Russian Federation – annual report 2020

During the conference on 18 September 2020 on the topic of “Problems, challenges and perspectives of city management under current framework conditions” at the offices of the Union of Russian Cities (Photo: Union of Russian Cities)
During the conference on 18 September 2020 on the topic of “Problems, challenges and perspectives of city management under current framework conditions” at the offices of the Union of Russian Cities (Photo: Union of Russian Cities)

Strategic Framework 

Legal Policy Starting Point

The political situation in Russia and the foreign policy tensions in its relationship with the EU did not improve significantly in 2020, especially since the EU imposed new sanctions after an attack on a government critic.

A referendum was held in early July 2020 to legitimise a constitutional amendment, after the Russian Parliament and Constitutional Court had already approved the draft in March 2020. Among other things, the reform allows the president to campaign for two further terms, which means he could remain in office until 2036. Both the constitutional amendment and the organisation of the referendum were criticised at home and abroad.

Protests against the arrest and removal of a freely elected governor began in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk in July 2020 and have continued to this day.

Overall Concept 

IRZ switched its planned face-to-face events to an online format in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It also managed to accommodate an increased number of requests for translated laws. For example, the translations of the Federal Lawyers’ Act and the Internet Auction Act were revised and updated. In addition, legal expertise and their translations were given greater consideration this year.

As in the years before, cooperation prioritises the issues of civil and commercial law, with a particular focus on intellectual property. Other important topics include local self-administration, medical law and extensive areas of professional law, especially in regard to lawyers, the notarial system and patent attorneys.

Another significant aspect is to continue working with young professionals and law students within the framework of the cooperation with the legal academies at the Ministry of Justice and the Russian School of Private Law under the President of the Russian Federation. Besides online seminars and virtual roundtable discussions, IRZ again offered its course in legal terminology, some of it by video conference, and provided students with access to German legal literature during the reporting year.

Some of this work is organised as part of the initiative for legal cooperation supported by the Federal Foreign Office.

Focus of Activity in 2020

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Scientific-practical online conference “Insurance medicine: legal problems in theory and practice during the pandemic” in Izhevsk
  • “beck-online” access for professors, doctoral students and undergraduates at the Russian School of Private Law under the President of the Russian Federation
  • International theoretical and practical online conference “Intellectual property rights: challenges of the XXIst century” in Tomsk
  • Online conference “Law and the digital state” in St. Petersburg
  • Online roundtable discussion on the topic of “Problems of modern civil law and civil procedural law”
  • Online lecture by German experts on civil law for students, magistrates and representatives of academia

Administration of Justice 

  • Online conference “Limits of critical statements by German and Russian lawyers in the fight for justice” with the Russian Federal Bar Association and the German Federal Bar in Berlin and Moscow

Criminal and Penitentiary Law 

  • Conference “Combating corruption and the informal economy: issues concerning the effectiveness of legal instruments” in St. Petersburg

Public Law

  • International online roundtable “Problems, challenges and perspectives of urban management under the current circumstances”
  • Online seminar on the topic of “Russia’s cities after the corona crisis: changes in lifestyle, economic organisation and infrastructure development”
  • Online lectures by German experts on the topic of “Urban development” for students of the Master’s programme “Project management in regional development and planning” at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)

Basic and Further Training

  • Language course “Translation of German legal texts” for Russian lawyers at the School of Private Law in Moscow
  • International scientific-practical online conference on “The dissemination of legal information and legal transformation in the digital age” in Moscow
  • Russian-German online conference “Current problems in the teaching of lawyers and legal studies in Russia and Germany” in Makhachkala

Outlook

Intense cooperation will continue in 2021, both bilaterally and with project grant, despite the difficulties imposed by the pandemic. IRZ plans to hold many of the cancelled measures at a later date. There are plans to resume the further training event on the Russian judiciary and Russian law for German judges and public prosecutors at the German Judicial Academy in Wustrau. Civil and commercial law, law of lawyers and notary law will remain as the important legal areas for cooperation. Moreover, the IRZ will push ahead with its efforts to promote effective enforcement, to strengthen local self-administration and with various basic and further training measures.

Russian Federation - annual report 2019

Study trip to Aachen, Trier, Koblenz, Mainz and Frankfurt on the topic of ”Identity and mobility – the legal framework for preservation and modernisation of the cultural heritage in the course of time”: Delegation of Russian local government experts
Study trip to Aachen, Trier, Koblenz, Mainz and Frankfurt on the topic of ”Identity and mobility – the legal framework for preservation and modernisation of the cultural heritage in the course of time”: Delegation of Russian local government experts

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine continues to overshadow the political and economic relations between Russia and the EU. A German-French initiative at the Normandy Summit in December 2019 helped to broker a ceasefire for eastern Ukraine until the end of the year. Russia and Ukraine have therefore, at least, attempted to reach some form of rapprochement.

