4 March 2021

MGIMO Soars in QS Subject Rankings

March 4th, the international agency QS unveiled the results of its “World University Rankings: By Subject”. This year, QS experts evaluated 1453 universities from 157 countries and their performance in 51 narrow and five broad subject areas. Since last year, MGIMO moved up to the 1st place in Russia and the 41st globally in "Politics and International Relations" and made it into the top 150 for "Modern Languages". It has also improved on its previous rank in “Law", "Economics and Econometrics”, “Linguistics” and “Business and Management”.
2 March 2021

All-Russian "MGIMO Law Championship"

March 2nd, the University hosted the All-Russian “MGIMO Law Championship” - the first case championship in Russia for law students with a large prize fund. The event was organized by MGIMO’s Law Club and the Fund of Grateful Alumni of the International Law School.
2 March 2021

MGIMO Team Wins Russian Stage of Jessup Moot

February 28th, the Russian finals of the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition took place. The MGIMO team won the title of national champion. 27 teams participated in the Russian stage of the competition. MGIMO’s team, comprising Alisa Gerasimenko, Tamara Posadkova, Gerel Porsunkinova, Daria Savastyan and Alexandra Alimova won for the second year in a row.

Special Aspects of Supremacy of Law in the Russian Federation

Karagulyan Anna, School of Governance and Politics

This article examines the role of the traditional liberal value supremacy of law in the Russian Federation. My focus is on a problem of exercising main principles of a democratic state in practice. The article explains the features of a law-governed state and the way in which the supremacy of law encourages legitimacy in Russia.

Key-words: supremacy of law, law-governed state, democracy, rights and freedoms, separation of powers.

1. Introduction

On its modern stage of development Russia is considered to be a democratic federal law-bound State with a republican form of government.[1] The Constitution of the Russian Federation puts in place all necessary legislative frameworks of the State: to create a democratic law-bound state, to provide the recognition, observance and protection of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen and the principle of separation of powers.

Many scientists think that Russia already achieved the level of developed state. At the same time there are experts who think that nowadays the Russian Federation remain at a low ebb and is only on the way of building up a democratic law-bound state. There are also scientists with intermediate positions on this issue, i.e, they think that Russia is in transition period and it needs to reform its mechanisms to become a democratic law-bound state to the full extent.

The disagreement of different scholars led to endless debates. It seems that it is almost impossible to reach a consensus on this issue. In my point of view it is very important to find a clear answer to the question: what are the obstacles for Russia to become a law-bound state to the full extent?

Before we analyze different experts’ views it is worth understanding the basics of law-bound states: their substance and main features.

2. Overview of a law-bound State

Law-bound state is generally acknowledged to be the basic politico-juridical form of democratic state in the 21th century.[2] Any law-governed state is based upon the acknowledgement of human being, their rights and freedoms as determined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as a superior social value.[3]

Essentially, supremacy of law is regarded in connection with a law-bound state. The latter is deemed to be a special form of organization of a state based on rules of law. British jurist and constitutional theorist Albert Dicey gave a classical definition to the rule of law. The rule of law is considered to be primarily  the absolute authority and superiority of existing legislation as opposed to arbitrary government prescriptions.

This principle excludes not only governmental arbitrariness but also the possibility for the government to act at will, as situation requires.[4]

A significant contribution to development of the theory of law-bound states is made by John Locke, Hugo Grotius, Benedictus Spinoza, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Montesquieu and some other outstanding philosophers of XVIII-XIX centuries. There are several remarkable concepts of a democratic state which are worked out due to their scientific papers: natural rights of man, people's sovereignty and separation of powers.

In legal literature a democratic state recognizes supremacy of law as a general principle of a state. There are two general aspects of supremacy of law:
- firstly, it is intended to provide protection of human rights;
- secondly, it is intended to guarantee law compliance.

According to many law books we can mark out several features of a law-bound State:
a) internal legislation shall correspond international law;
b) the recognition, observance and protection of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen;
c) separation of powers, i.e., the independence of branches of government;
d) mutual responsibility of a State and a person.

Thus, a law-bound state comes with a democratic political regime. It is impossible to imagine a law-bound state without all necessary democratic values and mechanisms.

3. Supremacy provision in the Russian Federation

It should be pointed out that supremacy of law expects the formula ‘equality before the law’. An Irish legal academic J.M. Kelly noted, 'Equality before the law' is a value which, in a Europe full of privilege, found a full expression only in the voice of the English revolution.[5] One of the most outstanding economists of the 20th century Friedrich Hayek in his book, The Constitution of Liberty, explains that only equality before the law is consistent with a free society.[6] So we can draw a conclusion that the essential part of provision of supremacy - is provision of ‘equality before the law’.

It is worth saying that provision of supremacy of law is one of the main field of concerns in the Russian Federation. Many experts and politicians believe that supremacy of law should become a limitation of authority. It can make state mechanisms safe from abuse of powers. To prevent this abuse, it is necessary from the very nature of things that power should be a check to power.[7]

Unfortunately, on its modern stage of development Russia runs into an issue: provision of supremacy of law in practice. There are several obstacles which add complexity to the provision of supremacy of law in the Russian Federation:
a) inconsistency between statutory regulation and real state of social relations;
b) poor standards of prospective legislation;
c) lack of systematicity concerning adopted acts of legislature;
d) arising conflict of laws which weaken law effectiveness.

In my view, it should be noted that the level of law effectiveness directly depend on social and economic systems. So nowadays our priority is to work out new economic concepts which can be effectively used in Russian practice.

4. Conclusion

In general, a law-governed state comes with a special mechanism which make supremacy of law work in practice. After reviewing the Russian laws and practice we can arrive at the following conclusion - it is a high time to create more effective mechanisms which correspond to the Russian reality and shall:
a) improve legislative framework, including measures on development of democratic institutions;
b) regulate social system by stimulation labor activity;
c) pursue investment policy in the sector of industry.

It is worth admitting that creation of a legal background is not enough to become a successful law-governed state. In my view, one possible solution could be building up basic mechanisms which are intended to provide furtherance of all the principles of a modern democratic state.


  1. The Constitution of the Russian Federation, Chapter 1, Article 1.
  2. Yuliy A. Nisnevich, Political and Legal Concept of Modern Democratic State, American Journal of Sociological Research, 2012, 2(3): 32-37.
  3. Universal Declaration of Human Rights //
  4. Hayek Friedrich, 'The road to serfdom', University of Chicago Press, 1994.
  5. J.M. Kelly, A Short History of Western Legal Theory, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 236.
  6. F.A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960).

[1] The Constitution of the Russian Federation, Chapter 1, Article 1.

[2] Yuliy A. Nisnevich, Political and Legal Concept of Modern Democratic State, American Journal of Sociological Research, 2012, 2(3): 32-37.


[4] Hayek, Friedrich. The road to serfdom. University of Chicago Press, 1994.

[5] J.M. Kelly, A Short History of Western Legal Theory, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 236.

[6] F.A. Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960)

[7] Charles Secondat de Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, Book XI.