Serafima Naumocheva, an environmental activist, requested the Decree of 22 June 2007 No. 992, which was approved by the Head of the Khimki town administration. The Decree concerns the construction of the M-10 Russia highway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Concerned about the environmental impact on the surrounding forest, Naumocheva asked the Khimki town administration to provide information about the exact route and dimensions of the highway. While providing some information, the administration did not provide the documents requested.
The Court of first instance (Khimki Town Court of the Moscow Oblast) rejected the claim, asserting that the requested document did not affect the requester’s rights and freedoms and that part of the document was already published on the Internet. The Court also stated that since the administration had provided some information, it had fulfilled its obligation under the law. On appeal, the Moscow Oblast Court, however, fully satisfied the claim. The Oblast Court ruled that according to the RTI law, everyone has the right to information about the activity of the state, except for information that falls under exemptions.
Note: This is one of the first cases in which the court implemented sections of the 2010 Russian RTI law to satisfy information requests related to the environmental impact of state financed construction projects. Russian courts tend not to apply the RTI law and reject information demands of the public without any basis when they concern construction of highways, logging and other environmental impact studies. After this case some courts began to satisfy citizens’ claims for environmental information.
Judgment of the Court.