Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Financial Times Interviews Russian President-elect Dmitry Medvedev who Plans to Strengthen the Rule of Law and the Independence of the Courts

The Moscow Times carried an AP story at Medvedev Sits Down With FT which indicates that President-elect Dmitry Medvedev of Russia plans to strengthen the rule of law and the independence of the courts.

We found a more extensive presentation of Medvedev's interview with the Financial Times at the Voice of America article by Peter Fedynsky, Medvedev Calls for Rule of Law in Russia, where Fedynsky writes:

"Dmitry Medvedev told the Financial Times the challenge facing Russia is to translate its recent economic success into social programs, including housing, healthcare, and education....

He notes that President Putin's decision to step aside is unprecedented for a Russian leader, but consistent with the constitution.

Mr. Medvedev says Mr. Putin's move means that Russia is at last developing a tradition of respecting all constitutional and other legal procedures."

Take a look at the full transcript of the interview at the Financial Times, which covers inter alia politics, economics, the media, state monopolies, nuclear weapons, social justice, international relations, consumerism, corruption, democracy and the law. The interview is brilliant.

To quote Medvedev directly on this topic from the Financial Times interview:

"[FT Financial Times]: You are a lawyer, a very experienced lawyer so I would like to ask what concrete steps you will take to strengthen the rule of law in Russia?

[Dmitry Medvedev}: I really am a lawyer, perhaps to a greater degree than is necessary. You could say I am a lawyer down to my bones. But this also adds certain advantages.

"I think that we should move in three directions. [1] One direction is the assertion of the supremacy of the law in our society.... [2] [W]e need to make sure that every citizen understands not only the necessity and desirability of observing the law but also understands that without such a relation to the law there cannot be a normal development of our state or our society.... [3] And finally, a third very important thing connected to the legal system and the implementation of laws in our country is an active and effective court system."

Extremely interesting are also Medvedev's statements about how Russia plans to stop corruption among its ranks, under the motto that corruption in the future - reading between the lines - may cost violators their old age and pension rights. Now there is an effective incentive viz. deterrent to keep people honest, on both sides of any tempting bribe action. To cut down on corruption, you make the price for being caught very high, much higher than most people are willing to risk. It is a simple and clearly workable solution.

Medvedev states that a three-pronged approach will be used to reduce corruption:

1) amendments to the criminal law will be made,
counter-corruption stimuli will be required (inter alia, such as we referred to above), and
3) a modern perception of law will be formed among the citizenry.

To really get a good idea about the direction that Russia is heading from Russia's global and national viewpoint, a full read of this Financial Times interview is highly recommended by LawPundit.

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