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Unification of the Supreme Court and the Higher Court of Arbitration


The recording of the program is available here.

The source of the publication – official website of the Echo Moskvy radio station.

Y.ROZOVA – My name is Yana Rozova. Good afternoon. I am accompanied by Yury Pilipenko, author of the “Legal Aspect” program, Managing Partner of the Law Firm "YUST", vice-president of the Federal Chamber of Advocates of Russia.

Y.PILIPENKO – Good afternoon everyone in the studio. Good afternoon, dear audience.

Y.ROZOVA – And our guest - Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, Chairman of the LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – Good afternoon!

Y.ROZOVA – I remind that we discuss in this program the events of political, economic and social life from the legal point of view. The today’s theme is the consequences of unification of the Supreme Court and the Higher Court of Arbitration. How can this initiative of the President of the Russian Federation affect the Judiciary as a whole and our life in particular? The decision of 7 judges to resign was the motive of the conversation.


The Higher Qualification Board of the Judges scheduled the consideration of the matter of resignation of 7 judges of the Higher Court of Arbitration for October 22 and has already officially published their names. The number of the regional judges, who voluntarily leave the arbitration system, is growing in parallel with this. Meanwhile, the amendments stipulate that the entire corps of the judges of the new structure will be formed anew. All judges, chairpersons included, will have to take the reappointment procedures. As a result, the new structure will have a new staff of 170 judges.

Y.PILIPENKO – Vladimir Wolfovich, not only are you one of the most famous Russian politicians but also a highly qualified lawyer. If I am not mistaken, you have been a deputy of the State Duma for over 20 years, always occupying positions of responsibility. Many deputies are rookies compared to you, and you are doubtlessly a pillar of the modern-day Russian parliamentary. Who else but you can explain to us and the audience the effects of the Presidential draft law merging the Supreme Court and the Higher Court of Arbitration? We would like to know if there are any legal aspects or purely political reasonability.

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – I believe that any actions may still have positive effects. Mergers, separations, this means movement. Stagnation is the worst thing. We have experienced it during the Brezhnev period. I see no drawbacks to the merger. Some arbitration judges resigned – this is a sign of weakness, of cowardice. They fully understand that they would unlikely pass the re-attestation.

Y.ROZOVA – So, there will be re-attestation?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – Certainly, because the law stipulates, say, elimination of the pure courts of arbitration and a re-creation of the Supreme Court. That is, the existing Supreme Court will not remain the same either…

Y.ROZOVA – Well, more on that later…

.ZHIRINOVSKY – And there will be the process of forming. This means that the things will go on. All proceedings will continue; cases will be solved. And those, who are afraid of not being re-appointed, are starting to flee. This is actually an advantage; otherwise they would remain in their places for years doing perhaps shoddy work. And the transition to Saint Petersburg is good. Let all the elite judiciary reside there.

Y.ROZOVA – May I say, at once, about the transition to Saint Petersburg. Look here. A new building has recently been constructed for the Supreme Court – a good one, large, spacious, especially for the Court. Why haul the Supreme Court to Saint Petersburg? Perhaps it would make sense to leave the new unified structure at the new building?

Y.PILIPENKO – I’m sorry. By the way, why the Northern Capital, of all places? Why not Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk? Our country is large and federative.

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – The country is large, but it is only 4 hours by the “Sapsan” train from Saint Petersburg to Moscow. And it will be two hours within three or five years.

Y.PILIPENKO – It is very hard to buy a ticket…

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – Bah, there will be a train every hour. Everyone will reach the destination.

Y.ROZOVA – I’m thinking of the money wasted in construction.

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – Mainly those on business trips will take the train. Saint Petersburg is the second capital nowadays. So let us assign some functions of the capital to Saint Petersburg. I will also gladly support the transition of some functions to Nizhny Novgorod, to Rostov, to Samara, something to Novosibirsk. The Academy of Sciences could go to Novosibirsk, the defense industry – to Yekaterinburg, agriculture – to Rostov, the Ministry of Culture, together with the entire corps of judges – to Saint Petersburg. The Navy has gone there, right? It is close to the sea, to the Atlantic, as they say, ocean. It used to be stationed there, after all. The Admiralty is the most beautiful building…

