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  2. In Komi, the court acquitted the participant of a picket against “infinite Putin”

In Komi, the court acquitted the participant of a picket against “infinite Putin”

Ivan Zhuravkov
Alyona Zezegova holding a picket in Theatre Square in Syktyvkar
Photo by Irina Leontyeva
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The Syktyvkar City Court closed an administrative case against local activist Alyona Zezegova on violating the procedure for holding a public event. In the summer, the young woman participated in pickets against amendments to the Constitution of Russia, which were held in Stefanovskaya Square, three times. The law prohibits holding public events there due to the adjacent of courthouses, so the activist was fined for 10 thousand rubles twice. She told 7x7 about this.

Activist Alyona Zezegova said that that time she was tried for a picket with a poster saying, "I solved the sign", where the surname of Russian President Vladimir Putin was shaped into infinity sign. She noted that she had not attended the hearing and had been told by a court clerk on the phone that the case had been closed due to "the absence of the event of an offense."

“When I first heard that, I thought I was in a parallel universe. It seemed to me that the situation with the picket would follow the same pattern as the previous two: I would get a fine, appeal it, and the Supreme Court would overturn the judgement of the city court. But in addition to the reversal of judgements, I want to annul the decision of the city administration, which prohibits pickets in Stefanovskaya square,” Alena Zezegova told 7x7.

The Syktyvkar Town Hall has banned actions in Stefanovskaya Square since 2011 due to the adjacent of the State Council and the Constitutional Court (the law prohibits holding public events 150 meters away from them). In November 2019, after local women Marina Sedova and Vera Tereshonkova filed a complaint, the Constitutional Court of Russia demanded that rallies at the authorities’ buildings be allowed. This was introduced in some regions of the Russian Federation, but holding public events was never allowed in Stefanovskaya Square, because the Commercial and Constitutional Courts of the Komi Republic moved there.

After the vote on amendments to the Constitution, several activists held daily pickets in Syktyvkar's Stefanovskaya square. The police drew up three protocols against the participants of the pickets, 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). The Syktyvkar City Court fined Zezegova in two cases for a total of 20 thousand rubles, but the Supreme Court canceled the first fine, and then the second one. Similar decisions were made in two cases against Nina Popugaeva who was fined for 10 thousand rubles.

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%.


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