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Aleksanteri Conference







Law II / Round table: Remnants of Cold War Policy Making over the Past Two Decades: Has There Been Peace Dividend?

In proposing a Round Table, we hope that this will attract a wider inter-disciplinary audience; it also allows us thereby to encourage active participation of not only a greater number of discussants but also from the attendees. The Round Table (RT) will bring in a more practice-oriented approach to themes raised in the proposed “Legal Dimensions” panel. However, the RT will also examine the legacy of the Cold War in the post-Cold War period. A key question for discussion revolves around developments in (legal) policy and “Peace Dividend” to which inter alios Bush (senior) and Thatcher have referred. 

The RT presentations will be four in number offering both a tour d’horizon as well as country-specific examples: in this case, it will be Russia, as the most important actor emerging from the USSR. The East-West competition of the Cold War saw the East stressing social rights with the West advocating the primary of political and civil rights. In the new era, states in the European Legal Space are increasingly committed to finding common European social denominators. However, this process still: (i) is laced with nationalist ideology—mirroring a reluctance of states to relinquish their autonomy in developing social policies—and; (ii) does not have sufficient financial resources to adequately supervise the implementation of social rights.

In the field of private law, there is a belief—often stressed in the post-Cold War era—that this branch of law is neutral. The second general RT presentation discusses ways to reduce friction in transplanting legislation to transition jurisdictions: de-emphasizing the imitation of formal content and recognizing the role played by national institutions.

The third and fourth presentations treat: borrowing and othering respectively. (a) Borrowing in legal reform of the post-CW period is only from pre-revolutionary sources but, also, from Soviet-era legislation—perhaps a surprising example to some of a domestic link with the Cold War letter if not the spirit of the law. (b) On the other hand, it was not surprising that Cold War stereotypes extended into the legal field during the height of the Cold War: “there was no law in the USSR”; “there was nothing from the West that could be of any interest to the USSR”, convergence theory notwithstanding. However, the strength of this classic example of “othering” in the post-Cold War era may, to some, be unexpected. It continued to influence thinking on both sides—at least in the first wave of legal reforms after 1991. The most prominent examples are those legal constructs which had been known in the USSR and which “competed” with their western analogues after 1991. The example considered here is that of “operational management/economic ownership” versus trust. This includes reference to the “legal transplant” discussion as well as to the transplant antidote of “spetsifika” (particularities) and the marginalized position of law and lawyers prior to 1991.


Friday 30 Oct 16.15-18.15 Session 6
Panel: Law II/ Round table: Remnants of Cold War Policy Making over the Past Two Decades: Has There Been Peace Dividend?