Y.ROZOVA – What about the money, Vladimir Wolfovich?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – The building will not stand empty. Some other structures will occupy it, maybe even buy it – the State may even profit from this. If the buildings are quickly sold to some oligarchs, they will pay five times more, and another building will be constructed at the new place for that money. No problems here. Even the State Duma - I have been categorical about the new building – do not construct it. This is also an aspect of law. We all do the law-making, and where do we sit? And they want to give us a small plot, only 3 hectares. We need 6. We don’t need that Sofiyskaya embankment. We need a large space, to accommodate all chambers: the higher, the lower, the youth chamber, residences, everything. And Sofiyskaya embankment means no breathable air and traffic jams again. Correct decisions should be taken. If you have constructed the building for the court too early, give it to the State Duma. It is located in Kommunarka, in the New Moscow. I only see advantages in the transition. And not a single building will stand idle – there many potential purchasers and resellers. The State will only benefit from those proceeds.

Y.PILIPENKO – Vladimir Wolfovich, I fully support your quest for additional premises for the State Duma. Still, getting back to the draft law, I’d like to say a few words about the prosecutor’s office. I understand that, pursuant to the new draft law, the President will receive new powers: he will nominate the prosecutors of the units of the Federation. And in this connection, I understand how the role, the significance and the power of the President – or, if you will, of the President’s Administration – increase. But I hardly understand how the role and the significance of the prosecutor’s office increase. I will tell you frankly that I was laughing inside, when I was watching the soap opera “The Moscow Region prosecutors cover up for the clandestine casinos”. Kindly forgive my irony, but the Ministry of Light Industry could cover the clandestine casinos just as successfully. There are no powers to do that. As an advocate and a citizen, I demand that the prosecutors be given real authority, in particular – in the sphere of supervision of preliminary investigation. What do you think?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – There is also a problem here. I know that the prosecutors are dissatisfied. I think they are the only ones, who are not clearly mentioned in the Constitution, as the only body that has the maximum supervision authority over the execution of all laws by all citizens and legal entities. This should be specified in the Constitution, and we would gladly support it. And the fact that the President gets to nominate the prosecutors of the units of the Federation is an anti-corruption measure. The point is that, in many regions, the governors have subdued all – prosecutors, head judges, even the FSS, and so a kraken appears that can hardly be beaten. Thus there are problems with democracy and with the law compliance. So this right can be given, and no fear. All heads of state are interested in good governance and fight on crime. Therefore, we will be able to resolve matters by means of the legal mechanisms, in order to avoid both Bolotnaya and Biriulevo. There are three dangers: Caucasus, Bolotnaya and Biriulevo. These three problems may be solved by strengthening the vertical of power, and the courts and the prosecutor’s offices are one of the ways.

Y.ROZOVA – Let us hear some information on the current situation.


Vladimir Putin suggests creation of a single Supreme Court in Russia. The respective draft law on the merger of the Supreme Court and the Higher Court of Arbitration has already been submitted for consideration to the State Duma. It stipulates “abolition” of the Higher Court of Arbitration within six months of the respective amendments to the Constitution. The prosecutor will also lose some of his authority. Now the Council of the Federation will nominate and dismiss his deputies, upon suggestion by the President. The President will also commission the prosecutors of the units of the Federation. We remind that the Supreme Court is currently the supreme instance on criminal, civil and administrative matters. The Higher Court of Arbitration is the highest instance on economic disputes. Both structures are in Moscow for now. However, according to the amendments, the unified institution may go to Saint Petersburg, where the Constitutional Court has already gone.

Y.PILIPENKO – Vladimir Wolfovich, do I understand correctly that the President will nominate the prosecutor of the city of Moscow in the future.


Y.PILIPENKO – But the district prosecutors will be nominated by the Prosecutor General. Do you see any conflict here?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – I don’t. Now when we were fighting, for example, the former government of the city of Moscow, during the Luzhkov period, the prosecutor of the city of Moscow supported him. Can you imagine how hard it was to establish order even in the capital city? All prosecutors at all levels must be separated from the local authorities and a purely prosecutorial vertical needs to be established. Or the Council of the Federation appoints the Prosecutor General and, upon suggestion by the President, his deputies, and the head of the state appoints all the other local prosecutors. This is quite correct, and the prosecutors should be happy about it. I’d also put a special clause in the budget for the courts and the prosecutor’s office so that they would not have to beg anyone for money. The judges and the prosecutors nowadays go to the governors to ask for money – flats, buildings, equipment, salary – how can this be? How can the court be independent in such situation? The dependence of the court, the prosecutor and the investigation on any authority, including the highest authority, needs to be completely eliminated. Give them their own budget and flats, so that they would not have to beg anyone, in order for them to become independent. I’d also like to add: I would create 6 chambers of the new Supreme Court. We currently have only three: on civil, criminal and arbitration matters. Let us create a chamber on administrative issues and another on copyright – that will be just fine. And a constitutional chamber would also be good, in my view.

