated a year earlier under part 1 of Article 2822 against the adherents of Tablighi Jamaat imams Serzhan Svatov and Haidar-Ali Bugusynov from the village of Kosh-Agach in the Altai region, was in progress in 2013; the decision was issued in the spring of 2014. 
In addition, at least two new criminal cases were initiated against the followers of Tablighi Jamaat under part 2 of Article 2822: one against a resident of Sayanogorsk (Khakassia) and the other one, under Parts 1 and 2 of Article 2822, against five residents of the Novosibirsk region.
Persecution of Muslims, who studied the inappropriately banned works of Turkish theologian Said Nursi, intensified in 2013 compared with the previous year. Two guilty verdicts were issued for organizing the activity of non-existent, but, nevertheless, banned Nurcular organization under Part 1 of Article 2822 – in a high-profile case of Novosibirsk imams Ilkhom Merazhov and Camil Odilov and in the case of a St. Petersburg resident Shirazi Bekirov. Despite the publicity around the former case and the attempts of the Muslim community to intercede, Merazhov and Odilov were each sentenced to a year in prison for an attempt to organize a Nurcular cell. The imams filed a complaint with the ECHR against the verdict. We would like to remind that the only reason for their persecution was the fact that they studied Nursi's books with other Muslims. Bekirov, accused of organizing meetings where people studied the works of Nursi, was arrested and spent six pre-trial months in prison. The court sentenced Bekirov to six months in a penal colony; his pre-trial detention was credited against his prison term, and he was released several days after the verdict.
Another case under part 1 of Article 2822 , initiated in 2012 against a Kaliningrad resident on charges of “creating a Nurcular cell”, continued in 2013 and was closed in early 2014 due to the statute of limitations.
Five new criminal cases under parts 1 and 2 of the Criminal Code Article 2822 for “creating Nurcular cells” were initiated in 2013 against the following people: a resident of the Rostov region, seven residents of the Permregion, a resident of Krasnoyarsk, and two criminal cases against two males and one female from Naberezhnye Chelny.
In February, the Central District Court of Kaliningrad recognized as extremist 14 books and 2 brochures by Nursi; it was the second ban for four of them it. The Court agreed with the results of the expert examination, according to which “books and pamphlets of this author constitute a single set of tools for psychological impact on consciousness, will and human behavior, contain elements of incitement to religious hatred, create hostility to other religions and distort information about them, encroach on the rights and freedoms of citizens, who do not follow Islam.” Obviously, relying on the phrase “a single set” invented in mid-2000s by experts from the Tatarstan Republican Prosecutor’s Office to characterize works of Nursi, the Kaliningrad police never bothered not only to examine the contents of the books, but even to compare their list with the Federal List of Extremist Materials, banning them en masse on the basis of their association with Nurcular.
Note that the similar, but much more massive ban on Islamic literature associated with Nurcular – the ban on 68 Muslim religious materials issued by the Leninsky District Court of Orenburg in March 2012 – was not revised in 2013. The regional court began consideration of 14 complaints against this decision in September 2012, but still has not completed the process.
Meanwhile, administrative prosecutions continue for distribution of materials from the “Orenburg List”, which includes many works of high authority for the Muslims. We know of at least 12 related prosecutions under the Administrative Code Article 20.29 in 2013. An Islamic Cultural Center in St. Petersburg was nearly shut down under pressure from the prosecutor’s office, due to two copies of a book from the “Orenburg List” found in the prayer room.
In addition, one person in Usolye-Sibirskoye was charged under the Administrative Code Article 20.29 for the distribution of The Fundamentals of Sincerity by Nursi, banned by the Koptevsky District Court of Moscow in 2007.
Employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) faced disciplinary charges for banned books by Nursi, found in the libraries of a prison in Ulyanovskand penal colonies in Novosibirskand Ulyanovsk.
In 2013, two websites were deemed extremist in Volgograd for publishing Nursi's books from the Risale-i Nur collection, including the prohibited ones.
In 2013, there were 20 cases of Muslims being prosecuted under the Administrative Code Article 20.29 for the distribution of inappropriately banned Islamic literature.
Five websites were recognized as extremist by the Pyatigorsk City Court in 2013, all of them due to the same banned Islamic video of Khalid Yasin’s lecture “Aliens”: the Muslim sites devoted to religious matters al-hakk.com and firdauz.ucoz.net, major Kazakh entertainment portal www.kiwi.kz, Korean-language real estate website www.mlook.com, and the media search engine www.wikibit.net. The banned sites, in general, had nothing to do with extremist propaganda and contained a lot of different materials. The law enforcement agencies could have requested that the website administrators remove prohibited material, and, in case of no response, they could have blocked access to it, rather than ban the entire websites. In addition, the ban, imposed on the video by the Leninsky District Court of Krasnodar in summer 2012, was in itself inappropriate. In his lecture Khalid Yasin contrasts the Islamic religiosity with temptations of the modern world and the Western civilization, but does not promote violence as a way to resolve the conflict.
