Russian Law Journal

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Vol 5, No 3 (2017)
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9-28 2038

EU-Russia relations have never been simple. On the one hand, these two international actors have common values and interests. On the other, they have a conflictual relationship, which has become particularly acute after the Ukrainian crisis that started in 2014. After Ukrainian crisis, the EU and Russia have entered a new era. Unfortunately, it is an era of brinkmanship. This brinkmanship is marked, prima facie, by mutual sanctions. After 20 years of partnership and good neighborliness it sounds illogically, but it is a reality. The strategic nature of the EU-Russia partnership has been placed in doubt. The aim of this article is to show that the “war of sanctions,” which has frozen official contacts and negotiations have not achieved anything. This crisis can only be overcome through dialogue. However, at the moment, the main critics of the EU sanctions amongst EU Member States are too weak to convince the other members to lift them. The article concerns the modern legal aspects and modern legal circumstances surrounding EU-Russia relations in the light of recent events and the deterioration of relations between Russia and the EU in general. In this framework, an account is given of the EU’s reaction to the Ukrainian conflict in the context of the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy and of the EU restrictive measures as well as in the context of the Russian countersanctions. A special attention is paid to the EU Court of Justice case-law in the field of the restrictive measures.

29-68 1855

Crimea and the City of Sevastopol justifiably separated from Ukraine and reunified with the Russian Federation in 2014. Support for this proposition is found in historic, economic, and political reasoning. Extant principles of public international law, derived from the Treaty of Westphalia, and subsequently developed by Great Powers to facilitate their strategic interests, when applied to the Crimean/Russian reunification, produce absurd results: nailing a population to a cross of misery, oppression, and poverty. In addition, the principles invoked are underdeveloped, prejudiced toward Nation States holding the imprimatur of “Great Powers,” and ignore individual and population preferences. Moreover, scholarly and jurist analyses repose upon an edifice of incomplete facts, and ignore the 1991 illegal annexation of Crimea by Ukraine. Crimea suffered twenty-three years of economic rot under Ukrainian rule. Under the Russian Federation, economic conditions in the peninsula are improving, despite the US/EU sanctions imposed upon the Crimean population, a cruelty that the Great Powers cannot justify. Exceptional circumstances that took place in Ukraine in 2013/14 permitted scheduling a referendum to seek independence from Ukraine. Polls taken after the 2014 referendum unanimously demonstrate that the population of Crimea and the City of Sevastopol prefer reunification with the Russian Federation, as opposed to going back and becoming a subject of Ukraine rule and exploitation under a US installed right wing regime. Repeated calls to “give back” Crimea to Ukraine are based on twisted historical narratives, solely designed to weaken the Russian Federation.

69-85 841

This article deals with an issue which went largely unremarked at the time – the role of the city of Sevastopol in Crimea’s declaration of independence. The Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Crimea was a joint resolution adopted by the Supreme Council of Crimea and the City Council of Sevastopol. One may state that the city of Sevastopol declared its independence as an entity possessing an international identity. Initially, only States were treated as recognized subjects of international law. But now other kinds of actors also share this recognition. However, from the point of view of classical international law, cities have no legal identity in international law and they are not granted the status of subjects of international law. The legal activities of cities on the international stage results in the need for a new approach to the treatment of cities under international law. The author has examined the legality of Sevastopol’s action in the light of both domestic and international laws. An analysis of the status of Sevastopol in Ukrainian law, as well in Soviet law is also included in this article. The author presents examples of actions of cities on the international scene which might prove that cities could be treated as non-state actors. However, the conclusion states that it remains questionable whether the city has truly acquired the status of being a subject of public international law. It is doubtful that the case of Sevastopol will contribute to the development of doctrine of non-state actors.

86-112 1270

The article is intended to give a reader a broader view of the post-Crimean academic discussion within Russia. The justifications offered by Russia for its actions in Crimea in 2014 were met with scepticism by the international community and international lawyers across various jurisdictions. Among Russian international legal scholars there were almost no critical voices willing to assess Crimea’s annexation as at least questionable under international law. Rather, these scholars, in their overwhelming majority, spoke or wrote on the matter in feverish defence of Russia’s actions. Some international scholars who study “Russian” approaches to international law or come across them aspart of their research seem prepared to justify the striking unity of perspective among Russian academic international lawyers by reference to the historically authoritarian nature of the Russian state. This article counters arguments of such would-be deference, suggesting that Russian academia be looked at by reference to the emerging standard of international legal profession.


113-139 1246

One of the problems faced by the international community is to find a basis for regulating economic relations between the states. While the third world states still emphasize their economic sovereignty to encounter and maintain their positions against the North States, the analysis of the international legal realities shows that merely relying on the “economic independence” and “permanent sovereignty over natural resources” cannot be a practical way to achieve the ideals of states known as the “South.” Like the Sword of Damocles, sovereignty can pave the way for maintaining the “status quo” or the domination of the premier economic powers in the international equation. Merely relying on international law as a branch based on the states’ sovereignty will be actually misleading to change the status quo. By a realistic analysis of the less positive role of sovereignty in the procedure of regulating the relations between the North and the South, this study seeks to focus on the fact that going out of the impasse of unjust economic relations between the North and the South will be possible only by creating a gap in the traditional concept of economic sovereignty in a sense that has been formed by the third world states in the 60s and 70s of the past century.

140-167 1379

The author discusses the relationship between two legal orders: international law and European Union (EU) law. The main provisions of this relationship have been established through the precedential practice of the Court of Justice of the European Union – the EU’s main judicial body. This kind of research seems important because of the gap in the theory of international law caused by the immutable dogma of the supremacy of international law. However, modern legal practice demonstrates a certain fragmentation of the international legal order because of the impact of the existence and development of regional supranational legal orders. The EU legal order, with its own special nature (sui generis), is undoubtedly one of the most developed among them. The Court of Justice of the European Union performs a crucial role in the EU legal system concerning application and interpretation of EU law. It provides a uniform interpretation of this law for the purposes of development of supranational integration. In this context the Court of Justice the European Union establishes the status of European law and its relationship with the national legal systems and international law. The Court acts as protector of the EU legal order against the influence of other legal orders. The Court’s precedential practice reveals EU law’s tendency towards its constitutionalization and the development of its autonomy. The latest practice indicates the Court’s powers to review the EU institutions’ acts in relation to the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions. This proves the Court’s ability to establish indirect control even over UN acts.

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