The Rollback of Democracy in Russia after Beslan

In: Review of Central and East European Law
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Abstract

This contribution analyzes the political and legal changes implemented after "Russia's 9/11". President Putin used Beslan as eyewash to further increase his powers and to suppress or co-opt all independent sources of power in state and society. It is argued that several aspects of these reforms are in breach of the Russian Constitution and violate Russia's obligations under international (human rights) law. The contribution discusses the abolition of direct elections of regional leaders and the far-reaching amendments to the parliamentary election system in clear favor of the pro-Kremlin parties. It describes the growing state tutelage of civil society through the creation of a Public Chamber, the increased legal scrutiny of the activities of domestic and foreign NGOs as well as the formation of a loyal vanguard youth movement that could ultimately be deployed to ward off an "orange" revolution. Finally, it assesses the legality of new counterterrorism measures and briefly refers to the bottlenecks in the administration of justice unearthed by the first judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in cases stemming from Chechnya.

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