This past Sunday, “Irina Yarovaya” shred the Russian Constitution on Nevsky Prospect in Petersburg. The people’s deputy was joined by characters from her package of “anti-terrorist” laws, who had come to life for the occasion: a postal worker vetting packages, a secret policeman wiretapping a light-minded young lady’s telephone conversations, and an involved ordinary citizen encouraging passersby to write denunciations on their friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
The activists of the Spring Movement thus attempted to draw the attention of their fellow Petersburgers to the flagrantly repressive amendments to the Russian Criminal Code, tabled by a group of MPs led by Irina Yarovaya and now approved by both houses of the Russian parliament, the State Duma and the Federation Council.
The package of amendments will not only deal a blow to our country’s constitutional foundations but will also require huge financial subsidies during tough economic times. The screws will be tightened at our expense, at the price of impassable roads, hospitals and kindergartens that will never be built, and pension savings that the state has been confiscating once again. No scientific progress, no innovations, and no quality education are in the cards for our country: only Yarovaya and her hardcore approach to lawmaking.
If the president signs the Yarovaya package into law, “non-informing” will be criminalized, “inducing, recruiting or otherwise involving” others in the “organization of mass disturbances” will be punishable by prison terms, punishment for “extremist” posts on the web and monitoring of personal correspondence will become harsher, and postal workers will be obliged to vigorously vet parcels for prohibited items.
Translated by the Russian Reader. All photos by David Frenkel
Putin Reclassifies Battery as Misdemeanor
Amalia Zatari RBC
July 4, 2016
Russian President Vladimir has signed a law reclassifying battery, nonpayment of alimony, and petty theft as misdemeanors. The corresponding document has been posted on the Official Legal Information Portal.
According to the document, battery is excluded from the Russian Federal Criminal Code if it has not resulted in the consequences stipulated in Article 115 of the code (intentional infliction of bodily harm). In this case, the offense carries a fine of 5,000 to 30,000 rubles, a jail term of 10 to 15 days or compulsory community service of 60 to 120 hours.
Nonpayment of alimony, according to the law, will be punishable by compulsory community service for a period of up to 150 hours or a jail term of 10 to 15 days. Persons to whom these forms of punished cannot be applied will be fined 20,000 rubles.
The articles in the Criminal Codes stipulating liability for petty theft of property have also been transferred to the Administrative Offenses [Misdemeanors] Code. If the property stolen is worth less than 1,000 rubles, then it will be punishable by a fine of up to five times the value of the stolen goods, but not less than 1,000 rubles, a jail term of up to 15 days or compulsory community service of up to 50 hours.
If the property stolen is valued between 1,000 and 2,500 rubles, the theft is punishable by fine of no less than 3,000 rubles, a jail term of 10 to 15 days, or compulsory community service of up to 120 hours.
Yesterday, the Russian president signed amendments to the Criminal Code. And yet, everyone, including certain media, are confused as to what happened.
The new law introduces a number of changes to the Russian Federal Criminal Code. As for Article 116 (battery), it has been preserved in the Criminal Code, but in a modified form. Now battery per se will not be punished under criminal law, as opposed to battery committed against intimates or motivated by hooliganism, hatred or enmity. Battery committed against strangers will be punished as a misdemeanor, but if it is repeated, then it will be punished as a criminal offense. It is a debatable law, but this is not the point now, but battery against relatives and loved ones.
The best thing that has happened is that battery committed against relatives has now been redefined as a matter of private-public prosecution rather than a private prosecution. Previously, it was extremely difficult to file battery charges due to the private prosecution system, which assigned the duty of investigating the crime and proving the guilt of the accused to the victims themselves. We have written many times that the procedure was so complex that most victims of domestic violence refused to go through it, and the perpetrators went unpunished.
Now that battery against relatives and loved ones has become a matter for private-public prosecution, victims need only to file charges (that is obligatory), but then the police will take over investigation of the crime, and subsequently, in court, the charges will be supported by the prosecutor, meaning a standard criminal trial will be the outcome. Another good point of the new law on battery is that it does not stipulate paying a fine as a form of punishment. A domestic tyrant will thus be unable to pay his way out of the problem using the family budget. (I have inserted the wording of the new law in the comments, below.)
Does the new law on battery mean that domestic violence will disappear tomorrow. No, it doesn’t. The article will encourage more effective punishment of perpetrators, but punishment is not the only thing. The issues of prevention, effective interagency cooperation, and protection and support of domestic violence victims have not be solved. All these things can be remedied only by a separate law against domestic violence.
But there is a little fly in the ointment in the shape of the following legislative nonsense: Russian Federal Criminal Code Article 115 (Intentional infliction of bodily harm), which is considered a more grievous crime than battery, but has remained a matter for private prosecution. Why? I don’t know. Search me.
So the battle continues.
Mari Devyant is a lawyer and member of a working group drafting a federal law on prevention of domestic violence.
Article 116: Battery Battery or other violent acts, causing physical pain but not entailing the consequences stipulated in Article 115 of this Code, and committed against intimates or motivated by hooliganism, political, ideological, racial, ethnic or religious hatred or enmity, or by hatred or enmity towards a social group, are punishable by compulsory community service of up to 360 hours, correctional labor of up to one year, restriction of freedom of up to two years, a jail term of up to six months, or imprisonment of up to two years.
NB. In this article, “intimates” refers to close relatives (spouses, parents, children adoptive parents, adopted children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren), foster parents and guardians, as well as persons related by marriage to the person who committed the act stipulated in this article, or persons sharing a household with the person.