If You Make a Noise, Will You Get Freedom Earlier? Ethical and Tactical Factors for Using Publicity as a Tactic of the Defense in the Russian Court





attorneys, journalists, professionalism, mass media, court cases, defense tactics, ethics


Russian mass media often cover court cases, certain circumstances of which may be of public importance. In some cases, such attention arises for a reason as a part of the tactics of one of the litigants. In this article, based on the materials of expert interviews with criminal defense lawyers and court journalists, the author considers publicity as a tactic of defense in the trial. It is shown that the motives and possibilities of attracting the attention of the public through the media can differ significantly depending on the circumstances of the case, and the goals of the client, the lawyer, and the journalist do not coincide in all cases. The professionalism and ethical values of the participants are most clearly manifested in situations of mismatching goals. Due to the high heterogeneity of legal and journalistic communities, we can observe both professional and selfish motives for increasing the level of publicity of the trial. Besides, the status of tactics to attract media attention in the legal community remains controversial due to the uncertain level of its effectiveness and unpredictable consequences. Nevertheless, the analysis shows that all participants in the trial at least consider the possibility of public resonance, and use certain tactics and strategies to manage this factor.

Acknowledgements. The author is grateful for the valuable comments on the project to Ella Paneah, Alexei Titkov, Olga Zeveleva, and Viktor Vakhstein. The study would have been impossible without journalists and lawyers who kindly agreed to be interviewed for the project.

Author Biography

Anton P. Kazun, HSE University

  • HSE University, Moscow, Russia
    • Cand. Sci. (Soc.), Senior Research Fellow at the International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development