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'Telephone Law' and the 'Rule of Law': The Russian Case


Kathryn Hendley


University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School; University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Political Science

July 26, 2009

The Hague Journal of the Rule of Law, Forthcoming
Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research No. 1087

Abstract:     
The voices of ordinary Russians have been mostly absent from discussions of the 'rule of law' in Russia. Drawing on 59 interviews conducted during the summer of 2008 in Moscow and Saratov, this article seeks to integrate the views of average citizens. These interviews reveal remarkably little concern over 'telephone law' and/or corruption. The respondents are highly critical of the Russian legal system, but focus their anger on the unwillingness of the state to enforce the existing laws and the slow speed and expense of litigating. Most are open to the idea of going to court for disputes with one another, though not for disputes with the state or other powerful actors. The predictability that underlies the 'rule of law' is present in the sense that ordinary Russians understand when they can and cannot rely on the legal system. Expecting more from Russia is likely unrealistic.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 25

Keywords: rule of law, Russia, legal culture, courts

JEL Classification: K4, P37

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Date posted: July 27, 2009 ; Last revised: August 24, 2009

Suggested Citation

Hendley, Kathryn, 'Telephone Law' and the 'Rule of Law': The Russian Case (July 26, 2009). The Hague Journal of the Rule of Law, Forthcoming; Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research No. 1087. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1439388

Contact Information

Kathryn Hendley (Contact Author)
University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School ( email )
975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
301-405-3476 (Phone)
301-405-3542 (Fax)
University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Political Science ( email )
1050 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
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