The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, approved on Wednesday a bill prioritizing national law in cases in which international treaties or rulings by international bodies conflict with the constitution.
The bill still needs to pass the upper house of parliament, but is expected to do so unchallenged. President Vladimir Putin proposed the bill, and is also expected to sign it. A spokesperson for the Kremlin declared that Russia will fulfill its obligations under international treaties, and that Moscow remains committed to international law.
Human rights advocates in Russia have raised concerns over the legislation. Every year, Russians bring cases before the European Court of Human Rights, seeking justice they claim they cannot obtain at home. As a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, Russia is obligated to uphold the court’s decisions. In 2019, the court restored Russia’s voting rights after a five-year suspension following the annexation of Crimea. Some Russians considered the move a betrayal, while others welcomed the change, as it kept Russia within the court’s sphere of influence.
The bill will likely remove Russia effectively from the court’s influence without requiring it to leave the Court, which could harm Russia’s diplomatic relations with the rest of Europe.