At Harris Sliwoski, we keep close tabs on what is happening around the world, and we know that our friends and clients do, as well. We are happy to provide this podcast series: Global Law and Business, hosted by international attorneys Fred Rocafort and Jonathan Bench, where we look at the world by talking with business leaders, innovators, service providers, manufacturers, and government leaders around the world.

In Episode #85, we are joined by Associate Professor Elena Sychenko, from Saint Petersburg State University in Russia. We discuss:

  • The origins of Elena’s interests in human and labor rights.
  • Why it’s important to not just win cases, but also reconstruct systems.
  • Elena’s thoughts on Sicily, where she spent time studying at the University of Catania.
  • The challenging and terrifying experience of working on a report on forced labor in Pakistan.
  • Educating Russian law students on Chinese law.
  • The broader Russia-China relationship.
  • Basics of the Russian legal system.
  • Listening, and watching recommendations from:

We’ll see you next week for another exciting and informative episode when we sit down with Eli Neal, principal at 4 Corners Financial Forensics!

This podcast audio has been transcribed by an automatic transcriber.

Fred Rocafort  00:07 

Global Law and global business go hand in hand, but never seem to keep pace with each other. The importance on the global stage of developing and developed nations waxes and wanes, while consumption and interconnectedness steadily increase all the while laws and regulations change incessantly requiring businesses to stay nimble. But how do we make sense of it all? Welcome to Global Law and Business hosted by Harris Sliwoski International Business attorneys. I’m Fred Rocafort. 


Jonathan Bench  00:37 

And I’m Jonathan Bench. Every week, we take a targeted look at legal and economic developments in locales around the world as we try to decipher global trends in law and business with the help of international experts. We cover continents, countries, regimes, governance, finance, legal developments, and whatever is trending on Twitter. We covered the important the seemingly unimportant, the relatively simple and the complex. 


Fred Rocafort  01:02 

We hope you enjoyed today’s podcast. please connect with us on social media to comment and suggest future topics and guests. Today we are joined by Elena Sychenko. Elena works at St. Petersburg State University in Russia, where she is the supervisor of a program on Chinese law and language and also a master’s program on Transnational legal practice. Elena has an impressive CV, and I would not do it the justice it deserves if I were to simply read that CV out loud. So Atlanta, if you could introduce yourself, give us an overview of who you are, where you’re from, what your career has been like, and some of the main things we should know about you. 


Elena Sychenko  02:01 

First of all, I would like to thank you for the invitation. It’s my pleasure to be part of a podcast. And it’s my first experience to be speaking in the podcast. I liked the start of your talk, you said that I have repressive CV, thank you for that, as speaking very briefly about what I’ve done in my life. I think one of the key things is to defend a PhD in Italy while being a Russian lawyer with a Russian legal background. And then I can mention my passion for international labor law, my passion for labor rights and for protection of human rights on the level of the UN, and also on the level of the original level of the Council of Europe. I love this topics. Also some my activities at the university might mention as well because I supervise two problems. You mentioned the undergraduate program, which is called law with advanced study of Chinese languages law so basically there’s law and the studying the same time Russian law and Chinese law. Another program which I also supervise is a master program something new at my faculty is taught in English program called transnational legal practice. I also love this, this this part of my job and I’m very inspired to develop further both problems. And finally, what might be interesting to mention is my recent experience as working for the International Labour Organization, I was the external consultant of the ILO and without the red boat about the forced labor in Pakistan, which I recently delivered in Islamabad so these are the key things which might perhaps be of interest for for for others. 


Fred Rocafort  03:47 

There’s a lot there and let’s start with Sicily. I I’ve been to to Sicily I’ve been I’ve been lucky enough to go there a couple of times. And and to katanya specifically, your experience there really jumped out at me so if we do no more than than talk about Sicily, I think already this will be a great, great podcast. So let’s dig into this. What motivated you to first of all go study in in Italy right I mean, it’s a great country I can think of many reasons to to go there but but still with with the different choices that you have in Europe alone, right? What made you want to go to Sicily, 


