Speech and Society in Turbulent Times: Freedom of Expression in Comparative Perspective
This edited collection will explore how societies have addressed or are addressing challenging questions about the relationship between expression, traditional and societal values. It seeks to identify alternate, relatively coherent approaches to the role of speech and expression in the organization of societies as well as efforts to shape the broader global information society.
This chapter examines how the concept of free speech has evolved in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia. It also assesses the impact of international standards on the development of Russia’s concept of freedom of speech. Along with the main legal documents, including constitutions and media laws as well as the judicial practice of the highest courts, Marxism-Leninism will be examined to help clarify Russia’s view of free speech. The chapter argues that, in Russia, the change in political regime has encouraged a reconsideration of the concept of freedom of speech by political leaders. It shows the similarities between Lenin’s ideas and the modern Russian concept of free speech. Also indicated is the impact of international standards on free speech as superficial and dependent on political will.