'Telephone Law' and the 'Rule of Law': The Russian Case
The Hague Journal of the Rule of Law, Forthcoming
25 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2009 Last revised: 24 Aug 2009
Date Written: July 26, 2009
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.
Keywords: rule of law, Russia, legal culture, courts
JEL Classification: K4, P37
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation