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Russia Right to Resist US Judicial Imperialism

Expect the US to try to use fight against trans-national corruption to further its own interests


Jurij Kofner is the head of the Eurasian Club at the Moscow State University of International Relations and a correspondent for the German alternative journal "Compact'. He works as an analytic of Western media for the Moscow government. He lives in Moscow and Munich.


Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an interview to Swiss media in which he raised the extremely important subject of US judicial imperialism.

When questioned on the arrest and extradition of high-ranking FIFA officials to the US, Putin criticized the extraterritorial and supranational "imperial policy" of the US in the field of law, saying it contradicted the supremacy of national sovereignty of the world's countries. He put it very clearly:

"Unilateral actions and the expansion of jurisdiction by one nation beyond the territory of its borders, to the rest of the world, is unacceptable and destructive for international relations."

"[A]  nation – big or small – travels throughout the world, grabs anyone it wants and takes them to their prison. In my view, that is unacceptable."

It is worth noting that for several months now leading American neocon experts have argued that the image of the US as a vanguard "in the international fight against corruption" should be one of the main tools of Washington's new foreign policy strategy, along with her traditional mask "of leadership in the struggle for freedom, democracy and progress in the world".

For example, American expert Anne Applebaum urged the "recovery" of America's foreign policy through "the reform and strengthening of NATO, the creation of new institutions to combat transnational corruption and cyber threats".

I believe that soon we will see a US attempt to create on the basis of the United Nations, or even more likely, based on the OECD or the envisaged trans-Atlantic alliance (TTIP), a global anti-corruption system based of course on US national law, with its own international tribunal and the right to extraterritorial jurisdiction.

At the same time this system will serve and be controlled exclusively by the one superpower. And naturally this system will fight corruption only selectively, for example in relation to certain Russian and Chinese businessmen, but not Texans.

Thus, "in the international fight against corruption," the United States hasl found another reason to declare herself on the world stage as more attractive than "those corrupt authoritarian regimes." And simultenously has found an excuse to support color revolutions in such states.

What can Russia do, to counter this new sophisticated form of imperialism? True, nobody in their right mind is in favor of corruption. The FIFA scandal clearly showed that any criticism of such an international crusade against corruption will be depict in a very unfavorable light in the western media and the Russian "liberal" opposition.

It is clear everyone is against corruption, be it national or transnational. So the question is not whether "if we have to fight" corrupotion, but "who" is going to do it and "how" it needs to be done. I am talking about a structure of the international anti-corruption system, which would respect the sacred principle of national sovereignty.

Putin made the right move in this direction, explaining in the interview:

"After all, nobody is against fighting corruption; everyone is for it. And I feel that we should fight even harder.

But there are certain international legal norms stating that if somebody suspects a crime committed by anybody, certain data are collected and given to the prosecutor general’s office in the state of which the suspect is a citizen".

So it should be.

Nevertheless, I believe Russia must be clearer on her position of how an alternative international anti-corruption model should work. 

For example, if the USA positioned herself as a global leader in the fight against corruption and as a supporter of gay rights (lets recall Kerry's most recent statement on that matter), Russia for the past 2-3 years has found a role as the world's bastion of traditional values ​​and a fighter for a multipolar world. Having defined this role she must now find explain how national and cross-border corruption may be justly countered in its system.

In all likelihood Moscow should not rest on a conviction national exclusiveness. It will be much better to "outsmart the West". But this is now challenge for Russia's expert community, especially in the field of public diplomacy.


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