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Kuznetsov and Others v. Russia, Application No. 184/02

FIRST SECTION
(as composed before 1 April 2006)

CASE OF KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA

(Application no. 184/02 )

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

11 January 2007

FINAL

11/04/2007

This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the
Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision. C O N SEIL
D E L’EU R O PE
C O U N C IL
O F EU R O PE
C O U R EU R O PÉEN N E D ES D RO ITS D E L’H O M M E
EU R O PEA N CO U RT O F H U M A N R IG H TS

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 1

In the case of Kuznetsov and Others v. Russia ,
The European Court of Human Rights (Former Section I) , sitting as a
Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. ROZAKIS , President ,
Mr P. LORENZEN ,
Mrs S. BOTOUCHAROVA ,
Mr A. KOVLER ,
Mr V. ZAGREBELSKY ,
Mrs E. STEINER ,
Mr K. H AJIYEV , judges ,
and Mr S. NIELSEN , Section Registrar ,
Having deliberated in private on 7 December 2006 ,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
PROCEDURE
1. The case originated in an application (no. 184/02) against the Russian
Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”)
by Mr Konstantin Nikanorovich Kuznetsov and one hundred and two other
Russian nationals whose names are listed in the schedule (“the applican ts”) ,
on 17 December 2001.
2. The applicants were represented before the Court by M r A. Leontyev
and Mr J. Burns, lawyers practising in St. Petersburg and Mr R. Daniel, a
barrister of the Bar of England and Wales. The Russian Gover nment (“the
Government”) were represented by Mr P. Laptev, Representative of the
Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights .
3. The applicant s alleged, in particular, a violation of Articles 8, 9, 10
and 11 of the Con vention, taken alone or in conjunction with Article 14 of
the Convention, in that their meeting for religious worship had been
unlawfully disrupted . They further complain ed under Articles 6 and 13 of
the Convention that they had been denied a fair hearing and an effective
remedy for their grievances.
4. A hearing took place in public in the Human Rights Building,
Strasbourg, on 9 September 2004 (Rule 54 § 3).
There appeared before the Court:
(a) for the Government
Mr P. LAPTEV , Representative of the Russian Federation at the
European Court of Human Rights ,
M r Y. BERESTNEV , Counsel ,
M r D. YUZVIKOV , Adviser ;

2 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

(b) for the applican ts
Mr R. DANIEL , Counsel ,
M r A. LEONTYEV ,
M r J. BURNS , Advisers .

The Court heard addresses by Mr La ptev and Mr Daniel .
5. By a decision of 9 September 2004, following the hearing on
admissibility and the merits, the Court declared the application partly
admissible.
6. The applicant s, but not the Governme nt, filed further written
observations on the merits (Rule 59 § 1).
THE FACTS
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
7. The applicants are Jehovah ‘s Witnesses. The applicant Mr Konstantin
Nikanorovich Kuznetsov is a representative of the Administrative Centre of
Jehovah ‘s Witnesses in Russia. The other applicants are members of the
Chelyabinsk community of Jehovah ‘s Witnesses.
A. Background of the case
1. Registration of the Chelyabinsk community
8. Between 1 997 and 2001 the Chelyabinsk community of Jehovah ‘s
Witnesses filed twelve applications for State registration with the regional
Department of the Ministry of Justice. Their applications were refused on
17 May 1996, 20 June and 3 November 1997, 21 January, 30 April, 28 June,
15 July and 16 December 1999, 30 June and 17 August 2000, 11 May and
24 September 2001. Each refusal was justified by reference to alleged
formal defects in the registration documents.
9. The applicants complain ed to a court. On 24 July 2002 the Tsentralniy
District Court of Chelyabinsk ruled that the refusal of 24 September 2001
had been unlawful. On 28 October 2002 the Chelyabinsk Regional Court
upheld this decision and ordered the registration of the Chelyabin sk
community of Jehovah ‘s Witnesses. On 31 March 2003 the community was
officially registered by the Chief Directorate of the Ministry of Justice for
the Chelyabinsk Region.

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 3

2. Criminal investigation into the local community of Jehovah ‘s
Witnesses
10 . In t he applicants ‘ submi ssion, Ms Ye katerina Gorina, appointed by
the Chelyabinsk Region al Governor as Chairwoman of the regional Human
Rights Commission (“the Commissioner ”), had attempted on several
occasions to initiate crim inal proceedings against the Chelyabinsk
community of Jehovah ‘s Witnesses on the ground that the community had
“lured” young children into their “sect”.
11 . On 25 May 1999 a senior investigator with the Chelyabinsk town
prosecutor ‘s office found no indications of a criminal offence and decided
not to open a criminal investigation into the activities of the members of the
Jehovah ‘s Witnesses ‘ community.
12 . Following the Commissioner ‘s intervention , the decis ion of 25 May
1999 was reversed and an additional inquiry was ordered.
13 . On 3 March 2000 the deputy Chelyabinsk town prosecutor again
dismissed the allegations against the members of the Jehovah ‘s Witnesses ‘
community on the ground that no evidence pointing towards a criminal
offence could be found.
3. Negotiation of the lease agreement
14 . On 6 February 1999 Mr Z., a member of the local community of
Jehovah ‘s Witnesses, acting on behalf of the Admini strative Centre of the
Religious Organisation of Jehovah ‘s Witnesses, negotiated a lease
agreement with Mr U., principal of vocational training college no. 85 in
Chelyabinsk, in respect of the college auditorium and associated facilities.
According to Arti cle 1.1 of the lease agreement, the premises were rented
for the purpose of holding religious meetings on Tuesdays between 7 a.m.
and 9 p.m. and on Sundays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., outside the normal
college teaching hours.
15 . The lease agreement was intended to run from 7 February to
31 December 1999. It also contained a provision that it would be
automatically renewed on the same terms and conditions and for the same
period unless either side gave one month ‘s advance notice of its intent to
terminate the agreement. No such notice appears to have been given by
either party. Thereafter the agreement continued to run for the extended
one -year period, but with the lessees only authorised to terminate it subject
to two months ‘ notic e in writing. There was no reciprocal power for the
college to terminate the agreement during the extended period.
16 . By April 2000 the applicants had been using the college facilities for
fourteen months and had paid their rent o n time and in accordance with the
terms and conditions. As a means of raising additional revenue for the
college, its principal entered into similar lease agreements with four other
organisations.