The most notorious and scandalous ban of in 2013 pertaining to Islamic spiritual writings was the decision of the Oktyabrsky District Court in Novorossiysk recognizing Translation of the meaning of the holy Koran into Russian by the Azerbaijani religious philosopher Elmir Kuliyev as extremist. This translation contains no fundamental differences from other translations of the Koran. Perhaps, the law enforcement officers decided on the ban based on their previous - and inappropriate - ban, imposed on another Kuliyev’s book related to Koran. In any case, the claims, presented by the experts against Kuliyev’s translation could have been brought against any ancient religious text - the book contains “statements, which negatively evaluate person or group of persons on the grounds of relationship to a particular religion (specifically, non-Muslims); contains statements which assert the superiority of one person or group of persons over other people on the grounds of their religion, specifically the Muslims over non-Muslims; statements containing the positive assessment of hostile actions of one group of people against another group of people united on the basis of religion, in particular Muslims towards non-Muslims; as well as statements of the inciting character that call for hostile and violent acts of one group of people against another group of people united on the basis of religion, specifically Muslims against non-Muslims.” The court found these claims to be sufficient for prohibiting Kuliyev’s Koran translation.
This ban caused unprecedented outrage among the Russian Muslims. Almost, if not completely, unanimous and loud reaction of believers led to an opportunity to appeal the ban; in December, the Krasnodar Regional Court repealed the decision to recognize the book as extremist.
The protest against the ban on the Koran translation served as a pretext for opening a criminal case against the believers in Chelyabinsk. In September, the banners with quotations from the Koran and posters “Islam is forbidden in Russia ,” “Muslims! There are 20 million of us in Russia , and our Koran was banned!” attracted the attention of law enforcement agencies in the city. The banners and the posters contained no signs of extremism, but their display constituted part of the charges under the Criminal Code Articles 282 and 2822, brought against four residents of Chelyabinsk, also accused of distributing Hizb ut-Tahrir leaflets on the day of protest against the Koran ban and of organizing a rally with the Hizb ut-Tahrir flags in the winter of 2012.
In our opinion, Russian courts inappropriately banned three religious organizations in February 2013.
The Sovetsky District Court of Kazan recognized as extremist and banned the activity of the Fayzrahman Sattarov community (usually called the community of fayzrahmanists) that existed on the Kazan territory since the 1990s. Its leader, former Deputy Mufti of Tatarstan, considers himself a messenger (not the prophet) of Allah and considers his followers to be the only true Muslims. The community was leading insular but not aggressive lifestyle. The prosecutorial claims were based on the fact that the head of the religious group demanded that the group members “lead isolated life, forbade them to visit health institutions or send their children to school.” These claims, while legitimate, gave no reason to ban the community as extremist. Recognizing a handwritten collection of fayzrahmanist prayers as extremist was also inappropriate, in our opinion. In the spring of 2014, the community was evicted from its plot on one of the Kazan streets, which it occupied illegally, according to law enforcement officials.
The Kizilsky District Court of Chelyabinsk banned as extremist the religious organization Horde (Orda), which operated in the village of Izmailovsky . From our standpoint, the ban should have been substantiated differently. In the course of their audit of Horde’s activity, the prosecutors discovered incidents of non-traditional medical treatments, incidents of medical diagnoses issued by people with no medical training, rejections of traditional treatment, and, in addition, concluded that “under the impact of special methods of psychological influence the mental health of citizens suffers harm in a form of increased suggestibility, formation of dependency and affective involvement in a pseudo-religious doctrine.” All of this bears no relation to the anti-extremist legislation.
The Novosibirsk Regional Court recognized religious organization Elle Ayat as extremist and banned its activities. Followers of the Elle Ayat offered a cure for all diseases with the help of certain texts and by applying the Zvezda Selennoi (sic) magazine to an injured spot. According to experts, “adherents of the religious group applied to citizens the methods of psychological influence that harm one’s physical and mental health.” Analyzing the texts and video, the experts “identified psychological factors inciting hatred and enmity between people on the basis of religion, promoting the absolute superiority of adherents of a religious group in comparison with other people.” They also pointed out that “the authors of the texts used special language tools for intentionally conveying negative attitudes toward the world religions.” Propaganda of the superiority of one’s own faith and negative attitudes toward other faiths are natural for believers; in the absence of aggressive manifestations neither one should be considered a sign of extremism. In this case, the prosecutor's office had to find another reason in order to dissolve the organization, whose leader was under criminal investigation for fraud.
No criminal convictions under anti-extremist articles were issued against Jehovah's Witnesses in 2013; one case, initiated in 2011, which involved charges of inciting religious hatred (Part 1 of Article 282) against the woman follower of Jehovah's Witnesses from Akhtubinsk, was closed with recognition of the right to rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, a number of new criminal cases were initiated as well. Preaching “the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses superiority” over other religions and dissemination of Jehovah's Witnesses materials were cited as the reasons for prosecution of community leader Ilnur Ashirmametov in Tobolsk under Part 1 of Article 282 (the case was closed in January 2014). Charges under Part 2 paragraph “b” of Article 282 (“inciting hatred or hostility, and humiliation of human dignity committed by an organized group”) were filed in connection with the activities of the Jehovah's Witnesses community of the Sergiev Posad District in the Moscow region; the liturgical building and the apartment of the community leader were searched.
