The Russian government responded to complaints to the ECtHR by 17 Russians prosecuted under the article of the Administrative Code on “disrespect for the authorities”. The former representative of Russia wrote that this offense is characterized by “arrogance, cynicism and shamelessness”
Former Russian Commissioner at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Mikhail Galperin, before his resignation sent to Strasbourg his objections to the complaints of Russians who were fined or administratively arrested under the article on disrespect for authority (parts 3, 4 and 5 of article 20.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses ). The text of the position of the Russian government, sent to the court on May 21 as part of the complaint communication procedure, is at the disposal of RBC, it was provided in the Network Freedoms project of the Agora international human rights group.
The fact that Galperin was dismissed became known on May 26 – the corresponding decree was signed by President Vladimir Putin; After his resignation, the Prosecutor General’s Office will represent Russia in international courts.
Strasbourg is considering 19 such complaints from 17 applicants, among them the deceased editor-in-chief of the Nizhny Novgorod publication Koza.press Irina Slavina, who was persecuted in 2019 for a post about installing a memorial plaque to Stalin in Shakhunya; Slavina changed a couple of letters in the name of this city and was fined 70 thousand rubles. A year later, Slavina committed suicide near the building of the regional Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Another complainant is Fyodor Krasheninnikov, a political scientist from the Urals, who was the first to be arrested on charges of contempt of authority after a post about judges of the Constitutional Court who approved the “zeroing” of presidential terms. All applicants believe that Russia violated Art. 10 of the European Convention, which deals with the right to freedom of expression, some also complain about the violation of Art. 6 on the right to a fair trial and Art. 5 on the right to liberty and security of person.
One of the theses of the applicants is that the wording of the article of the Code of Administrative Offenses on “disrespect for the authorities” is “extremely vague”. Galperin gives his own interpretation of this norm. Responsibility comes for an action that “is expressed in a deliberate violation of generally recognized norms and rules of conduct, dictated by the desire of the guilty person to oppose himself to others, to demonstrate a disdainful attitude towards society, the state, the official symbols of the Russian Federation, the Constitution or bodies exercising state power,” writes the representative Russia to the ECtHR.
“A special and obligatory object of these actions is morality, and these actions are manifested in the form of arrogance, cynicism, shamelessness and insulting acts committed both in relation to citizens included in information networks, and in relation to the moral foundations and moral rules of society as a whole,” — said in the document.
“Dissemination of information” should be understood as its publication on the Internet, according to Russia’s answers to questions from Strasbourg. The law does not allow, when using the Russian language as a state language, the use of “words and expressions that do not correspond to the norms of the modern Russian literary language (including obscene language), with the exception of foreign words that do not have a commonly used analogue in the Russian language,” Galperin writes. The use of the Russian language as the state language in the legislation refers to its use in official documents, media or advertising.