Tag Archive for Law

Russia Celebrates Constitution, But Few Russians Know What It Says

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 12, 2014) Russia celebrates Constitution Day on Friday, a poll shows a vast majority of citizens have no knowledge of what their country’s Constitution actually says, but four in ten still believe it protects their rights, a recent poll indicated. A total of 41 percent of respondents said they

Russia Sanctions Update series

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Paul Backer, an American attorney based in Moscow, recently has offered the following original contributions to the JRL on the subject of sanctions and the response by business and legal counsel. Backer, pbacker@skalalaw.com, is with Skalaw Law, online at skalalaw.com. Part I: Russia sanctions: implementing client sanctions policies – Sept. 26, 2014 Part II: Russian companies’ failures

Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps.

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Subject: Sanctions Update Part 3, Practical Steps. Date: 15 Oct 2014 From: Paul Backer <pauljbacker@gmail.com> Part 3. Practical aspects of sanctions impact optimization for Russian companies. Violating sanctions or hoping for a world without sanctions is not a sanctions policy. Effective sanctions policies optimize transacting and protect assets. They work at the nexus of regulatory,

Interfax: Chief of staff says businessman’s arrest damaging Russia’s investment climate

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

(Interfax – October 15, 2014) Kremlin chief of staff Sergey Ivanov has said that the house arrest of billionaire businessman Vladimir Yevtushenkov is damaging Russia’s investment climate. In an interview with popular pro-Kremlin tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, which was quoted by Interfax news agency, Ivanov said that “I agree, this [the arrest of Yevtushenkov] is having

Putin Clans Gridlocked Over Arrest as Sanctions Bite

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Irina Reznik, Evgenia Pismennaya and Ilya Arkhipov – October 5, 2014) Russia’s wheels of power are grinding to a halt. That’s the assessment of five officials close to President Vladimir Putin, who say that a struggle at the heart of his inner circle is slowing decision making as sanctions squeeze the

Russia sanctions, implementing client sanctions policies

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 From: Paul Backer <contact@skalalaw.com> Subject: Russia sanctions, implementing client sanctions policies Part 1. Russia sanctions, implementing client sanctions policies. Skala Law client update. Sanctions’ impact will worsen through 2015. Failing to understand sanctions’ purpose and enforcement materially and avoidably damages listed and unlisted entities. Lack of a sanctions policy renders

RIA Novosti: Between Justice and European Courts’ Rulings on Russia: a Dangerous Gap

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

(RIA Novosti – Alexander Mercouris – August 9, 2014) There is always going to be a gap between people’s understanding of what is just/unjust and formal court rulings. Law will always strive to catch up with changing societal attitudes to “justice” and “injustice.” But law will always more or less miserably fall behind, unless some

RIA Novosti: Legal Disputes Between Russia, Ukraine Better Than Force – Medvedev

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

ST. PETERSBURG, June 20 (RIA Novosti) – Many legal disputes are expected to arise between Russian and Ukrainian companies, but arbitration processes are better than tyranny and the use of force, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said during a speech at the International Legal Forum in St. Petersburg Friday. “In the near future, there will

The ultimate sentence: Where do Russians stand on capital punishment?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – June 11, 2014) Although first effectively abolished in Russia 270 years ago, in the 20th century capital punishment reached a horrific scale under Stalin. Nowadays, despite a moratorium on the death penalty, the issue continues to exercise public opinion. RBTH finds out what characterizes

RIA Novosti: Politkovskaya Case Russia’s Biggest Justice Achievement – Prosecutor

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

MOSCOW, June 9 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow City Court prosecutor said on Monday the life sentence handed down to those found guilty of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder was the highest achievement of Russian justice, but the outcome will only satisfy the complainants when the mastermind of the murder is established. “We find the sentence lawful,

Russian civil society and the law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(opendemocracy.net – Louise Hallman – April 22, 2014) Louise Hallman is the Editor at Salzburg Global Seminar, an independent non-profit organization based in Salzburg, Austria with a mission to challenge current and future leaders to solve issues of global concern Russia’s foreign agents law caused a great deal of controversy when it was introduced late

Russia’s First Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill Under Consideration by Duma

