The government and the problem of legality between 1904 and 1917

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The article presents an analysis of the development of the alternative discourses on zakonnost' (legality) in Russian politics between 1904 and 1917. The author seeks to define the various origins of that legal and political doctrine and locate the models of legal reforms offered by Russian politicians from Petr Sviatopolk-Mirskii to Petr Stolypin within the theoretical and semantic field of legal debates in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russia and Europe. The meanings of the term zakonnost' as it appeared in legislative acts, government rhetoric and liberal ideology precisely corresponded to competing visions of the ideal regime of Rule of law-either the conservative German Rechtsstaat or the Slavophile theory of legal monarchy, which in Russian context both symbolized the alternatives to constitutional monarchy, or the liberal doctrine of constitutional democracy. Consequently, the programs of legal reforms offered under the slogan of "legality" in the 1904-1907 period implied various institutional reforms (the reform of the Senate, local courts and administration). The analysis of Russian legal vocabulary and different understandings of the key legal concept of Russian politics helps interpret the goals and meaning of judicial and political reforms during and after the Revolution of 1905.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)209-220+558+570
JournalCahiers du Monde Russe
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Apr 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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