Kak sud’i prinimaiut resheniia: Empiricheskie issledovaniia prava.
Sbornik statei, edited by Vadim Volkov. Moscow: Statut, 2012. 368 pp. ISBN 978-5-8354-0890-0.
Marina Kurkchiyan. Address for correspondence: Centre for Socio-Legal Studies,
University of Oxford, Manor Road Building, Manor Road, Oxford OX1 3UQ, UK.
This book is a long overdue contribution to Russian-language work in the field of sociolegal studies. It offers a selection of empirically based investigations of the Russian judiciary, cast within the “law in action” paradigm that scrutinizes how things happen in the real world rather than how they are intended or ought to happen. The volume makes a significant step away from the stereotypical black-andwhite accounts of the Russian legal system often produced by Western and Russian scholars alike. Here the authors provide an analytical approach to the subtleties of how verdicts are reached in Russian courts. The comparative method that most of the authors employ is also valuable in situating findings on Russia within a global perspective. The main theme of the volume is the independence of the Russian judiciary from external institutional, social, and political influences. Several authors examine the high conviction/low acquittal rates typical of the Russian courts and ask why judges continue to be so accommodating to prosecutors’ requests