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Katie Davies – April 15, 2014) Russia’s first anti-sexual harassment law has been submitted to the State Duma, despite concerns among critics that its terms will be used to deport foreign workers unfairly. The changes will protect the honor and dignity of “the more beautiful, but weaker sex,” said Oleg

Human Rights Group to Close Over ‘Foreign Agent’ Label

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – April 10, 2014) The Constitutional Court has upheld the controversial law requiring some nongovernmental organizations with foreign funding to register as “foreign agents,” while an affiliate of the prominent Memorial human rights group faces closure after being labeled a foreign agent by a St. Petersburg court. The

RIA Novosti: Only One NGO Registered Under Russian Foreign Agent Law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW, February 14 (RIA Novosti) – Only a single NGO has registered as a foreign agent under a hotly contested 2012 Russian law to regulate the activities of foreign-funded organizations, the Justice Ministry said on its website Friday. The law, widely denounced by human rights organizations as an attempt to suppress political opposition in the

Russia’s top prosecutor slams illegal detention

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – February 12, 2014) More than 14,000 Russians have been illegally prosecuted in the last three years, according to Prosecutor General Yury Chaika. “People are sitting in jail illegally for years,” RIA Novosti quoted Chaika as saying during a planned address before the State Duma, the lower house

Endgame Nears In EU’s Antitrust Showdown With Gazprom

File Photo of Blue Flame from Natural Gas

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Charles Recknagel – February 11, 2014) The Russian natural-gas giant Gazprom has long had its way in Europe, dominating the continent’s energy market and, according to critics, flaunting its rules with impunity. But that all might be about to change. A long-standing showdown between Gazprom and the European Union over alleged

Writers Denounce Repressive Russian Laws in Open Letter

Kremlin and Moscow Environs Aerial View

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jennifer Monaghan – February 6, 2014) More than 200 writers from around the world have signed an open letter to the Russian authorities denouncing the introduction of gay-propaganda and blasphemy laws in Russia, which they call an attack on freedom of expression. We “cannot stand quietly by as we watch

RIA Novosti: Putin Signs Contentious Courts Merger Into Law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW, February 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday gave final approval to a contentious reform to streamline the justice system by merging two top courts. According to the terms of the law, the merger of the Supreme Arbitration Court, which oversees business disputes, and the Supreme Court, which handles criminal cases

Interfax: Russian bill tightening liability for extremism signed into law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW. Feb 4 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that toughens liability for extremism-related crimes. The document amends Russia’s Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure, according to the authorities’ legal information website. “In an effort to neutralize the threats to national security posed by the destructive activities of

Moscow Tightens Controls over Internet, But Those Affected Directed to Workarounds

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 4, 2014) The Russian authorities are putting ever more pressure on the Internet in the hopes of imposing Kremlin control on the last relatively free segment of the Russian media, but their efforts are being countered by those most affected who are offering hat they describe

New Bill Proposes Weakening Presumption of Innocence in Favor of ‘Objective Truth’

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 31, 2014) A bill has been introduced to the State Duma that would replace the presumption of innocence in Russian trials with the concept of “objective truth,” scrapping the impartiality of the court in what critics say will amount to the establishment of an “inquisitorial” system. The bill, which

Russian State Duma: ‘Possessed printer’ or executor of the people’s will?

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova – January 29, 2014) Whether you’re sick of people’s garlic breath on public transportation, or else scandalized by frank discussion of sex on TV, you may rest assured that someone in the State Duma is probably working on introducing a law addressing your very concerns. In 2013 alone,

Russians not ready to sacrifice their rights for sake of state interests – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – January 28, 2014) Most Russians place the rights of a person above the interests of the state, however they continue to count on the state taking care of its citizens, the Levada Center said about the poll held in December 2013 in 130 cities, towns and villages in 45 Russian regions and involving

Lebedev to Walk Free After 10 Years

Platon Lebedev

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – January 24, 2014) The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday to reduce the sentence of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s business partner Platon Lebedev and immediately release him, but critics have slammed the ruling as a meaningless gesture. Vadim Klyuvgant, one of Lebedev’s lawyers, said after the hearing

Russian Parliament Passes Anti-Extremism Bill

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Russian State Duma passed a bill imposing tougher penalties for extremism-related crimes Wednesday. The legislation, which the lower chamber of parliament passed in second and third readings, increases the prison sentence for public incitement of extremism from three to four years, and also raises fines for the offence.

