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Russia as the State Continuing the Legal Personality of the USSR – An Inquiry into State Identity or Succession

In: Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international
Author:
Guido Acquaviva PhD in Law, History and Theory of International Relations (Università degli studi di Padova)

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Abstract

The Russian Federation is overwhelmingly considered the same subject of international law as the USSR. Moving from a re-assessment of the incidence of the elements traditionally associated with the identity of a state, this article notes that scholars have generally neglected to study what are the actual bases for this nearly universal consensus. Since the creation and the identity of states are often described as questions of fact, the author suggests that a useful addition to the debate surrounding the identity of the USSR and Russia is an analysis of the nature of the actual governmental power within the USSR. This may contribute to assessing anew how the seismic changes in 1990 and 1991 affected it and, therefore, how contemporary Russia actually arose. Such an interdisciplinary approach to the question of state succession could further be used to shed light on similar cases of succession.

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