Strasbourg Gets New Nominee

Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov has withdrawn the candidacy of a St. Petersburg lawmaker that he had tapped to be Russia's envoy to the European Court of Human Rights, news agencies cited sources as saying Tuesday.

A ministry spokeswoman told The Moscow Times last week that Konovalov had nominated United Russia member Viktor Yevtukhov, a deputy in the St. Petersburg city legislature, to replace Veronika Milinchuk, whom President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed earlier this month as Russia's representative at the Strasbourg-based court.

But citing a source in the St. Petersburg legislator, Interfax reported Tuesday that Yevtukhov's nomination had been withdrawn. Instead, Konovalov nominated Georgy Matyushkin, his former deputy during his stint as presidential envoy to the Volga Federal District, Gazeta.ru cited a source in the Strasbourg court as saying.

A Justice Ministry spokeswoman reached by telephone Tuesday declined to comment on the reports.

The Kremlin gave no explanation for Milinchuk's dismissal, though media reports suggested that it was due to the large number of rulings against Russia in the court.

Since November 1998, the court has issued 506 rulings against Russia, according to the court's web site.

Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said in May that the court had ordered Russia to pay 4.3 million euros ($6.7 million) to Russians who filed complaints to the court alleging violations of their human rights back home.

Russia is the absolute leader among countries subject to the court in terms of complaints against it. As of June 1, there were a total of 88,850 complaints pending in the court, 22,400 -- or 25 percent --of which were filed by Russian citizens against their own government, according to the court's web site.