VIRTUAL EVENT. Watching the Detectives—Strategies and Tactics of Police Oversight in Russia

Thursday, May 6, 2021
12:00pm ET
Zoom webinar & YouTube Live

This event will be held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live. There will be no in-person event.

Register here for the Zoom webinar, or tune in on YouTube Live.

Please join us for the inaugural event of our Rule of Law in Autocracy: The Legal Dimension of Russian Politics speaker series, a presentation by Lauren A. McCarthy (University of Massachusetts Amherst).

This event is supported by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

In Russia, as elsewhere, the past decade has seen a burgeoning interest in citizen oversight of the police. Yet it seems counterintuitive that an authoritarian regime might tolerate, or even encourage citizen oversight of law enforcement institutions, the very institutions they must rely on should they need to resort to coercive power. This talk addresses this question and describes the variety of oversight practices, both state-created and grassroots, that exist in Russia today. 

Lauren A. McCarthy is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Director of Legal Studies. She received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on the relationship between law and society in Russia, police and law enforcement institutions, civilian oversight, and the issue of human trafficking. Her book, Trafficking Justice: How Russian Police Use New Laws, from Crime to Courtroom (Cornell University Press, 2015) explores how Russian law enforcement agencies have implemented laws on human trafficking.

Rule of Law in Autocracy: The Legal Dimension of Russian Politics

2021 Speaker Series

In authoritarian political systems, institutions such as parliament, judiciary, and law enforcement are typically viewed as mere instruments of autocratic rule, or at best, a democratic facade. In this conventional image, authoritarian institutions exist only for formal reasons and do not exert meaningful impact independently of the executive branch of government.

But recent scholarship has uncovered unexpected dynamics of the impact of law on Russian politics. Authoritarian influence over the diverse legal institutions is not as overwhelming as conventional wisdom has presumed. Scholars instead are revealing how authoritarian legal and judicial institutions resemble their democratic counterparts, including in their response to bureaucratic incentives and public opinion, or in being driven by the metrics of performance evaluation rather than central directives. Learn more about the series >>

All events at 12:00pm ET.

MONDAY, APRIL 5, 2021 - Lauren McCarthy's talk rescheduled for May 6.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14, 2021
Manipulated Justice in Russia: Influence in Prosecutions and Conflict Resolution

Peter H. Solomon, Emeritus Professor of Political Science, Law and Criminology at the University of Toronto and Member of its Centre for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy

THURSDAY, MAY 6, 2021
Watching the Detectives—Strategies and Tactics of Police Oversight in Russia

Lauren A. McCarthy, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science and Director of Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

THURSDAY, MAY 20, 2021
Bulldogs in the Duma: Executive Factionalism and Lawmaking in Russia

Ben Noble, Lecturer in Russian Politics at University College London's School of Slavonic and East European Studies

THURSDAY, JUNE 3, 2021
Judicial Independence in Russia: What Do Russians Think?

Kathryn Hendley, Roman Z. Livshits & William Voss-Bascom Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 2021
Adaptation and Pragmatism: Explaining the Survival of the Russian Constitutional Court

Alexei Trochev, Associate Professor and Department Chair of Political Science and International Relations at Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan