Moscow restaurant ‘Armenia’ wins suit against Russian opposition

JAM News
Oct 8 2019

Leaders of the many-month-long protests against unfair elections now have to pay the restaurant $3,000

The Moscow restaurant Armenia has won in a suit against the local opposition, which for several months held large protests demanding independent candidates be allowed to participate in local elections. 

The restaurant, which was territorially at the epicenter of the protests, was the only one in Moscow that, due to alleged losses, sued the organizers – opposition leaders Navalny, Sobol and Yashin in August.

Now the court has handed down a verdict – the organizers of the protests must pay the restaurant owners 241,500 rubles [about $3,000].

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Lentach writes a restaurant representative claimed that on July 27 – the day of the largest rally – the institution received less than 550,000 rubles of income [about $8,500].  

In particular, restaurant representatives said in a lawsuit that a banquet for 40 people had been planned for this day (and did not take place due to the rally) for a total cost of more than 396 thousand rubles [about $6,000].

Lawyers for the defendants insisted that Armenia did not justify why the restaurant had to close. They also noted that a copy of the printout with the cost of the banquet cannot be considered valid evidence of loss.

In addition, according to the defendants, with such declared amounts, each visitor to the banquet had to eat at least four kilograms of food.

But the representative of the restaurant Armenia stated that “it’s not enough for a banquet”, and the judge agreed with him.

When the restaurant filed the lawsuit, in response, thousands of users began to put negative reviews on its Facebook page and thus lowered its ratings (down to two out of five). The restaurant was forced to close the page altogether, Kommersant reports. 

Protests in Russia: what to fear and what to hope for

On the day of the rally on July 27, police detained 1.373 people, dozens were beaten with particular cruelty.

Moscow journalist Sergei Yezhov said that the company that owns the restaurant Armenia recently received a contract from the Russian Interior Ministry.

On August 22, another lawsuit was filed against Alexei Navalny and several unregistered candidates in the Moscow City Duma – this suit was filed by the Moscow Metro

Protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg took place every Saturday from July 20 until the September 8 elections.  

For the most part, the protests were not authorized by the authorities, and therefore they were accompanied by mass beatings of participants and arrests.

One of the most egregious cases was the arrest of the journalist Ilia Azar, whom the police took away from his apartment in which his two-year-old daughter remained.

The most massive protest took place on August 10, more than 60,000 people came to the rally in Moscow.

Several protesters have already received prison sentences of two to five years for such offenses as “posting an offensive tweet,” “throwing a ballot box at a policeman,” “touching a policeman’s helmet.”

Election Results:

•In Moscow, where deputies were elected to the city parliament (Moscow City Duma), the authorities were unable to obtain a majority.  20 out of 45 seats were nominated by opposition parliamentary parties.  

There were only seven such constituencies in the last election.

•But in all 16 regions of Russia where governors were being elected, the current heads of regions appointed by the Kremlin came in first.

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