Bolotnaya and Greenpeace Prisoners May Not Be Eligible for Amnesty Until After Trial

December 16, 2013
ITAR-TASS/Sergey Karpov

On December 12, 1993, Russia adopted its current Constitution. To celebrate the 20th anniversary, the President and the State Duma will pardon a significant number of criminals. There has been a significant amount of speculation as to whether Pussy Riot, the Bolotnaya Square prisoners, the Greenpeace activists, and other high-profile convicts will be included in the amnesty. As the government news agency ITAR-TASS notes, however, many of the Bolotnaya protesters, and the Greenpeace activists, may not be eligible for amnesty yet, as their legal status may not be known until after their convictions. – Ed.

The defendants in the so-called “Bolotnaya Case,” and the Greenpeace activists, arrested under the Arctic Sunrise case, may be eligible for the presidential amnesty after their trials. That’s what Pavel Krasheninnikov, the head of the State Duma Committee on Civil, Criminal, Arbitration and Procedural Legislation told journalists.

What is special about the proposed amnesty

The presidential amnesty in connection with the 20th anniversary of the Constitution provides for the release of those charged under Article 212 (parts 2 and 3), and Article 213 of the Criminal Code only after the court sentence, unlike the other parts of the same draft resolution, where a uniform approach applies to those who have been convicted and those who are still under investigation.

It is these provisions of the Criminal Code that the participants in the Bolotnaya Case and the Greenpeace activists fall under, “even if the trial is a year after it (amnesty) is announced,” Krasheninnikov said.

The amnesty might not apply to those convicted for abuse of power, associated with violence

However, he noted that the committee does not rule out a review of these provisions to make relevant amendments. “In my opinion the amnesty should also apply to those who are already in prison, as well as those who are under investigation. This is a classic approach, but there may be exceptions. We are discussing this,” he concluded.

In addition, it is possible that the amnesty will not apply to those convicted for abuse of power, associated with violence.

Which of the defendants under the Bolotnaya Case could be eligible for amnesty

According to an attorney for the defendants, four of them could be eligible for the amnesty. Those are Vladimir Akimenkov, Nikolai Kavkazsky, and Leonid Kovyazin who are charged with participation in public riots (Part 2 of Art. 212 of the Criminal Code ), as well as Maria Baronova, charged under Part 3 thereof (“Calls to active insubordination of the lawful requirements of the representatives of the authorities, and to mass riots”).

The remaining defendants, Andrey Barabanov, Stepan Zimin, Denis Lutskevich, Yaroslav Belousov, Artyom Savelyev, Sergei Kryvov, Alexandra Dukhanina and Alexei Polihovich, charged under Part 2 of Art. 212 (participation in the riots ) and Part 1 of Art. 318 (use of violence against representatives of the authorities) of the Criminal Code, are not subject to amnesty, said the attorney.

How many people could be subject to amnesty

On December 9, Vladimir Putin submitted to the State Duma a draft decree on amnesty in connection with the 20th anniversary of the Constitution. According to the accompanying documents, the amnesty should cover about 25,000 people. The amnesty would apply to the most socially vulnerable categories of convicted persons, suspects and those charged with crimes, as well as persons who performed certain services to the country.

These categories include persons who have committed crimes as minors, women with young children, pregnant women, women over 55 and men over 60, disabled persons of categories I and II, as well as those who participated in the Chernobyl cleanup, military personnel, law enforcement officers, personnel of the penitentiary system, and other persons who participated in combat, or in other actions to defend the Fatherland.

The State Duma will discuss the draft amnesty law in two readings, on December 17 and 18, with the view to make amendments.