Developing Legal Education in Russia
Antonios Platsas, a specialist in Comparative Legal Studies, European Law and International Law, is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law. He has been at the Higher School of Economics since 2014. Recently, he sat down with the HSE news service to speak about his teaching and research, as well as his impressions on living and working in Moscow.
— What is your primary area of focus at the HSE?
— At the HSE, I am currently teaching in the Master’s programme in International Economic Law, focusing on Comparative Legal Studies, an area that is of great interest to me. Beyond my teaching, the focus of my work at the HSE is clearly on research. As such, I plan to develop my research profile and expertise to an even greater extent than I did in my previous academic roles. In particular, I am interested in enhancing my expertise in the thematic areas of legal systemics, law and culture, law harmonization, and legal education. I have written on these areas of law in the past, and I plan to continue that for the foreseeable future.
— How are you able to develop legal education in Russia with your international expertise and experience?
— I am one of the UK's two National Rapporteurs for the Internationalization of Legal Education at the International Congress of Comparative Law 2014. My expertise in the areas of legal education and cosmopolitan legal studies – areas in which I have published work and delivered conference papers – has allowed me to invite the HSE’s Faculty of Law to further internationalize its legal curricula. I believe that by doing so, it will not only set itself apart from other law faculties in Russia but that it will also act as an exemplary world-class educational paradigm for legal studies both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Accordingly, I am of the firm belief that the HSE’s Faculty of Law can indeed offer a world-class cosmopolitan type of education that gives the student body an excellent learning experience.
Moscow is certainly a very promising place for a person to further develop his or her profile – whether in academic or professional terms. Beyond this, I feel that education in Russia will strengthen in the years to come. There seems to be clear initiative on the part of the government to move in such a direction.
— You have taught in different countries. What influenced your decision to move to Moscow?
— Comparative lawyers thrive on diverse educational and legal environments, although that is not meant to underestimate the beauty of Moscow in educational or cosmopolitan terms. Moscow is certainly a very promising place for a person to further develop his or her profile – whether in academic or professional terms. Beyond this, I feel that education in Russia will strengthen in the years to come. There seems to be clear initiative on the part of the government to move in such a direction.
Coming back to the question of why Moscow. I would respond by asking “why not?” After all, Moscow is beautiful in itself, it is cosmopolitan enough for my taste and academia here functions at a very high level.
— What are your first impressions of your new living and working situation?
Save for a very few bureaucratic matters, I have had positive experiences so far. Muscovites seem like a very friendly set and they are always willing to help. The standard of living here compares well with the standard of living in so-called average Western metropolises. The pace of life is about right for a metropolis such as Moscow. Equally, the cost of living in this city can be considered as quite high in certain respects.
My impressions at work can be described as very good so far. I am also privileged to have an excellent set of enthusiastic postgraduate students from a variety of educational and ethnic backgrounds. At work, a few matters need to be settled sooner rather than later, but I am confident that these are all things that will be ironed out in the very near future. So far so good.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE news service
Antonios E. Platsas