Winston Churchill described Russia as a ‘riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma’, and the fall of Soviet communism has hardly invalidated that description. We refer you to the fast-growing state-run global news service RT (Russia Today). For some ‘in the west’, RT is a sort of anti-Fox News, offering a refreshingly alternative (if occasionally eccentric) world view.

For others, RT is no more than the Kremlin’s propaganda channel. An enigma indeed. In this week of the St Petersburg International Legal Forum, the Gazette doffs its cap to the shrewdness and adaptability of the many UK law firms that are prospering in Russia, which is itself a tribute to the high esteem in which England and Wales law is held there (see feature).

As ever, there is a caveat. Our lead letter this week insightfully highlights one glaring contradiction in this regard. While the vigour and integrity of English law is trumpeted for overseas consumption, far-reaching reforms closer to home surely threaten to jeopardise that peerless status.

It would help if the coalition would listen more, rather than simply equate the producer interest with vested interest. Roger Smith makes this point cogently in his column on overseas public defender schemes. If it must be done, at least do it right, is his message. Quite.