In 2013, the trial began in the case of 16 Jehovah's Witnesses in Taganrog. Recall that the local community has been banned as extremist in 2009; in 2011 the charges were filed under Part 1 and Part 2 of the Criminal Code Article 2822, based on the fact of continuation of the group’s activities, as well as under Part 4 of Article 150 (“involving minors in committing a crime”), based on the fact of participation of children in the prayer meetings. The court found the indictment in this case to be illegal in 2012, but it was immediately issued again. The court hearings continued throughout 2013, but the sentence was never imposed. In addition, the same investigator brought similar charges against five Jehovah's Witnesses in Rostov-on-Don.
Five Jehovah's Witnesses were sentenced in 2013 to a fine under the Administrative Code Article 20.29 for distributing illegal religious pamphlets; one of them was later acquitted.
In August 2013, the Central District Court of Tver recognized as extremist the official Jehovah's Witnesses website jw.org, but the Tver Regional Court overturned this decision in January 2014.
Russian courts have continued to prohibit the Jehovah's Witnesses texts. Thus, one brochure was banned in Birobidzhan, another one in the Krasnodar region, three in Krasnoyarsk, and the Traktorozavodsky District Court of Chelyabinsk started considerations on the case that calls for banning 95 Jehovah's Witnesses publications at once.
We regard the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses as religious discrimination.
A resident of the Rostov region was fined under the Administrative Code Article 20.29 for possession of 10 publications on Chinese spiritual practice Falun Dafa. Notably, several Falun Dafa materials were banned without any reasonable basis in 2011, and the ECHR is considering the complaint regarding this case. However, they are not currently included on the Federal List of Extremist Materials, so the Rostov resident may not have known that he was breaking the law.
In 2013, the Yegoryevsk Town Court recognized as extremist the literature of the White Brotherhood religious organization. The Court upheld the opinion of experts that these texts “contain statements calling for propaganda of exclusivity, superiority or inferiority of a person on the basis of religion, violation of human rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens, depending on his or her religion, and incitement to religious hatred.” The peaceful nature of the White Brotherhood’s religious doctrine suggests that these materials were banned inappropriately.
In 2013, the authorities continued to prosecute public critics of the Russian Orthodox Church and outspoken atheists for incitement of hatred.
In the summer, it became known that the Investigative Committee of the Sverdlovsk Region opened a criminal case under Article 282 against Pentecostal Peter Tkalich from Asbest based on his blog posts. The criminal case involved two texts published by Tkalich in 2006, “Boiling pot” and “Boiling pot-2.” Both texts were critical of the Patriarch Cyril and the ways of the modern-day Orthodox believers, but contained no calls for illegal actions. We would like to remind that, according to the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation “Concerning Judicial Practice in Criminal Cases Regarding Crimes of Extremism,” adopted in June 2011, “criticism of political organizations, ideological and religious associations, political, ideological or religious beliefs, national or religious identity per se not should be regarded as an act aimed at inciting hatred or enmity.” In 2013, Tkalich and his family members had the status of witnesses; the expert examination was scheduled in the case.
In May, the Domodedovo Investigations Division of the Main Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of Russian Federation for the Moscow region initiated criminal proceedings under Part 1 of Article 282 against Domodedovo resident Roman Matveev on charges of publishing seven religion-themed demotivational posters on the Domodedovo online town forum in the threads for “Orthodoxy,” “the ROC (in comics),” and “Atheism.” According to the investigators, “the images and statements” had a purpose of “inciting hatred and enmity, as well as humiliating a group of persons on the basis of religion; giving and showing negative evaluations, attitudes, and expressions offensive to the religious groups of Christians and Muslims; comparing them to the Nazis, expressing hatred, hostility, cynicism, and thus provoking incitement of a violent reaction from religious groups.” According to Matveev, one of the posters contained a photo of Patriarch Kirill with a quote from his speech; another one depicted a man with a bandage on his head and the Koran in his hand and the text “Don’t you believe that Islam is the religion of peace and love? Then we are coming to you.” Matveev was added to the so-called Rosfinmonitoring list, so his financial transactions were blocked; he also had problems at his place of employment. We believe that the case against Matveev was inappropriate. Publication of satirical images with no inflammatory appeals in the forum segment, specifically dedicated to atheism does not fall under Article 282.