4 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

4. Attempts to terminate the lease agreement
17 . On 31 March 2000 the Chief Directorate for Vocational Training and
Science of the Chelyabinsk Region al Administration issued an order
prohibiting all educational establishments in the Chelyabinsk Region from
rent ing out their premises for religious services, meetings, and so forth .
18 . On 12 April 2000 the Commissioner , together with an unidentified
senior police officer, visited Mr U., principal of college no. 85, and
attempted to persuade h im to terminate the lease agreement with the
applicants. The principal refused the request. The Commissioner demanded
to see the agreement and took a photocopy of it. She then asked a number of
detailed questions about the days and times of the Jehovah ‘s W itnesses ‘
meetings. The principal provided the information.
B. Alleged disruption of a religious meeting on 16 April 2000
19 . On Sunday 16 April 2000, in accordance with the lease agreement,
the Jehovah ‘s Witnesses used the colleg e facilities. Two consecutive
meetings were on the agenda. The first meeting ended without incident.
20 . The second meeting , from 1.30 to 3.30 p.m. , was of a group with
special needs ; most of the participants were profoundly deaf. Many of those
in attendance were elderly and also had impaired vision. A person trained in
sign language provided interpretation at the meeting, the purpose of which
was to study the Bible and join in public worship. The meeting was open to
the general pu blic: attendants were positioned near the entrance to the
meeting place to greet newcomers and assist with seating.
21 . The first part of the meeting was a talk given from the platform by
Mr Kuznetsov , who had a mastery of sign language. There were 159
persons present, including all the applicants.
22 . At some time between approximately 2.10 and 2.15 p.m. the
Commissioner entered the foyer which gives access from the street to the
meeting place, hol ding a child by the hand. The applicant
Mr Setdarberdi Oregeldiev, who is profoundly deaf but has no speech
impairment, was the attendant on duty. He went out into the foyer to greet
the Commissioner and the child and show them to a seat. Realising that th e
visitor was not deaf, another applicant , Mr Dmitri Gashkov, who did not
have impaired speech or hearing, went to assist. He invited the
Commissioner into the meeting hall and offered her a chair; she refused and
said that the police were about to arrive.
23 . After this brief exchange the Commissioner left the foyer. The
speaker went on with his talk, which ended at approximately 2.25 p.m.
24 . The second part of the meeting was conducted in sign language. This
part was in progress, with about 15 minutes left and 45 minutes to go before
the end of the contracted rental time of 4 p.m., when the Commissioner

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 5

again entered the foyer, this time without the child. She was now
accompanied by Mr Tomskiy, managing di rector of the Commissioner –
affiliated commercial company Man. Law. Power, and by two senior police
officers, Mr Vildanov, deputy head of the District Inspectors ‘ Service of the
Traktorozavodskiy Police Department of Chelyabinsk, and Mr Lozovyagin ,
a senior district inspector with the same department. Mr Tomskiy was
holding and using a camcorder to film.
25 . The Commissioner led the way forward and walked to the threshold
of the door into the meeting hall. Mr Tomskiy was a short distance behind,
filming with the camcorder. One of t he applicant s, Ms Lappo, who was not
hearing -impaired and was sitting close to the door in a position to observe
the events, later testified before the District Court as follows:
“On 16 April 2000 a woman accompanied by two police officers and a man in plain
clothes came to the meeting. They stood in the entrance so that I couldn ‘t see the
programme. The Commissioner said to one of the men ‘Stop the meeting ‘, but he
hesitated and said ‘But they are deaf mutes ‘.
I told one of the congregation to go and get Konstantin [Kuznetsov]. When
Konstantin came out to them there was a conversation with raised voices . The
Commissioner asked if there were children in the hall and whether they were all with
their p arents. Then they asked Konstantin for his passport in an unpleasant manner …
…When I found out who the Commissioner was I was very displeased. I demand
that you fire her from her position in the Human Rights Commission …”
When asked by the judge what the Commissioner had said to the police
officer, Ms Lappo responded:
“She said: ‘You – go up on to the stage and say that the congregation has to
disperse ‘.”
26 . Mr Kuznetsov approached the Commissioner and the police officers.
As he was standing in the doorway with his back to the meeting hall, the
police officer Mr Lozovyagin asked him for his identity papers. He also
asked Mr Kuznetsov whether he had a registered residence in Chelyabinsk.
Mr Lozovyagin testified before the District Court as follows:
“So I asked him [Kuznetsov] to show me his passport. It showed that he was
registered in the Krasnodar Region. I told him that he did not have the right to conduct
arrangements without documents”.
Mr Kuznetsov submit ted that th at statement had been incorrect; it was
true that his registered place of birth was in the Krasnodar Region, but he
also had a proper ly and lawful ly registered temporary residence in
Chelyabinsk.
27 . In his testimony befor e the District Court, Mr Lozovyagin continued
as follows :
“I told Kuznetsov that their organisation did not have the right to conduct its
activities without the appropriate documents. He promised to bring the documents to

6 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

the police station. I asked him to produce the documents. He said ‘They exist and are
elsewhere ‘, but which documents and where he did not say. I asked him for a
document confirming his relationship to the organisation…”
Responding to the judge ‘s question about the violations of law and order
that he had observed, Mr Lozovyagin said:
“Yes, to start with a meeting of an organisation whose a ctivities could not be
confirmed by any documents… By law I had to stop the activities until the documents
were produced.”
This was confirmed by the police officer Mr Vildanov who spoke as
follows before the District Court :
“Lozovyagin said that the meet ing should no longer be conducted and that
documents should be prepared giving permission [for services of worship in
educational establishments ].”
In their written submissions on the admissibility and merits of the case ,
the Government indicated that Mr Lozovyagin had invited Mr Kuznetsov to
cancel all events until such time as the appropriate documents had been
produced.
28 . Mr Kuznetsov submit ted that he had been faced with authoritarian
demands and the intimidating behaviour of the Commissioner and the police
and had thought it best to comply. He described the situation in the
following manner :
“I believe that we were conducting the meetings on a lawful basis . Pre ssure was
being put on me. Tomskiy gave me an official warning. I was afraid they would start
removing those present at the meeting by force. Vildanov and Lozovyagin were in
uniform. I understood that they were in a position of authority and must be obeyed …”
29 . Mr Kuznetsov went to the platform, interrupted the Bible discussion
and made an announcement in sign language : “Police. We have to submit”.
The attendees offered no resistance. They gathered their personal
belongings and f iled out of the meeting place and the foyer. The
Commissioner and the police officers stood outside the building and
watched; Mr Tomskiy was no longer filming.
30 . According to the applicants, the Commissioner came up with several
conflicting and mutually exclusive versions of her role in the events.
Initially she maintained that the visit had been purely for the purpose of
fact -finding; that neither she nor the police had done anything to cause the
meeting to be stopped; and that M r Kuznetsov had stopped the meeting
entirely of his own free will. As the case progressed and more evidence was
heard from eyewitnesses who testified to the part played by her and the
police, the Commissioner eventually admitted that steps had indeed been
taken to stop the meeting ; however, she blamed the police. She insisted that
she had made no demands to Mr Kuznetsov as the operation had been
organised and carried out by the police officials. At the trial, however , she
was pressed to say that she had agr eed with and supported the police

