On July 11, the Freedom of Information Foundation was informed on results of the prosecutor's inspection that started on March 21. The Prosecutor of Tsentralny (Central) district of St.-Petersburg issued an admonition towards the FIF.
On July 22, the St.-Petersburg City Court examined the appeal of the Territorial Election Commission #7 against the decision of the Kirovsky district court that had recognized unlawful the Commission's action restricting a journalist's rights.
According to the city court definition from July 22, 2013, the Kirovsky district court decision is let stand and the Commission's appeal is rejected.
The city court definition is rather important for further defense of journalists' rights. It can also serve as a reason for taking disciplinary measures against election commission officials that have abused the law.
On June 7, the Petrogradsky district court of St.-Petersburg noted a claim from a citizen against the LenNIIProekt Open Joint Stock Company that is escaping from providing the applicant with access to project documentation on the house she lives in.
The applicant, Olga Mikulina, lives in St.-Petersburg, in a Stalinesque neo-classical apartment house constructed upon an individual project by Lev Ilyin, a well-known Russian/Soviet architect. At present, the building is listed as a heritage asset.
In 2011, residents of the apartment placed above Ms Mikulina's one started to remodel their apartment. Within remodeling, they cardinally reconstructed and partially took down the intermediate floor deck so that its concrete slabs became overloaded several times. Therefore, cracks ran over the whole ceiling in Ms Mikulina's apartment so that her health and even life are now under the threat of ceiling crash.
Seeking for floor/ceiling deck restoration, Mikulina applied to a number of official instances and managed to collect much information of interest. In particular, she has learnt that her neighbors remodeled their apartment flat without any project that should be developed before any remodeling and approved by a number of government bodies including the St.-Petersburg Committee for Committee for the State Control, Use and Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments, the body in charge of heritage assets preservation.
The remodeling project was really developed much later than the remodeling itself started. It appears to contain irrelevant information on the intermediate floor decks of the house instead of their real dimensions and technical features mentioned in initial project, working, and executive documentation on the house. It is such distorted data used within the floor deck reconctruction that have lead to cracking of the ceiling in the applicant's flat.
To obtain proof of data distortion, Ms Mikulina sought for access to the project documentation (dated by 1950s and already stored in archive) containing exact real information on features of the intermediate floor slabs (dimensions, materials, etc). But it appeared no easy to get access to it.
The project documentation developed in the Soviet time by the LenProekt state organization is now disposed by the LenNIIProekt company. Mikulina more than once applied to the company for access to the documentation on her living house but received only formal refusals. In 2013, having received one more information access denial, she decided to seek for defense of her rights in court.
The information requested is of extreme necessity for Olga Mikulina who now lives under permanent threat of crash. This information is needed for her to prove data distortion by the project for remodeling the flat above hers, and to defend her vital rights.
The Petrogradsky district court of St.-Petersburg scheduled first hearings on the case for September 17, 2013, 14-00 MSK.
On June 14, the Lefortovsky district court of Moscow examined the claim from the Chief Command of the Interior Ministry's internal troops demanding to re-examine the court decision that had considered unlawful actions of the Chief Command's expert commission upon the request by Nikita Astashin to declassify a number of archive documents (we covered the case progress here, here, and here).
The Chief Command claimed that new evidence appeared, proving that the court decision had been ungrounded. That new evidence was a conclusion made by a state secret defense specialist already upon enforcement of the court decision. Within an inspection held by the Chief Military Procuratorate, that specialist concluded that the Chief Command had made no law abuse when reviewing Mr. Astashin's request for declassification of archive documents.
On June 14, the Lefortovsky district court of Moscow found no reasons for satisfying the Chief Command's claim and refused to re-examine its earlier decision.
On June 24, the St.-Petersburg City Court reviewed the appeal from the Territorial Election Commission #7 against the decision of the Kirovsky district court (St.-Petersburg) partially satisfying demands of two journalists to consider unlawful the Commission's refusal to let them to attend the Commission working-rooms on the Presidential election day, March 4, 2012. The city court cancelled the first-instance court decision and fully rejected the journalists' demands.
In one more long and complicated criminal case involving FIF lawyers, good sense has won at last. The Federal Security Service (FSB) terminated criminal prosecution of Igor Baranov, Professor of the Baltic State Technical University, who was accused of attempt to cross the national boundary with "materials that could be used for production of weapons of mass destruction". The "materials" in question were – paper sheets with the text of the Professor's report to be presented at a scientific conference.
Nikita Astashin, an independent researcher, was seeking for timely declassification of documents stored in a military archive. His applications to the Chief Military Procuratorate had not succeeded, and he was to apply to court that supported his demands. After that, he insisted on bringing to liability the officials from the Chief Military Procuratorate who had rejected his earlier claims. Upon more than a year of written communication, disciplinary punishment has been imposed on the procuracy officials.