The court proceedings to ban four items on a popular local website orlec.ru began in Orel in summer. Orlec.ru, which positions itself as a free online encyclopedia, provides an opportunity for everyone to speak anonymously and ironically about city life, including the city politics. A year earlier, the court banned three xenophobic entries, posted on the site through anonymous proxy servers and promptly deleted by the administrators. This time, however, the case was initiated by the collective appeal from “the Orthodox community” to the Orel FSB Department demanding that some materials on the site be “checked for the offense under the Criminal Code Article 282.” The experts concluded that “the submissions contain hostile and/or derogatory statements directed against individuals that belong to a particular religious group, namely those of the Orthodox faith.” We do not agree with the results of the expert examination, since the experts interpreted the authors’ ironic and critical remarks against the clergy, which had nothing to do with extremism, (including unrecognized quotes from the Tale of Bygone Years (Povest Vremennykh Let) as signs of hostility against the Orthodox believers. The Court sent the materials for a new linguistic expertise. Meanwhile, a criminal case under Article 282 was initiated based on the fact of the publication, and searches were carried out in the homes of Editor-in-Chief of TsentrRus online news agency Dmitry Krayukhin and one of the website authors Nikita Shchetinin, at the official residence address of another orlec.ru author Victor Zyryanov, and at the editorial offices of the website. The computers and a large number of media were seized by the investigation.
Developments in the case of artists from the punk collective Pussy Riot are covered below in the section on the persecution of political and civil society activists.
Political and Civic Activists
We continue to monitor the persecution of political activists conducted using the anti-extremist legislation.
In 2013, the number of prosecutions against members of the Other Russia (Drugaya Rossiya) party, charged with continuation of Eduard Limonov’s banned National Bolshevik Party, has decreased slightly, but they still remained a major law enforcement focus. We believe that the NBP was inappropriately banned in 2007; moreover, the Russian law does not specify what actions should be considered a continuation of the activity of a banned organization, and it is far from certain that the activities of the Other Russia, which changed its course more than once, after all these years still remains a continuation of the NBP activities.
In June 2013, the Military Court of the North Sea Garrison found officer of the Northern Fleet Denis Bespalov guilty under part 2 of Article 2822 and sentenced him to a fine of 75 thousand rubles. Bespalov was accused of having attended the meetings of the Other Russia Murmansk Branch since 2011. It was reported that propaganda materials with NBP insignia were seized from him; several electronic issues of the banned Limonka newspaper (some of the issues and the entire pre-2005 online Limonka archive were banned) as well as articles, written by Bespalov and published in Limonka and another banned publication The Duel, were found on his computer
The trial of Anton Lukin and Svetlana Kuznetsova ended in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in May; the case had been initiated under Part 2 Paragraph “a” of Article 282 (“actions aimed at inciting hatred and enmity, committed using violence or the threat of force”), Part 1 of Article 280 (“public calls to extremist activity”), and Part 3 of Article 212 (“calls to mass riots”). Lukin and Kuznetsova were found guilty on all three counts and received suspended sentences of three and one and a half years respectively. Lukin and Kuznetsova were charged with distribution of Victory will be ours! and Gagarin. Results. 50 Years leaflets and the Vysshaya Mera newspaper during the Komsomolsk-on-Amur rally on June 18, 2011. We don’t have complete information on the case, so we cannot definitely judge the verdict as inappropriate. Nevertheless, we would like to note that, in our opinion, the fragments of the materials distributed by Lukin and Kuznetsova that are cited in the expert opinion, which formed the basis for the charge and the verdict, can be interpreted neither as calls to extremist activity nor as hate speech.
In June, the St. Petersburg City Court upheld the verdict, imposed at the end of 2012 by the Vyborg District Court of St. Petersburg in the case of the Other Russia activists. Seven activists were convicted under Parts 1 and 2 of Article 2822 for organizing activities of the banned National Bolshevik Party and participation in the party; they were sentenced to a fine but exempt from liability due to the statute of limitations. Their attorneys announced their intention to appeal to the ECHR.
In 2013, the proceedings continued in the case of Igor Popov, the Other Russia activist from Vladivostok; it travelled along the similar trajectory as in 2012.  In October, the Leninsky District Court of Vladivostok once again found Popov guilty under Part 1 of Article 282 for inciting hatred to the authorities and the law enforcement agencies and under Part 2 of Article 2822 for participating in an illegal organization. This time, charges of inciting extremist activity have not been presented. Popov was sentenced to a fine of 50,000 rubles (as opposed to 150 thousand rubles in 2012) and, once again, released from liability. However, in February 2014, the regional court once again remanded the case to the Leninsky District Court of Vladivostok on formal grounds. At the same time, civil proceedings were taking place in the case of Popov’s dismissal from his post as sound engineer in a puppet theater, as a citizen, who was being prosecuted for crimes against the constitutional order and therefore was not entitled to work with minors. In the spring, the same District Court made the decision that the activist should be fired; in summer this decision was reversed by the regional court.
Proceedings in two criminal cases against the anti-fascist activists ended in 2013. The defendants in both cases had been previously cleared of extremist community-related charges.
