24 Oktober 2022

Russland und das Anti-Folter Komitee (CPT)

Trotz Ausschluss aus dem Europarat und dem damit verbundenen Ende der Bindung Russlands an die Europäische Menschenrechtskonvention (EMRK) bleibt Russland an die „Europäischen Konvention zur Verhütung von Folter und unmenschlicher oder erniedrigender Behandlung oder Strafe“ von 1989 gebunden. Russland muss daher Besuche der Anti-Folter-Kommission des Europarates zulassen. Continue reading >>
27 September 2022

Mobilized to Commit War Crimes?

In that earlier post, I argued that states have a legal obligation to recognize the refugee status of Russian troops who flee to avoid participating in what is a war of aggression. That argument applies equally to this new scenario. Those who refuse to fight and who leave Russia to avoid doing so should be recognized as refugees.  However, there is now an additional way to ground that claim. Continue reading >>
26 September 2022

Why EU Countries Should Open Their Borders to Russian Draft-Evaders

In a significant escalation of his war in Ukraine, Russia’s President Putin announced a partial mobilisation on the 21st of September. Attempting to avoid the draft, thousands of Russian men are reported to be fleeing the country. Are EU countries obliged to grant asylum to Russians who are (pre-emptively) evading Putin’s draft? Continue reading >>
21 September 2022


Putin’s speech did not explicitly mention concrete plans to annex Ukrainian occupied territories, but Putin did announce a quick “recognition” of the fake “referenda” on joining Russia in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, scheduled in just a few days. In terms of international law, planned annexations will change nothing. States are under international legal obligation not to recognise any territorial changes declared by Russia. Any territorial concessions imposed on Ukraine under nuclear blackmail would also be legally null and void. Putin’s desperate attempt to change the game is unlikely to influence the resilience of Ukraine and its allies. Continue reading >>
08 September 2022

Gorbachev’s Legacy in Lithuania

The last President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, who oversaw its largely peaceful collapse, passed away last week at the age of 91. Despite the praise from Western leaders, Lithuanian's public view is mostly unaffected by "Gorbamania". Gorbachev's reputation in Lithuania was irreparably damaged by the crackdown of January 13, 1991. After failing to seize control of important institutions in Vilnius, Soviet forces killed 14 individuals and injured hundreds more in a bloody massacre. Continue reading >>

The “Year of Historical Memory” and Mnemonic Constitutionalism in Belarus

On 1st of September 2022, the academic year in all Belarusian schools started with an atypical lesson, on “historic memory” – led in Minsk by none other than the country’s “President” himself, Aliaksandr Łukašenka. There is a constitutional dimension to historical memory in Belarus, which is better grasped through the looking glass of mnemonic constitutionalism. Continue reading >>
12 August 2022

Why Banning Russians from Schengen Is Unlawful

Volodymyr Zelensky, the Prime Minister of Finland and others have been calling for an EU-wide ban of Russian citizens from Schengen visas. Unquestionably, the horrible crimes perpetrated by the Russian state should be punished. But Russians are citizens of a totalitarian state, they are not Putin. And whether we like it or not, there is no legal way under current EU law to adopt a blanket citizenship-based ban against Russians acquiring Schengen visas. Even more: political attention paid to it by persons in leadership positions is deeply surprising, if not irresponsible. Continue reading >>
19 Mai 2022

Those Dazzling Stars of Peace, Democracy and Freedom

In the dark, post-Soviet 1990s, Europe and America were viewed as shining spots by us, the young people, born in the Soviet Union. Embodying the West, they served as dazzling stars, relieving the darkness and promising freedom, security and happiness. I associate the brightest star with the symbol of human rights. I fondly remember myself, as a third-year law student, getting a strong sense of pride over the Chapter Two of the newly adopted Constitution of Georgia that is devoted to human rights. Continue reading >>
18 Mai 2022

Die nukleare Option als ultima ratio im Ukraine-Krieg

Die nukleare Drohung ist ein ständiger Begleiter des Ukraine-Krieges – von seinen Anfängen über alle bisherigen Wendungen hinweg. Ausgerechnet ein IGH-Gutachten von 1996 hält die Tür zu einem zulässigen Einsatz von Nuklearwaffen einen Spalt weit offen, durch den die russische Föderation mit der Macht der Faktenverdrehung drängt. Es wird Zeit, den Einsatz von Nuklearwaffen pauschal zu ächten und zu verbieten. Continue reading >>
20 April 2022

Russian Crown-Presidentialism

Many studying Russia have pointed to Vladimir Putin’s deliberate cultivation of charismatic authority through carefully staged photo ops and messaging campaigns. Yet, Putin’s power also draws on rational-legal authority. Putin draws his authority from detailed, constitutional rules that allow the president to dominate the Russian political system. The surprising importance of rational-legal authority in Putin’s Russia carries a number of important lessons for better understanding Russia and the role of constitutional rules in democratic governance. Continue reading >>
19 April 2022

Unberechenbare Autokratien – verunsicherte Demokratien

Was wir brauchen, ist mehr Wissen für die Entwicklung eines (Völker)Rechts der Uneindeutigkeit. Der Ukraine-Krieg ist kein Unfall, aus dem das Völkerrecht gestärkt hervorgehen wird. Er ist ein Alarmsignal der Dominanz der Unordnung, gegen die es kein schnell verfügbares Mittel geben wird. Continue reading >>
01 April 2022

Letters from Brussels with Love and the Issue of Mutual Trust in Nationality Matters

