Research focuses on Russia’s role and activity in the European Court of Human Rights

A new volume "Russia and the European Court of Human Rights: the Strasbourg Effect" has just been published at Cambridge University Press, which sheds a light on how Russia has managed in the European Court of Human Rights during the last nearly 20 years.

The volume has been co-edited by Lauri Mälksoo, Professor of International Law at the University of Tartu, and Wolfgang Bendek, Professor Emeritus of International law at the University of Graz in Austria. Both lawyers and political scientists from the EU countries as well Russia have contributed to the book as authors. The main research question is whether and in what sense we can speak of Russia's human rights-friendly socialization in the Strasbourg system. The secondary focus is also on Russia’s effect on the system.

According to Professor Lauri Mälksoo when Russia became member of the Council of Europe in 1996, the optimistic socialization theory prevailed. The hope was that human rights-friendly institutions, such as the European Court of Human Rights itself, would eventually help new and 'weaker' member states to improve their record. Instead, the story of Russia's 'socialization' has been one of difficulties.

“The writings of Valery Zorkin, the head of the Russian Constitutional Court and Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, are quite significant in this sense, and are also studied in the volume. In 2015, the Russian Constitutional Court decided that the country would not implement judgments of the Strasbourg court that it finds would contradict the Russian Constitution. So in the final analysis, the Strasbourg effect has been mixed - it has supported progress in some areas but in other and in some ways foundational aspects has fueled official Russia's opposition to liberal, secular and individual-centered human rights protection system,” the editor Lauri Mälksoo states.

The research informing this book was supported inter alia by the Estonian Research Council (grant IUT20-50) and the European Inter-University Centre (EIUC) in Venice, Italy.

Contact: Lauri Mälksoo, editor of the volume, 737 6042,