Elena Sychenko  04:31 

It was really a very cool experience full of everything. But I would start with with the beginning, telling about the reasons for making a PhD in Italy, which might sound a little bit weird, but romantic as well, because this is a story of how love reproduce itself in in the PhD thesis. It started with a touristic trip to Catania. And when I was walking around katanya I found the University of Catania and fell in love immediately. So I was just I was feeling that I do belong there, you know, in this medieval building with this sculptures with this wonderful garden, I just felt that I don’t want to go out of here. Rather, I would like to do something there. And I was lucky to meet that there was an opportunity of a kind of internship very brief one, which was a funded by, together by the Minister of Education in Russia and Italy. So I’ve applied for this possibility. And one of the conditions to apply for this possibility was to receive the letter from someone from the faculty in Catania, so that I met my supervisor whom I love, respect, and that relate my Professor Bruno Cardozo. So he supported me for this scholarship, which I did not get. And then when I came back to him again, he said, and don’t you want to try to enter PG course here. And I asked myself, and really, why don’t why don’t I want to try. So there was a competition, there were 12 people who just one place funded by the government. And I was the first one to pass this exams, it was so funny, because the part of the exam was the exam in English. And I was speaking Russian, English, a little bit Italian, and professors, but definitely not speaking Russian. So I had to pass an exam, translating from English into Italian, which I didn’t know that well. But I think that they were very confident, perhaps in my other competencies, because I already had, by the time several publications, and I was so happy to know that I pass this examination that I will make this study for three years and sincerely, and thus the whole family, because at that time, I already had two kids, the whole family moved to katanya. So will it close to Kenya, my daughter started the whole school. In Italian, my son started his kindergarten in Italian. So the whole family had in all kinds of new life, the new fresh breath of air. The first year was really full of very positive emotions. But then I started to feel to feel that there was something what I missed there. So it was the time for me to understand that I really belong to Russian society. So I missed a lot. My Russian colleagues and Mr. Long the atmosphere in Russia, Russian culture, St. Petersburg, in particular. And this is why the last two years, I was just waiting for the time to when I will receive my PhD and will be able to come to come back home to Russia. Also something interesting, which might be said about subtly that in the beginning, when we decided to move people said, but how can you move to see today, there is my fear, what are you going to do there? I was so funny, because I was also listening to those people are thinking and what if that was really my fear? So what started to speak to my neighbors? That time? And in the beginning, they said, but why do you say you’ve just watched too much too many films, too many American films about the Italian Mafia, it is already outdated, everything is fine. So I believe them, and I was calm, I thought that it is really it only exists now in cinema. But then, you know, it was funny to know that there is to my fear, because I’ve heard in some time when already neighbors became confident. I’ve heard some stories that for example, on another street, that was my one Murphy was killed by Viva true, and so on. So you know, it is interesting how everything evolves with time, and the more confident people become in you, the more information you get about the society itself. I also had some experience of applying Italian labor law, because once for example, the man who had to repair my car and whom I already paid, he told me that he did it. And while I’ve noticed that something is wrong, so I thought that seems like he didn’t do anything. And then I found out that he really didn’t do anything. So he had to change the part of the car, but he just paid it and this is all I tried to speak to him and he just ignored me. I said, Okay, I will check the Criminal Code of Federal Code of Italy. I’ve checked it that there is crime fraud, I went to the police and said I want to inform you that the crime has been committed. And it was funny to see the reaction of the policeman. He said, Oh girl come down. Now we will call him and we will resolve this problem. So he asked me the number telephone number of this, this man, he called him immediately. So just I was sitting in front of him and told me hello and told him Hello, this is a police officer. We have this problem. Could you kindly solve this problem? Pay her back the money should paid you and it was served immediately. So you see how the system can function properly. So properly in the sense of efficiency not properly in the sense of complying with the relevant norms. I love very much this experience. 


Fred Rocafort  10:14 

One follow up. In, for example, in your case, when you were in in Sicily, how did people treat you? I think that certainly in the case of Americans, we we carry with us everything that the country has has done and the reputation it has. And certainly in recent history, there’s there’s always something going on, I had to live in China during the time of the Iraq war, for example. And that was something that was always hanging over conversations, if you were to speculate as to what the experience of living in Sicily would be, like for, say, an American, or perhaps a Chinese person, where would Russians fall in that spectrum? 


Elena Sychenko  10:56 

Well, I think that the treatment would be the same, whether it would be a Russian person, as in my case, or Chinese or an American, because you know, seen in society is very open to foreigners from from one point of view, in the sense that they really, they’re really happy to see you, they’re really interested to know something new about your country, they are very hospitable. And it was really a pleasure, because in the very beginning, all the neighbors, they they, they always treated us very good. They always brought something to eat, for example, my neighbor who is my dear friend, until now, he brought another vegetable, you know, you might open the door in the morning, and find that enormous bag full of fruits full of oranges, or then enormous bag full of vegetables, and so on. So for me, it was really astonishing how people might be so interested and so hospitable, and so open in respect of a foreigner. 