In August, the Zamoskvoretsky District Court in Moscow found antifascist Igor Kharchenko guilty under part 2 of the Criminal Code Article 213 (“hooliganism committed with the use of objects as weapons by organized group, motivated by social hatred“) and Article 111 (“intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm“) and sentenced him to 3 years and 6 months in a maximum security colony. His pre-trial detention was credited against his prison term. In addition, a civil lawsuit court ordered Kharchenko to pay his victim a compensation of 300 thousand rubles. Kharchenko was accused of attacking far right activists Vladimir Sumin and Vladlen Zhidousov in July 2010. The defense arguments about Kharchenko’s alibi, which we found compelling, were not taken into account by the court. In addition, we oppose the idea of including nationalists among the social groups protected under anti-extremist legislation, since they are not a vulnerable group in need of special protection.
The Antifa–RASH case of anti-fascists Pavel Krivonosov, Oleg Gembaruk and Dmitry Kolesov from Nizhny Novgorod, also previously accused of fights with nationalists, ended with only one charge remaining from the initial set of charges against them - Part 2 of Article 213 (“hooliganism committed by an organized group or associated with resistance to authority“). In December, all three defendants, as charged with hooliganism, were granted amnesty in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation .
District Court in Moscow sentenced Konstantin Krylov, a leader of the National Democratic Party, to 120 hours of mandatory work under Part 1 of Article 282. The criminal proceedings against Krylov were initiated as a result of his speech at the “Stop feeding the Caucasus” rally on October 22, 2011. At that time, Krylov made some extremely offensive statements about the “Caucasians,” but refrained from direct incitement. In our opinion, this incident didn’t form a sufficient basis for criminal prosecution. Formally, Krylov’s actions qualify under Article 282 (“the abasement of the dignity of people based on their national affiliation”), but we are convinced that this part of the article should be decriminalized and moved to the Administrative Code or the Civil Code.
The case against artists from Pussy Riot punk collective Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich for their performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior was reviewed in the Moscow City Court twice in 2013, and both times the Moscow City Court entirely confirmed the verdict issued to the activists by Khamovnichesky District Court. We believe that the criminal prosecution of the Pussy Riot members and their conviction for hooliganism under Part 2 of Article 213 were inappropriate. We are convinced that the defendants’ actions did not contain the motive of religious hatred and hatred for Orthodox Christians, and the court failed to present evidence of this motive. Furthermore, we do not agree with the qualification of this action as hooliganism in criminal rather than administrative sense - the act they committed presented little public hazard; it strongly violated the rules of conduct appropriate to believers inside the church, but not the social order in general. The Supreme Court upheld the verdict to Samutsevich in October.
The ECHR communicated the complaint of Alyokhina, Tolokonnikova, and Samutsevich in early December, presenting Russia with a series of inquiries, concerning their trial and the conditions the artists had to endure when under arrest. In addition, the Court inquired whether the criminal prosecution and verdict for the action in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior on February 21, 2012, as well as recognition of the video as extremist, violates the right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In just a few weeks Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova were released under amnesty as offenders convicted under Article 213. At the same time, the Supreme Court returned the case of Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova (later, Samutsevich as well) to the Moscow City Court. The Supreme Court drew attention to the fact that, when imposing a sentence, the court did not specify the factual circumstances of the case, but merely pointed out the presence of the religious hate and enmity motive in the defendants’ actions, and provided no evidence that the defendants were motivated by hatred to any social group. Besides, the following mitigating factors were not taken into account: the defendants had minor children; it was their first offense; the age of the defendants, the opinion of the victims, who did not insist on a strict punishment, and Tolokonnikova’s and Alyokhina’s family situation, as well as non-violent nature of their acts. 
Oppositional politician Alexei Navalny and his supporters became the subject of growing interest of the government and law enforcement agencies.
In the summer of 2013, the Kirovsky District Court of Novosibirsk banned the video “Let’s Remind Crooks and Thieves about Their 2002 Manifesto” (Napomnim zhulikam i voram ikh manifest-2002) posted in Alexei Navalny’s blog and on YouTube in October 2011. The video was published on the eve of the State Duma elections of 2011. It merely listed a number of unfulfilled campaign promises of the United Russia party, taken from its 2002 party manifesto, and urged the viewer to vote for any party except the United Russia. This material contained no signs of extremism.
In the fall, the Novoaltaisk city court fined Barnaul opposition activist Andrei Teslenko a thousand rubles under the Administrative Code Article 20.29 for posting this video on his Vkontakte social network page.
Law enforcement agencies in different regions of Russia confiscated the runs of printed materials from Navalny’s supporters, citing the need to test them for extremism or simply declaring them “forbidden” without any proof. Thus, the runs of For Navalny newspaper (tens of thousands of copies) were seized from activists in Krasnodar and in the town of Krasnogorskin the Moscow region. Confiscation of a large quantity of materials (including 90,000 leaflets) in the headquarters of Navalny’s supporters in the Kirov region following an anonymous report was not only recognized as legitimate, but also brought awards to the employees of the Regional Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Note that the government used these methods in 2013 not only against Navalny supporters. The police seized three hundred leaflets with the party program from the activists of the local branch of Mikhail Prokhorov’s Civic Platform (Grazhdanskaya platforma) party during a picket in Yaroslavl ; the runs of communist publications were confiscated in the Novosibirsk and Irkutsk regions.
