The FSB demanded the right to search Russians without court permission

The FSB has developed a manual for the security forces that allows them to search the homes, apartments and vehicles of Russians without a court order.

The document appeared on the portal of draft regulations. The instruction specifies cases in which representatives of secret services can “conduct a survey” limiting the constitutional right of citizens to the inviolability of their home.

These are, according to the document, “situations that do not tolerate delay and may lead to the commission of a serious or particularly serious crime”.

Unauthorized searches will also be allowed if there is evidence of events and activities that “pose a threat to the state, military, economic, information or environmental security” of Russia.

Following searches on this basis, the security forces will have to report their conduct to the court within 24 hours. However, in order to start the search, representatives of the secret services will have to obtain a decision from one of the heads of the ABW – the first deputy director of the FSB, the head of a department or department, their deputies or heads of territorial security authorities.

In all other cases, searches are carried out only on the basis of a court decision and in the presence of data on the characteristics of a crime, persons who may have committed it and about events threatening the security of the state.

According to the new FSB instructions, the security forces can seize suspicious documents, materials and items that are not allowed to be stored. Such items may include unregistered weapons, even if not essential.

During the searches, the security services will be able to record what is happening with the camera, as well as engage two witnesses. However, if the searches are carried out “in hard-to-reach places and/or in the absence of adequate means of communication” or may endanger people’s health and lives, the security forces may not engage witnesses.

In November 2022, the Supreme Court allowed Russians to seek non-pecuniary damages for an illegal house search. “The right to compensation for non-pecuniary damage in connection with a search or seizure of a dwelling that has been declared unlawful by the court is granted both to persons in respect of whom their conduct was authorized by a court decision and to other persons residing in the premises in which a search, seizure is carried out,” the plenum of the Supreme Court decides.


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