Russian deputy sues a commentator on his blog for insult

By EDRi · March 14, 2007

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)

Viktor Alksnis, a Duma State deputy, has acted on his threat to take to
court blogger Timofey Shevyakov, a LifeJournal user, for insults
addressed to the former as a state authority.

The deputy started his blog on the LifeJournal on 3 February, wanting to
“demonstrate the everyday routine work of a Duma opposition member”, but
became soon unhappy of some comments on his blog.

As a response to comments placed by Alksnis on his blog on 18 February on
the new military banners in the Russian army, which he was not content with,
a user “tarlith” said the depute was “either a liar or a fool”. Alksnis
threatened with filing a criminal complaint against him, and the discussion
continued offensively with the participation of all forum users. Alksnis
identified the user “tarlith” as blogger Timofey Shevyakov, historian and
member of the Efficient Politics Fund.

On 22 February O2TV held a talk show with Alksnis and Shevyakov where they
could not find any common ground of understanding.

The deputy claims that the Shevyakov has spread false information
hurting his national dignity and thinks his actions fall under three
articles of the Russian Criminal Code. Hence, he has sent a request to the
General Prosecutor’s Office against the blogger, asking that he should be
prosecuted for insult and violence in respect of authority. He attahced to
the request 74 pages of notarized screen shots and a CD with alleged
evidentiary material.

Anton Sergo, Head of Internet and Justice company, thinks that while the
deputy has all the grounds for appealing to court, in such cases, the court
has to prove that the insult really took place and has to determine who did

The deputy also addressed all LiveJournal users, expressing his indignation
regarding the lack of courtesy of some users and their wish to always insult
or humiliate. He intends to suggest the issue for consideration in the State
Duma. “Let us start the process of Internet Community against Internet Heels
together”, he said.

As regarding the insult to authority, Stanislav Petrovsky, Associate
Professor with the Russian Academy of Justice believes that the deputy’s
position is not really significant in terms of the Internet and that Alksnis
should not always be considered as authority representative. In Petrovsky’s
opinion, it is not clear if Alksnis’ blog is part of his work.

Petrovsky thinks that some Russian authorities might not perceive the
Internet very correctly and might not be so used to interactive
communication with people, stating: “A person who cannot persist in his
statements in the internet without involving government law enforcement
bodies shouldn’t be using such democratic means of communication as blogs,
which are free to anyone, not just a small community”.

Alksnis involves Prosecutor’s Office to LJ scandal (6.03.2007)

Duma depute to take LJer to court (20.02.2007)