Y.ROZOVA – Right, and I’d like to ask if…

V.ZHIRINOVSKY –The Supreme Court of Russia – 6 chambers. The first chamber is the constitutional one. It gives its conclusions on all others, wo that they should not breach the Constitution. The second chamber is dedicated to criminal matters, it fights criminals. The third one – the civil chamber: property titles, civil circulation, our economy. The administrative chamber – conflicts between the branches of power and citizens. And, finally, intellectual property and copyright – we keep infringing those. Six chambers in total. All of them – to Saint Petersburg, with the highest salary, for life, and full independence!

Y.ROZOVA – Why only six months, so little time? Why has not the society been consulted again? Why has there been no referendum? And is referendum needed for such matters?



V.ZHIRINOVSKY – What referendum can there be on the matters of law, of health, of education? All students will vote against going to the lectures, all schoolchildren will vote against going to school – unacceptable. Elect everyone… How can people elect a judge? How? Education, qualification are needed. How can a prosecutor, a police chief be elected? Obligatory requirements: qualification; capabilities; thorough check. Look at the Moscow Region prosecutors giving cover to clandestine casinos – had they been checked thoroughly, maybe they would never have been appointed. Thus, let us have referendums on whether a bath, a pool, a road, a polyclinic should be constructed, a left turn permitted, a road light installed. And the matters like the Constitution, the law, the Supreme Court – what referendum are you talking about?!

Y.PILIPENKO – Vladimir Wolfovich, I agree with you that it is not a matter of referendum. But I’d like avail myself of this opportunity to try to persuade you on air to perhaps not rush the adoption of the amendments. Let us wait for the preparation… By the way, an opinion was voiced yesterday at the State Duma that all the respective amendments – procedural codes, the Supreme Court Law – had to be prepared first.

There are 28 laws that need amending in connection with the amendments to the Constitution. Why not do all this as a single package? Can I persuade you?



V.ZHIRINOVSKY – Let us urge them forward. You see, sometimes the higher authorities and we the deputies sometimes want to speed things up. The people are tired of waiting. We don’t need Bolotnaya – let them sit in parliaments and not stand there in the swamps and squares. Let them be mayors, deputies, and let them defend their views there. Why stand in the cold, why freeze, and then go to the dock somewhere? What do we need the “6th of May” for? They create problems for themselves… Or the recent bloody events in Biriulevo. That is why a more powerful legal system and prosecutor’s supervision must be formed promptly, advocates must do their job, so that each family would have its family advocate and its family doctor. At lower prices. Then there will be order in the country. And now for advertising. We will allow no advertising at the Echo Moskvy.

Y.ROZOVA – No advertising, no and no.

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – And no information either. We are just sitting here, why give similar information?

Y.ROZOVA – We still have a minute. We should discuss the feeling that the merger affects only lawyers for now. How can this affect…

Y.PILIPENKO – Average people?

Y.ROZOVA – Right. Affect me.

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – The country will receive a clear and well-constructed judicial, legal and prosecutorial system. Renew the personnel, add selected young employees, keep the experienced ones. But a new system. Replace the legal elite – it has existed since the Soviet era. They are inclined to accuse. We had a discussion yesterday. I ask: “Why are there so few acquittals?” They say: “It’s the Penal Code”. I agree that this is our mistake – let us eliminate as many imprisonment articles as possible. Fines should the primary means of punishment. If a fine is not enough – house imprisonment. If house imprisonment – penal colony-settlement. But imprisonment should only be the punishment for the most audacious and heinous crimes. We must make this sphere more humane. The judges need to pass more acquittals, acquit as many as possible. But evident murderers, like in Biriulevo, should be behind bars! And eliminate the accusative inclination. Look who become judges – former prosecutors. Let advocates become judges. Former advocates must become judges, so they would see the accused as a human being who needs salvation and not necessarily severe punishment.

Y.ROZOVA – It’s understood. We break for some news and then we’ll continue.


