On 18 April, the magazine “Kommersant-Vlast” published an article by Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia Alexander Bastrykin “it’s Time to put an effective barrier to the information war”. In the material of the head of the UK outlined his vision of “ways and methods of fight against extremism in Russia”. A person close to the presidential administration, said that most of the proposals of the head of the TFR is unlikely to have the perspective to be adopted. Nevertheless, highlighted the key proposals of Bastrykin and learned how they were treated by the representatives of business and government.
To ban foreign online media
Bastrykin invites the state to determine “the limits of censorship in Russia of the global Internet” and learn from the experience of countries that “opposing the US and its allies”. In particular, he refers to “the prohibition of electronic media coverage, wholly or partially owned by foreign residents”, introduced on March 10, 2016 in China. According to the Chairman of the Investigative Committee, among the provisions that could be moved to Russian soil, — the resolution of the authorized body of Executive power as a precondition of any cooperation with a foreign online media, prohibition on the employment of foreigners in the leadership of the national media and a ban on the placement of servers online media abroad.
Chinese amendment, which mentions Bastrykin, entered into force on 10 March 2016. Now any publisher of online content, including “text, images, maps, games, animation, audio and video records”, is required to obtain a special permit for state Agency cooperation with any foreign company or a citizen of a joint venture. In addition, online media must accommodate all the equipment, servers and other devices to store data in China.
The Ministry of industry and information technology of the PRC also demanded that media companies refuse publishing under the threat of license revocation materials that “harm national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” “disclose state secrets, endanger national security, damage national reputation and interests, incite hatred and prejudice based on ethnicity, diminish the significance of national consensus, inconsistent with national traditions and customs”, “spread rumors, disrupt social stability”, “insult and violate the rights of other citizens”, “endanger public morality and national cultural traditions.”
Actually to suspend the activities of foreign online publications with the entry into force of new amendments no one. After 10 March, nothing has changed, except that the publication of all foreign media in the Internet now outside the law, told Jing Daily portal famous Chinese media Manager Huang Huang, publisher of the Beijing version of Time Out magazine. “For a while with these companies, nothing happened, now they can’t feel safe. It’s censorship through fear. The ban is not enforced, already makes foreign media “to behave well”, — said the publisher.
In Russia from February 1, 2016 already has a ban on ownership of foreign companies and citizens more than 20% in all media. The relevant amendments to the law “On mass media” adopted in the fall of 2014. This has led to large-scale redistribution of property in the media market and the departure from Russia of a number of major international publishers — Finnish Sanoma, Axel Springer, the German, the American Dow Jones and FT Group. Other foreign shareholders in the Russian media either reduced their stakes in Russian media, or re-registered the ownership in the Russian jurisdiction.
A source in one of the major publishing houses notes that the concept of “online media” in the Russian legislation does not exist today, so that you can understand exactly which websites are offers Bastrykin, impossible. “For example, sites, lifestyle publications, as a rule, are not registered as mass media, so the initiative is more likely to relate to social and political issues”, — said the interlocutor .
Bastrykin from the text it is unclear whether “banned”, for example, the lack of technical capability to log into domains .com, said the chief editor of the radio station “Echo of Moscow” Alexei Venediktov (a minority package “echo of Moscow” held by a U.S. EM-Holding). Phrase of the Chairman of SC “the limits of censorship” does look unconstitutional, says Venediktov: censorship in Russia is prohibited by the Basic law.
The restriction on foreign participation in the capital of the Russian media has hurt the market, further tightening of the legislation would be “utter madness”, said Maksim Vasyukov, General Director of DP “Business Press” (publishes the newspaper “Business Petersburg”, 20% owned by the Swedish group Bonnier AB). According to him, the servers “Business Petersburg” is located in Moscow, and the Swedish shareholder, if necessary, the law-abiding will dispose of his share in the publication.
The representative of Reuters declined to comment. The Ministry of communications to questions about the initiatives Bastrykin did not answer.
Strengthen regulation of the Internet
Bastrykin also proposed a number of measures to tighten regulation on the Internet. So, Internet service providers, according to the Chairman of the SC, the required “uniform rules for storing personal information of customers and users in the right amount, in case if such information will be requested in the investigation of violations in the sphere of cyber security”. Also Bastrykin considers necessary to implement “filters that restrict access to websites containing extremist materials in public areas”.
Such filters already exist, says the founder of “the Safe Internet” Vitaly Sattarov. In Moscow from large operators install filters deals MGTS, reminds the head of the noncommercial organization “Moskomsporta” Artem Kozlyuk. In addition, the major players of the market of public Network access, such as “Maxim Telecom” (in particular, it provides Wi-Fi in the Moscow metro) and Hot Wi-Fi, ago introduced user authorization for the mobile telephone number or account in a social network, emphasizes Sattarov. Filter information, for example from potentially offensive content, operators are required by law and now, notes the expert. Sattarov believes that speech can go about the software providers, the technical capacity to detect content included in the list of extremist materials by the Ministry of justice. This technology is worth millions of dollars and is not available to small market players, he says.
