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Everyday Law in Russia$
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Kathryn Hendley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501705243

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501705243.001.0001

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Legal Consciousness(es) in Russia

Legal Consciousness(es) in Russia

(p.18) 1 Legal Consciousness(es) in Russia
Everyday Law in Russia

Kathryn Hendley

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines Russian public opinion about law and courts. It first provides an overview of Russian legal consciousness, alternatively referred to as legal culture, before explaining the methodology employed in the present analysis. It then considers the available empirical evidence to determine whether law matters to Russians and if it does, then for whom and under what circumstances. It also discusses those factors that tend to encourage or discourage trust in the capacity of Russian law to matter as well as the Russians' willingness to use the law to solve their problems. Respondents were asked, for example, about their level of support for cornerstone principles of democracy, such as free elections, law and order, and freedom of speech. The results show that Russians are moving away from legal nihilism and that law matters for an increasing percentage of Russians. They shy away from the courts, tending to use them only when no other options are available. Furthermore, Russians' confidence in law and legal institutions is situational.

Keywords:   public opinion, law, courts, Russia, legal consciousness, legal culture, democracy, law and order, legal nihilism, legal institutions

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