Podcast No. 95. Simon & Sergei – with Sergei Pashin

This edition of our podcast was recorded on a special day: 10 December – Human Rights Day, and our best wishes to all our listeners!

This week our guest on the podcast is Sergei Anatolievich Pashin, a retired Russian federal judge, Honoured Lawyer of the Russian Federation and a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group.

The topics discussed on the podcast include the reform of the justice system in Russia, trial by jury, and whether there is a fair judicial system in the country.

The questions we ask include:

  • 1) Is the judiciary an independent and autonomous branch of state power in Russia? To what extent did the judicial reforms of the nineties achieve their goals?
  • 2) Is it likely that with a critical mass of unjust verdicts, society will explode? Or will irregularities and violations always be tolerated?
  • 3) You were one of those who initiated and supported the introduction of jury trials. What has been the fate of its enforcement?
  • 4) Recently the head of the Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin, speaking at Moscow Legal Week said: “From the idea of ‘the individual as the highest value, which has above all rights’, we should return to the classical understanding of the individual as the subject of a set of rights and duties. Why is there such a stress on duties all the time?
  • 5) What are the prospects for fair justice in the Russian Federation?

This podcast is in Russian. You can also listen to the podcast here on our website or on SoundCloudPodcasts.comSpotifyiTunes and Anchor.  The music, from Stravinsky’s Elegy for Solo Viola, is performed for us by Karolina Herrera.

You can listen to the podcast in full here:

Given the length of the podcast, for your convenience we have also divided it into six parts that you can listen to separately.

Part One: Reform of the judicial system; independence of the courts; the role of Boris Yeltsin:

Part Two: Politicisation of the courts:

Part Three: Jury trials:

Part Four: Aleksandr Bastrykin; rights and responsibilities; evidence in the courts:

Part Five: Torture and the courts:

Part Six: Future perspectives; the role of the European Court of Human Rights; membership of the Council of Europe:

Sergei Nikitin writes on Facebook: “In many respects, the fairness of the justice system is a private matter, a matter of individual decent judges, decent investigators (there are such investigators, I knew them), and decent policemen (there are such people, too). That is, in any system there are decent people. But it is another thing that they can be discouraged from practicing justice,” said Sergei Anatolievich Pashin. About this, and much more, Simon Cosgrove and I talked with Sergei Pashin in our podcast. We were very lucky that Sergei Pashin was able to give an hour of his time to talk to us. Everyone knows that Pashin is a retired federal judge, one of the initiators of jury trials in Russia, an Honoured Lawyer of the Russian Federation, a member of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG), author of the 1991 Constitutional Court Act, and a very busy man.

Since 2008, Pashin has been teaching at the Law Department of the Higher School of Economics. Or rather, alas, it’s now necessary to say – was teaching. At the end of November 2021 Pashin suddenly received notice of dismissal and from 24 December he will cease to be an employee of this educational institution: the university terminated contracts with two professors of the Faculty of Law – Sergei Pashin and Gennady Esakov. From 2011 to 2021 the students of the HSE recognized Sergei Pashin every year as the best lecturer – and deservedly so. It was extremely interesting talking with Sergei Anatolievich, as you can judge for yourself

Simon Cosgrove adds: ‘For further information about the past week in Russia, visit our website here.’

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