Russian lawyer for foreign nationals

We work across all Russia
Law Firm

Defamation as a crime in Russia

In Russian law, if someone communicates some statements against another person that injuries their personal / public reputation, and this information is not true, these actions are referred to as defamation.

There are 4 criteria that must be present so defamation can be punishable under article 128.1 of the Criminal Сode:

• the information is public,
• it is knowingly false;
• it is harmful;
• it concern some particular person (but now there has appeared a right to hold liable for defamation against “several persons, including those individually not defined”).

The defining feature of defamation is that the claim must be made knowingly false, that is, we are talking about intent. If you say someone committed a murder, and he or she really did it, it is not defamation.

The maximum and most severe punishment is up to 5 years in prison; however, such a strict punishment is almost never imposed.

Defamation as a crime is recognized as completed from the moment of communicating a false statement to at least one person. If it is communicated directly to the person concerned, without other parties involved, it is not considered a crime.

How are such proceedings initiated? These cases are private prosecutions; it means this kind of proceeding is initiated by a victim.

In our time of widespread IT, defamation is most often found on the Internet. Evidence can be quickly removed from sites; so, the evidence must be taken care of in advance. You should draw up a protocol with the help of a notary (also known as notarial act, read more about how to do it) to prove the information was communicated online. This will be the evidence to bring the perpetrator to justice.

If you are the aggrieved party, you need to prepare evidence, apply to the justice of the peace to bring the accused to criminal liability and independently represent the prosecution in court. In addition, the victim may file a lawsuit in court for the protection of dignity or business reputation in civil proceedings.

We wish you not to get into such situations neither as the victim nor as the defendant. If you are nonetheless faced with this, you can contact us to seek help:

Tel: +7 909 961-19-09
Visit us: Moscow, Zubovskiy bulvar, building 4/1, office 308
We are in social networks
Subscribe to our groups in social networks
More useful articles
Or find out more about our services