The central research question of our project is: what impact does the increasingly non-liberal orientation of the government of the Russian Federation have on the Russian doctrine and practice of international law? As the West and Russia hope to further build their relationship on international law, is it still the same international law that they are talking about? We aim to provide systematic empirical evidence on the use and conceptualization of international law in the Russian Federation. But we intend to go further than that. The project has also a wider theoretical ambition since we intend to analyze the situation in Russia as an example of something beyond Russia itself, namely from the viewpoint of the question of how non-liberal States understand and practice international law. Whether non-liberal States 'behave worse' in respect to international law than liberal States is one of the most important debates in the post-Cold War international legal theory. To combine these two questions - Russia and how non-liberal States relate to international law - promises ground-breaking new insights. Our method includes, beside obvious classical tools of international legal research, using IR theories of constructivism and liberalism. Moreover, we will conduct interviews with Russian judges, politicians and legal academicians in order to get a more nuanced and realistic view on the conceptualization and use of international law in Russia. Besides the PI, the research team includes two post-doc scholars at the Faculty of Law of Tartu University. Three doctoral student positions are also foreseen in the project.
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