By HRC Correspondent, 21 June 2011
Russia provides the European Court of Human Rights with over a quarter of its caseload and a high number of decisions, mainly over things like prison conditions, have gone against it.
Perhaps that is why Russia is contemplating a move that could see the Russian Constitutional Court override some of the Court's decisions.
A bill that would allow Russia to review decisions made in Strasbourg, is due for its first reading before the State Duma, the Russian lower house of parliament, on July 1.
The move is controversial because states signed up to the European Convention on Human Rights have a duty to respect the Court's rulings.
The plan has been criticized by rights groups and theoretically would endanger Russia’s position within the Council of Europe, but it is doubtful that either Moscow or the Council itself would allow things to get that far out of hand.
Radio Free Europe reported Sergei Markov, a legislator from the United Russia party, as saying that the proposed legislation is to defend against anti-Russian sentiment in the Council of Europe.
"It has become clear that Russia needs to defend itself not from the European Court of Human Rights but from politically coloured and unjust decisions by the European court," Markov was quoted on the RFE website as saying.
Most states have an uneasy relationship with the European court because of the tension between state sovereignty and the commitments of signatories of the European Convention on Human Rights - just observe the UK's annoyance with the Court's ruling over the right of prisoners to vote.
In terms of the human rights of companies, while Russia does not particularly see a greater number of these cases than other countries, it is soon to be part of the largest - the court is set to give its verdict in the case of Yukos, the dismembered Russian oil giant, which has brought a claim against the state for over $32bn.