Conflict and resistance dominated the agenda on Russia’s domestic political front during 2019 as well. Among other things, there were waves of nationwide protests responding to arrests made during demonstrations. Moreover, the protests centred on the exclusion of independent candidates in regional parliamentary elections, false accusations by the police against journalists and new statutory regulations such as the Internet Act, as well as the expansion of the term ‘foreign agent‘ or the pensions reform.

Despite this difficult political situation and the diplomatic challenges that still need to be overcome, Russia remains an important partner to Germany. It is therefore important to persist with expert discussions at working level and to place hope in the gradual re-establishment of mutual trust.

Overall Concept

In regard to the collaboration between IRZ and its Russian partners, it is vital to focus on the exchange of professional legal know-how and experience in the spirit of a partnership, instead of providing unilateral consulting. With this objective in mind, the priority will be placed, as in the years before, on civil and commercial law and in particular on the area of intellectual property. Other substantial topics include local self-administration, medical law and extensive areas of professional law, especially in regard to lawyers, notaries and patent attorneys.

It will also be important to continue working with law students and young legal professionals within the framework of the cooperation with the legal academies at the Ministry of Justice and the Russian School of Private Law under the President of the Russian Federation. Besides seminars and Round Tables, IRZ again offered the language course “Translation of German Legal Texts“ and provided students with access to German legal literature during the reporting year.

Cooperation with the Russian Federation takes place to some extent as part of the initiative for legal cooperation organised by the Federal Foreign Office.

Focus of Activity in 2019

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Lecture event with discussion of the topic “Out-of-court and in-court mediation“ during the 16th German Week 2019 in St. Petersburg
  • Conference “Current issues relating to the regulation of medical law: Problems between theory and practice“ in Izhevsk
  • International conference on medical law for law students and young legal professionals in Moscow
  • Attendance of the IXth St. Petersburg International Legal Forum by delegates from IRZ and participation of German experts in the Round Table “Right on Information Distribution: Public vs. Private“ in St. Petersburg
  • Russian-German workshop “Judicial protection of social rights“ in St. Petersburg
  • Scientific-practical conference “East-West: Partnership in the use of court experts. Improved expertise. Improved expert investigation as a protective factor for intellectual property“ in Moscow
  • Study trip to Marburg and Bonn on the topic of medical law
  • 15th International Conference “Derzhavin Readings“ in Kazan and participation of two German experts in the Round Tables “Medical law in Russia and abroad: Modern methodology of civil law and criminal law mechanisms“ and “Constitutional assistance in the development of civil society and international integration processes“
  • Study trip to Munich for patent attorneys on the topic of “The work of experts in Germany“
  • Beck-online access for members of the Russian School of Private Law under the President of Russian Federation in Moscow

Public Law

  • North Caucasus Forum “Public administration and civil society“ in Pyatigorsk
  • Study trip to North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse for students in the master‘s degree programme at the RANEPA School of Advanced Studies in the Humanities “Project management in regional development and regional planning“
  • Round Table “Developing cities and preserving cultural legacy. Experience in Russia and Europe. Legal and practical situation“ at the first Russian festival of local culture brands “Living Heritage“ in Moscow
  • Study trip to Aachen, Trier, Koblenz, Mainz and Frankfurt by a Russian delegation from local self-administration on the topic of “Identity and mobility“– the legal framework for preservation and modernisation of the cultural heritage in the course of time

Administration of Justice

  • Support for the 4th International Lawyers‘ Forum in Berlin
  • Participation in the Xth International Conference on Enforcement in Moscow
  • 5th German-Russian Lawyers‘ Forum “Cross-border family disputes between Germany and Russia“ in Hamburg
  • German-Russian seminar on enforcement in Berlin

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Participation in the IVth International Forum on Penitentiary Law “Crime, punishment, rehabilitation“ in Ryazan

Basic and Further Training

  • Language course “Translation of German legal texts“ for Russian lawyers at the Russian School of Private Law in Moscow
  • Attendance by Russian participants of the ninth “IRZ Summer School on German Law“ in Bonn
  • Participation of three Russian lawyers in the internship programme for lawyers
  • Participation of two Russian notaries in the internship programme for notaries

Outlook

It remains to be seen how the political situation will develop. Nonetheless, IRZ intends to continue the bilateral cooperation with the Russian Federation at working level as part of its project support. Civil and commercial law, the law of lawyers and the notarial law will stay as important legal areas within the framework of this collaboration. Moreover, increasing the effectiveness of enforcement and local self-administration will also continue as relevant topics. IRZ will push forward with its basic and further training measures in other legal areas as well.