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 7

decision. Finally, in explaining her agreement with the police decision and
when pressed as to why, as Chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission ,
she had given her agreement , she gave the following answer:
“I still conside r these actions to be lawful – I was defending the rights of all the
children who study at college no. 85.
[Question:] In which documents is information about the danger of Jehovah ‘s
Witnesses to the neighbourhood contained?
[The Commissioner :] As far as I ‘m concerned, the reports in the press are
sufficient .”
C. Termination of the lease agreement
31 . On 17 April 2000, the day after the disruption of the religious
meeting, the principal of college no. 85 informed Mr Z. that the lea se
agreement between the college and the community of Jehovah ‘s Witnesses
would be terminated as of 1 May 2000 “because of certain irregularities
committed by the college administration at the time of its signing”.
D. The a pplicants ‘ complaints and judici al proceedings
1. Complaint to a prosecutor ‘s office
32 . On an unspecified date the applicants complained to the Chelyabinsk
town prosecutor about the actions of the Commissioner and the police
officers. They requested a criminal investigation into the officials ‘ actions.
33 . The prosecutor ‘s office put questions to the Commissioner ,
Mr Lozovyagin and Mr Vildanov. In their written statements of 3 May 2000
the officials claimed that they had investigated a c omplaint by a 15 -year -old
girl who had been “lured” into the Jehovah ‘s Witnesses “sect” . The
Commissioner stated that “Lozovyagin and Vildanov [had] decided to halt
the event, which was being held by an unknown organisation in sign
language”. Mr Lozovyagin did not deny that he had asked Mr Kuznetsov for
documents and told him that the event would be halted until such time as
they had been produced. Mr Vildanov testified in the same vein. As to the
lawfulness of thei r actions, all three officials claimed that, as it was not
registered with the State as a legal entity, the Chelyabinsk community of
Jehovah ‘s Witnesses had no right to hold religious services and that the
lease agreement with the college principal had bee n null and void.
34 . On an unspecified date the prosecutor ‘s office decided not to institute
criminal proceedings against the Commissioner and the police officers.

8 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

2. Proceedings before the courts
35 . On 1 1 July 2000 the applicants filed a civil complaint with the
Sovietskiy District Court of Chelyabinsk alleging unlawful actions on the
part of the Commissioner .
36 . On 13 November 2000 the applicants amended their complaint and
join ed Mr Tomskiy, Mr Lozovyagin, Mr Vildanov and Mr Kuryshkin,
deputy head of the Traktorozavodskiy police department, as co -defendants.
The applicants alleged violations of their rights to freedom of religion and
freedom of association , as guaranteed both by the Russian Constitution and
the Convention.
37 . During the trial t he presiding judge did not consent to the use of
audio -recording equipment provided by the applicants ‘ lawyers . However,
this injunction applied only to advocates and one of the applicants was able
to record the trial on a personal audio recorder.
38 . On 25 January 2001 the Sovietskiy District Court of Chelyabinsk
gave judgment. It found it established that the Commissioner , Mr Tomskiy,
Mr Lozovyagin and Mr Vildanov had arrived at college no. 85 on 16 April
on a fact -finding mission to check whether a religious meeting had been
taking place there. However, as it had been Mr Kuznetsov who had got up
on the stage and announced , in sign language, that the meeting was to end,
the District Court found that the applicants had failed to show that the
religious meeting had been terminated on the defendants ‘ orders. As regards
the assessment of the evidence given by the applicants, th e District Court
held as follows:
“Assessing the statements given by certain plaintiffs, and in particular by Ms Lappo
and M s Kadyrova, who claimed that they had heard Ms Gorina giving the police
officers the instruction to halt the meeting and that they, in turn, had relayed it to Mr
Kuznetsov … the court takes into account the fact that these individuals are interested
in the outcome of the proceedings and, for that reason, the court views their
submissions critically …
During the trial, none of the St ate officials … admitted to taking action to halt the
meeting; their position concurs with the witness statements given by many of the
plaintiffs , who confirmed that they had not entered the hall but remained in the foyer ”.
The District Court dismissed the applicants ‘ complaint for their failure to
prove that the early termination of the meeting had been brought about by
the Commissioner and her aides .
39 . The applicants filed a statement of appeal. They pointed to multiple
admissions by the Commissioner and the police officers, before the District
Court and in their statements to the prosecutor dated 3 May 2000, that they
had instructed Mr Kuznetsov to t erminate the meeting. They also submitted
that the concordant statements of fifteen applicants could not be rejected as
those of “interested witnesses” and that the District Court had not specified

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 9

what the applicants ‘ “interest” had been, given that no cl aim for damages
had been filed .
40 . On 28 June 2001 the Chelyabinsk Regional Court, ruling on an
appeal by the applicants, upheld the judgment of 25 January 2001. The
Regional Court repeated verbatim the reasoning of the District C ourt. It did
not address the arguments set out in the statement of appeal.
3. Complaint to the Ombudsman
41. The applicants also complained about the actions of the regional
Commissioner to Mr Mironov, Ombudsman of the Russian Fed eration.
42 . On 1 December 2000 the Ombudsman sent a letter to Mr Ustinov,
the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation. The Ombudsman strongly
condemned the use of derogatory terms such as “sect” and “totalitarian sect”
in the documents issued by State officials. In its relevant part the letter read
as follows:
“…In particular, the letter from the deputy Prosecutor General, Ye.G.Chuganov, to
the Chairwoman of the Governor ‘s Commission for Human Rights in the Chelyabinsk
Regio n, Ye.V.Gorina, was widely distributed… It recommended using as reference
material on the activity of the Jehovah ‘s Witnesses the book An Introduction to
Sectarianism by A. Dworkin, and the handbook New Destructive and Occult -Related
Religious Organisati ons in Russia , prepared by the Missionary Department of the
Moscow Patriarchate [of the Russian Orthodox Church]…
The publication referred to in the letter is highly condemnatory in respect of certain
faiths . It reflects the judgment of one religious organisation about others and its
contents serve to prove the ‘authenticity ‘ of one religion and the ‘falseness ‘ of the
other(s)…
The situation is further aggravated by the fact that Chuganov ‘s letter was used in
trials wher e it was portrayed as reflect ing the official stance taken by the Prosecutor
General ‘s Office of Russia. For example, in Chelyabinsk, in the course of examination
of a complaint by the local community of Jehovah ‘s Witnesses against the
Chairwoman of the re gional Commission for Human Rights Ms Gorina, the latter
constantly referred to Dworkin ‘s book as a handbook recommended by the Prosecutor
General ‘s Office that contained reliable information on the activity of so -called
destructive sects, including the co mmunity of Jehovah ‘s Witnesses. This was used to
justify the extremely heavy -handed conduct of the municipal authorities towards the
Jehovah ‘s Witnesses, in particular their breaking -up, with the aid of the police, of the
believers ‘ prayer meeting being he ld on the premises which they had been renting for
an extended period of time.”

