Russian Law Journal

Advanced search

The Illusive Nature of ‘Russian International Law

Full Text:


The monograph written by Estonian international law scholar Lauri Mälksoo is impressively well-timed. The record of recent international legal developments involving Russia is striking: the annexation of Crimea and the armed conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s ‘sanctions war’ with the United States and the European Union, nonrecognition and non-compliance with the international arbitral award in the Yukos case, and earlier, in 2013, Russia’s boycott of the proceedings at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Most recently, already subsequent to the publication of Russian Approaches to International Law, in July 2015 the Russian Constitutional Court sent a message of open disregard to Strasbourg by declaring that the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights could not be implemented in Russia if they contradicted the Russian Constitution. In all these instances the Russian government relied on its own reading of international law, which appeared not only to be strikingly different from that of the vast majority of states, but often detrimental to the foundations of the discipline. One might wonder whether these events are just the excesses of authoritarian power-politics, or more fundamentally grounded. Specifically, is there any special Russian international school of legal thought (referred to below as ‘Russian international law’)? And if there is, may it serve as a plausible alternative to Western-centric contemporary international law? Lauri Mälksoo’s book is the first genuine response to these questions.

About the Author

Gleb Bogush
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Russian Federation

Associate Professor at Faculty of Law,

1 Leninskie Gory, bldg. 13-14, Moscow, 119991, GSP-1


1. Lauri Mälksoo, Russian Approaches to International Law (Oxford University Press 2015).

For citation:

Bogush G. The Illusive Nature of ‘Russian International Law. Russian Law Journal. 2015;3(4):165-169.

Views: 1290

ISSN 2309-8678 (Print)
ISSN 2312-3605 (Online)