The Art of Ban-2: Review

How local legislators restrict rallies and other protests in Russia

Полный текст доклада на русском языке: Искусство запрещать-2. Как региональные законодатели препятствуют согласованию акций

The Federal Law «On Meetings, Rallies, Demonstrations, Marches and Pickets» delegates the determination of the procedure for filing notices of public events to regional legislative authorities. Regional regulation in certain cases becomes the reason for the prohibition of public events.

We have analyzed 159 regional laws and more than 60 by-laws on this topic. Regional regulations introduce additional requirements that impede the coordination and holding of rallies. Being overly detailed in some parts, the regional legislation contains significant semantic gaps and ignores the points practically necessary for organising a public meeting.

Among the problems there are complexity of regional regulatory framework and cases of apparent contradictions between the laws. We also come to the conclusion that the authors of normative acts go beyond the limits of their authority: firstly, regional legislators interprete loosely the concept of «notification procedure», within which the Federal Law allows them to regulate the procedure of approving rallies; secondly, the rules of approving process are established by regional executives and even municipal authorities, which initially do not have such powers.

A large amount of documents, lots of factors affecting the approval procedure and the poor quality of regulatory framework in general make it difficult to conduct the public events within the law. The process is further complicated by the low level of digitalization: in the sphere of public rallies approval this parameter is far beneath than in other areas requiring the interaction between citizens and authorities.