Section Description Provided by Instructor
Method of Evaluation: Paper or papers, structured oral presentation during class
Thirty years or so after the end of the Cold War, Russia has, once again, become an active participant in international relations that is openly antagonistic to the West and in particular the United States. This seminar, "Russia in the International Order," takes stock of that situation by examining the country and its legal institutions in their interaction with the rest of the world over recent decades. It is taught by an international practitioner with extensive work experience in Russia; three of the sessions will be co-taught by Professor Paul Stephan (University of Virginia), a leading expert on Soviet and Russian law and the Coordinating Reporter of the Fourth Restatement of US Foreign Relations Law. One or several other sessions are also expected to involve guest speakers formerly with the US Foreign Service with first hand experience of the parameters and challenges of diplomacy with Russia.
The seminar starts by addressing the historical circumstances that form the backdrop of contemporary Russia. Key factors are the collapse of the Soviet Union, the often brutal post-communist economic reforms of the nineties and the evolution in recent decades of international security arrangements, contrasting perceptions of which are central to the opposition between dominant Russian and Western narratives. The seminar then looks at Russia's place in the international economic order from various angles: its foreign trade in strategic areas such as energy supplies, the extensive international integration and use of foreign legal systems by Russian elites, the domestic and international dimension of singular events such as the Yukos expropriation (characterized inter alia by the largest ever investment arbitration award), and US and European sanctions regimes applied since 2014. Further themes will be Russia's approach to international law in general, the crises in Crimea and Ukraine, the impact of changes in Western security institutions (such as NATO expansion), and Russia's recent pivot towards China and other non-Western powers.
The seminar seeks to adopt a balanced approach on all these themes, distinguishing between fact and perception and navigating the biases of international politics (which cannot be ignored, however, as they have a direct impact on the subject matter). The seminar will also seek to retain a practical approach by using case studies from business or diplomatic practice whenever possible. It is mainly for students who want to gain a better understanding of Russia and its policies vis-a-vis the rest of the world, and also appropriate for those with an interest in international relations, comparative law, the law of sanctions, and transactions or disputes in high risk emerging market economies, particularly in the energy sector.
The seminar is open to upper year law students as well as students from SIPA and the Harriman Institute. Prior courses in international law, international trade or international transactions may be useful but are not required. Knowledge of the Russian language is not necessary. Students will be asked to write one or two papers and make one structured 15-minute presentation to the group. They will also be expected to actively participate in all the discussions.
Method of Evaluation
J.D. Writing Credit
Minor (upon consultation), Major (only upon consultation)
LLM Writing Project
(only upon consultation)