IACL World Congress: Workshop 21

This week, the blog is featuring 8 additional workshops suggested by delegates for the 10th IACL World Congress 2018 on “VIOLENT CONFLICTS, PEACE-BUILDING AND CONSTITUTIONAL LAW”,  being held in Seoul, Republic of Korea on 18-22 June 2018. Full details are on the congress website, in English and French, along with information on how to submit a paper. Papers may be in either French or English. Please circulate to colleagues interested in the subject. 

WORKSHOP #21 Post-Soviet Constitutionalism and Peace Building


  • Sergey A. Belov s.a.belov@spbu.ru
  • William Edmund Partlett william.partlett@unimelb.edu.au

This workshop is motivated by the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Soviet legal and constitutional systems in the 1917 Russian Revolution. Our main goal is to evaluate the continuing legacy of Soviet constitutionalism for post-Soviet constitutionalism as well as constitutionalism more globally.

The reforms of the 1990s ended Soviet rule in both Eastern and Central Europe and the USSR. Major social conflicts accompanied these changes, and the conflicts were managed by new constitutions, providing social peace and fairness in the post-Soviet reality.  Although it might appear that post-Soviet constitutional design conformed to the standards of the Western democracies, the Soviet past continues to leave a strong imprint on both post-Soviet constitutionalism as well as constitutionalism more globally.

We propose to investigate the Soviet legacy in the following ways.

First, we will explore the impact of the Soviet past on post-Soviet constitutionalism. The regulation of the “forms of property” or constitutional guarantees of social rights are examples.

Second, we will examine how the political and legal systems of the post-Soviet states are shaped by the legacy of the Soviet constitutional thinking both in constitutional theory as well as the practice of constitution-making and the application of constitutional norms and principles.

Within these dimensions we will also critically assess the exclusion of a Soviet legal family from comparative legal systematization and ask whether the Soviet legal family is really dead.

Finally, we will explore the continued influence of Soviet constitutional theory and practice on global constitutional development. For instance, we will ask: Which principles, recognized and established in constitutional democracies today (e.g., social solidarity principle in the Brazilian constitution) are the legacies of Soviet constitutionalism? In exploring these questions, we will also trace how post-Soviet constitutions and their Soviet legacy helped foster peace in the post-Soviet societies, split by reforms of political and economic systems and the unfair privatization of state property, violence and breach of rights under tough transition to the market economy, political pluralism and other institutions of constitutional democracies.  A key point for discussion is the possible role of constitutionalism in reducing the confrontation of some post-communist states (namely, Russia, Belarus, Hungary) with other countries in the Europe or around the world