In a recent article on this blog, I have set out that the spotlight will soon be turning on the European passportization of Russian oligarchs. And well, what shall I say, it did not take long for the Commission to come out swinging. In a recommendation issued on March 28, the Commission urged “Member States to immediately repeal any existing investor citizenship schemes and to ensure strong checks are in place to address the risks posed by investor residence schemes”. Continue reading >>
25 März 2022

The Council of Europe’s Sharp Turn

The Council of Europe (CoE) responded promptly to Russia’s act of aggression against Ukraine first by suspending Russia’s representation rights on 25 February 2022, and then by expelling it on 16 March 2022 in accordance with Article 8 of the Statute. The Committee of Ministers used the Article 8 procedure for the first time in the history of the CoE. This might have crucial implications for the broader CoE context and could make the threat of suspension and expulsion more credible for other member states as well. Continue reading >>
23 März 2022
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Putin’s alleged arguments to conduct a “special military operation” to “demilitarise and denazify” Ukraine revolve around protecting the people of the Donbas, including citizens of the Russian Federation, “facing humiliation and genocide.” One of the tools Russia used to justify its political and military engagement in the post-Soviet space has been passportization. This policy effectively created Russian citizens in the contested territories of neighbouring states in the context of protracted conflicts of secession. Just as in Georgia, passportization worked as a tool of interference with Ukrainian sovereignty. Continue reading >>
21 März 2022

Are We in for a New Wave of Investment Arbitrations?

In response to the sanctions imposed on Russia, the country has doubled-down and announced a set of retaliatory measures affecting investors from ‘unfriendly’ countries. The scale of potential losses foreign investors face in Russia is probably the largest since the aftermath of the revolution in 1917, which saw mass nationalization and Russia’s default on the foreign debt. However, the legal landscape protecting foreign investors has significantly changed since 1918. Consequently, they have much better legal options today for redressing their financial losses. Continue reading >>

We Should Take the Ukrainian – Russian Negotiations Seriously

If Russia suddenly becomes serious about an agreement, drops its absurd demands of “denazification” and demilitarization, a deal may be more plausible than we now think. The Ukrainian government has sent numerous constructive signals. Governments in Europe and beyond should be prepared to respond to a sudden turn of events and be ready to offer what may be needed to get a deal done. Continue reading >>
18 März 2022

The Oligarchs Among Us

It is no secret that Russian oligarchs have not only been collecting fancy toys but also various golden passport, that not only have allowed them to make them feel like home in the Europe Union, but also to be a part of “us”. And since the spotlight is already shifting towards how it is that some of these Russian oligarchs are indeed “our” very own oligarchs, there will be questions of what it is that validates the legal status of nationality actually. It is an old question to be fair, but the apparent answer of the day that nationality is what any State makes of it is therefore no less unconvincing and should lead to some soul searching. Continue reading >>
11 März 2022

Sanctions for Abramovich, but Schröder Goes Scot-Free

What is the role of citizenship – Russian and European – in the context of the deployment and operation of the sanctions? The question is far from trivial. Indeed, effective rights-focused judicial review of such measures is very weak, allowing the matters of foreign policy and perceived political expediency and retribution to override core constitutional principles and guarantees of the European legal systems at all levels. Let us start with history, to understand what is going on and give it a legal assessment. Continue reading >>
08 März 2022

Der Krieg in der Ukraine, Putin und das Völkerstrafrecht

Die Ereignisse in der Ukraine haben das Bedürfnis ausgelöst, die Initiatoren der Gewalt persönlich zur Verantwortung zu ziehen. So haben 39 Staaten, darunter Deutschland, den IStGH ersucht, sich der Situation in der Ukraine anzunehmen. Fünf Tage später haben Gerhart Baum und Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger in Deutschland Strafanzeige gegen Putin und die Mitglieder des Sicherheitsrates wegen Verletzung des Völkerstrafrechts gestellt. Dieses parallele Vorgehen ist grundsätzlich sinnvoll: Völkerstrafrecht kann nur im Zusammenspiel von nationalen und internationalen Mechanismen effektiv durchgesetzt werden. Dies liegt auch daran, dass sie sich in Reichweite und Wirkungsmacht durchaus unterscheiden. Continue reading >>
06 März 2022

Zeitenwende? Zeitenwende!

Der Krieg Russlands gegen die Ukraine, so heißt es in Politik und Medien, demonstriert die Rückkehr eines Politikstils, der längst überwunden und vergangen geglaubt wurde: die traditionelle Großmachtpolitik, die Kriege um Territorien und Grenzverschiebungen „kleinerer Staaten“ nicht ausschloss, sondern als legitimes Mittel der Politik und Machtbalance stets mitdachte und ausführte. Diese Rede ist aus historiographischer Perspektive betrachtet aus mindestens zwei Gründen problematisch. Einerseits verkennt die Rhetorik den Charakter der traditionellen Großmachtpolitik, die in der Geschichte auch eine Form des europäischen Friedenssystems war. Andererseits ist fraglich, ob diese traditionelle Großmachtpolitik jemals verschwunden war. Continue reading >>
03 März 2022

Extraterritoriale Einbürgerungen als Hegemonialinstrument

Der russische Einmarsch in die Ukraine wurde seit 2019 durch eine systematische Einbürgerungspraxis Russlands im Donbas vorbereitet. Russland hat weit vor seinem Krieg gegen die Ukraine das Staatsangehörigkeitsrecht als Mittel der Außenpolitik instrumentalisiert - und bereits hierdurch die Ukraine in ihrer territorialen Souveränität verletzt. Continue reading >>

Kann Straßburg den Krieg zähmen?