Fred Rocafort  12:03 

That’s great. I’d like to talk more about about your work. But But before we do that, as a preliminary question, how your interest in in labor laws, specifically in international labor law arose, all of us in the profession have our specialties. And sometimes that’s the result of a strong passion that we feel about something in some cases, it might just be circumstances that that lead you into on a particular track. But in your case, what were the factors that shaped your your career in the form that it’s that it’s taken? 


Elena Sychenko  12:42 

I think that I have to start from very far answering this question, because I loved always when I was a child, when I was a teen, I loved reading a lot. And I love this classical fiction books as deacons goes, law, and so on. And they often raise the problem of inequality of social injustice. And I’ve almost feel that I do really have great interest in this issue. So when I was studying at the university, labor law particularly struck me because I was feeling that employees the part that really needs protection from the state. And for me, it was interesting to see how different states they have different mechanism for this protection. Well, I’ll speak about American one better to focus on the European countries, which they really have very efficient instruments to, to ensure the better balance between the economic interests of the employer and the social interests of an employee. Another point was that when I switched to international labor law, that very often I saw that some injustice or better a lot of injustice still might be within the national system, national judicial system, when even though your rights are evidence, you cannot succeed, in your case, because of the false interpretation because of some other problems. And when I knew about the cases on labor rights, which were considered by the European Court of Human Rights, and when I’ve seen that it is really helping people, not only to win their own case, but also to reconstruct the whole system. So you know, that the judgement of the European Court of Human Rights might be a great challenge for the whole system. And in some cases in Russia in the field of, for example, Social Security. It really was the first push for the Russian Federation to change certain norms in the legislation. So I was thinking, wow, this is a great power, I mean, internationally below, and how I would like to know more about it. And the more I the more the deeper I get into To the problematic of international labor law, the more passionate they become. And recently I have very keen interest in free trade agreements, because of free trade agreements is another way to put forward international labor standards. So, for example, there was an agreement between the EU and Canada. And under this agreement, the parties undertook to ratify the fundamental conventions of the ILO and Canada did ratify two of them, even though before they did not. So I see this instrument as something very efficient to to promote further the standards of protection of workers rights. And I’m very inspired with the opportunity to challenge the way of things in particular in developing countries. 


Fred Rocafort  15:49 

There’s a lot we could talk about regarding regarding this topic. Maybe one way of approaching it would be by discussing your experience in Pakistan, that that’s also something that jumps out at me, could you tell us a little more about what you did in Pakistan, and how the the experience was, 


Elena Sychenko  16:10 

Once you boil it absolutely, correctly, that it was a great experience, it was very interesting, it was challenging. And at the same time, it was kind of terrifying. Because to tell the truth, it was my first experience of research when I was going through different papers, reports, and I was literally crying. Because I’ve never thought that things about which I was reading, do really exist in the 21st century. So for me, it was it was something unthinkable, unbelievable. That steel, I don’t know, people may sell the part of their bodies to to pay the depth, to be able to free their children from bonded labor. That steel, people, women can be forced to marry. For example, there was a big scandal in Pakistan, that a lot of Chinese came to the country, they were false marriages, but they weren’t real marriages. But they were brought down to China and sold to prostitution. And there were around 1000 women, young women who sold like this. And this is why when I was walking over this fretboard, I opened the new problems, which I thought are not existing anymore. And I also referred the importance of international labor law, the importance of international society, and the needs and also the ways of putting pressure on developing countries from the fight of international society. I also reevaluated the value of NGOs. And I think that there is a lot of potential for them to put pressure on multinationals are working in developing countries, and put pressure also on or look pressure to bring information before the human rights bodies to enter let people know what is really happening in the country. It was really a very challenging experience. Now think comparing, for example, for years when I was writing PhD in katanya, it was also quite a hard word. And comparing with eight months of writing the report for the ILO about Pakistan, I would say that the letter was much more difficult and much, much, much more challenging. Fascinating. 


Fred Rocafort  18:33 

These materials, a lot of this is is very sensitive, how was it that you you were able to to carry out your your work? What kind of challenges did you have in terms of having access to information? I mean, what what was the level of transparency? I mean, was this a situation where the the authorities in Pakistan were fully cooperative? Or was that one of the challenges as well? 


