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Navalnyy v. Russia (Eur. Ct. H.R.)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 April 2019

Corina Heri*
Corina Heri concluded her doctoral research at the University of Zurich in 2017 and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Amsterdam Center for International Law at the University of Amsterdam.


On November 15, 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued its judgment in Navalnyy v. Russia. The applicant in the case argued that the Russian authorities had targeted him for arrest and administrative sanctions because of his political activism. In its judgment, the Grand Chamber confirmed its recent change in approach to Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), including the normalization of the provision's scope and burden of proof. However, it displayed continued uncertainty about how to deal with measures based on a mixture of legitimate and illegitimate purposes.

International Legal Documents
Copyright © 2019 by The American Society of International Law 

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1 Navalnyy v. Russia, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2018),

2 Collected Edition of the “Travaux Préparatoires ” of the ECHR 258–69 (vol. IV 1977); Merabishvili v. Georgia, Eur. Ct. H.R., ¶¶ 154, 303 (2017), [hereinafter Merabishvili]; Helen Keller & Corina Heri, Selective Criminal Proceedings and Article 18 ECHR: The ECtHR's Untapped Potential to Protect Democracy, 36 Hum. Rts. L.J. 1, 3 (2016); Floris Tan, The Dawn of Article 18 ECHR: A Safeguard Against European Rule of Law Backsliding?, 9 Goettingen J. Int'l L. 109, 114–15 (2018).

3 Khodorkovskiy v. Russia, Eur. Ct. H.R. ¶ 260 (2011),

4 Merabishvili, supra note 2, ¶¶ 291, 314.

5 Id. ¶ 305.

6 Başak Çalı, ‘Academics for Peace’ and Their Freedom of Expression, Verfassungsblog (Jun. 13, 2018),; Merabishvili, supra note 2, Yudkivska, Tsotsoria & Vehabović, JJ., concurring, ¶ 37.

7 Navalnyy v. Russia, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2017),

8 Id. ¶ 152.

9 Id. ¶¶ 164–65.

10 Id. ¶¶ 168, 171, 173–76.

11 Id. ¶¶ 171–72.

12 Id. ¶¶ 186.

13 Id. Pejchal, Dedov, Ravarani, Eicke & Paczolay, JJ., partly concurring, partly dissenting, ¶¶ 25–26.

14 See Pauline de Morree, Rights and Wrongs Under the ECHR: The Prohibition of Abuse of Rights in Article 17 of the European Convention on Human Rights 27–28 (2016).

15 Khodorkovskiy & Lebedev v. Russia, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2013),, ¶¶ 906–07.

16 Aliyev v. Azerbaijan, Eur. Ct. H.R. (2018),

17 Keller & Heri, supra note 2.