Nur wenige Tage nach seinem Beginn hat der russische Angriff auf die Ukraine gleich mehrere internationale Gerichte erreicht. Der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (EGMR) hat bereits gehandelt. Auf einen Antrag der Ukraine hat er am 1. März 2022 vorläufige Maßnahmen seiner Verfahrensordnung ergriffen. Die Entscheidung des EGMR vom 1. März 2022 ist bemerkenswert und ernüchternd zugleich. Continue reading >>

Strasbourg Has No Chance and Uses It

On 28 February 2022, Ukraine lodged a request for interim measures against Russia before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Ukraine referred to “massive human rights violations being committed by the Russian troops in the course of the military aggression against the sovereign territory of Ukraine”. Within one day of the Ukrainian request, the Strasbourg Court granted “urgent interim measures” under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Continue reading >>
02 März 2022

The Legal Obligation to Recognize Russian Deserters as Refugees

The European Union (EU) and its member states are reportedly considering offering asylum to Russian deserters. They and other states around the world have a legal obligation to do precisely that. Soldiers who flee punishment for refusing to fight in aggressive wars are properly understood as refugees under international law. Continue reading >>

Too Little Politics in EU Defense Policy

The arming of Ukraine with European financial means may enjoy widespread support among European populations scandalized by Putin's egregious actions. But this should not obscure the fact that it is the result of largely arcane decision-making processes: Neither the establishment of the European Peace Facility nor the breaking of the Union's rules on arms exports by supplying weapons to the war zone Ukraine was the subject of a substantively open public discourse and will formation. Continue reading >>
01 März 2022

Crypto-assets as a blind spot in sanctions against Russia?

On 24 February 2022, Russia illegally invaded the territory of Ukraine. The international community was quick to condemn this military aggression and to issue sanctions. Missing in today's sanctions strategy, however, is the inclusion of crypto-assets. This is worrying, as it is highly likely that crypto-assets are used to fund the Russian war machine without anyone really seeing it. Continue reading >>
28 Februar 2022

Hot War and Cold Freezes

In light of mounting pressure to take effective action against Putin, the European Commission and six states (UK, USA, Canada, Germany, France, Italy) agreed last Saturday on yet another bundle of sanctions against Russia. Some of them had been expected, like the exclusion of Russian banks from SWIFT. Others like the freezing of central bank assets came as a bit of a surprise, allegedly even for Vladimir Putin. He should have watched the news more carefully. The United States did the exact same thing to Afghan central bank assets after the Taliban takeover last year. The purpose of this note is to explore the practical and legal implications of this freeze. Continue reading >>

Wirtschaftssanktionen gegen Russland und ihre rechtlichen Grenzen

In der Dynamik der letzten Tage wurden von den USA, der Europäischen Union und anderen Staaten Sanktionen gegen Russland beschlossen, die als „beispiellos“ und „verheerend“ bezeichnet wurden. Russland spricht von „illegitimen“ Sanktionen und droht gar mit atomarer Abschreckung. Tatsächlich stehen die erlassenen Wirtschaftssanktionen auf sicherem rechtlichen Boden. Sie sind in einem gewissen Maß sogar Voraussetzung dafür, dass der Boden des Völkerrechts nicht wegbricht Continue reading >>

Wird Deutschland durch Waffenlieferungen an die Ukraine zur Konfliktpartei?

Nach dem altehrwürdigen Neutralitätsrecht ist das Territorium neutraler Mächte „unverletzlich“. Konfliktparteien dürfen es deshalb in keiner konfliktbezogenen Weise nutzen. Doch wann verliert ein Staat seine Neutralität? Continue reading >>
25 Februar 2022

A Terrible Crime

International law, it is often said, has lost its normative power. The opposite is true. Continue reading >>

Ein furchtbares Verbrechen

Das Völkerrecht, heißt es oft, hat seine normative Kraft verloren. Das Gegenteil ist der Fall. Continue reading >>
24 Februar 2022

Der Europarat muss Russland jetzt suspendieren

Der russische Angriff auf die Ukraine hat zahlreiche europäische Akteure unsanft aus dem Schlaf gerissen und die Träume von einem friedlichen Europa zerplatzen lassen. Nun gilt es Antworten zu finden, um den Krieg möglichst schnell zu beenden, aber auch zu fragen, welche Fehler gemacht wurden und wie die Zukunft Europas als Wertegemeinschaft gestaltet werden kann. Dies gilt auch in der aktuellen Situation für den Europarat und die Europaratspolitik der Mitgliedstaaten. Continue reading >>

Erklärung zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine / Statement on the Russian attack on Ukraine

Vorstand und Rat der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Internationales Recht erklären: […] Continue reading >>
25 Januar 2022

Jenseits der roten Linien

Abgeordnete aus Russland sollten nicht an der Parlamentarischen Versammlung des Europarats (PACE) teilnehmen können. Dies haben am vergangenen Montag, zu Beginn der neuen Sitzungsperiode, Abgeordnete aus der Ukraine und dem Baltikum gefordert und die Beglaubigungsschreiben der russischen Delegation angefochten. Am Mittwoch muss nun über diese abgestimmt werden, damit die russische Delegation ihr Mandat in der PACE aufnehmen kann. Auch die deutschen Delegierten sollten die russischen Beglaubigungsschreiben, wenn überhaupt, dann nur unter Auflagen ratifizieren. Continue reading >>
07 Januar 2022

