(June 21, 2010) The Federal Law of the Russian Federation on Information Related to the Activities of the Federal Judiciary (Information on Judiciary Law) will enter into force on July 1, 2010. The Law provides for publication of all rulings issued by federal commercial courts and courts of general jurisdiction on the day of their passage and for publication of sentences when they enter into legal force on courts' websites (Federal Law No. 268 of December 22, 2008, ROSSIISKAIA GAZETA (Dec. 26, 2008), http://www.rg.ru/2008/12/26/sud-internet-dok.html).
In order to comply with the provisions of the Federal Law on Personal Data, which protects privacy rights of Russian individuals, the Information on Judiciary Law allows publication of the full names of judges, prosecutors, and attorneys who participated in a trial. Personal names of other people, including the parties, will not be mentioned in versions of documents available online; only initials will be used.
Recently, this requirement was strongly criticized by two of Russia's top judges, the Chairman of the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of the Highest Court of Arbitration, in speeches they delivered at the annual meeting of the Russian Council of Judges, the highest professional body for the country's judges. (Vladislav Kulikov, Tainaia Kantseliariia Pod Zapretom [Secret Chancellery is Banned], ROSSIISKAIA GAZETA (May 19, 2010), http://www.rg.ru/2010/05/19/sudy.html.) They suggested amending the Information on Judiciary Law to allow disclosure of the names of individuals mentioned in court sentences, except in cases where it is necessary to protect intimate details of private life and in cases heard behind closed doors. In the judges' view, only specialists and law students would be interested in reviewing rulings with deleted names, but the public is looking for specific names, not just juridical decisions. They believe that publication of complete rulings would bring more public interest to court activities and would place judges under stricter public control. (Id.) Reportedly, this proposal was immediately supported by well-known Russian public figures, and according to the press, there is a good chance that these amendments will be passed before the end of this year. (Id.)