mozolin viktor pavlovich

Professor Viktor Pavlovich. Mozolin


Authored by Igor Novikov


On October 27, 2016 Mozolin V.P., prominent Russian scientist and civilist would have been 93 years old.

It is with great respect that the International Law Institute remembers the life and contributions of Professor Viktor P. Mozolin.  

Professor Mozolinwas affiliated with the International Law Institute for many years and was both a friend and scholarly contributor, providing keen comparative analysis of laws and economic policies between Soviet Union and Russia and that of the US. These viewpoints formed his vision for the future development of Russian civil law.

Prof. Mozolin served as a member of the faculty of law at Moscow State University. He first visited the United States in 1961 and shortly thereafter attended Columbia University Law School. His international education and his in-depth knowledge of common law, contract law, and the legislative process, advanced Viktor’s professional position in Russia and favorably distinguished him from other lawyers within the more traditional Soviet legal academic world.

Viktor provided important contributions and insights during the period of “perestroika”, when a number of legislative acts were enacted as a matter of urgency. Included in those economic reforms was legislation focused on entrepreneurship, joint enterprises, foreign investments, and privatization, in order to create circumstances for his country's transition to a market economy.

In his later years, Prof. Mozolin remained actively engaged in the development of legal norms concerning private ownership rights and the establishment of private commercial entities, which he viewed as a matter of priority for the development of the Russian economy and the improvement of living standards for the people.

Using terms such as "neo-concept" instead of "concept", "neo-reception" instead of "reception", Mozolin stressed his disagreement with the prevailing approaches in the development of new legislation meant to modernize the Russian economic system. As a scientific doctrine for the organization and management of the legal/private entities, he formulated his doctrine which he named "phaktorno-normativnaya teoria" or “Factor-Normative Theory” (which stressed that the progressive evolution of corporate structure, laws and regulations could take place only in concert with the corresponding development of the society and the state.) His own approach to the definition of law he referred to as the "people's normative concept of the law". The purpose of using such titles was to consistently provoke scientific discussions on critical topics of Russian legal science and how laws are not developed nominatively, but rather how they would actually be implemented, monitored, and enforced.

Viktor was concerned about the chaotic development of Russian legislation. He repeatedly reiterated that laws should not be created spontaneously. Legal studies and science should precede development of law, rather than follow. He thought civil law in Russia should be re-developed along with the development of the state and should leverage the experience and structure of civil and commercial laws utilized in other mature and developed economies.

Prof. Mozolin was the author of more than 150 books, textbooks and articles published in Russia and abroad, and was the chief editor of textbooks on Russian civil law.

Notable publications Mr. Mozolin authored or co-authored include: Farnsworth, E. Allan and Mozolin, Victor P. Contract Law in the USSR and the United States: History and General Concept. International Law Institute, Washington, DC, 1987; Mozolin, Victor P. Property Law in Contemporary Russia. International Law Institute, Washington, DC, 1993; Mozolin, V.P. and Masliaev, A.I. (editors). Russian Civil and Commercial Law. Windy, Simmonds, and Hill Publishing, London, 2009; и Mozolin, V.P. The Modern Doctrine and Civil Legislation in Russia. Yustitz Inform, Moscow 2008.

Colleagues note that Viktor’s work displayed a fascinating broad range of interests, artistic longevity, clarity of mind, and productivity. He was a product of his time, and the era set the direction and relevance of his research.

During the 1950s the Stalin era ended, and Khrushchev N.S. came to power. This was the beginning of the "Khrushchev Thaw." It was during this time period that the young Mozolin began his professional activity. He wrote his Candidate’s thesis on the topic of “Civil-Procedural Relationships in Law” and a number of articles on the topic. In this period Mozolin was also active in the sphere of the law on inventions and published a number of research articles both for academic and practical use.

During the 1960s legal and economic reform initiatives known as the “Kosygin Reforms,” were introduced.  These reforms emphasized de-centralization of the economy and shifting economic planning from the state bureaucracy to the production enterprises. During this period Mozolin was deeply interested in issues of ownership and forms of enterprises and institutions in the USSR. He was also awarded the rare chance to study abroad. He served 2-years as a fellow at Columbia University (USA) where he studied American corporations. He published several works and later defended his PhD/doctoral thesis regarding the issue of American corporations.

During the 1970s under Brezhnev, Mozolin worked at the University of Patris Lumumba, in Moscow. This university, which presented itself as a political institution where foreign students from “friendly” states studied and whose countries were financed by USSR’s communist representations abroad, gave Mozolin an exceptional opportunity to work on comparative legal studies. Mozolin continued research related to his series of publications on different aspects of American corporations; as well as on his research on legislation from India. He authored and published books and manuals on the issues of civil and trade laws of foreign nations, and on student professional development.

The era of Gorbachev brought “perestroika” an increasing freedom of thought and speech. The iron curtain opened. For many citizens, the Gorbachev period brought the first opportunity to go abroad. Mozolin continued his research on various aspects of foreign law. He devoted attention to national civil law, economics, and the role and opportunities of law in regulating economic mechanisms that could lift the Russian economy. He was concerned about issues of the development of civil law on the modern stage. In order to improve Soviet law he focused on comparative law, in particular the reception of adoptions and institutions. He was also interested in foreign civil law and the interaction of national and international laws. Together with his American colleagues he published an article on contract law in the United States and in the Soviet Union. Mozolin actively practiced as a lawyer and traveled abroad. In 1988-1990 he gave lectures on Soviet law at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. At the same time he worked as a lead legal consultant in the group “Most” [a financial -industrial – media holding company] and cooperated with foreign law firms.