Beware of the Bulldozer

The case of Russia teaches us how dangerous extra-constitutional constitution making can be – and that it should always be just a last resort. No substantive institutional changes should be made outside of the constitutional bounds. Otherwise, there will always be the danger that breaking the rule of law will continue even after constitutional change has taken place. This is precisely what Russian intellectuals and jurists, who supported Yeltsin in 1993, learned under the rule of Vladimir Putin. We should try to avoid repeating their mistakes.    Continue reading >>
04 August 2021

Smothered by Russia’s Brotherly Embrace

On 12 July 2021, Putin’s article ‘On historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians’ was published on the official website of the Kremlin, followed by a video to explain the article’s main ideas. Russia’s president repeatedly refers to the past, making use of historical narratives to frame and legitimize Russia’s security policy and geopolitics. Continue reading >>
16 Juli 2021

Will Russia Yield to the ECtHR?

On 13 July 2021, the European Court of Human Rights published its judgment in Fedotova and Others v. Russia, a case which concerned the lack of legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the Russian legal system. The judges found the Russian laws to be in violation of Article 8 – the right to respect for private and family life and Article 14 – prohibition of discrimination. However, it is highly unlikely that Russia will enforce the judgment. Continue reading >>
01 März 2021

A Year of Zeros? Legal Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Russia

As the end of the year 2020 approached, the Vice-President of the French Conseil d’État Bruno Lasserre commented on one line of the case-law that appeared in the pandemic year: urgent application judges had to decide on the legality of rules found in press-releases and interviews by first deciphering legal rules and their hierarchy from those texts. This reflected exactly my experience as a practitioner in 2020 Russia: advising a client having weighed whether a blog of the Speaker of the Moscow City Duma carried more authority than a televised interview of the Moscow Mayor. Continue reading >>
28 Januar 2021

Human Rights in the Line of Fire

On 21 January 2021, the Grand Chamber of the European Court delivered its judgment in the case of Georgia v Russia (II). The Court did establish Russia’s responsibility for the consequences of one of the gravest military confrontations the continent has seen since Russia has joined the Strasbourg club. The Court is visibly not at ease with its role to adjudicate human rights violations in an armed conflict between two States. It left the five-day exchange of hostilities to the realm of humanitarian law, however, not exclusively. The white spots on the map of human rights protection in Europe the Court identifies have broad ramifications for the pending cases between Ukraine, The Netherlands and Russia as well as the cases between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey. Continue reading >>
27 August 2020

Corona Constitutional #46: Diktatoren haben es auch nicht immer leicht

In Belarus kämpft Alexander Lukaschenka mit ungezügelter Brutalität um seine Macht. Und ob es ihm gelingt, sie zu behalten, davon hängt auch für den russischen Präsidenten Vladimir Putin ungeheuer viel ab. Im gleichen Moment wird Putins schärfster Kritiker Alexei Navalny mit einer akuten Vergiftung ins Krankenhaus eingeliefert und dann nach Deutschland ausgeflogen. Wie hängt das zusammen? Ist der Anschlag ein Zeichen von Stärke oder von Schwäche? Diese Fragen diskutiert Max Steinbeis mit der Politikwissenschaftlerin und Russland-Expertin Silvia von Steinsdorff von der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Continue reading >>
17 August 2020

When International Rules Come in Handy for an Autocratic Regime

Russian law is moving away from the acceptance of international rules in the domestic legal order. Under the thick fog of isolationist rhetoric, however, lay areas where quite a different attitude towards international rules thrives: one of overzealous implementation - for example when it comes to fighting money laundering. Continue reading >>
02 Juli 2020

Farewell to the European Constitutional Tradition

On 1 July 2020, with Russia’s coronavirus cases passing 650,000 and following an elaborate spectacle of public affirmation, the Russian electorate eventually confirmed the constitutional amendments. First proposed by Russian president Vladimir Putin in January, the 2020 Russian Constitutional Amendments were initially planned to enter into force only three months later upon approval in an ‘all-Russian vote’ scheduled for 22 April 2020 but had to be postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus. Although many of these amendments have to be considered mainly symbolic, they constitute the most fundamental changes of Russia’s Constitution in its 26-year history. Continue reading >>
30 Juni 2020

Demoralisierung als Verfassungs­funktion

Bis zum 1. Juli 2020 findet nun in Russland die ursprünglich für den 22. April 2020 geplante, durch die Corona-Pandemie aber verschobene Volksabstimmung über die Verfassungsreform statt. Das Änderungsverfahren sagt viel aus über die Bedeutung der Verfassung im autoritär regierten Russland. Es zeigt auch den starken Zynismus in der russischen Verfassungspolitik und führt die Machtlosigkeit des politischen Gegners vor. Dies gilt auch für den Europarat. Continue reading >>
29 Juni 2020

Homophobia Disguised as Children’s Rights in Russia’s Constitutional Referendum

From the 25th of June to the 1st of July, Russia is holding a referendum, in which citizens are asked to vote on a package of amendments to the country’s constitution. The amended constitution could enable President Putin to remain in power until 2036. State officials reportedly played down the resetting of presidential term limits. Instead, they focused on other amendments, especially those concerning faith in god, the preeminence of the Russian language, and the definition of marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman. Continue reading >>
23 Mai 2020

Russia – With Scepter and Corona

Since the first cases of COVID-19 were registered in Zabaikalsky kray and Tumenskaya oblast on 31 January 2020, the Russian government has reacted to the challenge of the epidemic by enacting new legislation and introducing some emergency measures. The pandemic is bringing new and unpleasant surprises, creating specific social, economic and legal hardships which is making the unstable life of Russian citizens even worse. Continue reading >>
02 April 2020

