1st Edition

The Role of Civil Society in Transitional Justice The Case of Russia

By Selbi Durdiyeva Copyright 2024

    This book examines how civil society engages with transitional justice in Russia, demonstrating a broad range of roles civil society can undertake while operating in a restrictive political context.

    Based on sociolegal research, the study focuses on three types of civil society groups dealing with the legacies of the Soviet repression in Russia – a prominent organisation that works on recovering historical truth, the International Memorial; a parish of the Orthodox Church of Russia operating at a former mass execution and mass burial site, the Church at Butovo; and contentious groups that could hinder attempts at reckoning and promote state narratives built on the Stalinist and WWII victory myths. This book explores an often-overlooked case of Russia’s transitional justice ‘from below.’ It provides insights into how even in authoritarian contexts, civil society can adopt imaginative, piecemeal, and at times unconventional ways of seeking justice outside and in the absence of official and institutionalised transitional justice measures.

    This book will appeal to scholars of transitional justice, memory studies, human rights, and democratic and civil society theory, as well as policymakers and practitioners in these fields, and others with interests in Russian and post-Soviet studies.

    1. Introduction. Transitional Justice – The Missing Piece of the Puzzle in Russia’s Failed Democratisation? 2. Review of Literature and Practice – The State of the State-Run Transitional Justice Measures in Russia 3. Civil Society and Transitional Justice - Concepts, Roles, and Typologies 4. A Lone Warrior of Transitional Justice in Russia – Memorial 5. Religious Actors and Their Perception of Justice - The Church at Butovo 6. Transitional Justice and Contentious Groups 7. Conclusion - Transitional Justice Beyond the State


    Selbi Durdiyeva is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Conflict Studies, Philipps University Marburg, Germany, working on the project 'Postcolonial Hierarchies in Peace and Conflict'.

    "Well-documented and engaging, Durdiyeva’s monograph expertly shows that civil society actors can facilitate transitional justice in countries like post-communist Russia whose governments tolerate past injustice to cover their own human rights violations. While salutary, such unofficial truth projects might adopt nationalist overtone or misinterpret historical facts." Prof. Lavinia StanSt. Francis Xavier University, Canada 

    "This book makes two important contributions: it sheds light on civil society groups engaged in accountability and reckoning in an oppressive political climate often described as a "non-case," and tempers assumptions that such bottom-up mechanisms for remembering are necessarily positive forces for reform." Dr. Cynthia Horne, Western Washington University, USA