Top Court Says Russians Can’t Hit Back at Police

Russian citizens have no right to use force to defend themselves against illegal acts by the police, the country’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

The court rejected a proposed new instruction to lower courts that asserted the citizen’s right to self-defense, citing the Russian Criminal Code.


“Defense against the known illegal use of force by law enforcement agents is allowable; legitimate self-defense is the right of everyone, regardless of their professional or other preparation or their position,” the draft instruction said.

The Supreme Court ruled however that any action by a law enforcement officer on duty, even if it causes or threatens harm to a person, does not provide legal grounds for self-defense.

Commenting on the ruling, Supreme Court Judge Valery Stepalin said the provision was excluded from the draft only temporarily, because after three months of discussion the resolution had yet to be harmonized with the various agencies concerned.

Last November, Russia’s then-Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said people should be permitted to hit back at police who attack them without cause.

“May a citizen hit back at a policeman who has attacked him?” he said. “Yes, he may, if he is not a criminal, if he is walking along quietly and breaking no rules.”


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