Der Wille des Volkes

Die sogenannte Verfassungsreform in Russland geht weit über die bloße Amtszeitverlängerung Putins hinaus. Sie stärkt die präsidentielle Macht und schreibt die Verfassungspraxis und die zentralen Rechtfertigungstopoi Putins als Aufträge an die Regierung in der Verfassung fest. Während die russische Verfassung von 1993 im Hinblick auf Freiheitsrechte und Gewaltenteilung zuletzt weitgehend nur auf dem Papier existierte, wird dieses Papier nun an die Realität angepasst. Continue reading >>
12 März 2020

Imitating Democracy

Russia is moving fast with its constitutional reform. On 10 March, the State Duma supported an amendment, which, if it enters into force, will allow Putin to participate in the presidential elections 2024. Although the amendment is constitutionally questionable – substantively as well as procedurally – Russia’s Constitutional Court is likely to give its approval. Continue reading >>
03 Februar 2020

The Struggle of Strasbourg

This year’s Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) saw three distinct yet interrelated developments. On Tuesday, the Assembly decided to open a monitoring procedure with regard to Poland on behalf of the ongoing rule of law backsliding. On Wednesday, the Assembly decided to ratify the credentials of the Russian delegates which had previously been challenged both on procedural and on substantive grounds. Still on Wednesday, the Assembly backed the proposal for the introduction of a new ‘complementary joint procedure’, together with the Committee of Ministers, in response to violations of fundamental principles underlying the work of the organisation. Continue reading >>
24 Januar 2020

Was qualmt denn da so komisch?

Über Polen, Russland und andere "gelenkte Demokratien", UK und andere (noch) nicht gelenkte Demokratien. Und Deutschland. Und Europa. Und, erwähnte ich das schon? natürlich Polen. Continue reading >>
21 Januar 2020

Herrschaft über die Verfassung

Die Nachricht kam überraschend. Am Mittwoch unterbreitete der russische Präsident Putin in seiner jährlichen Botschaft an die Föderalversammlung einen Katalog von Vorschlägen zu einer Reform der Verfassung. Und nur fünf Tage später brachte Putin einen entsprechenden Änderungsvorschlag in die Duma ein. Die Änderungsvorschläge wirken aus verfassungsjuristischer Sicht widersprüchlich und kaum durchdacht. Obwohl die Bedeutung des Vorrangs der Verfassung in Putins Rede stark betont wird, zeugen die Ausführungen von einer Geringschätzung ihrer freiheitsschützenden Inhalte und wirken in Teilen gar „sarkastisch“. Continue reading >>
20 Januar 2020

Personal instead of Institutional Power

The gist of the constitutional reform suggestions in Russia is to cement the power of Vladimir Putin once he leaves the office, and to make this in a safe, controlled environment. The latter aim cannot be achieved within the boundaries established by the Constitution. Thus, the constitutional requirements are thrown into the litter bin of necessity. However, circumventing formal procedures still calls for a sort of justification. That is why the proposed plan relies on substitutes that would mask its deficiencies. Continue reading >>
17 Januar 2020

Kein Appeasement

Neues aus Russland, Polen, Spanien, Indien, Deutschland und Italien. Continue reading >>

No Appeasement

On Russia, Poland, Spain, India, Germany, Italy and others. Continue reading >>
25 September 2019

Voting in Russia: Please Don’t Call it „Elections“

On September 8, numerous Russian regions voted in the framework of a so-called “single voting day”. Most significantly, Moscow voted for the members of City Council (“Duma”), and Russia’s second-largest city Saint Petersburg was to elect its governor. It would be a mistake, however, to draw any conclusions on the sentiments of the Russian people from the results as the voting process was skewed at every stage of the so-called “election”. Continue reading >>
15 August 2019

Putin and the Costs of Being Wrong

Since mid-2019, Moscow experiences a wave of public protests, triggered by the decision of the government not to allow several opposition candidates to run for the city parliament in the elections scheduled for September. How can we explain this unprecedented rise of spontaneous protests activity? For me, the protests in Moscow are an example of a core problem any authoritarian regime faces but which is frequently overlooked by the analysts and scientists: the risks of mistakes. Continue reading >>
15 Juni 2019

Being a Good Dictator is not so Easy

On investigative journalists, homeless people, aberrant academics and other sources of civic unrest and discomfort. Continue reading >>
05 Mai 2019

Gemeinsam für den Frieden und die Einheit Europas? Der Europarat und Russland

Der 70. Geburtstag des Europarats am heutigen Tage gibt Anlass zu Stolz und Freude. Doch gleichzeitig befindet sich der Europarat in einer tiefen politischen und finanziellen Krise. Zentrale Frage ist, inwieweit er bei der Durchsetzung der Pflichten der Mitgliedstaaten die Desintegration in Kauf nehmen muss. Die aktuelle Rhetorik sendet jedenfalls das falsche Signal. Continue reading >>
28 März 2019

Fundamental Rights as Bycatch – Russia’s Anti-Fake News Legislation

On 18 March, following approval by President Putin, Russia’s controversial anti-fake news legislation entered into force. While Russia is not the only state to address the issues of hate speech or fake news with legislative means, its new legislation raises serious constitutional concerns, particularly due to its imprecise and overly broad scope of application. Continue reading >>
24 November 2018

All Bark and no Bite? A Domestic Perspective on a Possible Russian Withdrawal from the Council of Europe

