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Fine for the poster

12.04.2023 @ 14:47 – 15:47 Europe/Helsinki Timezone
Fine for the poster

About the case: Alexander Bagin was charged under Part 1 of Article 20.3.3 of the Administrative Offences Code of Russia. On April 3rd, Bagin stood on Nevsky Prospekt holding a placard expressing his opinion about a special operation.

The case is being heard by the Kuibyshev District Court, with Judge Irina Vyacheslavovna Kirsanova presiding.

– Will you record an audio? – the secretary asks just before the start of the hearing.

– Yes, – I reply. 

– Let the court know, – says the secretary. 

– But it is allowed…

– As you wish… – she shrugs. 

The judge had no questions regarding the recorder, and nobody asked for my ID.

Bagin asked the defense lawyer how he could sign documents if the above provisions were not explained to him. The defense lawyer replied: “They are usually explained after the opening of the hearing”.

Judge Kirsanova inquired about Bagin’s place of work, address, marital status, and chronic illnesses.

Attorney Skachko asks for the police officers who arrested Alexander Bagin and the prosecutor to be called in. The judge did not consider it necessary to call witnesses, stating that there was sufficient information in the case materials to make a decision. She also rejected the request about calling in the prosecutor.

  • What is your opinion on the substance of the motion? – the judge asked.
  • Do you support it? Skachko prompted his client, noticing Bagin’s confusion.

The young man said something unclear.

  • Your opinion on the substance of the motion, the judge clarified.

The judge then read out the case background:

Alexander A. Bagin stood in a picket on April 3rd on Nevsky Prospekt, holding a white poster measuring 42 cm x 29.7 cm with blue writing expressing his opinion about a special operation, and a similar inscription in English. By doing so, he expressed his opinion, shaped the opinions of those around him about the participation of the Russian Armed Forces in the “special operation,” and thereby intentionally discredited the goals and objectives of using the Russian Armed Forces, undermining their authority, image, and trust among citizens.

Bagin occasionally raised his eyebrows in astonishment and looked at me. The judge announced three identical protocols.

Bagin did not admit his guilt and stated that the expression of a citizen’s personal opinion does not discredit the Russian Armed Forces.

Skachko believes that the case should be dismissed for lack of corpus delicti of administrative offense. The defense counsel notes that the provisions of the imputed article contradict Article 29 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

“I also believe that the discrediting of the use of the Russian Armed Forces is carried out by the police officers who wrote reports and protocols on administrative offenses,” Skachko pointed out. “The police officers saw not only a specific armed conflict in this poster, but also that my client did this to undermine the authority of the use of the Armed Forces beyond Russia’s borders.”

The judge went into the deliberation room and later imposed a fine of 35,000 rubles. Kirsanova took into account the fact that the person involved had a job, and she did not find any mitigating circumstances or the possibility of imposing a minimum fine.

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