Elena Sychenko  19:00 

It was quite challenging. Because the information about the topic which was the object of my research, I mean about forced labor, so relevant regulation, and firstly, it was a very complex issue. So it covers the problems of migrant labor, it covers the problem of sexual exploitation of child labor. And very often, I found out that the information I need might be found only on the sides of international organizations. So what was striking for me, nothing was found on the sides of government, for example, or labor departments in Pakistan or labor was found. And it was striking because I was thinking that mostly this information should serve for for the Society for the National Society for people who live in this country and not for the international society. In the same time, during the project we interviewed The Labor Department’s and they were very cooperative. So they were quite open. They were ready to spend time with us and to answer the questions. We also had information from the Human Rights Committee of Pakistan. And we were speaking with different NGOs. So overall, I would not say that they wanted to create the kind of imaginary vision of Pakistan, no, rather rather they they contributed to, to my perception of Pakistan is something something real, something leaving something by them. 


Fred Rocafort  20:40 

Interesting, really interesting. And I mean, forced labor. That is a topic that we could spend the entire podcast, let’s let’s let’s pivot to to China, I’d like to hear more about the the program that you’re supervising at St. Petersburg State University, how did this program arise? How the How did it get started? Give us a little bit more detail about how it works and what it’s doing. And and what has the experience been like, at a human level? You know, maybe maybe you have some, some anecdotes about students? 


Elena Sychenko  21:15 

Well, I will start with the self thing. I have no anecdotes about this program. But rather, you know, it’s now difficult to judge because we had our first graduates last year in the COVID. So is very difficult to judge whether they had an opportunity to work in China to work in Chinese firms here in St. Petersburg, or in Moscow. However, I think and I’m, I’m pretty sure that they experienced they had the knowledge they had would be very helpful, because in my, in my own life, I have understood that the more languages you know, the more beautiful the world becomes, it has much more much more colors, when you know an additional language. And when you are familiar with an additional culture at at least and also starting with this point of view, I would use other minutes to for the publicity of my program. So this program started five years ago, it was an idea of the director of because at that time that economic relations with China were putting up the level of trade was increasing. And we got aware about the need to have experts both in Russian law and Chinese law, because there were a lot of cross border business arising also in Russia and then China. And another thing is that to know the law of another country, it is better also to be able to read it slow. So to have an opportunity to open the initial source and and read it yourself and try to understand it yourself, rather than relying on some secondary resources. This is why the idea was developing as teaching them Chinese law and teaching them Chinese language. So they start learning Chinese from the very first year, and they have the course of Chinese for four years and quite a lot of hours each semester. Then, definitely the focus is made on legal subjects, and each legal subjects. So each branch of law is given in the following way. So they have, for example, labor law of Russia and China. So first, they receive information about Russian labor law, then we have organised twice a year. So in the end of the fall semester and the end of spring semester, weeks of Chinese law. So we have very good relations with the best civil law universities in China, as Chinese University of political science and law as a dealing University, the University of faking. And the best experts. Well, they came to us before COVID and delivered normal real life lectures, which were very appreciated by the students because it’s very interesting always to switch also not only from one professor to another, but also from Professor coming from one culture, then to Professor comes from another culture and legal culture as well. Now, we organize these lectures in online format, which I would say is really beneficial, because we are more free in the organization of this lectures. And it is much easier for the professors as well, because it’s much easier to find two hours for lecturing than to find five days to come to St. Petersburg and stay for a certain period for for the lecturing on spot. And also, when at the end of the course, we try to make some comparative analysis. So once they have knowledge of Russian part, then receive information on Chinese part we can finally compare, and this is mostly the time One, the lectures are particularly interesting because you can analyze the difference. And you can think about why are these different, so important? And why did they come up? Why is the same question is decided differently in two cultures are always perceived differently in these two cultures? 


Fred Rocafort  25:21 

This is great. This is fascinating. I mean, I’m, I’m intrigued. I have so many questions, both about the program, but also just about the related topic. So so let me let me just start with this, you know, as part of our work at Harris, Bricken, we’re a very international law firm, a lot of our work involves cross jurisdictional work, where issues like this, or or frameworks like this are very useful, right? You have you have to take into account the law of one country and the law of another and sort of bring them together. And one thing that we find, certainly in the case of China, right, is that is that there is there’s a considerable gap, like for example, if you if you were to ask an American lawyer to come up with a with a contract, and you ask Chinese lawyer to do the same thing, probably the two resulting documents are going to be quite quite different. Just just in terms of the the entire approach to law. If you were to conduct the same analysis between Chinese and Russian law, please correct me if I’m wrong, but I would assume that the two systems are probably a little bit closer to each other than, say, the Chinese and the American system, because of I’m assuming, because of the closer connections to the civil law tradition that that both Russia and China have. And also, because of course, some of some of China’s legal system comes from its its socialist tradition. Right. And Russia has undergone that as well. So is it fair to say that the starting point when you are doing this comparative work, the Russian and Chinese systems might be slightly closer at least than say, the the Chinese and American systems, 