10 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
A. Statutory provisions
1. Constitution of the Russian Federation
43 . Article 29 guarantees freedom of relig ion, including the right to
profess either alone or in community with others any religion or to profess
no religion at all, to freely choose, have and share religious and other beliefs
and to manifest them in practice.
2. Religions Act of 26 September 1997
44 . The State may not interfere with the activities of religious
associations provided that they comply with the law (section 4 § 2) . State
and other public officials may not use their position to foster any s pecific
attitude towards a religion (section 4 § 4).
45 . Religious associations may take the form of either a religious group
or a religious organisation (section 6 § 2) . A religious group carries on its
activit ies without State re gistration and without obtaining legal entity status
(section 7 § 1). The right to use rented property for religious purposes is
conferred only on registered religious organisations; religious groups may
only use premis es provided by participants (section 22).
46 . Services of w orship and other religious rites and ceremonies may be
performed without interference in buildings and structures intended for
worship and their adjacent areas, and in other premises made available to
religiou s organisations for these purposes (section 16 § 2).
3. Law of 27 April 1993 on complaints about actions and decisions
imp inging upon the rights and freedoms of citizens
47 . A court of general jurisdiction may hear complaints abou t actions or
decisions of S tate and public officials which infringe citizens ‘ rights or
freedoms or prevent citizens from exercising their rights and freedoms. It is
incumbent on the officials concerned to demonstrate the lawfulnes s of their
actions or decisions (section 2).
4. Education Act of 10 July 1992 (as amended on 16 November 1997)
48 . The Education Act prohibits structural units of political parties,
political and religious movements and organisations from being set up and
operated in State and municipal educational establishments and education
management bodies (section 1 § 5 ).
49 . An educational establishment may lease and rent out property.
Rent al income must be used for educational needs (sec tion 39 § 11).

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 11

B. Case -law of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation
50 . On 30 July 1999 a deputy President of the Supreme Court ruled on
the complaint brought by the local authorities of Kaluga against an elder of
the local community of Jehovah ‘s Witnesses who had allegedly failed to
give notice of a religious meeting to the local authorities:
“…according to the Russian Law on freedom of conscience and religious
associations , the phrase ‘without obstruction ‘ means that no permission from, or
clearing of the matter with , the secular authorities is required for performing religious
ceremonies on premises provided [for that purpose].”
51 . On 14 August 2001 a deputy President of the Supreme Court ruled
on a similar complaint brought by the authorities of Kislovodsk against a
Jehovah ‘s Witness in connection with an allegedly unauthorised religious
gathering :
“According to Article 16 of the Ru ssian Federation Law on freedom of conscience
and religious associations , religious services and other religious rites and ceremonies
can take place without any interference… in other places made available to religious
organisation for that purpose… Th erefore, the local religious organisation was not
required to inform the State authority of its gathering .”
THE LAW
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE S 8, 9, 10 AND 11 OF THE
CONVENTION
52 . The applicants complained under Articles 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the
Convention that on 16 April 2000 they had been prevented from having a
religious meeting without undue interference on the part of the authorities .
53 . The Court notes that the main purpose of the applicants ‘ gathering on
16 April 2000 was to join in Bibl ical study and public worship . In doing so
they undeniably exercised their right s to freedom of expression and to
freedom of peaceful assembly under Articles 10 and 11 of the Convention .
That being said, since the nature of the assembly was primarily religious
and the participants belonged to the religion of the Jehovah ‘s Witnesses ( see
Thlimmenos v. Greece [GC], no. 34369/97, § 42 , ECHR 2000 -IV ), the
Court will first examine this complaint from the standpoint of Article 9 of
the Convention , which reads as follows:
“1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this
right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in
community with others and in p ublic or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in
worship, teaching, practice and observance.

12 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

2. Freedom to manifest one ‘s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such
limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic soci ety in the
interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the
protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
A. Whether there has been interference
1. Arguments by the parties
54 . The Government claimed , firstly, that the applicants had failed to
produce – in the domestic proceedings or before this Court – any evidence
in support of their allegation that the meeting had been disrupted. In their
submission, Mr Kuznetsov , confronted w ith the request to produce
documents demonstrating the lawfulness of the community meeting,
realised that “the meeting should not be held ” and indicated to the
congregation that the meeting should end. The Government also assert ed
that the founding documen ts of the Jehovah ‘s Witnesses religious
organisations did not provide for the forms of worship mentioned by the
applicants – a “worship meeting” or “religious meeting”.
55 . The applicants point ed to the overwhelming body of evidenc e
submitted to the domestic courts, including statements by independent
witnesses such as the college principal , to the effect that the meeting of their
congregation had been disrupted following the arrival of the Commissioner
and her aides . There was no r equirement in law to demonstrate the
lawfulness of the meeting or to show that it was “necessary” or “should be
held ”. In any event , Mr Kuznetsov ha d never made a n admission of the kind
alleged by the Government. The Government ‘s attempts to reverse the
burden of proof notwithstanding, it was incumbent on the intervening
authorities to show that the meeting had been unlawful, which they had
been unable and failed to do. As to the form of the meeting in question, the
applicants co nsider ed that its actual form – be it a rite, ceremony, prayer,
hymn or other liturgy – wa s of no relevance for the legal analysis of the
alleged violation.
2. The Court ‘s assessment
56 . As enshrined in Article 9, freedom of thoug ht, conscience and
religion is one of the foundations of a “democratic society ” within the
meaning of the Convention. It is, in its religious dimension, one of the most
vital elements that go to make up the identity of believers and their
conception of lif e, but it is also a precious asset for atheists, agnostics,
sceptics and the unconcerned. The pluralism indissociable from a
democratic society, which has been dearly won over the centuries, depends
on it. While religious freedom is primarily a matter of i ndividual

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 13

conscience, it also implies, inter alia , freedom to “manifest [one ‘s] religion”. Bearing witness in words and deeds is bound up with the
existence of religious convictions (see Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia
and Others v. Moldova , no. 45701/99 , § 114 , ECHR 2001 -XII , and
Kokkinakis v. Greece , judgment of 25 May 1993, Series A no. 260 -A, § 31) .
57 . The Court further reiterates that Article 9 of the Convention protects
acts of worship and devotion which are aspects of the practice of a religion
or belief in a generally recognised form (see C. v. the United Kingdom ,
no. 10358/83, Commission decision of 15 December 1983, Decisions and
Reports 37, p. 142). It is undeniable that the collective study and discussion
of religious texts by the members of the religious group of Jehovah ‘s
Witnesses was a recognised form of manifestation of their religion in
worship and teaching. Thus, the applicants ‘ meeting on 16 April 2000
attrac ted the protection of Article 9 of the Convention.
58 . The Government claimed that there had been no interference since
the applicants had interrupted the meeting on their own initiative, once their
attention had been drawn to the fact that they did not have the appropriate
documents for holding it . The Court considers that this claim is not borne
out by the materials produced before it.
59 . There is nothing in the parties ‘ submissions to indicate that the
religious meeting would have been wound up ahead of time had it not been
for the arrival of the Commissioner and her aides. The Government did not
furnish any alternative explanation or reason for the early termination of the
applicants ‘ meeting. The C ourt therefore considers that t here was a causal
link between their arrival at the site and the disruption of the meeting .
60 . It is not contested that the command to halt the meeting was given
by Mr Kuznetsov , who had gone on stag e and indicated, in sign language,
that the police wanted the meeting to end (see paragraph 29 above) .
However, in so doing, he was relaying the demand of the senior police
inspector , Mr Lozovyagin , who had told him that the m eeting could not be
continued without the appropriate documents (see paragraph s 27 and 33
above). It further appears that neither Mr Lozovyagin nor any other person
in the Commissioner ‘s team mastered sign language. For that reason they
were unable to communicate directly with the audience , which consisted
mostly of profoundly deaf applicants. The Court notes the testimony of the
applicant Ms Lappo in the domestic proceedings. She is not heari ng –
impaired and witnessed an exchange between the Commissioner and one of
her aides , who claimed to be unable to stop the meeting because the
participants were “deaf mutes” (see paragraph 25 above). The
Commissioner then told Mr Kuznetsov to disperse the gathering. The Court
finds that i n these circumstances Mr Kuznetsov merely acted as a medium
of communication , passing on the Commissioner ‘s order.
61 . The Court further recalls that the responsibility of a State under the
Convention may arise for acts of all its organs, agents and servants, even

