The wind of change

Ermolayeva, Nadezhda (2011) The wind of change. EHRAC bulletin (15). pp. 8-9.


This article answers some of the criticisms of the ECtHR which have been made by the Chair of the Russian Constitutional Court, Valeriy Zorkin, with particular reference to the cases of Konstantin Markin v Russia and Alekseyev v Russia.

In the latter half of 2010 several publications appeared in the Russian print media discussing the need for Russia to develop a mechanism to protect its national sovereignty from unfavourable ECtHR decisions. Such views appear regularly in Russia and these publications would not be taken seriously by the Russian intellectual elite if the initiator of the discussions were someone other than Professor of Law and Chair of the Russian Constitutional Court (CC), Valeriy Zorkin. Zorkin's publication in Rossiyskaya Gazeta appears to be a sudden explosion in the long-brewing conflict between Russia and Western democracies.

The trigger for Zorkin’s strongly-titled article, The Limit of Flexibility, was the ECtHR judgment in the case of Konstantin Markin v Russia (No. 30078/06) 7.10.10 (see pg. 14) in which the ECtHR found that Russia had breached the prohibition on discrimination on grounds of sex (Art. 14 in conjunction with Art. 8). Zorkin complained that the ECtHR had criticised the CC’s position in this case in a rude and unjust manner. The case was about discrimination against fathers in the military.

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