Russia’s Utilization of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Lockdowns, Re-Sovereignization and Dis-Engagement from the West

Prof. Alexandra Orlova1

1Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada

This presentation focuses on the challenges of the COVID pandemic to the current concepts of globalization, universality of human rights as well as current conceptions of the rules-based international order. The presentation discusses the example of Russia and how it has utilized the COVID pandemic to accelerate its move away from Western ideas and institutions as well as to solidify the power of its executive branch. In particular, the presentation examines Russian Constitutional Court in its dealings with both the 2020 Russian Constitutional amendments as well as with governmental lockdown measures. The presentation concludes that the Russian Constitutional Court, which is supposed to serve as a key guarantor of fundamental rights of citizens against the machinery of the state, is becoming increasingly politicized, which threatens its independence. Russia’s desire to strengthen the power of the executive branch of government, to further retreat into traditional notion of sovereignty and to move away from international norms and institutions is not unique. The COVID pandemic has served as a powerful catalyst in magnifying and intensifying the already existing divisions in the current international order.


Dr. Alexandra Orlova is a Professor in the Department of Criminology and Lincoln Alexander Law School at Ryerson University. Her main research interests focus on transnational organized crime, Russian organized crime, human rights and international crimes. She has published numerous works in the areas of international law as well as traditional and non-traditional security threats.


Dec 08 2021