We view the law enforcement practice of removing the entire runs or large quantities of printed materials in order to test it “for extremism” as inappropriate, since several copies are generally sufficient for the test.
In 2013, Roskomnadzor issued 21 “anti-extremist” warnings to editorial boards of various publications. We believe that 16 of them lacked proper justification. According to established practice, two warnings received in the course of one year can serve as a basis for closing down the resource.
Eight warnings were issued for the publication of inappropriately banned Pussy Riot video, based on their performance in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The warnings were issued to the websites of newspapers Argumenty i Fakty and Moskovsky Komsomolets, web portals polit.ru, Piter.TV, and KM.ru, to the Neva24 website, and to the news agencies Novyi Region and regiony.ru. Five additional warnings for photos of the t-shirts with a Pussy Riot image stylized to look like an icon (by artist Artem Loskutov) were received by grani.ru, polit.ru, obeschaniya.ru an d web portal sibkray.ru; grani.ru received the warning twice, for publishing the image on two separate occasions. The attempts by grani.ru and obeschaniya.ru to challenge the warnings in court were unsuccessful.
Khanty-Mansiysk news agency muksun.fm received a warning for publishing on the Internet the material “They do not appear in mosques,” which merely cited the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir book. Moreover, the author of the material criticized the precepts of Hizb ut-Tahrir and quoted from the book in support of his argument.
The warning was also issued to Sampo TV in Petrozavodskfor distributing the information about the introduction of national currency in the Republic of Karelia via a news program, interpre ted as a threat to integrity of the Russian Federation . The news program contained a humorous sketch involving activists of the Free Karelia (Svobodnaya Karelia) movement, who printed Karelian “runes“ for tourists and for limited use during art events. Issuing of this “money” was timed to the anniversary of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Republic of Karelia , published by the parliament of the Republic on August 9, 1990. On that date, the Parliament announced its intention to build a law-based, democratic, sovereign state within the USSR and the RSFSR. Free Karelia movement is not separatist, but regionalist in its nature, i.e. it stands for “civilian self-government and the cultural identity of the region” and was not involved in illegal activities. Roskomnadzor’s concerns regarding the possible threat to Russia 's integrity were completely unreasonable in this case.
Kanal-TV channel in Chelyabinsk received a warning “for using the mass media to carry out extremist activities by disseminating an insert inside its “Telefakt” news release of 31 July 2013.” On that day, the channel’s news program was interrupted for a few minutes with a video clips from the 2010 documentary Russia: Putin’s Era and from the story by Georgian Russian-language channel PIK about Putin’s 2012 return to presidency. The video listed events and developments in Russia under Putin that usually serve as the basis for anti-Putin criticism in the opposition circles. The material contained no legally-recognized signs of extremism.
In 2013, the Central District Court of Komsomolsk-on-Amur recognized as extremist issues no. 8, 24, 25 and 27 of the Vysshaya Mera newspaper for 2009-2011. The prosecutorial opinion, based on the psycho-linguistic expertise, contends that the newspaper texts contain “calls for extremist activities, including calls for changing the constitutional order.” These are the issues of the newspaper that served as pretext for prosecution against the Other Russia activists Anton Lukin and Svetlana Kuznetsova (see above) under Articles 280 and 282, so we see this ban as questionable.
The decision of the Central District Court of Omsk to ban issue No. 2 of the 2011 Radikalnaya Politika [The Radical Politics] newspaper was overturned in 2013. In addition to inflammatory articles by the editor Boris Stomakhin (sentenced under Part 1 of Article 280 and Part 1 of Article 2052 in April 2014 for calls to extremist activity and justification of terrorism), this newspaper issue featured the texts of various authors, which showed no signs of extremism, such as an article by Vladislav Inozemtsev reprinted from the Ogonyok magazine, the Democratic Union (Demokraticheskii Soiuz) party flyer from August 19, 1991, “Contract vs. norm” essay by Omsk public activist Victor Korb, “On difficulties of human trafficking“ article by Polish journalist Andrzej Pochobut, “There will be no political colonies. There will be death camps” by the editor of the Free Speech newspaper Paul Lyuzakov, etc. The court decision, which recognized this issue of the newspaper as extremist, was overturned, and the ban was lifted for a significant portion of the materials in September; the corresponding item has been removed from the Federal List of Extremist Materials.
The Morgaushskiy District Court of the Republic of Chuvashia found journalist Ille Ivanov guilty under Part 1 of Article 282 over the publication of the article “Show Me Your Tongue, and I Tell You Who You Are” published on May 4, 2011 in the Vziatka newspaper, and sentenced him to a 300 hours of mandatory labor. However, Ivanov was released from punishment due to the statute of limitations. You may remember that the article “Show me your tongue, and I tell you who you are” was banned, and Ille Ivanov faced the charges for its publication despite the repeated statements by Eduard Mochalov, the editor-in-chief of Vziatka, that Mochalov himself was the author of the article. The article, written from the Chuvash nationalist perspective and telling the story of the persecution against the Chuvash language, condemned the imperial policy of the Russians, who oppressed the Chuvash population. The text contained uncivil statements regarding the Russians, but presented no reason for the ban and prosecution. Ille Ivanov has filed an appeal against his conviction.
