Russian Discourses on International Law: Sociological and Philosophical Phenomenon, a new book edited by P. Sean Morris, focuses on explaining, with a comprehensive historical background, Russia’s contemporary interpretations of international law in the light of recent events. Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (HCAS) will host the launch of the new volume in the Common Room (Fabianinkatu 24, 3rd floor) on Thursday, October 11th at 11 am. At the event the audience will have the opportunity to both learn more about the book project from the editor and hear short talks on the themes of the book.
Book editor Professor Morris is a graduate of Moscow’s Russian Peoples’ Friendship University and teacher of international economic law at the University of Helsinki. The multidisciplinary list of contributors offers perspectives from both leading western scholars and contemporary western-based Russian scholars and includes the newly appointed HCAS Director, Tuomas Forsberg.
Over the course of the 21st century, Russia has strongly condemned actions such as the war on Iraq and Kosovo’s independence as interferences on sovereign affairs of independent states which violate international law, while at the same time vehemently defending the annexation of Crimea. Moreover, Russia has also used its influence on the UN Security Council to curb the number of humanitarian aid operations that it has deemed as attempts to spread western influence in disguise of peacekeeping. Nevertheless leaning on explanations of peacekeeping was nothing new for Russia itself even before Crimea, as can be seen from its narratives on the Russian-Georgian War. As Professor Morris writes in chapter five of the book Russian Discourses on International Law:
“The participation of Russia in international law has been, and remains, a matter of its vested interests only. Moreover, contemporary international law with its mission of globalization has been viewed in Russia as an attempt at removing the sovereignty of the Russian state. But, where Russia participates in the treaty system of international law, such participation is at best a result of compromise, due to the failure of diplomacy or negotiations. […] This acceptance of international law by Russia, wary of Westphalianism, but cautiously embracing the treaty system of international law, allows Russia to carve out a unique and fascinating approach to international law.” (p. 100)
In addition to the opening words from Forsberg and presentation of the book from Professor Morris, the event features talks on themes of the book by Tero Lundstedt, contributor of the book, Professor Jan Klabbers and HCAS Core Fellow Miia Halme-Tuomisaari.
HCAS Project Planner Kaisa Kaakinen