Tallinn University professor: International law impossible without Russia

Rein Müllerson receiving the Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday.
Rein Müllerson receiving the Order of Friendship from Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday. Source: SCANPIX/TASS/Alexei Nikolsky

International law as we know it as an order would not be possible without the Russian Federation, said Emeritus Professor at Tallinn University Rein Müllerson on Tuesday, on being awarded the Order of Friendship by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As reported on ERR News, the Kremlin announced last week that Müllerson was to be presented the award, which he received from President Putin on Tuesday along with 15 other recipients, from various countries including Nigeria and France.

"Today, the area to which I have devoted my working life - international law - could not exist without Russia as one of the pillars of balance of power based on international law," Müllerson said in his word of thanks on receiving the award, which can be viewed here (in Russian) from around the 40 minute-mark.

Müllerson drew attention to what he saw as a period of upheaval in the 1990s and interference in international affairs by the U.S., which was subsequently brought into line by Russia.

"Largely because of Russia's efforts, these [uncertain] tendencies failed," he said.

"Today, Russia has once again become the undisputed pole of a multi-polar world," Müllerson continued. 

"A quarter of a century ago (US Secretary of State at the time-ed.) Madeleine Albright - you remember her - knew only one indispensable nation - the indispensable nation - as she termed it. And that was the US," he went on.

"But the 1990s were an anomalous and temporary phenomenon in the history of international relations, comparable with a distant period in Russia's history 400 years ago, whose end we celebrate on November 4 (referring to the 1612 Russian military victory over Poland-Lithuania – ed.)," he continued.

Müllerson, who was also a professor at Kings' College, London, 1999-2009, has a long association with Russia, but rejects claims that he is some sort of agent as paranoid. Critics say he has acted as an apologist for Russian actions, in the Crimea for instance.

Then-president Lennart Meri planned to make Müllerson justice chancellor in 2000, but was blocked by the Riigikogu.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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