Another proposal Bastrykin — “extrajudicial (administrative) order of inclusion of information in the Federal list of extremist materials, as well as blocking domain names of websites that spread extremist and radical nationalist.” This initiative is “controversial”, said the Chairman of state Duma Committee on information policy, IT and communications Leonid Levin: “the Existing system of extrajudicial blocking of extremist content by the decision of the Prosecutor General or his deputies […] adequate and meets international standards.”
Put the denial of the Crimean referendum
Denying the outcome of the referendum on joining of Crimea to Russia should be included in article of the criminal code “Public calls to extremist activities” (article 280), says Bastrykin. Also, according to him, the criminal code should be supplemented by a sign, “suggesting appeals to extremist activities if they involve the falsification of information about historical facts and events”.
Bastrykin refers to international experience. For example, the Chairman of the TFR claims that in Israel there is a law punishing denial of the Holocaust, and in France there is a criminal responsibility for denying the Armenian genocide. In Israel there is such a law and prescribes punishment till five years of imprisonment, but with France Bastrykin made a mistake. The U.S. Senate approved such a bill on January 23, 2012, but after a month the constitutional Council of France recognized that the document did not comply with the Basic law of the country, and the law has not been adopted.
State Duma deputies and Federation Council members belong to the initiative Bastrykin carefully. The member of the constitutional Committee of the state Duma, the United Russia Vladimir Ponevejsky said that the non-recognition of the referendum results is “extremist tunes”, but the question whether in this case criminal liability, could not answer. According to the Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Konstantin Kosachev, we must first “clearly prescribe the legal parameters”. State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin refused to evaluate this idea.
But Bastrykin supported the first Deputy Chairman of Committee of Federation Council on defense and security Frants Klintsevich. “Ideology Bastrykin close to me, from the point of view of keeping order I support him. Sometimes because of the imperfection of the legislation of the Russian people, under the guise of liberal demagoguery, trying to harm the state”, — he explained his position .
Nonetheless, the adviser of the constitutional court Tamara Morshchakova believes that this initiative does not meet the standards of criminal law. “The composition of acts that are prohibited under the criminal code, must be clear, understandable and non-arbitrary interpretation. These formulations allow for any arbitrary application,” said Morshchakova .
To deprive the relatives of terrorists benefits
Bastrykin proposes to deprive the close relatives of the persons involved in terrorism, the right to benefits for loss of breadwinner and other welfare benefits.
Previously, the principle of collective responsibility has already been proposed to introduce the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov. “Came the end time when he said that parents are not responsible for the actions of the sons or daughters. In Chechnya will answer!” — he wrote on his account on Instagram after the terrorist attack in Grozny in December 2014. After that Chechnya was demolished several houses of relatives of militants. The words Kadyrov, has sparked criticism from human rights defenders and provoked the conflict of the head of Chechnya with the head of the “Committee against torture” Igor Kalapini.
Against the demolition of houses, made even President Vladimir Putin. “As a rule, relatives of people who commit terrorist acts, know about it. This is at least in the vast majority of cases. But it does not give anyone, including the head of Chechnya, the right to extrajudicial reprisals”, — the President said at a press conference.
The proposal Bastrykin will not be effective, says the lawyer of the human rights centre “memorial” Kirill Koroteev. According to him, potential terrorists, decided to take his own life, unlikely to frighten the loss of benefits, said Koroteev .
Confiscation as a form of punishment
To effectively combat terrorism Bastrykin has proposed to introduce in the criminal code as punishment confiscation of property. The head of the RCDS regularly says for several years.
Confiscation of property in favor of the state contained in the Criminal code and now. But formally it is not a punishment. PT.104.1 of the criminal code allows confiscation of property obtained by crime. This measure applies to 50 of the elements of crime — crimes against persons (murder and grievous bodily harm), crimes in the sphere of economic activity, corruption, crimes against state security and terrorism. Including forfeiture subject to funds that went to Finance terrorism and armed gangs.
Confiscation as a penalty was used since the Soviet times until 2003, when he was excluded from the criminal code. With 2006, this measure exists in its current form.
Back in January of this year deputies from the Communist party Yuri sinelschikov and Alexander Kulikov made to the state Duma a bill restoring the confiscation as punishment for heavy and especially serious crimes. But the government sent a negative feedback on the initiative, and the relevant Committee and not considered by the project.
“Such a measure [confiscation of property] is adequate only for economic crimes, — said the lawyer Alexei Mikhalchik. Terrorism is a crime ideological nature to fight with him using other methods. But in order to cut off the terrorists funding, the law now provides for criminal liability”. According to Mikhalchik, the introduction of confiscation as punishment will not give positive results, but on the contrary, can lead to abuse.
With the participation of Mikhail Rubin, Elizabeth Antonova, Maria Makutenas, Alena Sukharevskaya