Elena Sychenko  27:10 

They are definitely closer, but in the same time, there are huge differences for sure. They are closer because they take roots in the civil system, also, because, for example, in China, the key issues are decided by the party and then are translated into the legislation and basically the ruling of the party are forming the law. So in Russia, is slightly the same, because they’re the main ruling party is the party of the president. And And also, what is what is discussed within the party is central slided into law. 


Fred Rocafort  27:56 

So let’s talk about Russia and China more generally, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the relationship between the two countries, not necessarily at the political level, although that’s interesting. I mean, certainly, I’m curious as to as to the deeper connection between between the countries.  


Elena Sychenko  28:15 

I will say that speaking about relations between China and Russia, we should be mindful about the general situation on the international level. So we know that both Russia and China face a lot of sanctions, right. And it is, to a certain extent, they are just pushed one toe is another because there are a lot of sanctions from the US from the EU upon Russia, there are these problematic relations between the US and China. And they’re these are the two centers of strength in Eurasia, is Russia and, and China. So basically seems like they don’t have no choice but to try to be close together. And I would say that relations with Russia are definitely in the fourth years of universities in China, because we had before COVID delegations from the key universities in China from all the provinces. And the same might be said about Russian universities as well. The the media development of the program, which I supervise is a great illustration of the interest also affair authorities because this problem was financed by the Russian Federation. So it means the interest of the authorities towards developing relations with China. We don’t have programs law and language of France or Germany or the US. So I think that’s a good evidence of the level of relations, the level of confidence and and the deep belief and the perspective of these relations. By the way, we have the same problems at St. Petersburg University in economics, as far as I remember in sociology and some others So it’s not something unique and in the problem in law, also in other fields of science, there is also try tight cooperation. Another illustration, but almost always within my sphere within higher education is the creation of joint universities in China was created joint university with Moscow State University. And they have built the campus. And for me, it was surprising to see that this campus really looks like the Moscow State University. Now the main building this famous building, which is one of the most perhaps famous views of Moscow, the same in miniature was built in China. And they have several, several faculties and already two or three years of teaching there. And the stuff is joined so badly, they have stuff from Moscow University, and partly they have stopped from from Chinese University. Another more recent initiative is also building off the campus of the joint University in Harbin. So St. Petersburg University concluded an agreement with Harbin authorities and with the University of Harbin. And now they are building the new campus. And they are going to announce the undergraduate programs in a while. All this illustrates that the countries are really perceived as friends, as partners, not only in the field of economics, in the field of business, in the field of politics, but also in the field of higher education.  


Fred Rocafort  31:39 

That’s, that’s fascinating. And I think that one of the big gaps that I always saw in certainly, American understanding of China, but probably more more broadly, was this lack of knowledge really about what other interactions are taking place between China and the world. Like there’s there’s a tendency, for example, you talked just now about these cooperative arrangements right between your university and the university in Harbin. And we tend to focus too much, for example, on the issues that are taking place with American universities in, in China. And that’s, of course, logical, you know, there’s there’s going to be a strong interest in that. But I think that unfortunately, the story often ends there, like, well, you know, things are becoming harder for US universities that want to operate campuses in in China. And there’s not enough of that, understanding that at the same time there, there’s this deepening relationship, right between, I mean, in this particular case between Russia and China, but perhaps also other relationships that are that are taking place. And I feel that there might be a risk there. From, as I said, of creating a blind spot that results in a uninformed view of things that are that are taking place. Before we end, I would like to focus on on Russia more and more specifically, I think you are our first guest, who’s in Russia, we’ve we’ve we’ve interviewed a couple of Russians, who who live overseas, but I think you’re you’re our first Russia based guests. So well, I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to ask you just for some general observations on the Russian legal system, in general terms, you know, I’m wondering, for example, about the structure. I know that that Russia is a very diverse country, with different political entities that that form it. Could you give us a just an overview of how the Russian legal system works, you know, what the court structure is like, and and just some, maybe some key points that that we should you know, that that international lawyers should know about at least the very basics of what they should know about the Russian legal system? 