Interfax: New anti-terrorism bills won’t harm citizens’ rights – Yarovaya

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 21 (Interfax) – The “anti-terrorist” package of bills will not restrict citizens’ rights and is aimed at preventing the financing of organized crime, Irina Yarovaya, chairman of the State Duma committee on security and corruption prevention, said. “Our logic is to propose additional measures for ensuring collective security measures. We want to disarm

Interfax: Top Russian law enforcer: property confiscation essential in fighting corruption

Alexandr Bastrykin file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 20 (Interfax) – The head of Russia’s top criminal investigation agency has proposed bringing back a law recommending the confiscation of the property of people convicted of corruption. “This is the most effective sanction for preventing corruption,” Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin said in an interview with Russian government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta to

Trial of Politkovskaya murder case postponed again

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

(Interfax – January 20, 2014) The Moscow City Court has postponed until January 27 the trial of the criminal case involving the killing of Novaya Gazeta journalist Anna Politkovskaya. Thus, the court has granted a request filed by one of the defense lawyers, who needed more time to read the case materials, an Interfax correspondent

Terrorism Legislation in Russia Prompts Call for Review

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) ­ Sweeping anti-terrorism legislation presented to Russia’s parliament this week is expected to undergo a first reading in February, but a government-linked rights watchdog called Thursday for a comprehensive review to ensure it does not violate any constitutional principles. Bills presented Wednesday to the State Duma, the lower house of

RIA Novosti: Investigators and Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Clash Over Travel Ban

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Being Grabbed by Police at Protest

MOSCOW, January 13 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny rejected an allegation from investigators Monday that he had breached a court order not to leave Moscow. The Investigative Committee threatened Monday to seek tighter restrictions on Navalny, who is facing embezzlement charges, if he again violated an alleged undertaking not to leave Moscow.

Delayed Regulation Leaves Door Open to Corrupt Officials

Cropped File Photo of Two Men in Business Suits Shaking Hands and Passing Cash

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – January 14, 2014) Government delays have pushed back the full institution of controls on state purchases until 2016, leaving officials wishing to extract profit from their positions an extra year to take advantage of lax oversight. State purchases are now essentially unregulated, and procurement by government bodies

Decision Looms in $100 Billion Yukos Lawsuit

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 13, 2014) Businessman Leonid Nevzlin said that he would continue a $100 billion legal battle with the Russian government over the assets of defunct oil firm Yukos, in contrast to his former business partner Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s recent promise not to participate in the litigation. Nevzlin, who emigrated to Israel

Interfax: Bill on criminal liability for terrorists’ relatives unlikely to be considered in State Duma – official

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The bill of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party faction member Roman Khudyakov to introduce criminal liability for relatives of terrorist is PR, head of the Russian State Duma legislation committee Pavel Krashennikov (the United Russia party faction) said. “To imprison for a brother, father, son – we remember when this

Russian Village Reformer Released on Parole

Map of Russia

MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) ­ A Moscow artist was released on parole Friday after spending more than two years in jail for a bribery conviction that followed his move to a Russian village in a bid to bring culture to the provinces. Ilya Farber, whose case has become a cause celebre for many opposition

Interfax: Rights defenders say Okhlobystin’s idea to put gays in prison is obscurantist, odious

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 10 (Interfax) – Russian veteran rights defender, Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva has criticized the idea of actor and Euroset creative director Ivan Okhlobystin to restore the “sodomy” article in the Russian Penal Code. “That looks like obscurantism,” Alexeyeva told Interfax on Friday. “Why are they so keen on this subject? I

Prosecutors sanction over 500,000 requests for inspecting businesses in 2014

Empty Boardroom

MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has declined nearly half of a total of over 1 million requests from controlling agencies on inspecting small and medium-sized businesses in 2014, which makes nearly half of all such requests, the office reported on its website on Thursday. “In line with the law on

ECHR Issued 120 Rulings Against Russia in 2013

European Court of Human Rights Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 8, 2014) The European Court for Human Rights last year made 120 rulings against human rights violations by Russian authorities, the Justice Ministry’s press service said Tuesday. “As of Dec. 20, 2013 the European Court for Human Rights had made 120 rulings, in which Russian authorities were found guilty

