Staunton, Nov. 30 – At a time when aggressiveness in Russian society is on the increase and when ever more Russians possess lethal weapons, the Supreme Court has declared that those who fear their lives are in danger have broad rights to use force in self-defense and directed lower courts to apply that standard.
Such recognition of a right of self-defense even when it leads to bodily harm or the death of attackers has been expanded in a series of decisions by the Court over the last decade; and it has now been codified by a declaration of the presidium of Russia’s highest court (rg.ru/2021/11/30/reg-dfo/verhovnyj-sud-raziasnil-vazhnye-pravila-samooborony.html).
The court says that no one has the right to shoot at people who are running away regardless of what they may have been doing up to that point but also that “when the life of an individual is under threat, he has the right to defend himself with all available means.” And this is a right, the court says, all lower courts must recognize.
According to Vladislav Kulikov, a Rossiiskaya gazeta journalist, the new “document gives citizens carte blanche for the defense of their lives. Now, when considering specific cases, the Supreme Court has confirmed precisely those legal positions.” In short, more Russians are likely to feel free to shoot back – and more deaths are likely.