This is an interesting little snippet of news. Crimea is going to adopt English law:
Lawmakers in Moscow are working on a draft bill that will offer tax and other incentives to stimulate exports, according to Savelyev, the minister for Crimea. Businesses there will operate under English commercial law rather than Russian legislation to attract foreign investment, he said.
Obviously they're not adopting English electoral law, nor that on referenda and the like. But it's an interesting observation they've made: that part of what generates a thriving and entreprenuerial economy is that English commercial law. I very much doubt that they'll get it right mind, but at least it's a start. For the cornerstone of that English law is that as long as there's no law against it then you can do as you wish. This isn't something that accords well with the pysche of those who have ruled Russia in the past it has to be said.
Back when the Soviet Union was newly dead Anatoly Sobchak, the Mayor of St Petersburg (and Putin's mentor) decided that you no longer needed any permits from City Hall to start up in business. Just send us a letter telling us what you're doing so that we can set up the tax system for you. The next day the office was thronged with those seeking the permit that they'd need not to have any permits. The idea of really needing no permits seemed not to be believable.
Two further things: having English commercial law will be all very well but you do also need to have English courts and the English enforcement of those laws. And the second is that wouldn't it be so lovely if our own rulers recalled the basis of our legal system which is they get to tell us what we may not do but then they have to stay silent on what we may.