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Prospects for Trust in Russia: The Perspective as Seen from 2010 and 2011 Drafts Amendments to the Russian Civil Code

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For more content, see Review of Socialist Law.

The reader of this work is offered two theses by the author: Firstly, the myopic focus on the privatization in the early 1990s reflected the general view that this was the 'only' way to divest the state of property. Because of the predominance of this policy, the state—as an owner—has been deprived of the possibility of managing state property efficiently and effectively in another way short of total divestiture of ownership; i.e., transferring state-owned assets by way of a trust (trust agreement, trust management) to professional mangers. Secondly, that the trust doctrine is not totally alien to Russian legal tradition as many renowned Russian law thinkers argued in the 1990s for example and continue to believe to this day.Indeed, the issue of whether or not the trust doctrine—as a construct involving 'split' ownership—can be 'transplanted' into Russian legal soil has been a particularly contentious part of law reform in post-Soviet Russia continuing through the present.After highlighting the 'rush to privatization' mentality in Russia, the author of the present article takes the reader into nineteenth-century Russian legal theory as she demonstrates that trust is not alien to Russia. She also traces this clear thread through the Soviet era by reference to the works of one of its leading intellectual lights in the civil-law field of that time.In the post-Soviet era, trust has already been explicitly introduced (in the first decade of the twenty-first century) into the legal space immediately bordering the Russian Federation: the new Ukrainian Civil Code.These historical digressions should help the reader appreciate more clearly the proposed 2010/2011 amendments to the Russian Civil Code. It is the view of the present author that these proposals pave the way for the recognition of the doctrine of trust in modern-day Russian law—augmenting the more limited nature of the institute of 'trust management' currently provided for under the Russian Civil Code.


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