Team 29: A ban on public dissent from Constitutional Court judges, and repression.

31 October 2020

Hi. It’s Artyom Kutlovsky, a lawyer with Team 29.

You might know me from my work as a Team 29 People’s Lawyer. Earlier still, as a student and volunteer with RosOtvet, I acted as a claimant suing for the publication of a ‘special opinion’ by a judge of the Charter Court of St Petersburg. For the first time in the history of the judicial system, the Court was refusing to do so.

A similar thing came up again this week in the media space. The State Duma passed a revised law ‘On the Constitutional Court’. Among other things, it prohibits the publication of special opinions by CC judges. It’s sort of a side issue given everything that’s happening in the world, what with the amendments to the Constitution (there are issues here not just with the amendments themselves, but with how the voting on them took place as well). Nevertheless, the new ban caught lots of people’s attention. Over the years, the Constitutional Court has increasingly fallen in line with the emerging power structure in Russia. Just when it seems like they’ve hit rock bottom, they go on to plumb new depths. After the amendments to the Constitution comes this: a ban on any public dissent by CC judges.

Speaking of power structures, on 30 October, there will be rallies in Russian cities in honour of the victims of political repression. This is a burning issue for Team 29, since our lawyers pursue cases aimed at rehabilitating those who’ve been repressed. That’s why on Team 29’s Telegram channel, we have compiled information on that very topic. For me personally, this T29 podcast provided a reason to watch the first film about Stalinist repression: ‘Pokayanie’ [Repentance]. Repression continues to this day in Russia. Those who have fallen victim to it include the journalist Ivan Safronov, whose story we told this week.

Also, my thoughts and expressions of support go to the French. I don’t want to live in a world where there are no lessons on freedom of speech, and you get killed for showing cartoons.

Believe in the little things, and be free!


Translated by Lindsay Munford

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