Y.ROZOVA – I am accompanied by Yury Pilipenko, author of the “Legal Aspect” program, vice-president of the Federal Chamber of Advocates of Russia, and our guest - Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, Chairman of the LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – I immediately give two remarks. Your Legal Aspect program should be aired regularly. Is it daily?

Y.ROZOVA – No, only on Fridays.

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – The students of all faculties and institutes of law in the country must listen to your program. The time is god – right in the middle. I wired to the dean of the MSU faculty of law yesterday that he should put all students in a hall, the first-year students especially – groups 103, 106, 123 – I am a staff professor in several institutes – let them listen. You understand that they will develop faster, and you program will help them pass exams and tests. And another thing: all those moments in Holland – we are beaten there, or we beat here – isn’t it enough? How can we make peace between Holland and Russia, to avoid diplomatic frictions?

Y.PILIPENKO – Talion law: “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”.

Y.ROZOVA – Do you deliberately lead us away from the subject?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – No. I only show the way to quickly solve matters. We should send our gays there. The attitude towards them is very good there, and very bad here. They will quickly make peace and it will be over. Let them go there and gay-parade together there. And then the Dutchmen will come here.

Y.ROZOVA – Vladimir Wolfovich, we are talking about the merger of the Supreme Court with the higher court of Arbitration and the consequences of this.

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – And what happens if we merge the gays?

Y.PILIPENKO – Gladly, but in the net program. Vladimir Wolfovich, many of my colleague practitioners believe that the two branches of the Judiciary are very different. The say: the court of arbitration today is the XXIst century court. First of all, from the point of view of information, organization of access to justice and, of course, the qualification of the personnel. A small but agreeable example – minutes. A system is being prepared in the courts of arbitration that will enable everyone to peruse the audio minutes of a session at a special website. This will occur sometime in the future. Even now, those audio minutes are available for the parties to a case within five days after each session, before the end of the trial. A small thing but nice. My colleagues believe that the courts of general jurisdiction largely remain in the XX century, and in some ways – in the XIXth even. Take minutes, for example – they are done in hard copy, and are commonly made available months after the entire trial is over. And those minutes often contain things that were not originally in the trial. What do you think, which style will prevail after the merger? Retro or avant-garde?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – I vote avant-garde.

Y.PILIPENKO – Thank you!

Y.ROZOVA – And what should be done to that effect?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – We had an Open Stand discussion in Duma yesterday. That was precisely the subject of the discussion. Echo Moskvy could make an on air report. Best lawyers of the country have already talked the subject over. And the opinion to the contrary was voiced: “Let us give fewer reports…” not reports…

Y.ROZOVA – Newsbreaks?..

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – … From the court sessions. I am a supporter of those reports: let there be audio minutes and video, synchronized. We will thus lower corruption and improve the qualification of the judges. Remember that judge sleeping in Komsomolsk-upon-Amur? Nobody will doze off, when the entire country, millions of people, is watching. There will be no judicial errors. They will be ashamed, afraid, and responsible. This is the only way we should open up, shake off the manacles of some sacrament, when she or he goes to the room, does some wizardry, goes out and reads without lifting her or his head: “sentence to”, “decide on”, “dismiss”, “acknowledge”… This must be done. Nothing but avant-garde, nowhere but forward, put the entire trial under the cameras. Put the cameras in the penal colonies, to vigil the inmates. Then nobody will be beaten there. There will be no violence against the younger conscripts in the Army. Put everything that includes limitation of rights under video surveillance – barracks, cells, courts – everything. Nobody will be touched by a finger, so I cannot but support this.

Y.ROZOVA – And have you taken part in the drafting of this draft law?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – Our faction members are in the legal committees. They too will try to push the amendments forward. Anyway, this is progress.

Y.ROZOVA – What will be the principle of operation of the new Supreme Court? As Yury said, but perhaps a merger of the functions of both courts is planned?

Y.PILIPENKO – Hopefully all the good things elaborated by the arbitration system won’t be absorbed.

Y.ROZOVA – What do the amendments stipulate?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – Let’s leave all this. Merge the administrations and the best persons. Of course, not all administrative personnel will go. Some of them say: “We don’t want to leave to Moscow”. No problem! There’s a huge amount of work in Moscow. And there are many qualified persons in Saint Petersburg. In this sense, the transition to Saint Petersburg is more beneficial – not only is the qualification there not lower but it is actually better on some matters. Saint Petersburg is better than Moscow on certain legal and medical issues. Therefore, I hope that all the good things will remain.

