“There are those who betrayed their country. There are those people who have left the country <...> Perhaps, in search of funds for housing orphans, turn to and look for resources in this direction?” Kuznetsova says . The reference to some kind of “betrayal” committed by Russians who left the country and disagreed with the policy of its leadership is typical of such statements.
The speaker of the State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin is of the same opinion . Moreover, he is one of the few who directly proposed a mechanism for the seizure of private property.
“The scoundrels who have left live comfortably thanks to our country. While abroad, they rent out real estate, continue to receive royalties at the expense of Russian citizens. At the same time, they allow themselves to publicly pour dirt on Russia, insult our soldiers and officers. They feel their impunity, believing that justice cannot reach them. <...> According to the legislation of the Russian Federation, such statements can be regarded as calls for extremism, the rehabilitation of Nazism or discrediting the Armed Forces. <...> In this situation, it would be right to supplement the relevant articles of the Criminal Code with a clause on the confiscation of property from the scoundrels in the Russian Federation, which they have enough to compensate for the damage.”
Volodin was supported by the head of the Russian administration of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, who compared the emigrating Russians who criticize the government with “parasites” who “need to be eradicated.” Aksyonov proudly added that "Crimea is already following this path." This is true – the process of taking away private property in Crimea is well established: from March 26, 2014, immediately after the annexation of the peninsula, the new Crimean “authorities” began to take away, as stated, the property of Ukrainian owners.
Crimea has become a kind of experimental training ground, where the seizure of property and the legalization of these processes have been perfected: despite the fact that it was originally about the “nationalization” of Ukrainian state property, in reality they began to take away property even from entrepreneurs who re-registered in the Russian legal field in violation of FKZ No. 6 , which guaranteed the Crimeans the safety of their property. The courts controlled by the authorities easily took the side of officials, passing judgments on “illegal construction”, “unauthorized buildings”, “urban planning violations”, etc. A year later, the seizure of private lands and houses for the needs of the Ministry of Defense began through the efforts of the ex-governor of Sevastopol, Sergei Menyailo (now the head of North Ossetia). For this, one governor 's order was enough. Property disputes over many objects are still ongoing.
Crimea has become a kind of experimental training ground, where the seizure of property and the legalization of these processes have been perfected
The first steps towards taking away the private property of the Russians who have left have already begun. According to TASS, the Fund for the Protection of the National Historical Heritage turned to Volodin with a proposal to amend the Criminal Code, which would allow the confiscation of the property of people included in the register of "foreign agents".
On January 18, Vitaly Borodin, the head of the public organization Federal Project for Security and Combating Corruption, said that he had written a denunciation of the singer Monetochka (Elizaveta Gyrdymova) to the Prosecutor General's Office. Upon learning that the singer, who had left Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, was selling her Moscow apartment, Borodin suggested taking this apartment away, and at the same time recognizing Monetochka as a “foreign agent” and bringing him to justice under the article on “discrediting” the army for anti-war statements.
Finally, RIA Novosti reports , citing sources, that a group of State Duma deputies, on their own initiative, began to develop a draft law on the confiscation of assets of emigrated Russians. “As far as I know, no official instructions were given to the committees in this regard, but, according to my information, such work is being done by the deputies on their own initiative,” the agency’s interlocutor said.
However, on the same day, Vladimir Samokish, deputy chairman of the Committee on Property and Property Relations of the State Duma, called the message about the draft law being prepared a “stuffing”. “Sometimes some factions deliberately throw in unrealizable bills in order to promote themselves,” the deputy concluded.
Andrey Klishas, the head of the Constitutional Committee of the Federation Council, unexpectedly became the main critic of such initiatives in power structures. The senator insists that taking property from people is a violation of the Constitution. Back in December, Klishas reacted sharply to the statement of his Crimean Federation Council colleague Sergei Tsekov, who proposed to confiscate the property of “liberals and traitors,” including singer Alla Pugacheva, and send funds to help the army. “For a number of colleagues, the craving for outrageous statements wins everything. It is unconstitutional, and therefore unrealizable, ”Klishas commented on Tsekov’s idea in his Telegram channel.
