This article is an adaptation of a lecture given at St. Antony's College, Oxford on 5 July 2003 in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at Oxford University. The author evaluates the effect of the European Convention on Human Rights on Russian law and politics. Russia has been a signatory to the Convention for five years. The author argues that the full power of the Convention as a force for reform in Russia was unanticipated at the time of Russia's accession. Nevertheless, the Convention has been the catalyst for substantial reforms, especially in the criminal justice system. The author examines these reforms as well as the increasing number of cases in which Russia is a respondent before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Drawing on interviews, the Court's statistics and his own experience training Russian human rights lawyers, the author charts the rapid growth in Russia of interest in the Strasbourg process.