Dmitry Medvedev: “The world will never be the same, but the mission of law must be preserved”

Dmitry Medvedev stated at the Plenary Session of SPBILF 9 ½ that in the context of isolation and fight against the COVID-19 pandemic communication and best practices exchanges between legal professionals from worldwide cannot be interrupted. The Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation emphasised it is at this juncture that all the matters determining the future of the economy, society, state and law per se must be resolved.

“The situation around the spread of the virus compels us all, the lawyers, to take a fresh look at the legal arrangements. For instance, a question comes up about whether remote employment will cease to be an exception and become normal. If this is to happen, obviously, the centuries-old boundaries between the wage labour and contract of work will be erased and the category of working time will lose its current meaning. These are fundamental issues for tens and hundreds of millions of people on the planet. An employee may, apparently, him- or herself be accountable for the workplace safety and comfort,” exemplified Dmitry Medvedev.

The Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia has noted that the coronavirus situation has posed a number of new challenges for people around the globe.

 “We are faced with many unknowns, but one thing is cristal clear: the world will never be the same again, and we must preserve the mission of law at this time. It has become obvious that the situation is menacing. Now the threat of further stratification and segregation of our societies and deepening technological inequality is fully evident. In the isolation regime the new technology has ceased to be a luxury or entertainment, as it still seemed to some groups of population,” remarked Dmitry Medvedev

According to the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of Russia, access to communications has turned to be a prerequisite for people’s survival: it is needed to keep in touch with the outer world, earn money, receive education and order food and items of prime necessity. Therefore, Dmitry Medvedev noted, new legal regulation of the future must provide for a fair distribution of benefits worldwide and guarantee protection for everyone.

“It should also mitigate the global technological disparity that has existed historically and may be further exacerbated unless we make the necessary efforts. We should provide universal access to telemedicine, autonomous transport, remote shopping, if necessary, high quality mobile communications, broadband internet and all other technologies that have been developed to date,” he inferred.

Dmitry Medvedev also predicted a global economic recession and unemployment because of the coronavirus. “Large-scale economic fallout of the epidemic is fraught with global risks for infrastructure development. There is a tangible threat, perceived by many people, that the global economy may step on the degradation path. Growth rate drop may follow—it is obvious that many nations will face a recession this year, so the living standards will go down. Overall investments, social spending, housing quality and urban infrastructures will be hit. And, of course, there is always a threat of massive unemployment. These factors will have no less but probably even more pronounced impact on people’s health, birth and death rates, social services and medical care accessibility,” said Dmitry Medvedev.

He believes that the 2008-2009 downturn was different from the looming one because of the greater predictability back in the past. Today no one can be certain about how developments will unfold.

“Now all of us have to come forward with joint global initiatives that will be properly documented—I mean conventions. These instruments should outline common principles of global cybersecurity, put a ban on trade wars and unilateral sanctions, eliminate discrimination in international affairs, ensure global financial stability, give backing to the countries that suffered most from the pandemic, put in place a mechanism to fight poverty. We should open the borders for people, movement of goods and services and guarantee biological safety for the ensuing generations,” elaborated Dmitry Medvedev, adding that countries should leave political differences behind.

St. Petersburg International Legal Forum (SPBILF) 9 ½: RULE OF CORONA is held online from 10th to 12th of April. The virtual discussions are attended by heads of Russian and international public authorities, legal professionals, academia, politicians and mass media. This year’s focus of the Forum is on the legal aspects of public and business life against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.