Turning on the lights? Publicity and defensive legal mobilization in protest‐related trials in Russia - Sciences Po Access content directly
Journal Articles Law and Society Review Year : 2022

Turning on the lights? Publicity and defensive legal mobilization in protest‐related trials in Russia

Abstract

How and to what extent do defense actors use publicity in trials of protesters in contemporary Russia? Why do they fight over strategic uses of publicity if “everything is decided in advance”? Drawing on original ethnographic research, this article finds, first, that publicity accompanies legal resistance to politicized prosecutions and is inventively used by the defense. Second, mobilization of publicity creates opportunities for the defense to bargain with and keep the prosecution in check. Third, the relationship between publicity and legal resistance in repressive settings is ambiguous. Some human rights lawyers embrace publicity and others avoid it. I argue that this divergence should be interpreted in relation to lawyers' embeddedness in different professional ecologies. At the same time, lawyers' publicity strategies are altered by the interactional dimension of the trial. The latter manifests itself on two levels: at the micro-level of a courtroom and in the public sphere where different publics engage in debates that interfere with lawyers' defense strategies. This paper has broader implications for the analysis of defensive legal mobilization in dual legal systems beyond the Russian case.
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Dates and versions

hal-03962434 , version 1 (30-01-2023)

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Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives

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Renata Mustafina. Turning on the lights? Publicity and defensive legal mobilization in protest‐related trials in Russia. Law and Society Review, 2022, 56 (4), pp.601-622. ⟨10.1111/lasr.12631⟩. ⟨hal-03962434⟩
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