14 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

where their acts are performed without express authorisation and even
outside or against instructions (see Wille v. Liechtenstein , no. 28396/95,
Commission decision of 27 May 1997 , and Ireland v. the United Kingdom ,
Commission Report of 25 January 1976, Yearbook 19, p. 512 at 758). In the
present case t he Government did not contest the fact that the Commissioner
and the accompanying police inspectors had acted, or pr etended to act, in
their official capacity. The police officers wore uniforms and were
perceived by the applicants as law -enforcement officials. It follows that
their act ion s engage d the State ‘s responsibility.
62 . In sum, the Cour t finds that there has been interference with the
applicants ‘ right to freedom of religion in that, on 16 April 2000, the State
officials caused their religious assembly to be terminated ahead of time . It
will next examine whether this interference was jus tified, that is whether it
was “prescribed by law”, whether it pursued one or more legitimate aims
enumerated in paragraph 2 of Article 9 and whether the interference was
“neces sary in a democratic society”.
B. Whether the interference was justified
1. Arguments by the parties
63 . The Government assert ed that the meeting had been attended by
hearing -impaired and disabled children without proof of the consent of their
parents or legal guardians. The Commissioner asked the police officers to
assist her in verifying whether this was the case . In the Government ‘s view ,
the suspected participation of children had been sufficient justification for
the interference , which was “prescribed by law ” and nec essary for the
protection of the health and rights of others.
64 . The Government further allege d that the applicants had no right to
use the rented premises for religious purposes. Firstly, religious groups
which did not have legal entity status could only use property or premises
provided by their members and the lease agreement between the
Administrative Centre of the Jehovah ‘s Witnesses in Russia and college
no. 85 had therefore been void. Secondly , the Education Act prohibited
religious organisations from being set up or operated in State or mun icipal
educational establishments , both during and after school hours, and the lease
agreement had therefore been void ab initio because it contravened this
absolute prohibition and because it had been signed by the college principal
acting ultra vires .
65 . The applicants point ed out that the Government had not dispute d that
there had been no police documen ts or authorisation for the raid, that the
Commissioner and Mr Tomskiy were civilians and had no legal authority to
take part in a police operation and that they had travelled to the college by
private car and filmed the events with a private video camera.

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 15

66 . The applicants further submit ted that the Government ‘s assertion
about the presence of children without parental consent wa s untenable in the
light of the facts of the case and unsupported by any evidence. The
Commissioner and police officers had never entered the auditorium but had
remained in the foyer, so they could not see who was inside. They had only
asked Mr Kuznetsov for the documents and never attempted to establish the
identity or parentage of the minors present or an y other information relating
to them , either while the meeting was in progress or after its termination.
67 . In so far as the Government allege d that the lease agreement had
been void, the applicants contended that the Government ‘s arguments were
factually incorrect and inconsistent . The lease agreement had been signed
not by a religious group which did not have legal entity status but by the
Administrative Centre of the Jehovah ‘s Witnesses in Russia, that is , the
umbrella organisa tion at national level , which had legal entity status. The
Government had failed to specify on the basis of which facts or law the
legally binding lease agreement, the terms and mutual obligations of which
had been fulfilled by both parties for more than f ourteen months, could be
rendered void without the intervention of a judicial authority. Indeed, the
validity of the agreement on the date in question (16 April 2000) was not
contested and the notice of termination had only been served on the
following day . Moreover, even assuming that there was a defect in the
agreement, this would be a matter inter partes and it would not justify the
disruption by a third -party civilian such as the Commissioner of a religious
meeting held under the agreement .
68 . Lastly, the applicants challenge d the Government ‘s reliance on the
Education Act as a misinterpretation of the law. They point ed out that the
community had been lawfully using an auditorium outside college hours
and without involving college students or staff, wh ereas the legal provision
invoked by the Government referred only to the setting -up of “structural
units” of religious organisations.
2. The Court ‘s assessment
69 . The parties disagreed as to whether t he interference had been
“prescribed by law”. The Government advanced several legal grounds for
the acts of the Commissioner and her aides; the applicants disputed that
the ir acts had had any legal basis . The Court will examine the se grounds in
turn.
70 . In so far as the Government claimed that the applicants had not had
the appropriate documents for holding the religious meeting, t he Court
observes that the Government never specifi ed the nature of the allegedly
missing documents. Furthermore , it notes the consistent case -law of the
Russian Supreme Court to the effect that religious assemblies do not require
any prior authorisation from, or notification to, the authorities (see
paragraph 50 et seq.). It is striking that t he police officer Mr Lozovyagin

16 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

only asked Mr Kuznetsov about his registered home address , but did not
specify what other documents he wanted to see (see paragraph 27 above) .
Although it is in dispute w hether Mr Kuzn etsov had a valid registered
address in Chelyabinsk or in Krasnodar , this issue is obviously of no
relevance to the legal ability of the other applicants to hold a service of
religious worship. It follows that the Government ‘s allegation that the
applicants lacked the appropriate documents for the religious meeting ha s
no t been made out .
71 . As regards the validity of the lease agreement, the Court notes at the
outset that , contrary to the Government ‘s submission, it was entered into by
the organisation of the Jehovah ‘s Witnesses officially registered at national
level rather than by the local religious group which did not have legal entity
status. The lease had no obvious legal defect and by the date of the events it
had been duly fulfilled by both parties for at least fourteen months. By 16
April 2000 there had been no eviction order , no pending court proceedings
and no other legal challenges to the validity of the lease agreement. Nor has
it been claimed that the administrative order of 31 March 2000 prohibiting
colleges from renting out their premises for religious meetings had affected
the validity of earlier leases retrospectively . It follows that the applicants
had a lawful contractual basis for using the colle ge premises on 16 April
2000.
72 . The Government also claimed that the holding of the meeting on the
college premises had been contrary to section 1 § 5 of the Education Act
(cited in paragraph 48 above) . The Court observes, however, that this
ground was not relied upon in the domestic proceedings and that the
Government relied on it for the first time in their pleadings before the Court.
In any event, it appears that the Education Act expressly authorise d
educational establishments to rent out their premises (see paragraph 49
above). The provision on which the Government relied did not prohibit the
physical use of college space by third parties , but rather the clericalisation
of schools through the setting -up of religious structures involving students
and/or staff. In the present case the applicants used the college premises for
their meetings on Tuesday nights and on Sundays, that is , outside normal
college hours, and there is no eviden ce that their activities interfered in any
way with the educational process or involved college students or teachers.
Thus, the Education Act could not serve as a legal basis for the interference.
73 . Finally, the Government allege d that the Commissioner, assisted by
two police officers and one civilian, had come to the meeting to investigate
a complaint about the unauthorised presence of children at a religious event.
The Court observes firstly that no evidence – such as, for examp le, a copy
of the complaint or materials from a police investigation – has been
produced in support of that contention. Similar allegations by the
Commissioner had been examined previously by the Chelyabinsk
prosecutors , who had found them unsubstantiated and decided not to

