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Conflicting Conceptions of Sovereignty: A Response to Professor Blankenagel

Published on January 28, 2020        Author: 


My thanks to EJIL for this opportunity to respond to Professor Alexander Blankenagel’s critique of my article, “The Relationship Between the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation: Conflicting Conceptions of Sovereignty in Strasbourg and St. Petersburg.”

Although I also thank Professor Blankenagel for his reply, I admit to some difficulty recognizing my article in his criticism of it. He only lightly engaged its core argument, focusing mostly on peripheral topics. Below is a quick summary of my main points, followed by responses to a few of his outlying critiques.

The Core Argument: Chekhov’s Gun

A relatively new Russian law expands the jurisdiction of the Russian Constitutional Court (RCC) to pick-and-choose the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) that it will allow to be enforced in Russia. That law has been used twice and the evidence suggests that these cases were carefully selected six months before the law was even adopted. As Anton Chekhov admonished, “Don’t place a loaded gun on the stage if no one plans to shoot it.” Read the rest of this entry…