History of the Conference

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The "Kovalyov Readings" is a unique international conference annually held in Yekaterinburg and attended by leading legal scholars and practitioners.

Mitrofan Ivanovich Kovalyov

Mitrofan Ivanovich Kovalyov

The Conference has been held by the Criminal Law Department of the Ural State Law University since 2004. Over these years, the Conference has grown into a large-scale international forum to exchange ideas on the most topical issues put before the international legal society. More than 600 speakers and 2,000 participants from 16 countries have taken part in the Conference.

Traditionally, the «Kovalyov Readings» research-to-practice conference is held by the Criminal Law Department of the Ural State Law University (USLU). It owes its name to Mitrofan Ivanovich Kovalyov (1922 - 2002), a prominent Russian scientist, a Great Patriotic War participant, a longstanding head of the Criminal Law Department at the Sverdlovsk Law Institute (SLI), a founder of the Ural criminal law school, Honored Worker of Sciences of the RSFSR, teacher of numerous generations of students at SLI-USLU, Doctor of Law and Professor.

The first Kovalyov Readings were held on 13 February 2004 where the participants joined the discussion on “Criminal Law: Past, Present and Future”. The second conference on 10 February 2005 was devoted to “Intersectoral Aspects and Methods in Criminal Law”.

The third Kovalyov Readings were held on 10 February 2006 focusing on “Philosophical and Historical Foundations of Criminal Law”. The IV Conference in the memory of M.I.Kovalyov was held on 10 February 2007 on the topic of “Criminal Law Policy in the Sphere of Information Security in the Russian Federation”.

With the expanded program and increased geography of the participants, beginning with the V session, the Conference was held within two days. The V Kovalyov Readings Conference in the memory of M.I.Kovalyov was held on 9 - 10 February 2008 and was devoted to “The Problems of Cooperation of International and Municipal Law in the Conditions of Globalization”. The VI Kovalyov Readings (on 21 – 22 February 2009) were devoted to “Moral, Ethical and Religious Basics of Criminal Law”.

The VII Kovalyov Readings (on 20 – 21 February 2010) were devoted to “Media Potential of Criminal Law”. On 18 – 19 February 2011, Yekaterinburg hosted the VIII Kovalyov Readings for the first time devoted to the issues of criminal penalties: “Criminal Penalty: a Social Good or Evil?”


On 17 – 18 February 2012, our city held the IX Kovalyov Readings on the topic of “Providing Safety of the European Transport System by Criminal Law and Criminology Means”. The X anniversary Kovalyov Readings were held on 15 February 2013 under the title of “Application of Criminal Penalty as a Form of Criminal Liability”. On 21 February 2014, Yekaterinburg hosted the XI Kovalyov Readings on “Transnational and National Concepts and Models in Criminal Law Imposing Liability for Illegal Activity with Counterfeit Goods in Pharmacology”.

In 2015, the XII Kovalyov Readings were for the first time organized jointly with the RF Federal Chamber of Lawyers. The conference gained worldwide recognition with more than 200 participants from different countries. Foreign guests from Brazil, Germany, Serbia, England, USA and neighboring countries, the Russian criminal law scholars, leading experts in criminal law, representatives of relevant public agencies, law students, members of the Association of Russian Lawyers gathered together to discuss the topic of “Protection of the Information Space in Criminal Law in the Era of Globalization”.

The 2016 Kovalyov Readings were devoted to a sort of unusual topic “Criminal Law Provisions in Fine Art, Oratory, Drama, Classic Literature and Cinema”. The Conference was opened by a concert of the Ural Youth Symphonic Orchestra under the direction of Enkhe. The Conference was attended by more than 200 scholars, legal practitioners, writers, workers of culture and art from Russia, Belarus, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, China, New Zealand, Serbia, the USA, Taiwan and France.

The 2017 Kovalyov Readings (held on 16 – 17 February 2017 in the Yeltsin Center) focused on “Moral Foundations of Criminal Liability”. The Conference started with a theatrical performance “Fake Coupon” by the world-known Kolyada-theater. The Conference was attended by more than 200 law scholars, legal practitioners from Russia, the USA, Germany, Serbia, Macedonia, the Philippines, Kazakhstan, Belarus and others. The 2017 Conference also held an off-site meeting of the Council of the RF Federal Chamber of Lawyers under the presidency of Y.S.Pilipenko where the participants could offer their ideas to change the current legislation on the Bar. Besides, there was a lecture by A.A.Klishasa, the Chairman of the Federation Council Committee of Constitutional Legislation and Public Construction; a workshop by Constance Bagley, a senior research scholar from the Yale Law School, the USA.


In 2018 was the 15th anniversary of the Сonference. Different questions concerned the fighting of crime were discussed from the point of criminal law and criminology. The Сonference took place on February 15th-16th at Yeltsin Center, Yekaterinburg. Discussions of controversial issues,  arbitration conferences and visiting session of Council of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers of the Russian Federation took place within the Conference. On February14th the performance of soloists of  the Sverdlovsk Opera and Ballet Theater and cappella of the Sverdlovsk State Children's Philharmonic Society was held within the Conference. Moreover, the cultural program of the Conference did not leave unattended the most significant places of interest in Yekaterinburg. During the Afterparty guests of the Conference could relax, enjoy the performance of the Ural rock singer Yulia Chicherina and, of course, make new acquaintances.