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 17

institute criminal proceedings (see paragraphs 10 -13 above). Furthermore,
the course of action adopted by the Commissioner suggests that her purpose
was to disrupt the meeting rather than to investigate a complaint of that
nature . Had there been a genuine attempt to investigate the matter, the
identities of the participants in the meeting should have been established
and the presence of children without their parents ascertained. However, the
Commissioner and the accompanying officers did neither; they did not enter
the hall , but stayed behind in the foyer ; the only person who was asked for
documents of any kind was the applicant Mr Kuznetsov , and no checks
were carried out after the termination of the meeting . Moreover, the only list
of participants in the meeting available to the Court is that compiled by the
applicants (see the schedule) , and no person on that list was younger than
nineteen at the material tim e. It follows that the Government ‘s contention
that the Commissioner investigated a complaint is untenable on the facts .
74 . Lastly, the Court observes that the Government did not submit any
documents relating to the official power s of the Commissioner and that no
such documents were produced in the domestic proceedings . There are,
however, strong and concordant indications that she acted without any legal
basis in pursuance of her private ends . The involvement of two senior police
officers gave her intervention a spurious authority. However, the police
officers were not formally subordinate to her and she had no authority to
give them orders, such as the one she gave to have the meeting dispersed
(see paragraph 60 above). There was no ongoing inquiry of any kind , nor
had there been any complaint about disturbance of the public order or any
other indication of an offence warranting police involvement . Thus , as the
Court has found above, the legal basis for breaking up a religious event
conducted on the premises lawfully rented for that purpose was
conspicuously lacking . Against that background the Court finds that the
interference was not “prescribed by law” and that the Commissioner did not
act in good faith and bre ached a State official ‘s duty of neutrality and
impartiality vis -à-vis the applicant s’ religious congregation (see Hasan and
Chaush v. Bulgaria [GC], no. 30985/96, § 62 , ECHR 2000 -XI ). Since the
Court has already found that the interference with the applic ants ‘ right was
not “in accordance with the law”, t his finding makes it unnecessary to
determine whether it pursued a legitimate aim and was necessary in a
democratic society (see Gartukayev v. Russia , no. 71933/01, § 21,
13 December 2005 ).
75 . There has therefore been a violation of Article 9 of the Convention
on account of the disruption of the applicants ‘ religious meeting on 16 April
2000 by the Commissioner and her aides. In these circumstances, the Court
does not consider it necessary to examine the same events from the
standpoint of Articles 8, 10 or 11 of the Convention.

18 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 14 OF THE CONVENTION,
TAKEN IN CONJUNCTION WITH ARTICLE 9
76 . The applicants further complained u nder Article 14 of the
Convention, taken in conjunction with Article 9, that they had been victims
of discrimination on account of their religious beliefs. Article 14 reads as
follows:
“The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Convention shall be
secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language,
religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a
national minority, property, birth or other status.”
77 . The Court reiterates that Article 14 has no independent existence,
but plays an important role by complementing the other provisions of the
Convention and the Protocols, since it protects individuals placed in similar
situations from any discrimination i n the enjoyment of the rights set forth in
those other provisions. Where a substantive Article of the Convention or its
Protocols has been invoked both on its own and together with Article 14 and
a separate breach has been found of the substantive Article, it is not
generally necessary for the Court to consider the case under Article 14 also,
though the position is otherwise if a clear inequality of treatment in the
enjoyment of the right in question is a fundamental aspect of the case (see
Chassagnou and O thers v. France [GC], nos. 25088/94, 28331/95 and
28443/95, § 89, ECHR 1999 -III, and Dudgeon v. the United Kingdom ,
judgment of 22 October 1981, Series A no. 45, § 67 ).
78 . In the circumstances of the present case the Court conside rs that the
inequality of treatment, of which the applicants claimed to be victims, has
been sufficiently taken into account in the above assessment that led to the
finding of a violation of a substantive Convention provision (see, in
particular, paragraph 74 above). It follows that there is no cause for a
separate examination of the same facts from the standpoint of Article 14 of
the Convention ( see Metropolitan Church of Bessarabia , cited above,
§ 134).
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 OF THE CONVENTION
79 . The applicants complain ed under Article 6 of the Convention that
they had been denied a fair hearing because (i) the trial judge had been
manifestly biased against them and had overtly favoured the defendan ts; (ii)
they had not benefit ed from the equality -of-arms principle; and (iii) the
court had refused to admit their evidence and made findings that had been
perverse and unsustainable in the light of the facts. Article 6, in its relevant
part, provides as follows:
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations… everyone is entitled to a
fair… hearing … by [a]… tribunal established by law…”

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 19

A. Arguments by the parties
80 . The Government submit ted that the judgme nts of the domestic
courts d id not disclose any violations of the procedural rights of the parties.
Both parties had submitted their observations to the courts and the courts
had made an impartial, comprehensive and thorough examination of the
evidence bef ore them.
81 . The applicants submit ted that the proceedings had been
fundamentally defective in that the judge had rejected crucial evidence on
which they had sought to rely. They point ed out that the judgment had been
silent on the issue of the credibility of key witnesses, especially the
Commissioner , who had given three mutually exclusive accounts of the
events. The judicial decision had not state d any reasons for rejecting the
evidence given by the applicants .
B. Th e Court ‘s assessment
82 . After the prosecutor had decided against initiating a criminal
investigation into the actions of the Commissioner and her aides, the
applicants lodged a civil complaint in accordance with the procedure for
contesting unlawful actions on the part of State officials. The burden of
proof was on the officials concerned to show that their actions had been
lawful (see paragraph 47 above). The domestic courts rejected the
applicants ‘ complaint, finding that they had failed to show that the religious
meeting had been terminated ahead of time on the orders of the
Commissioner and/or the police officers accompanying her. The evidence
produced by the applicants to that effect was rejected as emanating from
“interested witnesses” (see paragraphs 38 and 40 above).
83 . The Court reiterates that, according to its established case -law
reflecting a principle linked to the pro per administration of justice,
judgments of courts and tribunals should adequately state the reasons on
which they are based. Article 6 § 1 obliges courts to give reasons for their
judgments, but cannot be understood as requiring a detailed answer to every
argument. The extent to which this duty to give reasons applies may vary
accordin g to the nature of the decision (see Ruiz Torija v. Spain , judgment of
9 December 1994, Series A no. 303 -A, § 29). Even though a domestic court
has a certain margin of apprec iation when choosing arguments in a
particular case and admitting evidence in support of the parties ‘
submissions, an authority is obliged to justify its activities by giving reasons
for its decisions (see Suominen v. Finland , no. 37801/97, § 36 , 1 July 20 03 ).
A further function of a reasoned decision is to demonstrate to the parties that
they have been heard. Moreover, a reasoned decision affords a party the
possibility to appeal against it, as well as the possibility of having the
decision reviewed by an appellate body. It is only by giving a reasoned

