Public organization "Collective defense" sent an initiative to the State Duma to decriminalize Art. 319 of the Criminal Code “Insulting a representative of authority. This was announced to RT by the president of the organization, Marat Amanliev.
The organization asks to decriminalize the article, since such acts do not carry public danger, and officials and ordinary citizens should be equal before the law, Amanliev said.
The document notes that, according to Art. 19 of the Constitution of Russia, all are equal before the law and the court. However, the current law does not allow prosecuting officials in case they insult ordinary citizens.
“For some reason, the legislator considered that the public danger from insulting a representative of the government by a citizen is so great, and the consequences are so significant that this act should be regarded as a criminal offense from the regulatory point of view,” RT Amanliev explains. - However, the legislator did not consider that similar acts of the authorities in relation to a citizen should also be criminally punishable. It turns out that an official or a policeman can insult citizens, without fear of any criminal legal consequences, and violate the citizen’s right to dignity. From the point of view of both the theory of law and law enforcement, such a situation is a legal absurdity. ”
At the same time, as the interlocutor notes, government officials regularly make insulting statements in public about citizens - on television and on social networks.
Criminal records and fines
The sanctions for those convicted of insulting government officials include a fine of up to 40 thousand rubles, compulsory labor for up to 360 hours or correctional labor for up to one year.
As judicial practice shows, under Art. 319 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, Russians are most often tried, having also been charged with them under Art. 318 of the Criminal Code (The use of violence that is not dangerous to life or health, or the threat of violence against a government official). Most of the citizens who are brought to trial for such crimes commit them intoxicated against policemen who are trying to draw up an administrative protocol on them for being drunk in public places.
- © Ruslan Krivobok / RIA News
However, regularly on the dock are citizens accused solely of insulting government officials.
So, for example, in August 2019, in the city of Guryevsk, Kaliningrad Region, the UK reported on the completion of a criminal investigation against a 17-year-old pupil of an orphanage. The department said that citizens called police officers to a teenager lying on the road. The police took the guy to a medical facility, where it turned out that he was intoxicated. The UK noted that the teenager was aggressive and insulted the inspector PDN, who was in the hospital, with obscene expressions.
In Yekaterinburg, SK continues to investigate a criminal case on the insult by local activist Stanislav Melnichenko of a police officer on media relations Yevgeny Kryukov. During a protest rally dedicated to the issue of building a new church, Melnichenko insulted a policeman who was dressed in civilian clothes and did not present a certificate.
In St. Petersburg, policeman Viktor Borisenko wrote a statement to a local resident, Maria Ivanova, who was detained on August 10 for an unauthorized rally. During the detention, the girl told the policeman that he had "no conscience." SK conducts verification on the grounds of Art. 319 of the Criminal Code.
Earlier, RT told how 66-year-old Muscovite Tamara Vasilieva, who was ill with cancer, was arrested due to an unpaid fine of seven thousand rubles for insulting a government official. In 2015, Vasilieva in the Krasnodar Territory cursed officials who allegedly refused to repair the road near her sister’s house. The court sentenced the pensioner to a fine, but the pensioner could not pay it. As a result, four years later she was arrested.
People must have the right
Interviewed RT experts support the initiative.
Associate Professor of the Department of Civil Law of the All-Russian State University of Justice (RPA of the Ministry of Justice of Russia) Andrei Nekrasov notes that the legal community regards this rule of law as censorship.
“This law does not contribute to the development of civil society,” said RT Nekrasov. - If it offends one of the representatives of the authorities, you can always file a civil lawsuit. People should have the right to express their opinions, albeit emotionally. So I support the initiative. Indeed, the official regularly insult citizens, but often do not even bear disciplinary responsibility for this. Recall at least the statement by an official from the Sverdlovsk region that the state did not ask to give birth to children. Even ministers allow themselves disrespectful remarks to citizens. ”
Ilya Shablinsky, a leading researcher and deputy head of the HSE Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law, also believes that the article should be decriminalized.
“It's just vulgarity when a group of people invents forms of protection for themselves,” Shablinsky notes in an interview with RT. - In addition, this composition is increasingly interpreted broadly and inadequately. When the law appeared, they were held accountable for the president, which at least corresponds to the description of the norm, which speaks of indecent forms of expression. Now criminal cases are being filed for phrases like "You have no conscience." At the same time, in the post-Soviet Russia, people always scolded the authorities, and nothing is a common thing. ”