The Ministry of Justice of Russia issued two manuals for investigators, judges and forensic experts on the differences between “special operations” articles on “discrediting” the army (Article 20.3.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, Article 280.3 of the Criminal Code) and the spread of “fake news” about it (Article 207.3 of the Criminal Code) . This was reported by Kommersant, a copy of the manuals was provided to the publication by the senior partner of the Network Freedoms project, lawyer Stanislav Seleznev.
In the documents, the department explains how to correctly analyze statements about the actions of the Russian armed forces (AF). Thus, a “statement of fact” refers to an article about “dissemination of deliberately false information,” and a negative “opinion” about the actions of the Russian army refers to “discredit,” the publication clarifies.
The first manual explains how to conduct a forensic linguistic examination in cases of "public dissemination of knowingly false information" about the Armed Forces. The second one speaks of a "comprehensive psychological and linguistic examination" of materials about the "public discrediting of the use" of the VS. Seleznev said that both manuals have already been sent to all regional departments of the ministry.
At the same time, the word “fake” is often used in the first manual, despite the fact that the legislation does not contain such a term. The object of examination is a message that can be examined only taking into account the context of placement and situation. If the information is presented in the form of a statement about facts and events, then this "allows the law enforcer to establish its falsity or reliability."
The second manual (an article on "discrediting") states that the expert's task is to "determine the type of 'extremist' meaning expressed in the material." The Ministry of Justice lists three types of “extremist meanings”: “discrediting the use of the RF Armed Forces”, “discrediting the exercise by state authorities of their powers in order to protect the interests of the Russian Federation and its citizens” - and “inciting (including in the form of an appeal) to obstruct the use of the RF Armed Forces” . Under "discredit", according to the Ministry of Justice, should be understood as "deliberate actions aimed at undermining confidence in public authorities, belittling their authority."
After the outbreak of the war, Roskomnadzor demanded that the Russian media use only the wording “special operation” when covering the invasion of Ukraine. On March 2, a law on “fakes” about the actions of the Russian army was submitted to the State Duma and adopted two days later by a decree of Vladimir Putin, as a result of which censorship was actually introduced in the field of coverage of the activities of the military. Punishment for "fakes" provides for criminal liability up to 15 years in prison. In Russia, criminal cases are being initiated massively against citizens both under articles on “fake news” and on “discrediting” the army.
On July 8, Alexei Gorinov, Mundep of the Krasnoselsky District, was sentenced to seven years in a general regime colony in Moscow under an article about military “fakes”. According to investigators, on March 15, during a meeting of the Council of Deputies, the politician made a number of statements "containing data about the RF Armed Forces that do not correspond to reality." Gorinov called the “special military operation” in Ukraine a “war” and talked about the deaths of Ukrainian children.