The prospect of Russian withdrawal from the Council of Europe has been actively discussed during the past two months, including two excellent contributions on this blog. However, as often in cases of state backlash/pushback against international courts, the focus has mostly been on the external dimensions. States, though, are rarely ‘black boxes’, where different political actors have a uniform approach. Russia, despite its highly centralized appearance, is no exception. This post outlines the domestic state of play and contrasts the positions of interested parties. Continue reading >>
06 November 2018

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Dilemma of Continuing or Ceasing Russian Membership in the Council of Europe

Last week the Washington Post reported that top Russian officials are contemplating withdrawal from the Council of Europe. This latest development illustrates the growing tensions between Russia and the Council of Europe which could ultimately lead to the cessation of Russia's membership. Both Russia and the Council of Europe, however, face a dilemma when it comes to deciding what steps should be taken. Continue reading >>
23 Juli 2018

Sandu and Others v Russia and Moldova: The High Costs of Occupation

On 17 July 2018, the European Court on Human Rights reminded again that occupation of foreign lands and support of separatist regimes is a costly affair. This cost is not only calculated in terms of monetary repercussions but also in terms of reputational losses. On that day the chamber of the Court delivered a judgment in the case of Sandu and Others v Russia and Moldova. This judgment is a new one in the line of cases dealing with a breakaway region of Moldova – the self-proclaimed Republic of Transnistria. Continue reading >>
10 Juli 2017

„Ehe für alle“ eher nicht: Traditionalismus und Staatshomophobie – Russlands Weg im Umgang mit Diskriminierung

Homophobe Rechtspraktiken in Russland haben eine lange Tradition, die von der russischen Regierung wie auch von der russisch-orthodoxen Kirche bewahrt werden. Das ohnehin schon zerrüttete Verhältnis Russlands zum EGMR wird durch das jüngste Urteil des Gerichtshofes zu einer Verurteilung wegen „Propaganda für Homosexualität“ weiter auf die Probe gestellt. Continue reading >>
02 Juni 2017

Ukraine’s Ban on Russian Social Media: On The Edge Between National Security and Freedom of Expression

Can Ukraine's ban of Russian social media be legally justified? While the international community mostly condemns the ban, a closer look at the European Convention of Human Rights reveals that the matter is not so easy. Continue reading >>
06 April 2017

Judicial Review of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy: Lessons from the Rosneft case

On 28 March 2017, the Grand Chamber of the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) decided in a preliminary ruling that the restrictive measures adopted by the Council against Russian undertakings, including oil company Rosneft, are valid. The judgment is of constitutional significance. It clarifies the scope of the CJEU’s jurisdiction with respect to acts adopted in the sphere of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). In particular, it reveals that the EU system of judicial protection fully applies in relation to restrictive measures against natural and legal persons (so-called ‘targeted sanctions’). Continue reading >>
26 Januar 2017

Money Makes the Court Go Round: The Russian Constitutional Court’s Yukos Judgment

On 19 December 2017 the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) ruled that payment of just satisfaction in the Yukos case was contrary to the Russian Constitution. It is the first time the apex court of a Council of Europe member state concluded that it should not pay just satisfaction. This blog post provides the background of the case, sums up the reasoning of the RCC and assesses the implications of its judgment of 19 December 2017. Continue reading >>
03 Juni 2016

Russland, der EGMR und das Wahlrecht für Strafgefangene

Russland und Großbritannien Seite and Seite gegen Europa? Das ist in fast jeder Hinsicht weit hergeholt – aber nicht unbedingt im Verhältnis zur Europäischen Menschenrechtskonvention und zum Gerichtshof in Straßburg. Beide suchen nach Wegen, ihre Bindungen an die Vorgaben des Menschenrechts-Gerichtshofs zu lockern. Und beide nutzen als Anlass die unpopuläre Straßburger Rechtsprechung, dass auch Strafgefangenen nicht pauschal der Zugang zum Wahlrecht verwehrt werden darf. Continue reading >>
01 Oktober 2015

Russisches Eingreifen in Syrien: Eine Frage der Anerkennung

In Syrien geht es immer mehr ans Eingemachte. Die ersten russischen Luftangriffe wurden bereits geflogen, der dortige Krieg ist somit nun auch formell um eine Konfliktpartei reicher. Obendrein richteten sich diese laut den USA nicht gegen den Islamischen Staat, sondern von der CIA ausgebildete Gruppen – der Frieden scheint ferner denn je. Wie ist es völkerrechtlich um die Legalität der russischen Intervention bestellt? Continue reading >>
09 Februar 2015

Welcoming Russian Navy to Cyprus Should Be a Violation of EU Law

The struggle for the continued observance of Article 2 TEU values in the EU is on-going. Arguably, it is now much more acute than ever before. The news that Cyprus considers granting the Russian military access to military bases on its territory is just another urgent reminder of the mounting necessity to upgrade the Union’s role in dealing with values crises in the Member States – both internally and externally – issues which are indispensable for the Union’s survival. Continue reading >>
30 Januar 2015

