About the Project

Development of Russian Law (DRL) is an ongoing project looking at Russian Law and legal culture from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives. As both a part of the University of Helsinki’s Aleksanteri Institute , as well as the Faculty of Law, DRL has access to a variety of disciplinary and theoretical paradigms in which to pursue its research discussion.

In the light of recent events and current political situation, Russian law is facing a number of challenges. In Russian political discourse the law is being called upon to function as a major tool of securing new Russian political regime and neo-conservative ideology. While scholars debate whether this neo-conservative turn was (un)expected and how Putin’s policies reflect Russia’s exceptionality concepts, the State Duma has been passing legislation which can also be used to curb political and societal activity and to illegalize actions and behaviour threatening to the regime. This active law-making creates challenges to the quality and cohesiveness of normative acts. Consequently, it results in law-breaking and advancing the marginalization of such concepts as rule-of-law, human rights, and democracy.

Russian law faces challenges both domestically and internationally, with it being in need to meet the standards of globalisation and adjust to the dramatic inter-influences of various legal systems, institutions, and laws. There is a need to discuss: the place of Russian law in the globalisation processes, the theoretical and practical problems Russian law faces internally, as well as externally, and how best to proceed in situations of legal tension and conflict resolution. These discussions are held annually during our conference Development of Russian Law .

Currently, the Development of Russian Law research team looks at two main directions of research: 1) ‘from below’, that is empirically-based projects targeting a variety of institutions and practices, and 2) ‘doctrinal challenging’, that is historically-informed gender sensitive projects targeting predominantly positive Russian legal doctrine.