25 Sep 2017 15:34

Foreign activity on Kirovles case is attempt to influence 2018 elections in Russia - Federation Council

MOSCOW. Sept 25 (Interfax) - The high interest of structures of the Council of Europe in the Kirovles case is an attempt to influence the preparations for the presidential elections in Russia, the Russian Federation Council commission on the protection of state sovereignty said.

"Foreign activity around the debate in the structures of the Council of Europe on the so-called Kirovles case is increasingly looking like illegal pressure on the Russian administration and society, and also misinformation of the global public for the purpose of influencing the preparations for and organization of the presidential elections in Russia in 2018," the materials prepared for the meeting of the Federation Council commission on Monday said.

Such attempts to directly influence the upcoming elections are "an encroachment on Russian electoral sovereignty," the report said.

Experts have determined "the presence of signs of meddling in the purely internal affairs of Russia during the preparations for and organization of the regional elections" held on September 10. However, those attempts did not have a significant influence on the election outcome, the experts said.

Andrei Klimov, chairman of the Federation Council commission on the protection of state sovereignty, earlier said that further debate on the Kirovles case involving opposition activist Alexei Navalny in bodies of the Council of Europe may indicate an attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of Russia.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe earlier requested from Russia additional information on the Kirovles case and decided to take up the issue again in its next session in December.

The Russian Supreme Court ordered a review of the case after the ECHR found that the convicts' rights to a fair trial had been violated, and compelled Russia to pay them a total of over 80,000 euros.

On February 8, 2017, the Leninsky district court in Kirov again found Navalny guilty of having organized the theft of 10,000 cubic meters of timber products worth 16 million rubles owned by Kirovles, and Navalny's business partner Pyotr Ofitserov guilty of having abetted in this crime. The pair were given five- and four-year suspended sentences and fined 500,000 rubles each.

On August 18, the Nikulinsky court of Moscow ruled that Navalny, Ofitserov, and Valentin Opalev must pay 2,164,000 rubles to Kirovles, thus only partially granting the company's legal claim of over 16 million rubles. On September 14, the Moscow City Court upheld this ruling.

Neither party was satisfied with the ruling. According to the plaintiff, the sum was too small and did not cover the damage caused by the defendants. For their part, the lawyers for Navalny and Ofitserov said that the court had entirely ignored the ECHR position which recognized that Navalny and Ofitserov had been convicted as a result of the arbitrary application of criminal law and that their actions were no different from ordinary commercial activities.