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  2. The court in Vologda refused to prosecute a local activist for “making fun of everything that is happening in the country”

The court in Vologda refused to prosecute a local activist for “making fun of everything that is happening in the country”

Daniil Kuznetsov
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The Vologda City Court rejected the protest of the Prosecutor's office which complained that the police had refused to initiate administrative proceedings based on Vologda activist being reported. The court did not see "disrespect for authorities" in his posts on vk.com. Stanislav Seleznyov, lawyer for the Agora Human Rights Group, told 7x7 about it on January 16.

Olga Davydova, the judge of the Vologda court, took into account that linguists had not found any rude words in the posts on vk.com, and activist Alexey Gruzdev's criticism of the authorities had not gone beyond the pale. The court did not take into account the fact that Alexander Karachunov from Leningrad Oblast had written a dozen complaints about Gruzdev with whom he had argued in social networks on the topic of relations with Ukraine. Several screenshots of Gruzdev's posts about Vladimir Putin were added to the case.

Karachunov pointed out that his opponent was allegedly "undermining the institution of power, trying to humiliate the citizens of the Russian Federation, making fun of everything that was happening in the country" in one of the complaints.

A photo of Gruzdev standing with a poster addressing «Father Frost (Putin)» and asking to freeze the Vologda suburban train fares became the subject of the linguistic analysis in particular. Another screenshot of Gruzdev's page from the case papers shows a reprint of a tweet about Putin using an armored airstair. Gruzdev's opponent asked to check the meme with the humorous caption: "Stop getting by from one year to another, become a deputy, steal from the people" published by the activist.

The Prosecutor's office asked to stop administrative proceedings because the statute of limitation had expired: more than three months passed since the discovery of posts, but the court decided that there was no offense in Gruzdev's posts.

Lawyer Stanislav Seleznyov said that there also would be proceedings on complaints about the meme with Viktor Zolotov, the head of the National Guard, published by Gruzdev. It was also Alexander Karachunov who complained about this picture on the activist’s page.

According to Seleznyov, examples of cases on "disrespect for authorities" in Vologda and Arkhangelsk Oblasts show that citizens have begun to use the law on "obvious disrespect for authorities" as a method of revenge against their opponents from social networks.


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