Rights activists to work for judicial, penitentiary system reform in 2014 – Moscow Helsinki Group chair

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 4 (Interfax) – Russian human rights activists will give priority to reforms of the judicial and penitentiary systems in 2014, Moscow Helsinki Group Chair Lyudmila Alexeyeva told Interfax. “The absence of independent courts is our main problem. Another problem on which we need to work in 2014 is the situation in the penitentiary

A Rubik’s Cube from the Russian Constitutional Court

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Ekaterina Mishina – December 30, 2013) In December, the Constitutional Court of Russia issued a ruling in the Markin case that was supposed to settle the question of Russia’s obligation to implement decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on its territory. IMR Advisor Ekaterina Mishina, a

Six Laws to Look Out For in The New Year

Russian State Duma Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 2, 2014) Besides hangovers and eerily quiet streets, the first day of the New Year also brings with it a score of new measures that were signed into law the year before. From a ban on Norwegian fish imports to protection against ATM fraud, here are

Why do Russians ignore laws?

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Pravda.ru – Nadezhda Alexeeva – December 25, 2013) Do the Russians know the laws? Are they able to defend their rights in court? Are they aware of their constitutional rights? It seems that the level of legal culture in Russia is not particularly high, and even the officials do not read the Constitution. What is

Interfax: Russia’s enemy are seeking introduction death penalty in Russia – Lukin

Vladimir Lukin file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 30 (Interfax) – Russian human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin has condemned the calls for toughening the Russian legislation and lifting the moratorium on the death penalty as a reaction to the terrorist attacks in Volgograd. “We shouldn’t give in to all hysterical calls to toughen everything, close everything, and introduce the death penalty.

Nearly half of Russians welcome amnesty – poll

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Interfax – December 27, 2013) Almost half of Russians (46 per cent) welcome a recent amnesty and about a third (31 per cent) think it is unnecessary, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 27 December, quoting an opinion poll carried out in December. On 18 December the Russian State Duma announced an amnesty in connection

There Were No Bolotnaya Riots, International Experts Say

Russian Riot Police file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – December 19, 2013) An international public commission declared Wednesday that there were no “riots” at the May 2012 opposition protest on Bolotnaya Ploshchad in Moscow, which was dispersed after violence broke out with police, resulting in more than 400 detentions. The commission’s findings were announced as hope

Interfax: Amnesty declared is compromise – Russian human rights commissioner Lukin

Vladimir Lukin file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 18 (Interfax) – The amnesty declared by the State Duma should be considered clemency and another amnesty over 100th anniversary since the World War I began should be declared in 2014, Russian human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin said. “I treat positively any measures of the state aimed at easing the fate of people,”

Amnesty Bill Passes 2nd Duma Reading

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com –  Anna Dolgov and Christopher Brennan – December 19, 2013) The State Duma gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to an amnesty that could set free members of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot among other high-profile inmates, and was expected to pass the bill in its final reading later in the

Interfax: Amnesty declared not resolving issue of disproportionate charges in Russia – human rights activists

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 18 (Interfax) – The amnesty declared by the State Duma on Wednesday does not resolve one of the main issues in the Russian justice system, the Human Rights Watch international human rights organization said. “The amnesty will allow the release of a number of citizens and this is good. This is better than

Interfax: Evidence collection for third Yukos case started directly after 2nd conviction – source

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 18 (Interfax) – Investigative procedures in the so-called “third Yukos case” started two weeks after the second sentence was handed down on former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. “Two weeks after Khodorkovsky and former top manager Platon Lebedev were sentenced, i.e. in the beginning of 2011, the police started to collect evidence for the

Lost Cause: On the 20th Anniversary of the Russian Constitution

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Ekaterina Mishina – December 12, 2013) December 12 marks the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Russian Federation. According to some estimates, over $600,000 were spent on pompous celebration activities. Meanwhile, as IMR legal expert Ekaterina Mishina notes, the constitution has begun to be treated as a

Tough regulation challenges Russian banking business

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexandra Kulikova, special to RBTH  – December 12, 2013) In early December Adam Smith Conferences held the 20th anniversary Russian Banking Forum in London aimed at looking at what the future holds for Russia’s banks. The timing of the Russian Banking Forum this year was perfect to have

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