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Establishing state mechanisms for the protection of human rights in post-Soviet Russia has been an uncertain endeavor. While the nongovernment sector quickly embraced the public space created by perestroika, the evolution of state-sponsored initiatives has taken a more problematic course. The judicial system has witnessed substantial reform, yet continues to face enormous challenges, which have been determined by a number of constituent factors: psychological, financial, and political. This study seeks to examine the performance of another agency of state accountability, the Russian human rights ombudsman, and to consider its contribution to democracy building in Russia. In discussing the historical context in which the office was established, the direction in which it has developed, and its performance and attendant political responses, this article contends that despite the vicissitudes that shaped its beginnings, the office of the human rights ombudsman is making a valuable contribution to the expansion of administrative justice in contemporary Russia, as it begins to hold government agencies accountable for state human rights violations.