The editorial board of Bereznikovskiy Rabochiy newspaper in the Perm region was inappropriately fined under the Administrative Code Article 20.3 for the display of Nazi symbols without propaganda purposes, due to an error by the technical staff, who used the 1930s photograph of girls wearing the Hitler Youth uniform to illustrate an article.
A Bit of Statistics
According to our data, 32 verdicts to 59 people were delivered for violent hate-motivated crimes in 2013; 131 verdicts against 133 people were issued for real hate propaganda (as usual, in some cases we don’t have enough information to evaluate the appropriateness of the verdict, and in a number of cases we can conclude that the statements in question were xenophobic, but the extent of their public danger was clearly insignificant), and eight sentences against 11 people for ideologically-motivated vandalism.  The number of people, whose verdicts were definitely inappropriate, is much smaller. 
In 2013, six people received six verdicts under the Criminal Code Article 282 that we consider at least partially inappropriate, compared to seven verdicts against 16 people in 2012. Mostly these are the cases of inappropriately criminalizing nationalist rhetoric that, in our view, presented no danger to society. They include the sentence to Radik Nurdinov from Bashkortostan for publishing an article by Tatar nationalist Vil Mirzayanov, the sentence to Pavel Khotulev from Kazan for anti-Tatar comments on the social network, the sentence to journalist Ille Ivanov from Chuvashia for an article in Vziatka on the oppression of the Chuvash by the Russians, the sentence to Ivan Moseev of Arkhangelsk for rude remarks against the Russians in the comment section of a news site, the verdict to a National Democratic Party leader Konstantin Krylov for insulting remarks at the “Stop feeding the Caucasus” rally, and, finally, the verdict to Igor Popov, the Other Russia activist in Vladivostok, for inciting hatred to the authorities (in early 2014, this particular court decision was overturned and sent for a review).
One case under Article 282 (against Elena Grigorieva, the Jehovah's Witness from Akhtubinsk) was closed in 2013 due to court-identified violations in the course of the investigation.
However, at least 12 new criminal cases, which we consider inappropriate, were initiated under this article in 2013.
Two sentences were issued in 2013 under Article 280 of the Criminal Code, one of which – the verdict to Rinat Idelbaev, a Hizb ut-Tahrir follower convicted in Chelyabinsk – is, in our view, definitely inappropriate, and the other one, against Anton Lukin and Svetlana Kuznetsova, the Other Russia activists from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, could also be problematic. One new case, initiated under this article, we view as qualified incorrectly. In 2012, two sentences were issued under Article 280 as well, but the total number of convicted offenders was seven; however, one verdict, pertaining to two people, has since been overturned.
The courts issued no inappropriate sentences under Article 2821 in 2013, and filed no unjustified charges under this article. In the preceding year, we recorded two such verdicts against 8 people. Moreover, wrongful prosecutions under this article against the anti-fascists - a group of defendants in the Antifa –RASH case in Nizhny Novgorod and Igor Kharchenko in Moscow - were dropped.
As in the preceding year, six inappropriate verdicts to 11 people were issued under Article 2822 for organizing the activity of organizations recognized as extremist. Six people were convicted in Sol-Iletsk, the Orenburg region, for the creation of “Tablighi Jamaat cells,” three (two in Novosibirsk and one in St. Petersburg) - for studying Said Nursi books, and two (in the Murmansk region and Vladivostok) for continuation of the banned National Bolshevik Party; one of these sentences (Igor Popov from Vladivostok ) was overturned.
The case of Amir Abuyev from Kaliningrad, filed under Article 2822 in 2012, was dropped due to the statute of limitations.
Unfortunately, at least nine new inappropriate cases under this article were filed in 2013.
One inappropriate conviction under the Criminal Code Article 213 (“hooliganism”) aggravated by the hate motive was issued against antifascist Igor Kharchenko in Moscow. Four such sentences against 14 people were issued in 2012, but 3 of them against 11 people were only partially inappropriate. In two cases the defendants, previously convicted under Article 213, were granted amnesty late in the year – these are Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova from Pussy Riot collective and three anti-fascists from Nizhny Novgorod charged in the Antifa –RASH case.
We would like to mention separately the sentence against five Chelyabinsk Hizb ut-Tahrir followers, which we view as inappropriate in its part pertaining to Part 1 of Article 30, Article 278 and Part 1 of Article 2051.
So, 15 inappropriate verdicts against 25 people were issued under the anti-extremist articles of the Criminal Code in 2013; the sentence against one person was later overturned. In general, the difference in the number of sentences between 2013 and 2012 is small (16 verdicts in 2012, not including the case under Article 2822 against Hizb ut-Tahrir followers), but the number of wrongfully convicted people was only half of the corresponding number from the preceding year (50 in 2012, also excluding Hizb ut-Tahrir followers). At the same time, we know of over 20 criminal cases inappropriately initiated during this period.