Elena Sychenko  34:09 

Well, Russian legal system is quite characteristic for any civil law system. So the law itself takes root from the Roman and German legislation. For example, our Civil Code has very much in common with a German code as to the system, so we have the Parliament. It consists of two parts, the Duma, which has the right to propose a view and finally the village is approved by the President. There are quite few bodies who have the legislative initiative, normally the deputies of the Duma, the Senate, the president, the courts, as far as their competence is concerned. It’s very good that we have codes. So all the laws almost are codified in each branch almost in each branch of law. And I would say, for those who do comparative law, this is just, you know, the gift from the gods, because it is much easier to operate within a qualified legal system than within let’s say, Anglo Saxon legal system, or the system wide boards are not qualified. Another key thing that mostly all laws are approved on the level of the Federation. And normally, in the majority of spheres, the subjects of Russian Federation have very little competence. So the major regulation is adopted on the federal level, which is also very good for perhaps it’s not that good for the regions, but it’s very good for the researchers. As for the the subjects we have around 90 subjects, they have different scope of firepower. Why would say so for example, Republic’s may have their own constitution, they have little bit more power. While such regions as for example, just regions as landing grid of less well, I live as close to St. Petersburg, they have less. We have code system, where the main part is the Supreme Court. Then we have the station courts, appellate courts and courts and in the cities. We have the Constitutional Court, which moved from Moscow to St. Petersburg, and now is based and the historical buildings and the Senate square in the very center of St. Petersburg, Constitutional Court has a right to consider the legislation. And even while we can say that repeated, so those norms, which were considered as unconstitutional by the court, they cannot be implemented anymore. And normally, the legislator is working quite efficiently and adopting relevant laws to amend the legislation which was considered as unconstitutional quite, quite soon for a ban. But normally, it’s like that. And I think that if I have two minutes for delivering you the introduction, international law, this is good. 


Fred Rocafort  37:31 

No, that’s, that’s, that’s fantastic. And as I as I listened to your explanation, I thought we we will need to have someone at some point where we focus on these issues. You know, thank you for that introduction. And and we’ll we’ll use that as a, as a starting point for, for future explorations. And thank you, thank you very much for for your time and for for joining us. One last thing before we let you go. Do you have any recommendations for our listeners, 


Elena Sychenko  38:01 

With great pleasure, I would recommend to watch the documentary while it’s very famous, because it’s received Oscar American factory, it’s a documentary about creation of a factory by Chinese business in the US, perhaps you’ve watched, have you? 


Fred Rocafort  38:17 

I have, and that’s a fantastic recommendation, which I will endorse. 


Elena Sychenko  38:21 

And, you know, I’ve asked my students to watch it before the start of the course of international labor law. And it created the fact that they watched it, and they had a lot of questions, and we discuss it with so much pleasure, because it shows all the problems which you already referred to today, the difference of cultures the difference of perception of many things, the difference between Chinese and us and so on. And another thing which is also relevant to my skill of interest. It’s a book which I’ve recently read. The old face also the novel, winning literature, Mario Yasser. The title is the dream of a CELT. It tells the light the story of life of Roger Casement he worked for the British Empire, and he was the one to discover the horrors of treatment of local people in Congo, and the treatment of local people in Pharaoh while they were working for enterprises, about people who were forced to work about different cruel things which happened there. So basically, it’s about forced labor and also it is about the opportunity of the international society to challenge the way of things which even took place in the beginning of the 20th century. 


Fred Rocafort  39:38 

Absolutely. endorse the both of those my own recommendation and I was actually going to bring it up during the conversation because I thought there was some relevance there but I decided to, to just just leave it for the end. I finally got around to watching squid game. I have to say it is great. I know Uh, I’m always very careful or wary, I should say of anything that has a lot of hype, you know, when people are talking too much about something, I think I have this natural defensive streak to say, is it really going to be that good, but I think it’s great and there are some very serious issues being being addressed that really go to to what some of the things you were mentioning earlier about the the need for for certain protections and and what can happen when the right balance is not found and when it comes to to protecting the the average citizen. So on that note, Elena, thank you very much. Thank you very much for for for your time greatly enjoyed our our conversation 


Elena Sychenko  40:47 

Thank you for the invitation. 


Jonathan Bench  40:53 

We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode, we look forward to connecting with you on social media to continue discussing developments in global law and business. This podcast was produced by Harris Sliwoski with executive producer Madeline Williams music composed by Stephen Schmidt. Tune in next week for another episode. We’ll see you then