This article is about selective law enforcement and the implications for Russian politics. No novelty to Russian politics, the practice has been increasingly institutionalized since the 2000s as a means of combining authoritarian rule with a liberal constitution. In the process, new lines for what can be said and done in Russian politics have been delineated, with a space being drawn much narrower than, in theory, is guaranteed by the constitution. The author argues that selective law enforcement should be conceptualized as enforcement of informal rules and be comprehended within the logics of deterrence. This implies that the political subtext be communicated to the relevant subjects, but also that actual cases of selective law enforcement are just the tip of the iceberg. It is the political activism and oppositional activities never taking place that make selective law enforcement a key phenomenon in Russia today. The formal foundation of cases is discussed and commonly utilized laws are identified sharing characteristics that produce legal insecurity, insecurity that is in turn politically exploited. Finally, the article draws upon the work of Ernst Fraenkel and Kathryn Hendley in putting selective law enforcement within a context of legal and political dualism.
The role of Russian courts in past centuries has essentially been to apply law, not create it. But the collapse of the Soviet Union and the introduction of checks and balances in the Russian state have raised the question whether the courts should now have lawmaking power. Today, almost 25 years later, few lawyers would deny that judicial decisions have significance in Russian legal argumentation. It is safe to say that judicial decisions as a source of law have developed more in the post-Soviet period than ever before in Russian legal history. Their role as a source of Russian law is analyzed in this article. In addition to the present and historical situation, the possible future development is discussed. On the 6th of August 2014, two of Russia’s three supreme courts, namely – the Supreme Court and the Supreme Arbitrazh Court, were merged. President Vladimir Putin stated that the main reason for this change was the need for a more consistent judicial practice. Despite the official reason for the merger, however, there is reason to believe that judicial decisions in years to come will play a less important role as a source of Russian law.
In this article, the roots and premises of post-communist transitology which became prominent during the 1990s are critically contextualized from the point of view of intellectual history. Attention is paid not only to the development of the concept of time, but also of history, development, evolution, progress, revolution and acceleration. The notion of regime change is reconstructed and traced through the political philosophy of Greek antiquity, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, as well as in scientific thought and debate of the 19th century, in the modernization theories of the 1950s, and in the »transitology» of the 1970s and 1980s dealing with Southern Europe and Latin America. The analysis takes its point of departure in a comparison between post-communist transitology and Cold War Sovietology and critically assesses implications of teleology, chronocentrism and ethnocentrism.