Most convicted offenders were sentenced to fines or compulsory labor or received suspended prison sentences. Five Hizb ut-Tahrir followers in Chelyabinsk were the only group that received long prison terms, six years each in a maximum security penal colony. In one of two cases that involved real prison terms, the indictment was based on aggregation of the articles, including violent crime charges, and, in the other case the inmate was released, having already served his sentence prior to the verdict.
We also would like to point out that the courts still often resort to the tactics of delaying the process in complex cases, and, subsequently, convict the defendants, but release them from punishment due to the statute of limitations.
Before turning to our data on the use of the Administrative Code to combat extremism, keep in mind that our records here are much less complete than in criminal prosecution cases.
We know of 37 wrongful convictions for mass distribution of extremist materials or for possession with intent to distribute, i.e. under the Administrative Code Article 20.29. They more then doubled compared to the 2012 number (17 verdicts). People and organizations, fined under this article, include sellers of Islamic literature, individual Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, library staff and Internet service providers. As a rule, these people were not involved in actual mass distribution of banned materials.
Four Internet providers were inappropriately fined under the Administrative Code Article 6.17 (“violation of legislation to protect children from information harmful to their health and (or) development”) for poor quality content filtering.
Eight people were inappropriately fined for public demonstration of Nazi or similar symbols, i.e. under the Administrative Code Article 20.3 (compared to seven in 2012).
Federal List of Extremist Materials added 590 new items in 2013. The rate of growth of the list continues to increase, so we are not always able to familiarize ourselves with prohibited materials; in addition, they are often not available (for example, online comments are usually promptly removed upon request of the law enforcement). Therefore, we can not always evaluate the extent of the ban’s appropriateness.
We view the following materials as included on the List inappropriately: 26 diverse Muslim materials ranging from works by Said Nursi to medieval treatises, two Jehovah's Witnesses brochures, the White Brotherhood materials (combined into a single List item), the book by Metropolitan Andrei Sheptitskiy, eleven diverse oppositional materials, such as Ingush opposition websites and Pussy Riot videos, three items banned for what we consider non-threatening nationalist rhetoric, and 14 historical books, 13 of which were seized during a search in the Ukrainian Library in Moscow. The total of 58 inappropriately included items constitutes approximately half of the corresponding total for 2012. Once again, however, we would like to emphasize that we are not familiar with every single material on the List and cannot rule out the possibility that prohibition of the materials we were unable to examine was also unjustified.
 Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The Ultra-Right Shrugged: Xenophobia and Radical Nationalism in Russia, and Efforts to Counteract Them in 2013 // Центр «Сова.” 2014. 17 февраля (http://www.sova-center.ru/racism-xenophobia/publications/2014/02/d29004/).
 Our interpretation of “inappropriate anti-extremism” is introduced in detail in: Verkhovsky, A., Preface to: Inappropriate enforcement of anti-extremist legislation in Russia in 2009 // SOVA Center 2010. 22 March (http://www.sova-center.ru/misuse/publications/2010/03/d18261).
 See: Alperovich, Yudina, ibid.
 See: Alperovich, Yudina, ibid.
 We, most probably, receive no information regarding most audits. Sometimes we know of a series of inspections, but have no data on the number of warnings or other acts of prosecutorial response. In such cases we count an entire series as one item .
 A detailed list of possible charges can be found in our report. A. Verkhovsky. Inappropriate Enforcement of Anti-Extremist Legislation in Russia in 2011.
 We used the same conservative counting method as was described above with respect to the Internet filtering inspections .
 The first such case under Parts 1 and 2 of the Criminal Code Article 2055 was filed against five Hizb ut-Tahrir followers in the town of Dyurtyuli in the Republic of Bashkortostan in February 2014
 Serzhan Svatov was found guilty and sentenced to a fine of 100 thousand rubles and a two-year ban on religious activity. The case against Haidar-Ali Bugusynov was closed due to the statute of limitations
 See: The Supreme Court of the RF banned Nurcular as extremist // SOVA Center 2008. 10 April (http://www.sova-center.ru/misuse/news/persecution/2008/04/d13081/).
 Maria Kravchenko, Inappropriate enforcement of anti-extremist legislation in Russia in 2012 // SOVA Center. 2013. 24 April (http://www.sova-center.ru/misuse/publications/2013/04/d26952/).
 In April 2014, the Presidium of the Moscow City Court partially granted the appeal in the Pussy Riot case and excluded the hate motive against a social group of Orthodox believers from the verdict. However, the participants of the action in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred conducted by a group of persons in prior agreement. Their prison term was shortened by one month.
 For more details see: See: Alperovich, Yudina, ibid.
When evaluating court decisions as appropriate or inappropriate we consider them merely on the merits, not covering the sujbect of possible procedural violatons.
 We do not elaborate here on our objections to these verdicts; most of them were already covered in the preceding chapters