At a crossroads: Russia and the ECHR in the aftermath of Markin

As part of Verfassungsblog’s topical focus on the prevailing tensions between international and national constitutional law, we go east and take a look at Russia and its unsteady relationship with the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) – particularly the lately arisen tensions between the Russian Constitutional Court (CCR) and Strasbourg in the wake of the ECtHR’s decision in the Markin case. First, and in a more general manner, we briefly review the theories conceptualizing the relationship between domestic and international law, which traditionally go by the names of monism and dualism. In doing so, we do not miss the point that, as national constitutional practice in a variety of member states of the ECHR shows, conceptual clarity in terms of commitment to one or the other grand theory is often blurred, if not contradicted (I.). Clearly, Russia is no exception (II.). The Markin case marks a turning point in the relationship between the CCR and the ECtHR as Strasbourg, for the first time, overruled a decision of the CCR, which spurred a heated constitutional debate. The repercussions are yet to be seen (III.). Continue reading >>
11 Dezember 2014

Der Gazprom-Fall vor dem EuGH: Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit und europäisches Prozessrecht

Die Enttäuschung gleich am Anfang: Es geht in diesem Beitrag weder um TTIP noch um CETA. Immerhin aber sind einige andere zeitgerechte Schlagworte im Angebot: Schiedsgerichtsbarkeit (allgemein), Gazprom, Russland, Litauen, Gaslieferungen. Politisch geht es um einen hochbrisanten Komplex: Die Entflechtung der Gasmärkte im Baltikum. Das findet auch der EuGH spannend, weshalb er das Vorabentscheidungsersuchen des Kassationsgerichtshofs von Litauen Ende September vor der Grand Chamber verhandelte (C-536/13). Anfang Dezember hat nun der Erste Generalanwalt Melchior Wathelet seine Schlussanträge vorgelegt. Continue reading >>
27 November 2014

The European Court of Human Rights and the Armed Conflict between Russia and Ukraine

The European Court of Human Rights has announced that it has communicated to the government of Russia two inter-state complaints that the Ukraine has brought against it concerning the events that took place in the Crimea and the Eastern regions of Ukraine (‘the Donbas’) in the spring and summer of 2014. It seems that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine will pose a number of complex normative questions to the Court. Continue reading >>
18 November 2014

Soll sie halt ins Heim: Pflege für gelähmte alte Mutter ist kein geschütztes Familienleben

In unserer alternden Gesellschaft sind erwachsene Kinder, die sich um ihre kranken Eltern kümmern, zunehmend normal, und nicht nur das: sie sind auch eine sozialpolitisch dringend benötigte und ziemlich kostbare Ressource. Der EGMR hat heute eine Kammerentscheidung verkündet, die dieser Entwicklung Hohn spricht. Continue reading >>
02 April 2014

The Legal Status and Modern History of Crimean Autonomy

Over the past weeks, much has been said about the Republic of Crimea’s secession/annexation to the Russian Federation and on its illegality (see on this blog here) and I personally agree with these statements. At the same time, I believe that the Crimean problem is much more complex at its roots and that some of Crimea’s history and its struggle for independence in the past have been overlooked in most of the recent discussion. I will provide some historical overview of the Crimean struggle for independence. It will dispel the widespread myth that Crimea for centuries had been part of Russia and was “gifted” to Ukraine and illustrate that yet another annexation of Crimea by Russia does not solve the Crimean problem.Over the past weeks, much has been said about the Republic of Crimea’s secession/annexation to the Russian Federation and on its illegality, and I personally agree with these statements. At the same time, I believe that the Crimean problem is much more complex at its roots and that some of Crimea’s history and its struggle for independence in the past have been overlooked in most of the recent discussion. I will provide some historical overview of the Crimean struggle for independence. It will dispel the widespread myth that Crimea for centuries had been part of Russia and was “gifted” to Ukraine and illustrate that yet another annexation of Crimea by Russia does not solve the Crimean problem. Continue reading >>
28 März 2014

„Wie viele Divisionen hat der Papst?“ Die EU, Putins Russland und der lange Atem normativer Außenpolitik

„Der Papst? Wie viele Divisionen hat der denn?“ Mit diesen Worten verhöhnte Josef Stalin im Jahre 1935 den Vatikan und sprach diesem somit jede außenpolitischer Beachtung aus Sicht der Sowjetunion ab. Heute, fast achtzig Jahre später, gibt es schon lange keine Sowjetunion mehr. Der Papst, seinerseits, herrscht auch weiterhin ohne die Hilfen von Panzerkolonnen im Vatikan und zieht regelmäßig Menschenmengen auf den Petersplatz in Rom oder auf seinen Auslandsreisen um die Welt an. Auch die EU hat keine Divisionen, wenn wir einmal von den kleinen und eher auf Papier ihr Dasein fristenden „Battle Groups“ absehen, und verschreibt sich einer Außenpolitik basiert auf ‚soft power’ und normativen Inhalten. Doch auch sie wird Putins Russland überdauern.‘The Pope? How many divisions has he got?’ With these scoffing words, Joseph Stalin dismissed in 1935 the Vatican as a factor of any significance for the Soviet Union and its foreign policy. Today, almost 80 years later, the Soviet Union is long gone. The Pope, on his part, continues to rule from the Vatican without the help of armored divisions and attracts on a regular basis vast crowds to St. Peter’s Square or on his trips abroad. The European Union does not have any divisions either, if we leave aside the small ‘battle groups’, which in any event exist to a greater extent on paper than on the ground. It, too, commits itself to a foreign policy based on ‘soft power’ and normative influence. And it, too, will outlast Putin’s Russia. Continue reading >>
27 März 2014

GASP: Reden oder Angst haben?