However, it is difficult to say whether Klishas will continue to adhere to this position - the deputy is himself known as the author of anti-constitutional laws. For example, the law “on fakes” about the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, which contradicts the article of the Constitution on the inadmissibility of censorship. In a report on Kuznetsova’s statement, Klishas, following Volodin, stated that “serious amendments to the Criminal Code” would be needed to seize the property of emigrants in favor of those in need.
“It remains only to understand how legally you can use someone else's property to solve social problems. Without serious amendments to the Criminal Code - in any way. Leaving the country is not a crime,” wrote Klishas.
A property lawyer in a conversation with The Insider noted that “strictly formally” for the implementation of such initiatives, it is necessary to change the Constitution. In his opinion, no one will do this, rather, changes will indeed be made to the Criminal Code and a new interpretation of the basic law will be invented. “Of course, the formally “left” citizens will not be the subjects of the crime, there will be a new structure that brings people under some new responsibility for this,” the lawyer emphasized.
“Undoubtedly, this is populism, but at the current special time this may be the beginning of a real legislative process, when the ground is first probed, and then, or in parallel, work is carried out on draft law options. Therefore, this topic should be taken very seriously.”
The head of Transparency International, Ilya Shumanov, notes that at the moment the Constitution prevents the authorities from taking property, which fixes the right to private property and the impossibility of its withdrawal. But at the same time, the very fact of a “foreign agency” already violates the Constitution of the Russian Federation, it strikes citizens in their rights, singles them out into a special group. It is "foreign agents" who may be the first to be seized, Shumanov says.
“As far as I understand, several ideas are being discussed now. The first is confiscation from those who left Russia. The second version is confiscation from "foreign agents". The third version is confiscation from those who discredit the armed forces of the Russian Federation. These three groups appear to have different status.
The latest version of the law on “foreign agents” implies that even foreign funding is not required to be recognized as a “foreign agent”. Given that this list includes citizens who are not involved in political activities, the registry has the task of settling scores with people. Based on this, "foreign agents" are not the only ones who can be deprived of their rights. Recognition of the right to confiscate a person's property in the event that he is recognized as a "foreign agent" has not yet been. Apparently, this version can be continued.
Shumanov, like The Insider's first interlocutor, notes that, most likely, the possibility of seizure will be introduced through changes to the Criminal Code. The emphasis will most likely be made on “foreign agents” who do not comply with the requirements prescribed to them, and on critics of the war who fall under the criminal article “on fakes” and repeatedly violate the article on “discrediting the RF Armed Forces”.
“Now there is a fine and the risk of criminal imprisonment for people who commit such violations. If the deputies want to correct these criminal law norms, then nothing prevents them from fixing an alternative model of punishment, which should involve the seizure of property. In this vein, I think, the Russian legislator can develop his idea, which was voiced by the deputies. And, given that Russia has withdrawn from European conventions, in the trend of this sovereignization of the Russian legal system, a departure from European dogmas and conventional instruments for protecting property rights and human rights, all this is quite possible.
Just “Take and share!” lead to an unpredictable migration surge. They must give a minimum legitimacy to their decisions. There is no doubt that they can amend the Criminal Code, but in order to appear formal and give legality to their actions, they will be forced to correct legislation, in particular, criminal law, which is most susceptible to deformation. The repressive apparatus is in the hands of the power bloc, the War Party, which will correct it with pleasure if the Security Council or the presidential administration do not stop it.
So far, I do not fully see here a clear model of the legal structure regarding how this seizure of property should take place. I think that if such a task is put before the legislators and they are given the opportunity to think, then they will be able to present some kind of approach. This does not mean that it will be legal, but it can be implemented with some reservations. Already forming judicial practice, they will begin to act on the knurled one.