Criticising religion and freedom of speech and association: Yefimov

In Yefimov and Youth Human Rights Group v Russia [2021] ECHR 1028, Mr Yefimov, a resident of Karelia, had written an article in which he criticised the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church in public life and was prosecuted for alleged hate speech [2]. His subsequent appeals were unsuccessful [16]. The second applicant, Youth Human Rights Group, of which Mr Yefimov had been the founding member, provided legal assistance to victims of human rights violations, supported youth projects and published an online newspaper, Zero Hour [5]. The offending article, which had appeared in Zero Hour, began:

“Anti-church attitudes are on the rise in the Karelian capital. Nothing surprising about that. Thinking members of society have realised that the church is also a party in power. The Russian Orthodox Church, just like the [ruling] United Russia party, is fooling people with fairy-tales about our good life while raking in money. Continue reading