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Culture Re-introduced: Contestation of Human Rights in Contemporary Russia

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Chapter Summary

By the end of the twentieth century, Russia had signed most of the global UN treaties and European instruments for the protection of human rights. It had become a member of the Council of Europe (CoE), and for the first time in its history had allowed an international court, that is, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), to exercise its authority over internal Russian matters. This chapter argues that the often omitted or discarded cultural level of human rights should be re-introduced into rights scholarship and that attention should be turned to the dynamics of interaction between universal human rights and particular local culture systems. Human rights- having become the dominant global legitimizing vocabulary, tend to dismiss different concepts of universal human good, however deeply these are embedded in historical practices of individual cultures, and create a monopoly on the conceptualization of that good.

Keywords: Council of Europe (CoE); European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR); global UN treaties; human rights; Russia



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