Постановление Европейского суда по правам человека от 11.02.2010 «Дело Федченко (fedchenko) против России (n 2)» [англ.]

Город принятия

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
FIRST SECTION
CASE OF FEDCHENKO v. RUSSIA (No. 2)
(Application No. 48195/06)
JUDGMENT*
(Strasbourg, 11.II.2010)
____________________________
*This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Fedchenko v. Russia (No. 2),

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:

Christos Rozakis, President,

Nina {Vajic}*,

____________________________
*Здесь и далее по тексту слова на национальном языке набраны латинским шрифтом и выделены фигурными скобками.

Anatoly Kovler,

Khanlar Hajiyev,

Dean Spielmann,

Sverre Erik Jebens,

George Nicolaou, judges,

and {Soren} Nielsen, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 21 January 2010,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE
1. The case originated in an application (No. 48195/06) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") by a Russian national, Mr Oleg Dmitriyevich Fedchenko ("the applicant"), on 30 September 2006.

2. The applicant was represented by Ms A. Soboleva, a lawyer practising in Moscow. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Ms V. Milinchuk, the former Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.

3. On 31 January 2007 the President of the First Section decided to give notice of the application to the Government. It was also decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility (Article 29 § 3).

THE FACTS
I. The circumstances of the case
4. The applicant was born in 1968 and lives in the village of Suponevo, in the Bryansk Region.

5. The applicant has been the editor of a weekly newspaper, Bryanskiye Budni (Брянские будни), since he founded it in 1999.

A. Articles concerning the educational system
in the Bryansk Region
6. In 2004 - 2005 the state of educational system in the Bryansk Region became the subject of media attention.

7. The newspaper Bryanskoye Vremya (Брянское время), in issue No. 30 of September 2004, published an article entitled "Textbook for an Alchemist" ("Учебник для алхимика"). The article discussed the shortage of textbooks in schools and problems related to their publication and supply. In particular, the article mentioned a "mysterious" publisher of textbooks which it linked to the dismissal of the then head of the Bryansk Department of Education, I. Geraschenkov, who was later reappointed to the post. The article also referred to an audit report which had revealed numerous financial irregularities in the supply of textbooks.

8. On 6 July 2005 Rossiyskaya Gazeta (Российская газета), a newspaper of the Russian Government, published an abridged version of an article by S.F. and A.G. entitled "Question for an official. Where does the "children's money" disappear' to?" (Экзамен для чиновника. Куда исчезают "детские" деньги), which criticised the poor state of the education system in the Bryansk Region. The article read as follows:

"The Bryansk Department of Education headed by I. Geraschenkov and his first deputy N. Prokopenko spends more than 13,000 [roubles] a month per boarding school pupil. Education in a vocational school is more expensive than in a prestigious commercial college. According to the Department's reports, each year 36,000 roubles are allocated to each school for the additional training of teachers. However, the schools do not receive it.

The Bryansk Region broke all records for the number of children playing truant from boarding schools and has been subject to harsh criticism as a result. A shocking number of children are put on a missing list every day. All right, now it is summer and the weather is warm. However, the number of children playing truant from the boarding schools is no smaller in winter, when it is freezing outside and the child has neither a place to sleep nor food. What is the explanation for this? Children are being kept in boarding schools in unbearable conditions. Material resources there are very scarce and there is a high turnover of tutors because of low wages.

One third of a billion roubles is allocated annually to 38 vocational schools in Bryansk. However, the picture is not any better in these schools. Ugly walls, obsolete equipment, low wages for the teachers... The quality of training also leaves much to be desired. It is notable that 90% of the school leavers do not take up their chosen profession.

Fortunately, school financing is not within the competence of the local education officials. However, significant finances aimed at the development of school education pass through the Department. And very strange things happen there!
For instance, take the "School Textbook" programme. The Department's senior officials manage to convince the councillors that there are not enough textbooks in the schools and that children from low-income families are in a particularly difficult situation. However, as soon as the councillors take a decision on the allocation of funds, these officials immediately forget the acuity of the problem. Nobody remembers the children from low-income families any more. Thus, between three and five million [roubles] of budgetary funds are spent year in, year out. This year the officials bought textbooks out of the budgetary funds from a single supplier without an open tender. This is a gross violation of the presidential decree on fighting economic crime and corruption.

Another sphere within the Department's competence is the advanced training of educational staff. Bryansk teachers became accustomed a long time ago to working without any methodical support. However, 36,000 roubles from the regional budget is allocated annually to each school for advanced training and retraining. Headmasters in rural areas have not seen this money for a long time and do not even know that it has been allocated.

Why does this happen? There are two reasons. First, the money is not received by the schools as earmarked funds, but by entities subordinate to the Department, such as the Bryansk Institute of Advanced Training of Educational Staff, irrespective of the quality of their work.

And if you enter the rector's reception area, you will see fashionable splendour, an incredible number of secretaries... The maintenance of the "Institute of Advanced Training" costs the regional budget more than 16 million per year. Teachers and headmasters cannot even rebel against it, the point being that the rector of the "Institute of Advanced Training" is the selfsame Mr Geraschenkov, who heads the Department.

