Vladimir Putin and the Rule of Law in Russia
Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, Vol. 36, No. 511, pp. 511-57, 2008
47 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2008 Last revised: 16 Jun 2016
Date Written: July 7, 2008
During his two terms as President of Russia, did Vladimir Putin further the net development of a legal culture in Russia? This article is based on public lectures given in late 2007 and early 2008 at Oxford University, the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), and the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
This article examines three "windows" into the development of Russia's legal culture under Vladimir Putin: (1) the Second Chechen War; (2) Russian membership in the Council of Europe; and, (3) renewed efforts under Putin at codification of law, as evidenced by the creation of a new criminal procedure code. The first window presents a bleak view, the second a more hopeful one, and the third a truly mixed picture.
This article presents a faint-hearted endorsement of Putin's legal legacy. This conclusion runs against the prevailing popular wisdom. The endorsement is nevertheless a tepid one because Russia's new legal culture has very shallow roots that, at the time of this writing, could easily be yanked free of Russian soil by the very man that has been tending them with faltering attentiveness.
Keywords: Russia, Vladimir Putin, legal reform, rule of law, Chechnya, Council of Europe, criminal procedure
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