To complete the executive master's program East European Studies, students work on twelve modules. One of those modules is concerned with East European law. This law module deals with the general function of law and provides an introduction to the principles of legal order. The legal systems – with a main focus on constitutional law - of four model countries are described in detail as examples: the Russian Federation, Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Macedonia. Macedonia got added only in the recent revision of the module.
The four countries were selected for closer study for various reasons. Two of them are new members of the European Union (the Czech Republic and Estonia have been members of the EU since 2004). Membership in the European Union required the implementation of the so-called European acquis communautaire and in consequence, the democratization of the political system of the country in question. Macedonia was chosen because of its status as a candidate country for the EU. On the other hand, the Russian Federation was chosen for its explicit attitude not to join the EU (thus not being even a potential candidate for membership in the European Union, nor for benefitting from the European Neighbourhood policy). Therefore it developed its own dynamics and thus serves as another pole of attraction in Europe with its own - at least aspired, but also factual - sphere of influence. Thus, the Russian Federation is a special ‘partner’ of the EU within greater Europe.
Further, the Russian Federation is – unlike Estonia, the Czech Republic and Macedonia – a federation, whose specifics can be shown exemplarily. Juxtaposing these four countries is an interesting way to elucidate the influence EU law has on their respective constitutional development. The comparison with the Russian Federation specifically as a non-member will be of value here. The present module aims to convey a basic knowledge of the function of law, especially of constitutional law. Thus, it cannot deal in depth with all questions of law, e.g. civil, administrative or criminal law.