The Supreme Court of the Komi Republic closed an administrative case and canceled a fine for activist Alyona Zezegova. In the summer, she held several pickets against amendments to the Russian Constitution. Viktor Vorobyov, a lawyer representing her before the court, told 7x7 about this.
After the vote on amendments to the Constitution, several activists including Alyona Zezegova held daily pickets in Syktyvkar's Stefanovskaya square (the Constitutional and Arbitration Courts of the region are located there, actions near them are banned by law). They assumed that the results of the vote were rigged, because "there were far more opponents of amending the Constitution" than there were according to official results and surveys of the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center. According to the Vybory (‘Election’) State Automated System, the amendments to the Constitution were approved by 65.08% of the voters in Komi. 33.94% voted against the amendments.
The police drew up three protocols against Alyona Zezegova and another activist Nina Popugaeva each on violating the procedure for holding a public event (Part 5 of Article 20.2 of the Administrative Code). In September, the court fined Zezegova in two cases for a total of 20 thousand rubles, the third case having not been considered yet. Lawyer Viktor Vorobyov has successfully appealed the ruling on one of the two cases to the Supreme Court of Komi.
"The statement of reasons is still unknown, but I hope that it marks quitting the formal appliance of the ban on rallies and pickets at court buildings. The point of banning public events in these places is to prevent pressure on the court. When the subject of an event does not affect the cases considered in these courts, and an action itself is held in off hours, then any pressure on the court is out of question, and such a ban is not applicable," Viktor Vorobyov told 7x7.
Activist Alyona Zezegova told 7x7 in an interview that the ruling of the Supreme Court of Komi had surprised her. In her opinion, it shows that "justice in Russia is still possible."
"I want Stefanovskaya Square to be open for public events, but a single court ruling is not enough for this. It is important to cancel the decree of the town hall which prohibits holding such events in Stefanovskaya square. But what happened today is a good precedent," the activist said.
The Town Hall has banned actions in Stefanovskaya Square since 2011 due to the adjacent of the State Council and the Constitutional Court of the Republic to it. In November 2019, after local women Marina Sedova and Vera Tereshonkova filed a complaint, the Constitutional Court of Russia demanded that bans on rallies at the authorities’ buildings be lifted. The ban on holding rallies in these places was lifted in some regions of the Russian Federation. But holding rallies was never allowed in Stefanovskaya Square.
Voting on the amendments to the Constitution was held in Russia from June 25 to July 1. There was a clause among the amendments that zeroed out President Vladimir Putin's previous terms and allowed him to run for two more terms. According to the CEC, 77.92% of voters voted for the amendments, and 21.27% voted against them. The final turnout was 65%.