Deputy Prosecutor of Arkhangelsk Oblast Sergei Akulich appealed against the decision of the Kotlas City and Arkhangelsk Regional Court to fine a local resident Svetlana Baksheeva for disrespect to the Governor Igor Orlov as an authority. The Deputy Prosecutor came to the conclusion that Orlov was not an authority. This information was confirmed to "7x7" by lawyer of the human rights group Agora Stanislav Seleznyov.
In the summer of 2019, the court fined Svetlana Baksheeva twice on the new Part 3 of Article 20.1 of the Code of Administrative Offences («Dissemination of information showing blatant disrespect to the state, state symbols, the Constitution, or authorities»). One fine was for criticizing the authority — Russian President Vladimir Putin, and in the second case she compared the Governor Igor Orlov with different animals and verbalized Russian noun shelupon’ (rubbish, trash). Police filed an administrative case on Baksheeva after a complaint of pensioner Olga Ilyina, and the Kotlas City Court decided to fine Baksheeva for 30 thousand rubles. The Regional court in Arkhangelsk upheld the decision.
Deputy Prosecutor Sergei Akulich considered that the Governor Igor Orlov was not the object of offense:
- The judicial acts adopted in the case are illegal and are subject to cancellation. The courts made a wrong conclusion that the Governor of Arkhangelsk Oblast was the object of an administrative offense under Part 3 of Article 20.1 of the Administrative Code. Judicial acts are subject to cancellation, and proceedings on the case are stopped <...> due to the lack of administrative offense, — human rights activist Pavel Chikov quoted Akulich in his Telegram channel.
As Seleznyov told "7x7", prosecutors had not expressed their position on this matter neither in the Kotlas, nor in Arkhangelsk court, despite the media attention. According to the lawyer, Akulich could become interested in the case after human rights activists sent eight complaints about the application of the new article on "disrespect to authorities" to the European court of human rights, among which was the case of Baksheeva.
And still Stanislav Seleznyov approved the position, albeit belated, of the Prosecutor's office:
- Human rights group Agora always welcomes the decisions of the authorities, which are adopted in accordance with the established practice of human rights protection and are based not only on the letter of the law, but also on the spirit of law!
The correspondent of "7x7" didn't manage to reach a press-services of the Prosecutor's office of Arkhangelsk Oblast by phone and to make it clear why the violations were noticed so late.
Part 3 of Article 20.1 was introduced into the Administrative Code in March 2019. The bill "on disrespect to authorities" was introduced to the State Duma by member of the Federation Council Andrei Klishas. After the increase in the number of administrative cases for comments in social networks (a significant part of which is from Arkhangelsk Oblast), State Duma Deputy Leonid Levin stated that the new law was only about disrespect to the institutions of power — the President, the government, the Constitution, Parliament, courts. He added that the law cannot be applied "to any mayor or Governor."