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Transplanting the Anglo-American Trust in Russian Soil

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

This article is dedicated to comparative analysis of the most recent developments in Russian trust legislation during the period of post-Soviet economic reforms (1991-2005), and, especially, during the Presidency of Vladimir Putin (2000-2005). The article is based on a kandidatskaia dissertation dealing with history of trusts defended in the St. Petersburg State University in December 2003, and partly is an adoption of publications in Russian legal journals and university reviews that have appeared in the period 2002-2003.

The author shows that the Russian trust—although originally structured as a contractual obligation (trust management contract)—is evolving closer to a property law concept and, therefore, requires a new, more appropriate legal framework. The author evaluates examples of trust in other jurisdictions as possible options for improving the Russian trust. However, the Anglo-American trust—if described in terms of Russian legal theory and based on its historical prerequisites (case law and in particular precedent, peculiarities of property law and landholding system, various social conditions)—proves to be irrelevant in Russia for a number of theoretical reasons.

The proprietary trust concepts in other jurisdictions (where the trustee is the owner of the assets or has a limited right in rem to the trust assets) also seem to be inappropriate for use in Russia, mainly for political and economic reasons, such as the current role of Russian trust in management of state-owned assets.

Finally, the author concludes that the most relevant option for Russian trust would be enriching the Russian trust management contract with various proprietary elements without replacing it with a proprietary concept.


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