The Pskov Regional Court has upheld a city court ruling on refusing to recover 500,000 rubles (about $6,550) from journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva in a defamation lawsuit, reports RFE/RL’s Sever.Realii.
The initial lawsuit was filed in March 2020 by expert Olga Yakotsuts, a co-author of the psychological and linguistic assessment in a previous criminal case against Prokopyeva for “justifying terrorism.”
Yakotsuts filed the suit over a Facebook post Prokopyeva wrote about the expert assessment in her case. According to Yakotsuts, the journalist’s post contained allegations that “violate business ethics and business practices” and constitute “incorrect, unethical behavior in person, public, or political life” (as quoted by Sever.Realii).
Prokopyeva only mentions Olga Yakotsuts once in the Facebook post, stating that Yakotsuts joined her criminal case “on the side of the forces of evil.”
The Pskov Regional Court has yet to publish its decision. Sever.Realii and the magazine 7x7 did not mention the court’s grounds for rejecting the appeal.
The Pskov City Court made its ruling on August 12, 2020, stating that while Prokopyeva’s Facebook post contained value judgments, it didn’t include any facts that could be verified and recognized as untrue.
In February 2019, journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva was accused of publicly justifying terrorism in an article she wrote for Ekho Moskvy’s branch in Pskov, in which she partly blamed a suicide bombing in October 2018 against the FSB building in Arkhangelsk on the FSB itself, arguing that the Russian authorities are themselves responsible for creating the conditions that drive citizens to fight against it.
Prokopyeva was convicted in July 2020. Though prosecutors wanted her imprisoned for six years, the court only fined her 500,000 rubles.