On June 20, Syktyvkar court fined the online journal «7x7» 800 thousand rubles for "drug propaganda". Chief editor Sofia Krapotkina was also fined 40 thousand rubles. According to the court, an interview of a blogger Alexander Smoleev with the liberatarian Mikhail Svetov contains drug propaganda.
The report on the administrative violation was compiled by the Roskomnadzor Office for the Komi Republic. Roskomnadzor experts considered that «7x7» misused freedom of information, and the chief editor did not take any measures to remove or edit Svetov's interview.
«7x7» will appeal the court’s decision. Its interests were represented by lawyer Vladimir Zubkov and Voronezh Mass Media Defence Center. According to Zubkov, the very concept of "propaganda" is purely legal, it is enshrined in the Federal Law on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. According to this law, the term is defined as "activity carried out by legal or physical persons and aimed at disseminating information about the methods of developing, manufacturing and using narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors, new potentially dangerous psychoactive substances, places of their acquisition, methods and places of cultivation of narcotic plants". Defender of «7x7» pointed out that Svetov did not give any information about methods of developing, manufacturing and using narcotic drugs, in particular heroin, or about the places of their acquisition. This, according to Zubkov, indicates that there are no signs of propaganda in the interview, there is only a personal opinion of Svetov. The lawyer stressed that the right to express one's personal opinion is enshrined in several decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.
Director of «7x7» Pavel Andreev called the court's decision an "act of censorship":
"800 thousand rubles is more than the annual budget of any of our regional editorials. If we used «7x7» just for profit, such a penalty would mean closing the publication, because it is impossible to work with such financial risks. We take today's decision as an act of censorship, an explicit attempt to close the publication for providing a platform for people with different views. We are punished not for a journalistic material, but for a video interview published in one of our blogs. The situation is complicated, we can clearly speak about three things: «7x7» will continue to work on the principles of independence, professionalism and pluralism of opinions; the decision is not legal, it must be abolished either in a higher court or the ECHR; Roskomnadzor should be dissolved."
Maxim Polyakov, «7x7»