Russian kleptocracy and the rule of law


This report from the UK think tank The Henry Jackson Society looks at how the Kremlin undermines European judicial systems.

Since Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000, he has overseen the creation of a grotesque kleptocracy in Russia. This kleptocracy is based on the “rule of law”, but not in the Western sense of the phrase. In Russia, the law serves to control and coerce the majority of the population while allowing Putin, his cronies, and other regime insiders to act with impunity. The existence of high-level lawlessness in Russia has allowed the Kremlin and regime insiders to take advantage of the court systems of European states. In doing so, they have been able to undermine the rule of law in European states and multilateral treaty organisations in order to further their own interests. In essence, European courts have, on occasions, become a tool of Russian foreign policy. Because Russia uses different tools in different places at different times, there is no “one size fits all” response to its activities. Nevertheless, the report’s recommendations can be applied in other countries. Most obviously, national parliaments could hold hearings or inquiries into the extent to which Russia or its proxies have undermined domestic judicial systems.

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