20 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

decision that there can be public scrutiny of the administration of justice
(see Hirvisaari v. Finland , no. 49684/99, § 30, 27 September 2001).
84 . In the present case the applicants repeatedly – in their oral and
written submissions to the District and Regional Court – pointed to multiple
admissions by the police officers Mr Lozovyagin and Mr Vildanov that they
had instructed Mr Kuznetsov to tell the audience to end the meeting (see, in
particular, their oral testimony before the District Court in paragraph 27
above and their statements to the prosecutor in paragraph 33 above ). Th e
judgments of the domestic courts did not address their submissions on that
issue and remained silent on that crucial point. Neither the District nor the
Regional Court explained the reasons for rejecting the evidence given by
those applicants who had bee n witnesses to the exchange between the
Commissioner, the police officers and Mr Kuznetsov and who had given
concordant testimonies on the matter . The Court is struck by the
inconsistent approach of the Russian courts , on the one hand finding it
establishe d that the Commissioner and her aides had come to the applicants ‘
religious meeting and that it had been terminated ahead of time , and on the
other hand refusing to see a link between these two elements without
furnishing an alternative explanation for the early termination of the
meeting . Their findings of fact appear to suggest that the Commissioner ‘s
arrival and the applicants ‘ decision to interrupt their religious service had
simply happened to coincide . That approach permitted the domestic courts
to av oid addressing the applicants ‘ main complaint , namely that neither the
Commissioner nor the police officers had had any legal basis for interfering
with the conduct of the applicants ‘ religious event. The crux of the
applicants ‘ grievances – a violation of their right to freedom of religion –
was thus left outside the scope o f review by the domestic courts which
declined to undertake an examination of the merits of their complaint.
85 . In these circumstances, the Court finds that the domestic courts
failed in their duty to state the reasons on which their decisions were based
and to demonstrate that the parties had been heard in a fair and equitable
manner. There has therefore been a vio lation of Article 6 of the Convention.
IV . ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE CONVENTION
86 . The applicants further complaint that they did not have an effective
remedy for a violation of their rights, as required by Article 1 3 which reads
as follows:
“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated
shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the
violation has been committed by persons acting in an official ca pacity.”
87 . The Court reiterates that the role of Article 6 § 1 in relation to
Article 13 is that of a lex specialis , the requirements of Article 13 being

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 21

absorbed by more stringent requirements of Article 6 § 1 (see, among other
authorities, Brualla Gómez de la Torre v. Spain , judgment of 19 December
1997, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1997 -VIII, § 41 ). Consequently,
it is unnecessary to examine the complaint under Article 13 separately.
V. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
88 . Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“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
parti al reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to
the injured party.”
A. Damage
89 . The applicants claimed 750 euros (EUR) for each victim of the
alleged violations, or a n overall amount of EUR 7 5,000, in respect of
non -pecuniary damage , representing the suffering resulting from the
premeditated violation of their rights by a prejudiced State official
advancing her own political ends to the detriment of a disadvantaged
minority, namely the deaf Je hovah ‘s Witnesses. The y authorised Mr
Kuznetsov (the forty -seventh applicant and the community elder ) to receive
the sum awarded and to apply it to the benefit of all the applicants.
90 . The Government claimed that the amount was e xcessive and “not
proved by the circumstances of the case”.
91 . The Court has found that the applicants ‘ religious meeting was
disrupted through unlawful interference by the State officials and that the
applicants did not benefit from a fair hearing . These events affected a
significant number of individuals, many of whom suffered from a physical
disability . The Court considers that the finding of violations would not
constitute sufficient compensation for the distress and frustrati on the
applicants must have endured. However, it finds the particular amount
claimed excessive. Making its assessment on an equitable basis, it awards
the applicant s a global amount of EUR 30 ,000, plus any tax that may be
chargeable on that amount, to be p aid into the bank account of
Mr Konstantin Kuznetsov on behalf of all the applicants.
B. Costs and expenses
92 . The applicants were represented in the domestic proceedings by
three Russian lawyers at a rate of EUR 50 per hour and one paralegal at a
rate of EUR 30 per hour, and in the Strasbourg proceedings by Mr Daniel, a
member of the English Bar , at a rate of EUR 200 per hour. The nature of the

22 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

applicants ‘ disability made it necessary to employ specialist translators
qualified in Russian, English and deaf signing. It was also necessary to
prepare a verbatim transcript of the domestic hearings.
93 . The applicants claimed EUR 91,059 in respect of costs and expenses
relating to their legal representation. Thi s included:
 EUR 15,290 for the preparation of the domestic trial;
 EUR 12,700 for the ir representation by two Russian lawyers
during seventeen days ‘ trial before the District Court;
 EUR 1,190 for a deaf signing translator during the trial;
 EUR 2,428 for oth er trial disbursements (mea ls, travel, etc.);
 EUR 2,200 for the costs of appeal to the Regional Court;
 EUR 1,736 for the preparation of the trial transcript;
 EUR 10,657 for the preparation of the application to the Court
and exchange of observations;
 EUR 5,711 for attending the oral hearing;
 EUR 39,147 for Mr Daniel ‘s fees and travel expenses.
94 . The Government did not dispute the details of the calculations
submitted by the applicants, submitting that any reimbursement should be
reasonable and cover only real and necessary expenses.
95 . The Court notes that this case was rather complex , in view of the
number of the applicants and their particular disability , the length of the
domestic proceedings, the seriousness of the violations alleged and the
considerable number of documents involved. There was an oral hearing
before the Court which required additional preparation of documents and
oral submissions. The Court, however, considers excessive the amo unt of
time spent by counsel on the case. Having regard to the materials in the case
file, it awards the applicants the entire amount claimed in respect of the
domestic proceedings, that is EUR 35,544, and EUR 25,000 in respect of
the Strasbourg proceeding s, plus any tax that may be chargeable on these
amounts. The total amount of EUR 60,544 is to be paid into the bank
account of Mr Konstantin Kuznetsov on behalf of all the applicants.
C. Default interest
96 . The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest should be
based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which
should be added three percentage points.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
1. Holds that there has been a violation of Articl e 9 of the Convention;

