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Tag Archive for Law

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

Hands off the Constitution [Interview with Viktor Sheinis]

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Ekaterina Alexeeva – December 12, 2013) Widely regarded as one of the authors of the Constitution, Viktor Sheinis is chief researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations at the Russian Academy of Sciences. He spoke with Ekaterina Alexeeva, Program Manager and Editor, Kennan Moscow Project on the

Russia’s Memorial regional branch branded “foreign agent”

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – December 12, 2013) Russian human rights activists have said that a St Petersburg court has upheld the Prosecutor’s Office’s claim that the antidiscrimination center Memorial is a “foreign agent”, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 12 December. The antidiscrimination center Memorial is a regional office of Russia’s Memorial human rights organization. The antidiscrimination

Lukin: amnesty bill to be passed in first reading on December 17, in final reading before December 25

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

MOSCOW. Dec 12 (Interfax) – The State Duma may pass the amnesty bill before December 25, Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin told Interfax on Thursday. “We have reached an agreement with the State Duma administration: they hope to pass the draft resolution on the amnesty in the first reading on December 17. It will

Putin, Facing Sputtering Economy, Declares a Tax Crackdown

File Photo of Cash, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber – December 13, 2013) President Vladimir Putin capped off a year of aggressively seeking to fill the government’s coffers by announcing Thursday that the government would begin to tax Russian offshore companies and no longer support foreign-registered enterprises. Praising Russia’s improving business environment, Putin also used his annual

Interfax: Zorkin: revolutions bring enormous suffering, society must live within constitutional framework

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. Dec 12 (Interfax) – International terrorism, extremism and crime may jeopardize the Russian constitutional system, Russian Constitutional Court Chairman Valery Zorkin said. “The constitution’s anniversary should inspire all people who are not indifferent to holding a profound discussion of any possible threats to the constitutional system of our country. This is the question

Ministry Proposes Easing Corporate Governance Rules

Empty Boardroom

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 9, 2013) The Economic Development Ministry plans to relax requirements for board approval of various business deals and transactions, Interfax reported Monday. The changes are a part of the ministry’s effort to create an international financial center in the Russian Federation, said an explanatory note that came with a

RIA Novosti: Russia Mulls New Case Against Khodorkovsky – Paper

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

MOSCOW, December 9 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian law enforcement officials are considering bringing new charges against jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and other figures over alleged money laundering, Vedomosti daily reported on Monday. Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Zvyagintsev told Russian media last week that “several cases against former Yukos CEO Khodorkovsky and other people

Interfax: Human Rights’ Council opposed to constitutional amendments, favors broad amnesty

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

MOSCOW. Dec 9 (Interfax) – The presidential Human Rights’ Council believes that the amnesty expected to be declared on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the constitution should be full-fledged and broad while attempts to change the constitution are impermissible. “We regard with bewilderment and concern the increasingly frequent attempts to change the constitution,

Interfax: Law regarding corruption could be amended – Ivanov

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

BARNAUL. Dec 8 (Interfax) – Amendments related to the confiscation of bribe-takers’ property could be added to the law, Russian presidential administration head Sergei Ivanov said. “I will not anticipate the events but certain amendments could probably be added to the law,” Ivanov said in an interview with the NTV TV channel on Sunday. The

TRANSCRIPT PART 2: In Conversation with Dmitry Medvedev: Interview with five media outlets

Dmitry Medvedev file photo

[transcript concluded. 1st part in JRL #221, December 6; click here for Part 1] (Government.ru – December 6, 2013) The traditional annual live interview with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on the round-up of the Government’s work over the year. Asking the questions were Irada Zeinalova (Channel One), Sergei Brilyov (VGTRK), Marianna Maksimovskaya (Ren TV), Vadim

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