Friday, January 23, 2015

Putin Pulling Russia Out of European Legal Space and Ending Common Russian Legal Space as Well, Kadiyev Says

Paul Goble


            Staunton, January 23 – The most important “import substitution” now going on in Russia is not the replacement of foreign foods and medicines with domestically produced ones but the replacement of European legal norms with Soviet legal ideas and the strengthening of religious and other traditional social regulators, according to Rasul Kadiyev.


            And that in turn means, the North Caucasus analyst writes in “Kavkazskaya politika,” that some regions in Russia will begin to elaborate their own legal principles, including Islamic ones, that will oppose and be opposed by the newly independent Russian ideas and practices (


            With the end of the Soviet Union, he points out, “the Russian Federation became a consumer of European law since this was profitable both economically and politically. Most of its new laws were even reviewed in the Council of Europe, and thus “from the Soviet jurisdiction, [Russia] passed into the European one.”


            “But in 2013, the price of oil was no longer 13 US dollars as it had been in 1998 when Russia ratified the European Convention on the Defense of Rights and Basic Freedoms, but more than 110 US dollars, and disagreements between Russia and Europe became much greater, Kadiyev says.


            Russians, “as ‘consumers’” of European law, “began to express dissatisfaction with the services of the European jurisdiction,” not only the large number of Russian losses in the European Human Rights Courts but also the decisions of other European courts against Russian companies.


            By 2012, he continues, “calls began to appear to make the Russian legal system independent” of the European one. And differences with Europe over Ukraine have only intensified these appeals and now have prompted the justice ministry to prepare legislation that would effectively end Russia’s participation in a common European legal space.


            In an explanatory note attached to the draft law issued at the end of last year, Kadiyev says, the ministry specified that the law will “make possible the strengthening of the legal position of the state and security strategic national interests,” a declaration that puts Russia at odds with European definitions.


            By making the state and its security rather than the rights of the individual central, he continues, the draft law represents “a return to the materialist Soviet principle that ‘law is the embodiment of the will of the ruling class,’ while the basis of European legal culture is that normative acts must correspond to legal principles.”


            Because the new legislation allows for adopting measures to implement European rules in Russia, “this is still not an exit from the Council of Europe but it is already a proposal to violate the conditions which are obligatory for joining this organization.”


            That has enormous consequences not only between Russia and Europe but also within the Russian Federation because in the latter case, it opens the way for a return to traditional legal norms and even “legal separatism” under the terms of which one region or another, drawing on its distinctive cultural background, can adopt different laws than others have.


            “If the Russian Federation enters on the course of legal sovereignty apart from the European jurisdiction,” Kadiyev says, “and as the basis of its ‘separatism’ puts the defense of ‘traditional values,’ then this in the first instance will lead to a review of the domestic legal space in favor of the regional component.”


            That will not necessarily lead to political separatism, he argues, but it will give the regimes in the North Caucasus “a chance to create a high quality and competitive legal field” on the basis of its Islamic past and thus lead to “the gradual legalization of Islamic institutions of law and economics.”


            In the near term, however, there is a problem, Kadiyev says. “Just as one cannot instantly restore the production of goods” one had been importing, so too “it is impossible to create in regions new Russian legal specialists” who are capable of producing high quality legislation rather than just copying legislation “sent down ‘from Moscow.’”





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