Another case in the Kaluga city of Obninsk ended with a new harsh sentence for the well-known human rights activist Tatyana Kotlyar. A mathematician by training, 68-year-old Kotlyar has been leading the committee she created for many years, helping migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons who come to the Kaluga region.
Three years ago, the Obninsk World Court already sentenced Kotlyar to a fine of 140,000 rubles for the fact that she registered several hundred migrants and refugees in her apartment with her husband for free over several years. The motive is simple: without a residence permit, these people could neither enroll their children in a school or a clinic, nor get a job themselves.
“Since then, the situation with migrants and internally displaced persons in our country has become even more acute. And since it is impossible to solve their problems in any other way, Kotlyar continued to register free of charge migrants and internally displaced persons who turned to her for help in her apartment…”, writes human rights activist Yury Samodurov.
And in 2022, the prosecutor's office opened a new criminal case against Kotlyar, accusing her of registering 46 more people in the same apartment since May 2020.
Kotlyar herself explains her actions as follows: “On April 18, 2020, Decree No. 276 of the President of the Russian Federation was issued on temporary measures for the registration of migrants and refugees - in fact, this is a decree on migration amnesty. Since May 20, this decree has been used in Obninsk. I helped implement Presidential Decree No. 276 and since May 2020, I have registered 46 migrants in my apartment for free, since they could not receive any registration other than fictitious registration through registration in my apartment …”
Kotlyar's lawyer Illarion Vasilyev explains for his part: “Tatyana Kotlyar admitted her guilt and agreed to a special procedure for consideration. There are no victims in this case. Neither the state nor private individuals suffered damage from the actions of Tatyana Kotlyar. And there are extenuating circumstances".
However, the court did not heed the voice of the human rights activist and imposed a fine of 480,000 rubles on Kotlyar. True, judge Ovchinnikova included in this amount the fine already paid by Kotlyar in 2019 in the amount of 140 thousand rubles, and therefore the total amount is 340 thousand rubles - gigantic money for a pensioner.
The judge supplemented the verdict with a ruling addressed to the Obninsk police with a demand to correct the state of affairs. How this will be done is completely unclear.
In her last speech, the human rights activist said:
“I am on trial for helping people. When my husband and I arrived in Obninsk, we had no housing, we rented rooms for 7 years without a residence permit. We had to buy a residence permit in a private house, and not even in Obninsk, but in Belousovo. Therefore, I understand well the problems of people who have come to Obninsk and are forced to rent housing without registration. After all, even a child was not accepted to school without registration. On April 18, 2020, Presidential Decree No. 274 announced a migration amnesty due to the coronavirus and closed borders. All foreign citizens, even illegally staying in Russia, were put on migration registration. But the decree of the President cannot fulfill itself.
For legalization under Presidential Decree No. 274, a foreign citizen required registration. A refugee from the LNR or DNR also required registration. Where can I get this registration?
For these people, my registration was a lifesaver. I helped people, and they were able to legally live in Russia, work, teach children, and become citizens of Russia. And they say to me: we will put you in jail for this! Well, plant. I still don't have that kind of money - 500 thousand rubles, which the prosecutor demanded.
The question is this: is it necessary to help people if you get something for this help? Jailed or fined. But I know that during the war the Nazis in the occupied territories killed those who hid Jews. But still there were people who helped the Jews. Although they could have been hanged for this, but not fined or imprisoned.
I am 70 years old. Age of death. I don't know how much longer I have to live. But as long as I live, I will try to help people. I believe that no one suffered from my crime..."