(Application no. 29372/02)
14 December 2006
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Karman v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr P. Lorenzen, President,
Mrs S. Botoucharova,
Mr K. Jungwiert,
Mr R. Maruste,
Mr A. Kovler,
Mr J. Borrego Borrego,
Mrs R. Jaeger, judges,
and Mrs C. Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 20 November 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicant then related his discussion with the woman who was aggrieved by her precarious living conditions resulting from profound social and economic changes in Russia, and blamed the worsening of her situation on Jews. She confessed to being an avid reader of the Kolokol newspaper which the article described as “a horrible brainchild of the 'Black Hundreds', deceitful beyond belief”. The woman was a local distributor of that newspaper in her village.
The article concluded with the applicant's analysis of the current political situation, critical of social parasitism and witch-hunting.
“An analysis of publications in the Kolokol newspaper and public statements by S.V. Terentyev yields the conclusion that their purpose is the 'elucidation' of the Judaic religion and a negative appraisal of the Russian government, 'the world Jewish masonry', Judaic cult and symbols. However, they do not contain incitement to extermination of the Jewish people, humiliation of national dignity, or violent overthrow of the existing government. Striving to awaken the Russian national self-consciousness, the Kolokol newspaper personified by Mr Terentyev does not call for violent actions. The publications do not proclaim nationalism, that is the aspiration to declare the superiority of one nation. The leaflets and statements which prompted the opening of the criminal investigation do not call for ethnic cleansing, pogroms or any persecution of persons of Jewish ethnic origin. Thus, Mr Terentyev's actions do not aim at inciting ethnic or racial hatred or discord or humiliating national honour or dignity, that is they lack the constituent elements of a criminal offence...”.
“According to the  Soviet encyclopaedic dictionary, its authors interpret 'neofascism' as 'a notion encompassing contemporary right-wing and most reactionary movements which are, in their political and ideological aspects, successors to fascist organisations disbanded after the Second World War'.
Taking into account that S.V. Terentyev is a son of the Great Patriotic War1 veteran and that he actively participates in the political life of our town, the court considers that, by calling Terentyev a 'neofascist', [the applicant] insulted the honour and dignity of the plaintiff, harmed his authority and caused him moral anxiety... The court considers it established that S.V. Terentyev is not a member of a political party that is a successor to fascist organisations. It does not follow from the copies of the Kolokol newspapers... that S.V. Terentyev belongs to a political party advocating fascist principles.”
“...Pages of the newspaper are dedicated to a search for those responsible for Russia's misfortunes and for its enemies who are identified on the basis of their ethnic origin. The editors seek to establish a pseudo-scientific causal link and to create a stable ethnic stereotype of the enemy. To that end the newspaper has published such notoriously false creations, as the Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion, the Jew's Catechism, the Note on Ritual Killings, etc...
The editor-in-chief S. Terentyev bolsters the newspaper's core idea in his article 'Review before the exam' (issue no. 46): 'The enemies have occupied all the key positions in Russia'. And the conclusion follows: 'Russian people shall have Russian governance'...
Thus, the authors of the Kolokol newspaper actively use ethnic affiliation for advocating anti-Semitism, fostering a negative attitude to Jewish persons, whom the editors hold responsible for various unpleasant phenomena in today's Russia.”
“In general, the conception of the [Kolokol] newspaper reflects the National Socialist perception of the cause of human misfortunes – the global Jewish conspiracy – and of the way to deal with it by cleansing the naturally creative Russian ethnic community of biological and cultural influence by other peoples, mainly by Jews. The process of cleansing implies ousting of everything relating to the history of the Jewish people from public discourse, exclusion of Jews from social fabric or restrictions on their civil rights on the ground of inherent malignancy of Jews for the humankind and the Russian people.”
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
A. Constitution of the Russian Federation
B. Civil Code of the Russian Federation
C. Resolution of the Plenary Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, no. 11 of 18 August 1992 (amended on 25 April 1995)
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 10 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority...
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”
There has been, accordingly, a violation of Article 10 of the Convention.
II. ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF ARTICLE 6 OF THE CONVENTION
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal...”
III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into Russian roubles at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, plus any tax that may be chargeable;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 14 December 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen
1. The Great Patriotic War is the Russian name for the Second World War.