The Reasoning of Russian Courts in Cases Connected with the Protection of Religious Feelings

38 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2013

See all articles by Mikhail Antonov

Mikhail Antonov

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Ekaterina Samokhina

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: October 17, 2013

Abstract

The authors examine how the Russian judiciary devises legal policies when adjudicating cases in which religious beliefs are concerned. First, the authors describe the theoretical framework within which research on this matter can be conducted. This framework can be constructed on the basis of the theory of legal argumentation. Applying this framework to the investigation of the Russian court practice enables the authors to discover important features which are characteristic of legal reasoning in this category of cases. The Constitutional Court of Russia has chosen to abstain from crafting principles of legal policy regarding religious issues; yet, the jurisprudence of the ECtHR, by and large, is not followed by the Russian judiciary, and the Supreme Court of Russia has no clear-cut policy in this regard. In such a situation, ordinary judges choose individual strategies which are indispensable as fidelity to the letter of law is inadequate for adjudicating such cases. The case of Pussy Riot and the other cases analyzed in our paper serve as examples of this tendency. The court practice in religious cases can be better explained from this perspective than in light of presumed political influence

Keywords: religion, human rights, religious freedoms, individual liberties, judicial protection, legal principles, legal policies, freedom of consciousness, jurisprudence of the ECtHR, Russian court system, legal argumentation, court proceedings

JEL Classification: K1

Suggested Citation

Antonov, Mikhail and Samokhina, Ekaterina, The Reasoning of Russian Courts in Cases Connected with the Protection of Religious Feelings (October 17, 2013). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 26/LAW/2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2341512 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2341512

Mikhail Antonov (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Ekaterina Samokhina

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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