During a regime transition, are citizens more likely to appeal to the courts to protect their rights, or less likely? The study examines 107 decisions of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court on social welfare, passed between 1991 and 2010. As the political system became more authoritarian under President Vladimir Putin, citizen petitions to the Supreme and Constitutional Courts greatly increased, reflecting discontent with the content and implementation of social welfare reforms. Furthermore, citizen petitioners won a surprisingly large number of their cases. The analysis reveals the Constitutional Court to be a strong defender of social rights overall, while establishing an implicit hierarchy of groups entitled to special protection. Its rulings posited that the state has an obligation not just to uphold its current social contract, but to honour the previous social contract for people who spent their productive lives under a different political regime.

Additional Metadata
Keywords citizenship, Constitutional Court, judiciary and politics, Russia, social welfare
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/13510347.2013.779255
Journal Democratization
Chandler, A. (2014). Citizenship, social rights and judicial review in regime transition: The case of Russia. Democratization, 21(4), 743–766. doi:10.1080/13510347.2013.779255