How Article 20.2 is used by courts: statistics

Category: Open data

Country/area: Russia

Organisation: OVD-Info

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 30/06/2019

Credit: Daniel Beilinson, Ekaterina Borovikova, Natalia Smirnova

Project description:

Our project reveals the problem of prosecution of rally participants in Russia. The most widely used legal tool for that is Article 20.2 of the Code of Administrative Offences. We parsed and published the court statistics on this topic for 15 years and all Russian regions, providing built-in analytical tools, interactive maps and charts, and text descriptions with it.
We describe how the punishment for rally participants was changing, becoming more severe. We also describe the main numbers and characteristics of the prosecution of rally participants in the FAQ section and automatically generate a description for each region.

Impact reached:

All gathered data is open and can be downloaded and used by journalists and researchers. Besides the publication of the data, we provide built-in analytical tools and interactive visualizations so that the users could draw their conclusions from the data provided.
Our data was widely used by other media especially when the attention of Russian society was attracted by massive demonstrations that took place in Moscow this summer. Since our project was published we counted 21 publications in other media where our data was used. We expect that journalists will keep using our project as we plan to parse new data as soon as it’s available on the Judicial Management Department’s website (at the end of March 2020).

Techniques/technologies used:

We wrote Python scripts to scrape the data from the websites of the Judicial Management Department and the Russian Federal State Statistics Service and prepare it for the publication. The project’s page was developed as a one-page-application using the Vue JavaScript framework using D3.js for data visualization.

What was the hardest part of this project?

The summarised court statistics is collected by the Russian Supreme Court. However, the data on how often people are accused and convicted under article 20.2 on the regional level is not published openly. To get access to this official data one has to write a request to the Judicial Management Department and wait several weeks.
We managed to get court statistics for 15 years (2004-2018) and not only for the whole country but also for every Russian region. We parsed the data and republished it in a machine-readable format so that it became possible to compare this data and analyze it more deeply. We also enriched this data with data on the population of Russian regions.

What can others learn from this project?

The project clearly shows that rally participants in Russian are getting heavier punishment in recent years: the fines for demonstrators are getting bigger and the new forms of persecution such as community works are being used.
However, the provided data can help to answer more specific questions regarding the dynamics of individual metrics such as the number of cases processed by courts under article 20.2, the number of cases with specific outcomes (conviction, dismissal or other outcomes), cases with different types of punishments, such as fines, arrests, community works, and other metrics.
All these metrics can be retrieved for the whole country as well as for every region in Russia.

Project links: