The Rule of Law is Threatened

July 25, 2013

A group of prominent representatives of the legal community issued an open letter about the growing threat to the rule of law in our state. We publish the text of the letter. The lawyers who signed the letter are listed in the order they signed it.

We, the people who are professional lawyers, have to state: on the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution, the constitutional system of the country is under threat. The basic provisions of the Constitution and, above all, a constitutional nature of Russia as a state based on the Rule of Law, have essentially become meaningless declarations.

Can you really speak about the legal nature of the state when the public authority declared an outright war against an emerging civil society? The word “war” is not just a figure of speech, because we cannot help feeling how coordinated the actions of almost all public institutions of power are. Including those whose purpose is to protect the constitutional and fundamental rights of an individual. The legislative activities of the Parliament have become distinctly prohibitive and repressive in nature.

Law enforcement and security services — the Investigative Committee, police, FSB, prosecutor’s office — all of them blatantly and sometimes even deliberately and cynically violate the constitutional and other legal provisions, including by fabricating criminal and administrative cases against those who criticize the authorities.

Finally, the courts — the only authority citizens could rely upon in terms of protection of their rights – essentially “legalize” these violations, bringing the biased and often patently unjust convictions on the basis of one-sided, and sometimes even falsified evidence.

In our country, where the Rule of Law has been neglected or defeated so many times, this further strengthens an anti-legal tradition, expressed by the formula “might is right”. Law in its true sense disappears before our eyes, because being trampled upon is one of the unshakable foundations of law: that is equality of all before the law and the courts. At the same time the degradations of the very institutions designed to uphold the law continues.

We consider it is our professional and civic duty to draw public attention to the perils of the current situation, to publicly declare that we are opposed to what is happening.

А. Obolonsky, Doctor of Law
М. Krasnov, LL.D., Department Head
V. Isakov, Doctor of Law, Department Head
D. Primakov, PhD
V. Chetvernin, professor
I. Zagrebina, lawyer, chairman of the Guild of Experts on Religion and Law
I. Shablinski, LL.D.
I. Alebastrova, PhD
M. Davletbaev, a corporate lawyer
S. Vasiliev, PhD
K. Kononov, PhD
E. Lukyanov, , JD
E. Mishina, PhD
A. Sobolev, attorney, LL.M., founder of the NGO “Lawyers for Constitutional Rights and Freedoms”
S. Stanskih, PhD, winner of the Russian Historical Society award for his contribution to the study of the history of the Russian Constitution and the development of training materials on legal education
O. Oleinik, , LL.D., Department Head
A. Osavelyuk, LL.D.
T. Vasilyeva, LL.D.
A. Medushevsky, Professor
F. Kravchenko, managing partner, The College of Media Lawyers
K. Shcherbakov. corporate lawyer
V. Prokhorov, a lawyer
A. Barabash, Doctor of Law, Professor, Department of Criminal Procedural Law Institute, Siberian Federal University (Krasnoyarsk)
N. Shchedrin, Doctor of Law, Professor, Head. Department of Criminology , Siberian Federal University (Krasnoyarsk)
P. Tsarkov, lawyer
A. Buzin, PhD, Chairman, the Interregional Voters Association
A. Gorinov, a corporate lawyer and public figure
G. Bogush, PhD, Associate Professor
Y. Golik, Doctor of Law, Professor
S. Golubok, PhD, lawyer
F. Bogatyrev, PhD
A. Manov, PhD, lawyer
G. Esakov, Doctor of Law, Department Head
Y. Kostanov, PhD, State Counselor of Justice, Class 2
S. Nugaeva, Head, the Legal Department of “Lawyers for Constitutional Rights and Freedoms”
T. Kashanina, Doctor of Law
E. Cekhovskaya, PhD
L. Lapteva, Doctor of Law
P. Ivlev, lawyer
T. Trapeznikova, Councellor, “Stroiprom” Group
S. Dedikov, senior partner, Insurance Lawyers Association