Putin’s university classmate confirmed as new chief justice of Russia’s Supreme Court

Irina Podnosova. Photo: The Russian Federation Council

Irina Podnosova. Photo: The Russian Federation Council

A university classmate of Russian President Vladimir Putin has been confirmed as the new chief justice of Russia’s Supreme Court, after receiving the unanimous backing of the 167 senators in Russia’s Federation Council, the upper house of parliament’s Telegram channel announced on Wednesday.

Supreme Court Justice Irina Podnosova, who graduated from Leningrad State University along with Putin in 1975, was the sole candidate put forward for the role by a collegium of judges earlier this month, following the death in February of Vyacheslav Lebedev, who had served as the Supreme Court’s chairman since 1991.

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. The court’s 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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