The Role of Law in National Identity Building in Putin’ Russia

In Russia, the increasingly authoritarian regime is challenged by a populist anti-corruption agenda. Reaction to such challenges often involves crackdown on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the constitutional right to participate in state affairs. Traditional channels of political participation and accountability are narrowing down. At the same time, the state tends to encourage citizens to refer to law and legal means of resolving their grievances. Thus, a particularly pragmatic and strategic use of law is developed. Against this background, law is often used by the state in the attempt to construct national identity on the basis of patriotism. These are the current trends that, when read together, outline the Russian approach to the rule of law which not only remains a fundamental constitutional principle, but is actively referred to by the state to justify the desirable course of action.