Saturday, February 22, 2020

Law Library of Congress Interview With Natella Boltyanskaya, Scholar in Residence

In Custodia Legis, the blog of the Law Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has posted an interview with Russian-born legal scholar in residence Natella Boltyanskaya, It is part of an ongoing series of interviews:
"How would you describe your research project to other people?
My current research explores the means and extent of the support that was provided by American legislators to the Soviet human rights movement. The discovery of original documents led me to a better understanding of the full story, starting from the first acts of solidarity by American people shortly after World War II, and ending with national legislation restricting economic cooperation with the USSR due to their poor human rights record. In other words, it is a story of sanctions which is quite relevant for the modern world."

"It was extremely important for my research to find documents demonstrating how on numerous occasions American legislators acted to advance the human rights agenda and keep Soviet leaders accountable for not meeting their international obligations. The most famous example is the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, and I was able to explore the history of its adoption here at the Law Library. Naturally, not every legislative initiative was successful; however, all of them, even those which did not go through had a great impact, both in the USSR and internationally."

"The analysis of those initiatives might prompt solutions to the human rights problems of today. While researching political and economic sanctions imposed by the United States on the Soviet Union in order to force it to respect the rights of its own citizens, I was able to locate materials on how the Congress addressed other recognized methods of dealing with human rights breaches in foreign nations, such as sending troops, bringing in refugees, and supporting local activists and protesters externally. These materials will make my research comprehensive and perhaps suggest some new approaches that would respond to present-day social and political challenges." 
"Why did you want to conduct research at the Law Library?
There were several reasons – both practical and romantic. American libraries are a treat for any researcher – many databases are available; everything is comfortable, and the workplace is well-equipped. I have worked in many of them. The Library of Congress is truly a top tier library. The Law Library of Congress is a very special place, where you can work with the documents showing American lawmaking processes in full detail. It is an ideal place for my research."
The Law Library of Congress is the world’s largest law library, with a collection of almost 3 million volumes from all ages of history and virtually every jurisdiction in the world.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:14 pm


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