Russian Federation - annual report 2018

4th German-Russian Lawyers‘ Forum in Berlin: delegation with the Presidents of the Russian Chamber of Lawyers
4th German-Russian Lawyers‘ Forum in Berlin: delegation with the Presidents of the Russian Chamber of Lawyers

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

The public policy situation has barely changed compared to recent years. Political tensions were exacerbated by the conflict around the Black Sea toward the end of the year. It is therefore all the more important to maintain dialogue at technical level. Not only does this apply to cultural and educational exchange during a thematic year, which has been extended until 2020, it is also true of the area of law. Here, for instance, there was a resumption of German-Russian cooperation in security issues. Chaired by Vladimir Titov, First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, and Andreas Michaelis, State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office, the thirteenth plenary meeting of the German-Russian High-Level Working Group on Security Policy was held in Berlin in November, the first of its kind after a six-year hiatus.

Overall Concept

As in previous years, cooperation focused on civil and commercial law, especially the area of patent and trademark law, as well as on support in the development of local self-administration. Cooperation in the area of local self-administration took place in line with the “GermanRussian Year of Municipal and Regional Partnerships 2017/2018“, which was funded by the Federal Foreign Office.

Particular attention was paid during the reporting year to the issue of digitisation, which, in view of its considerable significance, was examined from the perspective of its implications for criminal law, commercial activities and civil law.

Moreover, another pleasing aspect is the cooperation with the School of Private Law, where a German language course was offered for young legal professionals. The participating students had the opportunity to put their newly acquired or improved language skills to the test during the “IRZ Summer School on German Law“. Cooperation also continued with students at the Law Academy.

A funding by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection funds the cooperation with the Russian Federation; additional resources are obtained within the framework on the initiative on legal cooperation by The Federal Foreign Office.

Foci of Activity in 2018

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Seminar in Moscow on the role and basic training of patent lawyers
  • Beck-online access for members of the Russian Presidential School of Private Law in Moscow
  • Contribution to a conference on the topic of “Collective legal protection in civil proceedings” in St. Petersburg during the German Week
  • Attendance of the VIIIth St. Petersburg International Legal Forum by delegates from the IRZ
  • International conference on the topic of “Digital economy and information security: legal aspects“ in Moscow
  • 14th international scientific and practical conference “Derzhavin Readings“ on the issue of “IT in law and legal conditions for the development of the digital economy in Russia“ in Kazan
  • Working visit by patent lawyers on the issue of “Protection of geographic indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and food“ in Munich
  • Study trip to Hamburg by a high-level delegation on the issues of tax law, insolvency law and intellectual property

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • International scientific and practical conference “Theoretical and practical problems in the development of the penitentiary system in the Russian Federation and abroad“ in Ryazan

Public Law

  • International scientific and practical conference “Energy policies from the perspective of international law“ in Kaliningrad
  • 5th International Forum by the Union of Russian Cities “Best practices in local self-administration“ in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • International forum “North Caucasus: regional development and human capital“ in Pyatigorsk
  • Seminar in Moscow on local self-administration
  • Conference on the topics of “New challenges facing local self-administration“ in Vladimir
  • Study trip to Hamburg, Bremen and Schleswig-Holstein by Russian local government experts on the topic of “Organisation of local selfadministration in city states and neighbouring federal states“

Administration of Justice

  • Support during the German-Russian-Ukrainian-Belarus Lawyers‘ Forum in Berlin
  • IXth international scientific and practical conference on the enforcement of judicial decisions and decisions by other authorities entitled “State and private sector enforcement: comparative analysis and best practice“ in Sochi
  • Event on the laws governing the legal profession “Penalties for violations of laws governing the legal profession in Germany and the Russian Federation“ in Moscow
  • 4th German-Russian Lawyers‘ Forum “Professional laws and criminal defence in Germany and the Russian Federation“ in Berlin

Basic and Further Training

  • Language course “Translation of German legal texts“ for Russian lawyers at the Russian School of Private Law in Moscow
  • Attendance by Russian participants of the eighth “IRZ Summer School on German Law“ in Bonn
  • Participation in the IRZ internship programme for lawyers

Outlook

Cooperation is scheduled to be intensively continued in 2019, despite some challenges. Civil and commercial law, law of lawyers and notary law continue to be important legal areas. Moreover, a focus will remain on improving the efficiency of enforcement and strengthening local self-administration. Basic and further training measures in other legal areas will continue as well.