Russia's “Normative Alternative”? Political and Civil Rights’ Norms Internalization and Contestation Dynamics

This dissertation project focuses on the normative dimension of the political and ideological conflict between Russia and the West and critically addresses some of the existing theoretical challenges and research gaps within constructivist norm research.

The project examines the various stances Russia has been selectively adopting in the process of its internalization, contestation and revision of international democratic norms throughout 2000–2012. The analysis focuses on the divergence within and between Russia’s normative rhetoric and political praxis in the area of civil and political rights norms.

Three case studies focus on Russia’s rhetoric and practice with respect to

(1) the norm of international election observation,

(2) the so-called “pro-NGO norm” and the state regulation of civil society organizations, and

(3) the right to freedom of assembly in Russia.

For each case, this project assesses the official discursive representation of the given norms and the spectrum of political practices ranging from compliant, partially-compliant and non-compliant behavior. It also addresses the influence of multiple factors upon norm (non-)recognition and norm (non-)compliance dynamics as well as their interrelation.

Although the primary empirical focus of the research project is the Russian Federation, the study also contributes to the broader theoretical debate on normative revisionism, norm contestation and the decoupling of states’ human rights rhetoric from behavioral practices in the field of human rights protection.

Project director:
  • Bakalova, Evgeniya
Norm-Taking, Norm-Faking, And Norm-Making: Russia And The International Election Observation Norm | 2017

Bakalova, Evgeniya (2017): Norm-Taking, Norm-Faking, And Norm-Making: Russia And The International Election Observation Norm, PRIF Working Papers No. 39, Frankfurt/M.

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Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES)