Court: you cannot punish for actions that did not harm anyone
21 April 2021
The Yoshkar-Ola City Court considered the complaint of civil activist Ramay Yuldashev about the fine for planting trees and found that his actions did not pose a public danger.
We tell you who Ramay Yuldashev is and how he was persecuted.
Ramay Yuldashev received a fine of 3 thousand rubles by the decision of the administrative commission of Yoshkar-Ola for trying to plant trees in Yoshkar-Ola.
According to part 1 of Article 18 of the Law of the Republic of Mari El on Administrative Offenses, according to the administration of the city of Yoshkar-Ola (it brings administrative responsibility for this offense), these actions of Yuldashev without the consent of the municipality are an offense for which a fine of 3 to 4 thousand rubles is provided. Yuldashev and his representative, lawyer of NGO “Man and Law” Vladimir Protasov, filed a complaint with the city court against the commission’s decision. The court agreed with their position and canceled the fine due to the absence of harm to society in the actions of the public figure and the insignificance of the offense.
Ramay repeatedly participated in events to preserve the memory of the repressed and wrote about it. It was the concern for preserving the memory of the repressed that prompted the initiative to plant trees in the square near the memorial to the memory of the victims of political repression (opposite the pharmacy №1).
On 4 November Ramay and his friends went to the square, dug several holes and planted two seedlings, after which they were approached by the police and a city hall official. They said that the activists have no right to do this, as they did not coordinate the landing with the Yoshkar-Ola Ecology Committee. Thus, according to the city administration, Yuldashev violated the rules of improvement of Yoshkar-Ola, which prohibit planting, replanting and cutting down green spaces on the territory of the city without the consent of this committee. The administrative commission found him guilty and imposed a fine of 3 thousand rubles.
Yuldashev did not agree with the decision of the commission and filed a complaint, in which he asked to cancel it. He considered that the commission did not establish the gravity of the offense; whether it was intentionally committed or negligently; the fact that immediately after pointing out the violation, Yuldashev buried back all the holes that he had dug under the seedlings, and dug up two seedlings that he had already planted by the arrival of the officials. The punishment, in his opinion, was imposed without taking into account income and marital status. The administration did not consider the possibility to dismiss the case on the insignificance of the violation.
The Yoshkar-Ola court agreed with the mayor’s office that Yuldashev’s actions formally violated the rules of city improvement. At the same time, the judge did not see any public danger in the actions of the activist and decided that this is the case when it is necessary to apply the provision of the Administrative Code on recognizing the violation as insignificant. Moreover, the court’s decision noted that the planting of trees makes improvements to the environment.
In this case, the judge can release the person from administrative responsibility and make an oral remark (Article 2.9 of the Administrative Code), which the judge did.
— Our complaint is satisfied. The sanction has been lifted from Yuldashev. – Vladimir Protasov commented on the court’s decision. – An oral remark has no legal consequences. With this decision, the court says that it was not necessary to bring Yuldashev to justice.
“I expected the administration to limit itself to an oral comment,” Ramay said. — There were 7-8 people in the commission who do not have their own opinion, or what? As the chairman said, so everyone voted. There were no questions. The officials have some kind of thoughtless attitude. I wrote a post on the social network, where I said that we want to plant trees. You could have come and warned me in advance. But they specifically waited for us to dig holes and plant a couple of seedlings to fix the violation. And the near-state media wrote in advance about awarding me a fine. By such actions, the officials oppose themselves to the public organization “Mari Ushem” (meaning the one headed by Vladimir (Laid) Kozlov), because three of those who were with me are members of this organization.
The idea to plant trees came when we met on the day of remembrance of the repressed, and saw that there was a vacant lot in the square. The fact that the monument was put up by them (the administration) is good, but it also needs care. The square now looks abandoned, and there should be a green area, not a vacant lot. Therefore, we plan to repeat this action on the day of the Mari national hero (26 April), and this time we will try to get permission in a couple of months.
I am satisfied with the court’s decision. I am grateful to the organization “Man and Law” and personally to Vladimir Protasov, who already helps me to win in the fifth case.
Sergei Poduzov, co-chairman of “Man and Law”, spoke about the public significance of this case from the point of view of relations between officials and citizens:
– Of course, the consideration of this case has a great public interest, which is expressed in the attitude of representatives of the authorities to civil activists. It is important that in respect of all the activists who appealed against the decision to bring to administrative responsibility, the court stopped the proceedings in the case. What does this mean for law enforcement officers? And this means that the authorities should first of all assess the proportionality of interference with human freedom. What is the point of applying repressive measures in the form of a fine, if there is no public danger?
And now let’s calculate: how many resources did the state spend to put an end to this issue? A police squad was called to the scene, and an employee of the Yoshkar-Ola city administration also arrived. Documents were drawn up against the activists, then an administrative commission was assembled, then the case was considered in court. How much money was spent from the budget? The representative of the State should not only think about how to replenish the budget with the help of sanctions, but also about whether such actions are proportional, whether they preserve budget funds and, moreover, whether they do not violate human rights.
Ramay Yuldashev, better known as Yuldash, is a public and national activist, methodologist at the Center of Tatar Culture in Yoshkar-Ola.
In January, he was fined 10 thousand rubles for extremism because of a post in social networks about the relationship between Tatars and Bashkirs.
On 15 October 2019, Ramay and 4 other people in Yoshkar-Ola were searched in the “FBK case” – the organization of Alexei Navalny, which was accused of money laundering. The activist appealed against the actions of the security forces.
In June 2017, he spoke at an anti-corruption rally organized by Navalny’s headquarters in Yoshkar-Ola.