The Consitutional Court of the Russian Federation on the protection of medical workers’ personal data: Ruling of the 25th May of 2021 No. 21-P

Available in Russian

Price 150 Rub.

Author: Alyona Gerashchenko

Keywords: digitalization; information; public figure; right to privacy

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2021-6-137-154


The definition of the legal term “personal data” suggested by the Russian legislator is broad and vague. So is the definition of the right to privacy. Both terms are hard to define both logically and ontologically. According to the European Court of Human Rights’ approach, the right to the protection of personal data forms the foundation of the right to privacy. When the legal terms are defined broadly, it gets hard to protect them, especially in the era of digitalization. The 21st century is characterized by the blurring of the spheres of private and public life due to the vast use of digital technologies. The excessive blurring of these spheres creates more and more chances for breaches of the right to private life, and as a consequence, for breaches of the right to protection of personal data. This article makes a theoretical contribution by analyzing the evolution of private-public spheres applying historical and philosophical approaches. It analyzes the judgement of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation in relation to the public interest in medical personnel’s professional work, and demonstrates the narrowing of the boundaries of their right to privacy. The narrowing takes place by the Court’s extending the public figure doctrine to result in the classification of the doctors’ personal data as public information. The author criticizes this approach and shows a difference between the legal regimes for public information and for personal data that are published with open access due to federal law requirements and consent of the medical workers provided during the recruitment processes. The author suggests another approach to the protection of the personal data of doctors by defining such data as personal data allowed to be distributed to the public in consequence of the person’s entering into labor relationships.

About the author: Alyona Gerashchenko – Ph.D. Student, faculty member, Faculty of Law, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Gerashchenko A. (2021) Konstitutsionnyy Sud RF o zashchite personal'nykh dannykh meditsinskikh rabotnikov: Postanovlenie ot 25 maya 2021 goda Nº 21-P [The Consitutional Court of the Russian Federation on the protection of medical workers’ personal data: Ruling of the 25th May of 2021 No. 21-P]. Sravnitel'noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 30, no. 6, pp. 137–154. (In Russian).


Alekseeva T.A. (2004) “Publichnoe” i “chastnoe”: gde granitsy “politicheskogo”? [“Public” and “private”: where are the boundaries of “political”?]. Available at: (accessed: 09.11.2021). (In Russian).

Arendt H. (1958) The Human Condition, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Berners-Lee T. (1999) Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web by Its Inventor, New York: Harper Collins.

Coleman J.S. (1988) Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital. American Journal of Sociology, vol.94, pp.95–120.

Dudinov A.N. (2008) Internet-resurs kak forma effektivnogo vzaimodeystviya gosudarstvennogo uchrezhdeniya i grazhdan [Internet resource as a form of effective interaction between a state institution and citizens]. In: Informatsionnaya otkrytost' gosudarstvennykh internet-resursov v interesakh molodyozhi [Information openness of state Internet resources in the interests of youth], pp.5–10. Available at: (accessed: 09.11.2021). (In Russian).

Froomkin A.M. (2000) The Death of Privacy? Stanford Law Review, vol.52, no.5, pp.1461–1543.

Gerashchenko I.G. (2021) Ekonomicheskie arkhetipy filosofii [Economic archetypes of philosophy]. CredoNew, no.2. Available at: (accessed: 09.11.2021). (In Russian).

Habermas J. (1989) Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, T.Burger, F.Lawrence (transl.), Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hegel G.W.G. (1935) Sochineniya. Tom 8 [Collected writings. Vol.8], in 14 vols., A.M.Voden (transl.), Moscow; Leningrad: Sotsekgiz. (In Russian).

Judd Ch.H. (1931) The Nature of Social Institutions. Social Forces, vol.10, no.1, pp.1–4.

Klitou D. (2014) Privacy-Invading Technologies and Privacy by Design: Safeguarding Privacy, Liberty and Security in the 21st Century, The Hague: T.M.C. Asser Press.

Kozyr'kov V.P. (2002) Chastnaya zhizn' lichnosti i privatizatsiya kul'tury [The private life of the individual and the privatization of culture]. Vestnik Nizhegorodskogo universiteta imeni N.I.Lobachevskogo. Seriya: Sotsial'nye nauki, no.1, pp.125–138. (In Russian).

Locke J. (1988) Dva traktata o pravlenii [Two treatises of government]. In: Subbotin A.L. (ed.) Sochineniya. Tom 3 [Essays. Vol.3], in 3 vols., Moscow: Mysl', pp.135–384. (In Russian).

Montaigne M. (1979) Opyty. Kniga 3 [Essays. Book 3], in 3 books, Yu.B.Vipper (ed.), Moscow: Nauka. (In Russian).

Osvetimskaya I.I. (2020) “Nastoyashchee” i simulyakr v prave v usloviyakh krizisa avtoritetnykh instantsiy opredeleniya obshchey istiny [The “present” and the simulacrum in law in the context of crisis of authoritative instances of determining the general truth]. In: Samokhina E.G., Tonkov E.N. (eds.) V poiskakh teorii prava [In search of a theory of law], Saint Petersburg: Aleteyya, pp.240–248. (In Russian).

Soboleva A.K. (2018) Diskursivnaya legitimatsiya prav cheloveka [Discursive legitimization of human rights]. In: Yuridicheskaya nauka i praktika: nasledie, sostoyanie i perspektivy razvitiya: sbornik nauchnykh statey. Chast' 1 [Legal science and practice: heritage, state and prospects of development: collection of scientific articles. Part 1], in 2 parts, Grodno: Grodnenskiy gosudarstvennyy universitet imeni Yаnki Kupaly, pp.52–56. (In Russian).

Swanson J.A. (1992) The Public and the Private in Aristotle’s Political Philosophy, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Ul'yanchenko A.M. (2014) Pravovaya kategoriya chastnoy zhizni kak ob'ekt issledovaniya sotsial'­noy filosofii [The legal category of private life as an object of social philosophy research]. Izvestiya vuzov. Severo-Kavkazskiy region. Seriya: Obshchestvennye nauki, no.2, pp.71–76. (In Russian).