On October 18, the Lefortovo Court of Moscow arrested Russian citizen Pavel Pischulin under an article on cooperation on a confidential basis with a foreign state without signs of high treason (Article 275.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), the press service of the court told Interfax. Pischulin faces three to eight years in prison, as well as a fine. This is the first known criminal case initiated under Article 275.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, which was introduced in July 2022, the First Department project clarifies .
Earlier, Pischulin, according to TASS, was convicted on charges of inciting extremism on the Internet and insulting the feelings of believers. He received two years of probation on the first charge, and 180 hours of compulsory work on the second charge. As the human rights center SOVA reported , Pischulin was tried for posts on VKontakte about Christianity and Orthodox priests.
Lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov, in an interview with The Insider, noted that the general outline of the "spy" articles is that absolutely all of them do not meet the criterion of the quality of the law.
“Anything can be called confidential communication, from drinking beer with your friend, a diplomat from a neighboring country, during which you discuss the situation in the Russian Federation (that is, you advise - they will write so in the charge), and ending with the provision of documents of some an international NGO like Amnesty International.”
Lawyer Ivan Pavlov, an expert on state security affairs and founder of the Team 29 and First Department projects, lawyer Ivan Pavlov explained to The Insider that under the classic article on treason, a case is initiated if you have done something for a foreign organization, and for the confidentiality clause, contact is enough with a foreign organization.
“Article 275 contains the wording “assistance in conducting activities directed against the security of Russia”, which has never worked, but has recently been used. This is an article on treason, but it was amended in June, and a new article is “cooperation on a confidential basis with a foreign organization.”
What is meant? You haven't provided any assistance yet, but only made contact with some foreign organization that is working against security. Considering the current situation, wartime, almost any foreign organization in our country can be classified by the authorities as an organization whose activities are directed against security. And then there is the specifics about the confidential basis. Communication through instant messengers that use end-to-end encryption can be regarded as confidential communication, i.e. communication is encrypted.
If you managed to do something that can be qualified as helping this organization, then your actions fall under the classic article 275 about treason - from 12 to 20 years. Under the article for "cooperation on a confidential basis" is imprisonment for a term of 3 to 8 years.