Empirical investigation of justice administration udertaken in post-Soviet Russia has been insignificant. Consequently, there is a dearth of knowledge about realities of justice administration ‘on the ground’, at the level of districts or towns. The author’s research project, an in depth empirical investigation of the activity of a single criminal court located in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, represents a step toward filling this gap. This paper concludes that the rule of law has made rather limited inroads in the day-to-day operations of criminal courts in the Russian deep provinces. The correspondence between earnestly declared legal principles and the mundane reality of judicial practice is loose and at some junctions non-existent.

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