Eight years of rule by the authoritarian minded Vladmir Putin has left the nation’s judiciary system in a shamble of corruption and inefficiency. Newly elected President Dimitry Medvedev, who comes from a legal background, said the establishment of an independent judiciary was the central plank of planned reofrms to the judicial sytem. “Our main goal is to achieve independence for the courts as a reality. The principle that courts should be guided only by the law is well-known, and this, as a matter of fact, forms the basis for the courts and trust in a fair justice.” Medevev pledged he will fight to protect judges from outside pressure or bribery. He was particularly upset at the lack of proper legal credentials on the part of many judges.
Prominent lawyer, Mikhail Barschchevsky, said any reform woould require at least ten years to achieve any kind of results and it all came down to “a question of political will” on the part of Medvedev. He noted: “the judicial system is completely corrupt, and to reverse this, what is necessary is a change of the ruling elite and not just the judges.”
During his campaign for the presidency, Medvedev referredd to Russia as a “country of legal nihilism” with a “disregard for the law.” The president now has an historic opportunity to bring about change and end the nihilism which pervades. Of course, in so doing, Medvedev may well run straight into opposition from his mentor, Vladmir Putin.