Human rights in Russia week-ending 19 March 2021 - with Sergei Golubok [Full version]

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This week our guest on the podcast is Sergei Golubok, a lawyer [advokat] from St. Petersburg. The topics we discuss on the podcast include: how to become a lawyer; lawyers and human rights; the rule of law; the European Court of Human Rights; conflicts between national and international law; impact of the reforms of the 1990s on the Russian legal system; the significance of the constitutional amendments introduced last year; reform of the Constitutional Court; the future of the Russian legal system and human rights in the Russian Federation.

The podcast is in Russian. You can also listen to the podcast on Rights in Russia [https://rightsinrussia.org/podcasts/], SoundCloud, Spotify and iTunes. The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.

Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: A lawyer [advokat] should be a human rights defender by virtue of his work. And the hallmark of a lawyer [advokat] is that they don’t have a boss, they have clients. Our guest on the podcast this week, the lawyer Sergei Golubok, has a wealth of experience, including with bosses. Today Sergei is a member of the St Petersburg Bar Association and someone well known in the human rights world. Simon Cosgrove and I had time to discuss a great deal with our Sunday guest and are happy to share what Sergei told us. We discussed – and not without reference to events today – why there are regimes that do not live up to the obligations they took upon themselves. “Human rights treaties – unlike ordinary treaties – create a web of obligations rather than bilateral relations. And so regimes like Erdogan’s or Putin’s don’t really understand such obligations – why they should be implemented,” says Sergei Golubok, and adds: “This is a short-sighted point of view, because there are some things more important than momentary gain.” One of the biggest questions facing the Council of Europe today is what to do when Russia, along with a number of other countries, ignores ECtHR judgments. After all, there are no international riot police and no ECtHR bailiffs either. “I believe that the right thing to do in this situation would be to expel Russia from the Council of Europe. This would, in the first place, protect the Council of Europe itself. However, the Council of Europe has taken a different path, that of endless negotiations. It is the wrong approach, and the policy of appeasement of the 1930s is proof of that. It is not a solution to the problem, but an aggravation. Exclusion is the only legal remedy that can be applied”. We recommend listening to what Sergei Golubok has to say.

Simon Cosgrove adds: If you want to listen to this podcast on the podcasts.com website and it doesn’t seem to play, please download by clicking on the three dots to the right. A summary of some of the week’s events in Russia relevant to human rights can be found on our website here.

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