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

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image of Review of Central and East European Law
For more content, see Review of Socialist Law.

This article explores the current human-rights discourse in the Russian Federation through its relationship with the Council of Europe, the strongest human-rights regime that Russia has signed up for. Against the background of current international-relations theories, the article argues that human-rights scholarship should re-introduce the concept of culture into its research designs in order to be able to explain the interaction between cultural groupings and globally dominant discourses, such as human rights. The article further argues that human rights ought to be conceptualized as symbolic technologies and studied as discursive variables that enter the cycle of national-identity formation. To that end, I use the contestation thesis proposed by Andrei Tsygankov. The article concludes that Russia is currently actively securing itself against the dominant and universal human-rights discourse, which is perceived as hindering independent societal development in Russia. This state of securization is illustrated in the current debates within PACE on topics connected with human rights and Russia.


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