Wednesday, February 5, 2020

SOVA Welcomes Some Proposed Changes in Russian Administrative Code But Troubled about Others

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 31 – The Russian justice ministry has posted online a draft of its revised Russian Administrative Code ( In its initial reaction, the SOVA human rights analytic center says that some of the changes can only be welcomed but that others are troubling.

            Because many of Russia’s anti-extremist measures are included in the Administrative Code, SOVA regularly tracks it because any changes in language or application can have major consequences for the state of human and religious rights in the Russian Federation. The changes now on view are both encouraging and discouraging.

            On the encouraging side, SOVA says, is the elimination of the hitherto total ban on any use of Nazi symbols, including by scholars and commentators who were only talking about the past. Such use will now be exempt from administrative sanction unless it appears intended to promote fascist ideas (

            The ambiguity in the new text, the analytic center says, raises the possibility that it will be misused. Similar ambiguities continue in several other of the relevant paragraphs, reflecting a broader problem in Russian law which is often written in a way that allows it to be applied by the courts in ways that a reasonable reading of would not permit.

            On the discouraging side – and this may come to matter more and more as the number of administrative violations continues to increase – the statue of limitations for the application of provisions of the code has been extended to a year, up from three months in most cases – and to six years in the case of violations of laws prohibiting actions classified as terrorism.

           That means that the authorities can reach back in time more easily to punish or intimidate those falling under the terms of the administrative code.

No comments:

Post a Comment