Wie einst Lyndon B. Johnsohn behauptet die EU, in ihrer Außenpolitik auf die Eroberung der Herzen zu setzen. Sie positioniert sich als Wertegemeinschaft und transferiert und implementiert ihre (exklusiven und richtigen) Werte auch in die Welt, denn diese sind übertragungsfähig und befolgungswürdig, sie machen das Leben der Völker weltweit besser und die Missionare dieser Werte zu besseren Menschen. Dabei bleibt leider die Frage offen, ob diese Werte wirkungsvoll in der empirischen Realität einer höchst heterogenen Gesellschaft implementiert werden können. Like Lyndon B. Johnsohn, the EU claims to struggle with its foreign policy for the "hearts and minds" of people. It itself as a community of shared values that is exporting its (exclusive and universally valid) values to the entire world. This export is the “thing to do” because these European values (are likely to?) improve the living conditions of people worldwide and at the same time morally perfect the missionaries of the right. Still the question remains whether it is empirically possible to realise such noble ideas within the deeply heterogenous Ukranian enviroment. Continue reading >>
24 März 2014

Russlands Selbstwertgefühl und die Kurzsichtigkeit der Ukraine-Politik der EU

Der größte Fehler der EU im Konflikt um die Ukraine besteht in der offensichtlichen Kurzsichtigkeit des eigenen Handelns. Gerade wenn damit zu rechnen war, dass Russland jeden Moment sein „wahres Gesicht“ zeigen und militärisch eingreifen würde, bleibt unverständlich, warum sich offenbar bislang niemand in der EU Gedanken über mögliche Reaktionen auf diesen worst case gemacht hat. Continue reading >>
19 März 2014

Die EU muss sich stärker für Rechtsstaatlichkeit in Osteuropa engagieren

Demokratie, Rechtsstaatlichkeit und Menschenrechte sind Grundsätze, die die Gemeinsame Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik leiten sollen. Gleichwohl hat die EU in der Vergangenheit keine Strategien gefunden, die Ukraine bei der Umsetzung dieser Werte wirkungsvoll zu unterstützen. In der Zeit nach der Orangen Revolution wurde das Feld im Bereich der Verfassungskonsolidierung weitgehend dem Europarat überlassen. Stattdessen ließ sich die EU auf die Putinsche Logik der Integrationskonkurrenz ein. Will die EU aber ihre rechtsstaatlichen Ziele ernstnehmen, muss sie ihre Strategien zur Rechtstaatsentwicklung deutlich erweitern. The European Neighbourhood Policy, the Eastern Partnership and the EU’s negotiated Association Agreement with Ukraine are based on the joint undertaking to strengthen democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance. The special significance of these values reflects the normative requirement relating to the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy based on Art. 21 of the EU Treaty. Nevertheless, the EU has not in the past found any strategies to effectively support Ukraine in its implementation of these values. During the period after the Orange Revolution, the field of constitutional consolidation was largely left to the European Council. Instead of making concentrated efforts to counteract Ukraine's constitutional decline, the EU accepted Putin’s concept of integration rivalry. If the EU plans to take its targets of establishing the rule of law seriously, it will have to significantly extend its relevant strategies. Continue reading >>
18 März 2014

(K)ein Mythos? – Unsere Abhängigkeit vom russischen Gas

Sanktionen gegen Russland zu verhängen würde wegen der deutschen Abhängigkeit vom russischen Gas die Energiewende in Gefahr bringen. Stimmt das überhaupt? Continue reading >>

Zwischen Völkerrecht und Selbstbestimmung

Gegenwärtig kann es in Kiew, Berlin und Brüssel nur um Schadenbegrenzung gehen. Auf der Ebene der internationalen Politik müssen Signale an Russland ausgesandt werden, dass seine Aggressionspolitik keine Zukunft hat. Hier muss dem Denkmodell des Völkerrechts gefolgt werden. Auf der Ebene des Selbstbestimmungsrechts sollte die ukrainische Regierung dagegen davon überzeugt werden, der Selbstbestimmungsdiskussion in der Ostukraine konstruktiv entgegenzutreten. Continue reading >>

Der EGMR, zerrieben im Konflikt Russland-Ukraine?

Der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (EGMR) hat vor wenigen Tagen im Wege einer vorläufigen Maßnahme gem. Art. 39 der Verfahrensordnung in den laufenden Konflikt zwischen Russland und der Ukraine eingegriffen (vgl. Pressemitteilung ECHR 073 (2014)). Man mag fragen: Warum mutet sich der EGMR das zu? Oder auch: Was maßt sich der Gerichtshof an? Glaubt er wirklich, im Wege des vorläufigen Rechtsschutzes einen internationalen Konflikt befrieden zu können, an dem sich die internationale Diplomatie die Zähne ausbeißt? Der Versuch einer Standortbestimmung.On 13th March 2014, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has intervened in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine by indicating provisional measures under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court (cf. Press Release ECHR 073 (2014)). One might ask: Why does the Court undergo such a burden? Or, seen from another perspective: Why is the Court attributing itself such a power? Do the judges really belief that they can pacify an international conflict, which international diplomacy is unable to solve, just by means of an interim injunction? The attempt of defining a position. Continue reading >>
21 Oktober 2013

EGMR schafft sich das blutige 20. Jahrhundert vom Hals

Kriegsverbrechen aus der Nazi- und Stalin-Ära und andere Entsetzlichkeiten des […] Continue reading >>
23 März 2012

Väterrechte II: Auch Russlands Armee darf nicht Gender Stereotyping betreiben

Die andere bedeutetende Entscheidung des heutigen Tages zum Thema Rechte […] Continue reading >>
14 Oktober 2010

Gleiches Recht für Väter

Elternzeit für Mütter zu ermöglichen, nicht aber für Väter ist […] Continue reading >>
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