About the Project

Development of Russian Law (DRL) is a collaborative project run by Dr. Marianna Muravyeva to explore Russian Law and legal culture from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives. It looks at two main dimensions of legal research: 1) ‘from below’, that is an empirically-based project targeting a variety of institutions and practices, and 2) ‘doctrinal challenging’, that is historically-informed gender sensitive projects targeting predominantly positive Russian legal doctrine.

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 globalization processes, theoretical and practical problems it faces from inside and outside, and how to proceed in situations of legal tensions and conflict resolution. More than that, this discussion cannot only focus on the Russian law as a thing-in-itself. It requires comparative approaches and dialogue between legal scholars and practitioners in Russia and beyond about common legal concerns and issued. These discussions are held annually during our conference Development of Russian Law. This year’s conference deals with legal responses to neoliberal governance and will take place 4-5 November, 2019, here in Helsinki (https://www.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/development-of-russian-law-xii).

In the light of recent events and the current political situation, Russian law is undergoing a profound transformation. In Russian political discourse the law is being called upon to function as a major tool of securing a 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.