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Liberalismo e autocrazia nella Russia di Nicola II

Scholarship and the Idea of a Law-Governed State under Nicholas II

Anno XXV, n. 111, ottobre-dicembre 1990
Centro Einaudi


Abstract disponibile solo in lingua inglese

This paper sets out (a) to observe the effects of Rechtsstaat/Rule of Law models on Russian juridical culture; (b) to observe the dissociation between the research carried out by a group of legal scholars and the decisions taken by the Government at the time of the first Russian constitution (1906); (c) to observe, albeit marginally, the comments which Soviet legal scholarship has recently voiced upon the pre-revolutionary elaboration of the notion of the law-governed State. The main thesis of the article is that the impossibility of transferring to the material life of positive law legal scholars' efforts to transform Russian autocracy into a law-governed State has exhausted the original model of Rechtsstaat adopted by "liberal" Russian jurists. As a result, even before the model was fully developed in the political sphere, confidence in it was undermined by the new doctrines – such as the sociological analysis of law and Marxist scientific materialism – which attracted the Russian intelligentsia at the turn of the century. Moving on to the contemporary situation, the author observes that, following the political rehabilitation of the idea of the law-governed State at the XIX Conference of the Soviet Communist Party (1988), Russian legal scholars have stressed their interest in the analysis of their (non-Marxist) pre-revolutionary counterparts. Nonetheless, models for the organisation of a law-governed State are sought in the Western, rather than the Russian, cultural world.