On December 26, 1991 the Soviet Union was dissolved. Followed was a period of privatization, often criticized by Mozolin for not having been better planned and implemented. This period saw new initiatives in the sphere of the development of law. The work on improving civil legislation began, as well as the work on model law statutes for former Soviet republics. During this period Mozolin published a number of articles on various aspects of property law in the Russian Federation as the country moved to a market economy. He wrote about the general theory of law, civil law and the theory of state law.

During the 1990s Mozolin travelled extensively. He successfully litigated cases in his client countries and eventually worked at a London law firm. Victor accumulated unique experience not only in the academic sphere but also in his practice area and law making/legislative process.

During the early 2000s at the end of the Yeltsin era and the rise to Putin’s power, Mozolin became the Head of the Department of Civil and Family Law at the Kutafin State Law Academy. He published a collection of his own research articles on relevant legal topics in Russian and in English. These publications contain a deep analysis of legal norms in various spheres of law but severely criticized approaches of adapting ad hoc laws and policies from foreign institutions and inserting them into Russian governance without having fully customized those foreign polices to meet Russian needs.

Well known Russian civilist, Professor Tolstoy Y.K said in 2004: The return of Mozolin to active scholarly and pedagogic work was right on time. There is an acute need for reforming and updating the modern Civil Code of the Russian Federation which should respond to current challenges and be an effective practical tool for raising effectiveness of societal production, attracting foreign investment, battling inflation and growth of peoples’ wealth and satisfying their needs – it should help create a true civil society not only proclaiming civil liberties but also protecting them. At the moment our Civil Code is far from these goals. In order to achieve this goal we need to bring all civil law specialist together from all walks of life. I hope that the experience of the last decade persuaded everyone that effective acts of law should be created for a prosperous society and help the society move to another level of social, economic, political and moral development.” Tolstoy Y.K. assigned him the role of an arbitrator, saying that Mozolin “could play a consolidating role in civil law scholarship”.

Beginning in 2010 and beyond, Mozolin continued publishing articles, taking part in legal conferences in the former Soviet Union states. He took part in the review of newly adopted laws. Some of his publications were criticized. He did not think about the structure of his articles. It was important for him to state his opinions and views, to set the direction for discussion. He was a civil law specialist and he got into polemics with editors and authors of legal publications. He was concise and did not spend time on details. He valued every single day of life and published more works. He issued his commentary on the Civil Code of the Russian Federation. In this period of time he criticized more often the anti-social direction of state policy towards law and economics.

High professionalism and remarkable personal qualities earned him many friends all over the world who remember and love him. Surely, many of his students and colleagues, living on different sides of the planet could say many kind words of Mozolin V.P and 27 October – the day of his birthday – to remember this prominent scientist and remarkable person.


Mozolin Viktor Pavlovich – PhD in Law, professor, veteran of the 2nd World War.

He was born on October 27th, 1924, in the USSR, in the village of Yurino, Mariy-El Republic. Graduated from school in 1942.

In August 1942 at the age of 18 entered the army. After spending a few months in an army school he fought on the fronts of 2nd World War, was presented with the medals. He was wounded twice, demobilized in January 1946

In 1946 he was admitted to the Law Faculty of the Lomonosov Moscow State University. He graduated in 1951. He defended his candidate’s thesis in 1954 at Moscow State University with the topic of comparative analysis of civil procedure and soviet law (thesis supervisor – Professor Kleinman A.F.).

Between 1954 and 1971 Mozolin was a professor at Moscow State University.

1961-1962 – interned at Columbia University, New York, United States. In 1967 he defended his PhD/doctoral thesis with the topic of a the legal position of business corporations and main tendencies of laws regulating corporations in the United States. The thesis was defended at Moscow State University.

1971-1981 – Department Chair, Dean, Vice-Rector a University of Peoples’ Friendship (Patris Lumumba).

1981 – 1999 – Lead researcher of the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Science.

1988-1990 – He gave lectures on Soviet law at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

1987- 2000 - The lead legal consultant at a firm “Most”, cooperated with international law firms. From 1992 – until his death , he served as Head of the Higher School of Economic Law, and Head of Science at Moscow International University.

1999 – 2012 – was a Chair of the department of civil and family law at State Law Academy, later called Moscow State Law University named after Kutafin O.E.

He spent his last years working at the Institute of Law-Making and Comparative Legal Studies of the Government of the Russian Federation.

He was a member of the Council on codification and improvement of civil law of the President of the Russian Federation (2003-2014); a member of the Science-Advising Council of the Court/Tribunal of the Russian Federation; a judge of the International Commercial Arbitral Tribunal of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation; and a member of the Advisory Council of Federal Chamber of Lawyers.

Main spheres or areas of research interests included property law, contract law, civil legal relationship, legal personality (corporations), issues of intellectual property, and other issues of civil and commercial laws of Russia, USA, and other countries.