Putin’s university classmate lined up for Supreme Court top job

Photo: The Russian Supreme Court

Photo: The Russian Supreme Court

A university classmate of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been named the sole candidate being considered to take on the role of chief justice of Russia’s Supreme Court, the Russian Agency of Legal and Judicial Information has reported.

Supreme Court Justice Irina Podnosova, who graduated from Leningrad State University with Putin in 1975, currently heads the court’s judicial panel for economic disputes. She was put forward by a collegium of judges for the top post on Monday, after 10 minutes of deliberation.

Her predecessor Vyacheslav Lebedev, who served as Supreme Court Chairman since 1991, died on 24 February aged 80.

The collegium will now send its recommendation to a presidential judicial review commission. Once it approves Podnosova’s candidacy, the president will submit her appointment to the Federation Council, Russia’s upper chamber of parliament, for confirmation.

The Russian Supreme Court, a court of last resort for cases heard in Russia’s lower courts, consists of 170 judges, but is overseen by a praesidium of 13 justices.

The Supreme Court effectively operates as a rubber stamp institution despite having the power to refer presidential decrees and parliamentary bills to the Constitutional Court to challenge them. Its more controversial recent rulings include recognising “the international LGBT movement” as extremist, ruling that new censorship laws were constitutional and ordering the liquidation of Memorial, one of Russia’s oldest human rights groups.

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