SUKHIN AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights)

Last Updated on April 24, 2019 by LawEuro

Communicated on 4 March 2019


Application no.55155/09
Igor Nikolayevich SUKHIN and others
against Russia
lodged on 21 September 2009


A list of the applicants is set out in the appendix.

The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicants, may be summarised as follows.

The applicants were employees of a former automotive division of the “ALROSA”, a major diamond mining company (“the Alrosa” or “the company”). On 16 August 2008 the applicants wrote an open letter criticising the company’s management and its style of work with the staff. They also complained about unpaid sums due for overtime work and other violations of labour laws. The letter was sent to the President of Russia, the Prime Minister of Russia, the General Prosecutor of Russia, the President of the Republic of Sokha (Yakutiya), the President of the Supervisory Board of Alrosa and the Minister of Finances of Russia, the Prosecutor of the Republic of Sokha (Yakutiya) and the Prosecutor of the town of Udachnyy. It was signed by about 500 people including the applicants.

The company sued the applicants for defamation. On 18 March 2009 the Mirninskiy District Court of the Udachnyy town (“the District Court”) found that certain discrediting statements made by the applicants in their open letter had been untrue. The District Court ordered them to write a refutation and send it to the Prosecutor of the town of Udachnyy and the head of the mining and processing complex of Udachnyy. On 20 July 2009 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya) upheld the judgment on appeal.


The applicants complain that the judgment issued against them in the defamation proceedings had constituted a disproportionate interference with their rights under Article 10 of the Convention.


Has there been an interference with the applicants’ freedom of expression within the meaning of Article 10 § 1 of the Convention?

If so, was that interference necessary in terms of Article 10 § 2?

In particular, did the national authorities apply standards which were in conformity with the principles embodied in Article 10 of the Convention (see, for instance, Bédat v. Switzerland [GC], no. 56925/08, § 48, 29 March 2016)? Was the characterisation of the applicants’ utterances as statements of fact, rather than value judgments, justified?


List of applicants

No. Firstname LASTNAME Birth year
1.        Igor Nikolayevich SUKHIN 1971
2.        AleksandrIvanovich GLOTOV 1955
3.        Vladimir Sergeyevich KOPAYEV 1955
4.        Petr Ivanovich KURILO 1950
5.        VasiliyMikhaylovich NIKOLYAK 1964
6.        Igor Vladimirovich OSTREYKIN 1964
7.        ArkadiyArtemovich POPEKA 1958
8.        AleksandrYevgenyevich REDKIN 1959
9.        AleksandrLeonidovich SILITSKIY 1962
10.    Yuriy Leonidovich YEFREMOV 1964

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