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    Russia and the Council of Europe: an incompatible ideology, and a transplanted legal regime?

    Bowring, Bill (2018) Russia and the Council of Europe: an incompatible ideology, and a transplanted legal regime? In: Morris, P.S. (ed.) Russian Discourses on International Law: Sociological and Philosophical Phenomenon. Abingdon, UK: Routledge. ISBN 9781138566705.

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    Russia’s accession to the Council of Europe (CoE) in 1996 and ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in 1998 saw the beginning not only of a wholly new Russian discourse on international law, but also of an unprecedented immersion in it. It is no exaggeration to say that in the almost 20 years since ratification of the ECHR, Russian law and practice have become saturated with the principles and case-law emanating from Strasbourg. In this chapter my strategy is that I start with the uncontestable empirical facts of the range of Russia’s commitments to and engagement to the CoE. Second, I present and comment on Russia’s public statements as to its own perception of the significance of the CoE and its accession in 1996. These must of course be taken together with the deep engagement of the Russian judicial system with Strasbourg: the two Resolutions of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation giving guidance to the Courts of General Jurisdiction, first the Resolution of 10 October 2003 ‘On application by courts of general jurisdiction of the commonly recognized principles and norms of the international law and the international treaties of the Russian Federation’ , and second the Resolution of 27 June 2013 ‘On application of the European Convention on Human Rights by the courts of general jurisdiction.’ Russia, according to a number of official pronouncements, has every intention of remaining in the CoE, for good reasons. Third, I return to the CoE and its post-WWII history. What is its ideology? Does it have one? Is it based on a view of “morals”? I show that two leading contemporary scholars, a political scientist and an historian, have demonstrated, in a number of widely cited works, very different although convergent accounts of the origin and provenance of the CoE and ECtHR. My title has a question mark, for good reason. If there is doubt as to whether the CoE has a distinct and unmistakeable ideology, is Russia any less ambiguous? It is perfectly proper to ask the question - what is Russia’s ideology? Indeed, Russian journals and mass media are full of scholarly and journalistic articles asking just these questions. My fourth section engages with the vexed question of legal transplants. I conclude by insisting that Russia from its origins in the expanding Moscow of the 16th century has been an integral part of the European political and legal orders, influencing and influenced by all the diverse currents of thought and action. And if Russia now seeks to see itself as essentially Eurasian, then the Western European states, with, almost all of them, their histories of global colonial predation, have still to come to terms with their significance and legacy.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge.
    School: School of Law
    Depositing User: Bill Bowring
    Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2019 12:31
    Last Modified: 22 Jun 2021 19:46


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