Y.ROZOVA – But you don’t know yet what will remain and what the principle of the operation will be?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – These are non-connected details. For us purely the law on the merger is the subject. And procedural matters – audio, video minutes – go as a supplement. For now, the crucial decision should be made: which courts merge, what will the structure be and whether it goes to Saint Petersburg. And I cannot but support the safeguarding the best elaborated achievements of the courts of arbitration. We are for this, but, I think, this can hardly be formulated as a law. This is rather an ethical, professional, organizational matter.

Y.ROZOVA – Well, it can be included in the procedure of…

Y.PILIPENKO – And I make the gradual transition to the next question. It is said that a person’s role in history should not be overestimated. However, as I look at you and, forgive my mentioning his name in vain, at the President of the Russian Federation, I understand that neither can it be underestimated. What do you think, who will chair the new supreme judicial authority?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – Right here, during the yesterday’s discussion in the State Duma, and here with us, we don’t want the chairman of the court to be able to decide the fate of all judges – their promotions, their career, qualifications and disciplinary punishments. We would like the new corps of judges to be formed on new bases. Without any things personal. I believe that a young person should occupy that position – some forty years old. But an innovator. A judge, who has already proven himself…

Y.PILIPENKO – Do you have candidates or some priorities?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – I certainly could… When I faced judges myself, I was a respondent, an accused, so to put it, so I have developed a certain dislike to the judicial community. I dreamt of becoming a prosecutor in my childhood, but became an advocate – to the contrary. And my dream was prosecution; I wanted to efficiently work on combating crime. The advocate’s work is an excellent work, but an advocate defends a criminal because the latter is also a human being. He finds ways to defend. It has to be a very… You know, we all still remember Vyshinsky as well as Koni. And there has been not a single judge, prosecutor, advocate like that during the last thirty years.

Y.ROZOVA – So you have nobody to recommend to the President?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – When the matter becomes more topical, we might see. It is just that we see less of them. Maybe someone from the deputies. United Russia might want to suggest Pligin of the Constitutional Legislation Committee, or Krasheninnikov of the Penal Committee. We have our own members there – we might suggest someone. An advocate from Ufa, your colleague Sukhorukov. We might recommend him. We will recommend. Certainly, there perhaps already is someone from the reserve, ready to be promoted. I think that will be a modern person, able to work with a tablet, without any hard copies… Everything in a database, the judge touches some buttons and has it all in front of him. The court secretary – the same thing. No problems either – immediately receives minutes on a disk. One comes, makes the print-out, and a reaction - an appeal - is enabled. And the most important thing is to establish an acquittal inclination for all law enforcers. The courts, the prosecutor’s office, the FSS – the most important thing is protection. So that our prisons would contain – the amnesty is coming now – only 1005 murderers and fraudsters, certain notorious thieves. Everyone else – house imprisonment. And select… The judges are even now listening to us. Give us the recommendation – who you believe is the one? And we will submit the candidate to the President. Where is our best judge of today?

Y.PILIPENKO – Vladimir Wolfovich, I have a question. You are a specialist in the area of international law. You know that our legal system differs greatly from the Anglo-Saxon system. We belong to the continental family. So why do we create a Supreme Court not unlike the United States of America? There are other examples. Say, there are 6 supreme courts in Germany, all of them in different cities, showing that Germany is federative.

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – You see, Germany has been under occupation for 70 years already. It cannot be a role model. Neither can America, the country of immigrants. Russia should serve as the role model. The judicial systems of the Czar period, the Soviet period and the modern one. Let us elaborate a model that will be used everywhere on the continent. Let China adopt our model, the Eastern Europe, all of Asia and Africa. The Russian judicial system should be the role model. I agree that the Anglo-Saxon system does not fit. I have already explained why the German system does not fit either. We should study all things Russian and not put too much emphasis on the federative, you see? We are the object of so many threats…

Y.PILIPENKO – So you support the unitary state?

V.ZHIRINOVSKY – We are the object of so many threats that unitary state, unity, vertical is the best variant for Russia! And protection of the citizens.

Y.ROZOVA – That’s it. Thank you! I remind that Yury Pilipenko, vice-president of the Federal Chamber of Advocates of Russia, and Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, Chairman of the LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky were at the studio.

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