The Yukos Arbitration Saga and Russia’s Constitutional Amendments
In February 2020, a Dutch appeals court ruled that the Russian state owed shareholders in the now-defunct Russian company Yukos 50 billion US dollars, one of the largest sums ever awarded. However, no country has yet been able to enforce the Yukos arbitral award issued in 2014 against Russia: while the arbitration tribunal in the Yukos investment case ruled in favour of the company, affirming that provisional application of the Energy Charter Treaty was compatible with Russian domestic law, Russia regards the matter as one of sovereignty and sees its power as being threatened. The article discusses whether non-enforcement of the award on the Russian government’s part would be justified by Article 15 (1) of the Russian Constitution and what impact the currently planned amendments to that foundational law might have with regard to international treaties and decisions of international bodies. The article concludes that the political and theory-oriented debate regarding Yukos will continue and that it will remain hard for the former Yukos shareholders to collect their money under the PCA’s arbitral award.