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This article traces the genesis of the Russian jury law of July 16, 1993, and places it in the context of the criminal justice reform movement that began during the perestroika period. This article analyzes and evaluates the Jury Law on the basis of the first Russian jury trials. The purpose of this article is to isolate certain problem areas and pose questions, which must be answered in the future.

Much of the material for this paper results from the author’s personal observation of eleven of the first fourteen jury trials and parts of four more trials. The author also studied the files, accusatory documents, judgments, newspaper articles, and written accounts of other trials, and personally interviewed numerous judges, prosecutors, and defense counsel who participated in the first trials.