Clearly, in an organisation as secretive as the regional Department it is very hard to get at the truth. For instance, we have still to find out where one million roubles for computer and communications equipment in the Department's account left over from 2004 have disappeared to. As far back as the first half of this year schools in the region were due to be provided with modern communication systems, but they still have not received anything."
9. On 14 July 2005 the Bryanskiye Budni published the full version of the article. It was entitled "Where does the "children's money" disappear to?" (Куда исчезают "детские деньги") and read as follows:

"The Bryansk Department of Education headed by I. Geraschenkov and his first deputy N. Prokopenko spends more than 13,000 a month per boarding school pupil. Education in a vocational school is more expensive than in a prestigious commercial college. According to the Department's reports, each year 36 thousand roubles are allocated to each school for the additional training of teachers. However, the schools do not receive it.

The saddest thing about this situation is that the heads of the Department do not even think about trying to change things for the better. They wearily give instructions for decisions taken at meetings held five years previously to be rewritten. Indeed, why change anything when they are comfortable with everything.

The Department is remarkable not only because of the inefficient expenditure of taxpayers' money but because of the inertia of its senior officials. Both Geraschenkov and Prokopenko have held the top posts in the regional education office for a very long time.

Establishments for children left without parental care are the first thing the Department finances and is responsible for. The Bryansk Region broke all records for the number of children playing truant from boarding schools and has been subject to harsh criticism as a result. A shocking number of children are put on the missing list every day. All right, now it is summer and the weather is warm. However, the number of children playing truant from the boarding schools is no smaller in winter, when it is freezing outside, and the child has neither a place to sleep nor food. What is the explanation for this? Children are being kept in boarding schools in unbearable conditions.

Material resources there are very scarce and there is a high turnover of tutors because of the low wages. Many benefactors who have seen this picture grant considerable funds to afford some improvement in the conditions for the children. But if only they knew how much budgetary money is spent per child! We repeat: 13,000 per month! This is in addition to the funds provided by the benefactors.

However, there is another sad fact: notwithstanding such heavy expenditure, in most cases the region still ends up with social misfits. Many of the boarding school pupils engage in alcohol abuse, become dependent on state benefits or end up being prosecuted and sent to jail.

However, it is not the children's fault, but the fault of the system which the abovementioned heads have been building for years.

Vocational schools are also directly dependent on the regional Department of Education and receive taxpayers' money through the Department. Getting acquainted with the way the vocational schools function brings you down. The material resources of most of them are in decline: ugly walls, obsolete equipment and low wages for teachers. School leavers have extremely low levels of knowledge and professional skills. Unfortunately, 90% of the school leavers do not take up their chosen profession, so that budgetary money is effectively wasted.

One third of a billion roubles is seemingly allocated annually to 38 vocational schools. Despite this they are in decline and those they have trained are not in demand in the labour market, even though nowadays highly qualified workers are in sufficient demand and earn quite good money.

Fortunately, school financing is not within the competence of the local education officials. However, significant finances aimed at the development of school education pass through the Department, including the material resources for the schools and methodical support for teacher training. And very strange things happen there!
For instance, take the "School Textbook" programme. When it is time to allocate funds, the Department's senior officials go to the council and convince the councillors that there are not enough textbooks in the schools and that children from low-income families are in a particularly difficult situation and cannot get the basic books. This is true. However, as soon as the councillors take a decision on the allocation of funds - these officials immediately forget the acuity of the problem. Books are purchased randomly, distributed among the districts even more chaotically and incomprehensibly large sums (around one hundred roubles) are spent on shipping the educational materials. Nobody remembers the children from low-income families any more.

Thus, between three and five million [roubles] of budgetary funds are spent year in, year out. This year the officials bought textbooks out of the budgetary funds from a single supplier without an open tender. This is a gross violation of the presidential decree on fighting economic crime and corruption.

One more sphere within the Department's competence is the advanced training of educational staff. Bryansk teachers became accustomed a long time ago to working without any methodical support. The situation is absurd even: many teachers prefer to avoid methodical institutions as they do not expect anything from them but admonition and disrespect. However, 36,000 roubles from the regional budget are allocated annually to each school for advanced training and retraining. Headmasters in rural areas have not seen this money for a long time and do not even know that it has been allocated.

Why does this happen?
There are two reasons. First, the money is not received by the schools as earmarked funds, but by entities subordinate to the Department, such as the Bryansk Institute of Advanced Training of Educational Staff, irrespective of the quality of their work. If you enter the rector's reception area, you will see fashionable, chic secretaries... The maintenance of the "Institute of Advanced Training" costs the regional budget an incredible figure of more than 16 million per year.

Not only are the teachers and headmasters of the schools deprived of money that is due to them, they cannot even rebel against it, the point being that the rector of the "Institute of Advanced Training" is the selfsame Mr Geraschenkov who heads the Department. He is responsible not only for training, but for performance appraisal as well. If a teacher claims that he was offered a poor quality or uninteresting course, the training specialist who appraises him will unnerve and humiliate him, and perhaps reduce his marks and leave him with a pittance.

These are the conditions in which teachers work: with the feeling that as far as professional development is concerned they can count only on themselves and their colleagues. Or, as a teacher of literature, a teacher of the highest grade, said: "You work and work, try and try, and then a newly fledged training specialist comes along and humiliates you for no reason."
The other reason for the stalemate and mismanagement in education is the following. The former Governor released Geraschenkov from the post of director of the regional Department. However, the new Governor reappointed him for some reason, thus violating the law for a third time. Section 18 of the Law on State Service of the Bryansk Region provides that only persons under 60 can be appointed to such posts and that the appointment should be made on the basis of