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 23

2. Holds that no separate examination of the same issues under Articles 8,
10 or 11 of the Convention is necessary ;

3. Holds that no separate examination of the complaint under Article 14 of
the Convention is necessary ;

4. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 of the Convention;

5. Holds that no separate examination of the complaint under Article 13 of
the Convention is necessary ;

6. Holds
(a) that the respondent State is to pay Mr Konstantin Kuznetsov on
behalf of all the applicant s, within three months from the date on which
the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the
Convention , the following amounts , to be converted into Russian
roubles at the rate applicable at the date of settle ment :
(i) EUR 30 ,000 (thirty thousand euros) in respect of non -pecuniary
damage;
(ii) EUR 60,544 (sixty thousand five hundred and forty -four euros)
in respect of costs and expenses;
(iii ) any tax that may be chargeable on the above amounts;
(b) that fr om the expiry of the above -mentioned three months until
settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a
rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank
during the default period plus three percentage points;

7. Dismisses the remainder of the applicants ‘ claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 11 January 2007 , pursuant to
Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Søren NIELSEN Christos ROZAKIS
Registrar President

24 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

SCHEDULE – List of applicants

# Name (last name, first name, and father ‘s name) Year of birth
1. Abilmazhinov Yertustik Gazizovich 1957
2. Abrosimova Valentina Nikolaevna 1931
3. Akimochkina Anastasia Dmitrievna 1933
4. Alekseyeva Galina Leonidovna 1952
5. Aptasheva Olga Alekseyevna 1974
6. Aptasheva Valentina Alekseyevna 1977
7. Arkadyeva Valentina Mikhailovna 1936
8. Avdieva Valentina Petrovna 1951
9. Batayeva Olga Vasilievna 1958
10. Berchatov Viktor Vasilievich 1947
11. Berkutova Nadezhda Leonidovna 1962
12. Brovina Lyubov Alekcandrovna not known
13. Butina Nelli Fyodorovna 1970
14. Chernyenko Tatiana Ivanovna 1948
15. Cheskidova Lyudmila Ivanovna 1960
16. Chmykhalo Galina Alekseyevna 1948
17. Chugayeva Anna Stepanovna 1935
18. Fattakhova Darya Ivanovna 1925
19. Fokina Gaishura Gainullovna 1953
20. Fomina Galina Anatolievna 1957
21. Gaas Andrey Aleksandrovich 1959
22. Galyanova Lyubov Stepanovna 1952
23. Gashkov Dmitri Valerievich 1975
24. Gavrilova Tatiana Mikhailovna 1969
25. Gerashenko Tatiana Mikhailovna 1962
26. Goryunova Tatiana Borisovna not known
27. Grigoriev Aleksei Nikolayevich 1975
28. Grigorieva Natalya Viktorovna 1977
29. Guskova Tatiana Alekseyevna 1963
30. Gusyeva Nina Mikhailovna 1947
31. Israfilova Irina Leonidovna 1968
32. Kadirova Elmira Faskhutdinovna 1978
33. Kapashev Kurgalebek Berkutovich 1965
34. Kapasheva Natalya Anatolyevna 1963
35. Karpushenko Denis Sergeyevich 1977
36. Khamidullina Mavlikha Farkhitovna 1959
37. Khudaigulova Mindiyamal Mansurovna 1960
38. Khusainova Hadezhda Mikhailovna 1958
39. Kochkova Aleksandra Yegorovna 1932
40. Kotov Yevgeniy Vladimirovich 1966

KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT 25

41. Kotova Alyona Petrovna 1971
42. Kovshov Valeriy Nikolayevich 1930
43. Kozhakhmetova Saulye Nabievna 1970
44. Kozhevnikova Lidia Miniyakhmetovna 1946
45. Kozhin Sergei Aleksandrovich 1979
46. Lappo Olga Viktorovna 1977
47. Kuznetsov Konstantin Nikanorovich 1970
48. Lebsak Nadezhda Vasilievna 1954
49. Levchenko Oleg Petrovich not known
50. Levchenko Olga Yurievna 1970
51. Loshmanov Viktor Andreyevich 1940
52. Lyubchenko Gennadiy Vladimirovich 1960
53. Lyubchenko Marina Genadiyevna 1981
54. Lyubchenko Olga Vasiliyevna 1960
55. Makashova Madina Rayinbekovna 1976
56. Malygina Iraida Nikolayevna 1956
57. Mamayev Mikhail Gennadiyevich 1972
58. Markina Vera Vasilievna 1956
59. Matveyeva Lyudmila Vasilievna 1961
60. Morets Fridrikh Ivanovich 1947
61. Morets Tatiana Semionovna not known
62. Nadyrshinna Inna Rustamovna 1981
63. Nizametdinova Flyura Ivanovna 1946
64. Nizhegorodtseva Galina Borisovna 1959
65. Nurmiyeva Lyudmila Nuritdinovna 1959
66. Ogneva Olga Yevgenievna 1963
67. Oregeldiev Setdarberdi 1964
68. Oregeldieva Galina Fridonovna 1962
69. Ovchinnikova Nina Aleksandrovna 1951
70. Parshukov Andrei Viktorov 1973
71. Parshukova Irina Vladimirovna 1975
72. Peshkova Yelena Valerievna 1972
73. Petrova Lyubov Romanovna 1927
74. Pechenkina Maria Fyodorovna 1935
75. Pidzhakov Sergei Borisov 1956
76. Pidzhakova Larisa Nikolayevna 1957
77. Pleshkova Vera Karlovna 1966
78. Prokhorova Irina Vladimirovna 1958
79. Puzanov Vladimir Aleksandrovich 1969
80. Puzanova Yelena Leonidovna 1976
81. Safiyulin Ruslan Nasritdinovich 1977
82. Samoilova Marina Nikolayevna 1963

26 KUZNETSOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA JUDGMENT

83. Samsonova Yekaterina Petrovna 1926
84. Shalakov Vladimir Konstantinovich 1941
85. Shalakova Valentina Pavlovna 1950
86. Shilyayeva Tamara Ivanovna 1941
87. Sinyukin Oleg Vladimirovich 1968
88. Sinyukina Tatiana Vladimirovna 1973
89. Sorokina Vera Alekseyevna 1960
90. Stepina Zoya Sergeyevna 1940
91. Sveshnikova Nina Nikolayevna 1947
92. Taruta Tatiana Alekseyevna 1950
93. Taskayev Ivan Mikhailovich 1940
94. Taskayeva Anna Aleksandrovna 1933
95. Tereschuk Larisa Igoryevna 1976
96. Tereschuk Svetlana Yurievna 1964
97. Tipyao Galina Pavlovna 1947
98. Tipyao Gennadiy Ivanovich 1936
99. Verednikova Anna Borisovna 1958
100. Volosnikova Iraida Vladimirovna 1964
101. Yegorova Yekaterina Grigorievna 1979
102. Zinovieva Lyubov Porfiryevna 1927
103. Zhuravlyova Larisa Yevgenievna 1969

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