CfP: Ideology and Politics Journal. Issue - The Soviet and Post-Soviet Law: The Failed Transition from Socialist Legality to the rule of law state

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Call for papers

Ideology and Politics Journal

Issue 2, 2021 — The Soviet and Post-Soviet Law: The Failed Transition from Socialist Legality to the rule of law state

In post-Soviet theory and philosophy of law, the Soviet period is usually described as a period of “anti-law.” This perception was the starting point for the construction of a “real” legal system that would need to be free of such legacy. The Soviet legal tradition has thus been seen as the “Other” that has to be rejected in favor of the doctrine of Rechtsstaat / Rule of Law. On these ideological premises, the post-Soviet legal systems were largely built.

The real state of affairs, however, seems to be more complicated. On the one hand, it is now obvious that the post-Soviet republics have failed to achieve the goal stated in the early 1990s —to establish liberal democracy based on the rule of law. Moreover, since the 2000s, many states have abandoned this goal, referring to their special historical path, the alienness of Western legal values, difficult geographical and geopolitical position, etc.

It is noteworthy that the reception by these legal systems of liberal legal values, doctrines, and institutions, such as human dignity and rights, constitutional control, judicial independence, and recognition of legal principles as the source of law, has borne unexpected fruit. For example, in the post-Soviet region, the collectivistically argued idea of human dignity can be used to limit fundamental rights, constitutional courts can become a tool for the repudiation of international obligations and decisions of international courts, and the rule of law can serve as a normative basis for ignoring clear and precise legal norms and protecting informal interests of strong political and economic players. Obviously, these problems cannot be explained solely by the negative influence of the Soviet legacy. Many of them in one way or another are related to the specificity of the post-Soviet legal reality.

On the other hand, having proclaimed the rejection of socialist legality in favor of the rule of law, post-Soviet law has not completely lost its ties with Soviet legal tradition. — And here we refer not only to Soviet legislation, which is still in force in some post-Soviet countries, or about hidden citations to the Brezhnev Constitution in several post-Soviet constitutions.

The post-Soviet law seems to have largely retained its commitment to the basic principle of Soviet law: the priority of politics over law when any legal principle, any rule, and the procedure can be ignored if political expediency requires it.

In a special issue of Ideology and Politics Journal, we call to submit articles devoted to the phenomenon of post-Soviet law, including its relationship to the Soviet legal tradition. In particular, we seek to address the following aspects of this overarching topic:

  • How to describe Soviet and post-Soviet law in the language of contemporary philosophy of law?
  • How have Western-origin legal values (human rights, democracy, the rule of law, etc.) been implemented to and utilized in the post-Soviet legal systems?
  • What are the characteristics and specificities of post-Soviet constitutionalism?
  • Law and politics in post-Soviet states;
  • Assessment of the Soviet past and law.

Articles submitted to the issue are expected to address the proposed topic from the perspectives of legal theory and philosophy, history of law, constitutional law, and political science. Comparative and interdisciplinary studies are welcome.

Articles in English, Russian, or Ukrainian with from 5 to 10 thousand words each should be sent to the e-mail address of Dr. Dmytro Vovk at:

We will accept to the review only those articles that will have been submitted before midnight of May 31, 2021.

The IPJ issue 2, 2021 will be published no later than December 1, 2021.

All articles submitted to the IPJ are subject to double-blind peer review, which results in a decision on publication. Review and publication in Ideology and Politics Journal is free of charge. For more about the terms of publication of articles see: By submitting an article for the IPJ review, the author agrees to all the terms of cooperation between the authors and the IPJ editorial board specified in this section.

The editors of the issue are Mikhail Antonov (National Research University “Higher School of Economics”) and Dmytro Vovk (Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University). The editor-in-chief of Ideology and Politics is Mikhail Minakov (Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars).

Submission guidelines can be seen here:

More on the IPJ can be seen here: