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Russian Lawyers and the Soviet State

Russian Lawyers and the Soviet State: The Origins and Development of the Soviet Bar, 1917-1939

Eugene Huskey
Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 260
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  • Book Info
    Russian Lawyers and the Soviet State
    Book Description:

    This study traces the development of the Soviet Bar through periods of legal nihilism and legal revival to its final integration into the Soviet order at the end of the 1930s--a story of uncertainty and conflict in the Bolshevik ranks over the role of the lawyer under socialism and one of resistance to Soviet power by a profession jealous of its own autonomy

    Originally published in 1986.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5451-6
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    When the Bolsheviks assumed power in October 1917, they inherited intact from the old regime an established Bar that in the last decades of tsarist rule had occupied a prominent place in the Russian intelligentsia. But like all segments of the creative and professional intelligentsia, the members of the Bar—known in Russia as advocates¹—were an inheritance that the new regime accepted with ambivalence. As the educated elite of the country, the intelligentsia was essential to the Bolshevik program of transforming Russia into a modern industrial state. However, as specialists whose social backgrounds and professional activities were associated with...

    (pp. 11-33)

    On the eve of the revolutions of 1917 the legal profession was the product of two distinct currents in Russian legal history, liberal and autocratic.¹ The origins of the profession lay in the autocratic tradition, which dominated legal practice from the first appearance of lawyers in Russian courts in the fifteenth century until the Judicial Reform of 1864. During this period, the functions of legal representatives were narrowly circumscribed. In criminal cases, for example, judges reached their decisions in camera and based them exclusively on a written synopsis of the investigation. Unable to participate directly in court proceedings, the legal...

    (pp. 34-79)

    In the early autumn of 1917 the Russian Bar appeared to be developing rapidly into a powerful intermediary institution akin to the legal professions in Western European states. But the enhanced position of sworn advocates in the Russian political and legal system was dependent upon the sympathetic policies of the Provisional Government and on the reduced prominence of the state in Russian society, which had facilitated the growth of institutions from below. Once the Provisional Government was swept from the scene by the October Revolution of 1917 the conditions necessary for maintaining the profession along its existing course of development...

  8. Chapter Three THE BAR RESTORED, 1922-1927
    (pp. 80-142)

    Russia emerged from the Revolution and Civil War an exhausted and devastated nation. The young Bolshevik regime had succeeded in consolidating its military and political position in the country, but in so doing it laid waste to the economy and eroded its social bases of support. Not only did thousands of the Communist party’s most loyal adherents die in fighting for the Revolution, the working class itself, which gave the Bolsheviks the theoretical justification and the human material with which to govern, was severely depleted. The number of workers declined from 2.6 million in 1913 to under 1.2 million in...

  9. Chapter Four THE BAR UNDER SIEGE, 1928-1932
    (pp. 143-179)

    The pressure for a major reorientation of party policy on all fronts began to build through the mid-1920s as the original goals of the New Economic Policy—economic recovery and social stability—were realized. For the ideologically flexible partisans of Stalin as well as the party’s unbending left wing, which, as Leonard Schapiro notes, “had never been reconciled to NEP,”² the tactical retreat introduced by Lenin in 1921 was viewed increasingly as an impediment to the construction of a socialist order. Impatient with the modest rate of economic growth and with the limitations of political control, the party leadership abandoned...

  10. Chapter Five THE BAR AND THE TRIUMPH OF STALINISM, 1933-1939
    (pp. 180-222)

    The year 1932 witnessed the beginning of a gradual reorientation of Soviet legal policy. Once the major social and economic transformations of the second revolution had been achieved, the role of law began to shift from a facilitator of social change to a protector of the status quo. In the language of Soviet historiography this represented a movement away from legal nihilism and toward the stability of law.²

    While the RSFSR Justice Commissar Krylenko and others remained wedded to the nihilist approach to law in the early 1930s, the RSFSR Procurator A. Vyshinsky, apparently enjoying the patronage of powerful forces...

    (pp. 223-228)

    One of the major questions raised by this study of the formative years of the Soviet Bar is why the transformation of the advocates was more protracted and more qualified than in other groups in Soviet society. Whereas the prerevolutionary traditions, institutions, and personnel of such diverse groups as the writers, the doctors, and the engineers had been thoroughly transformed by 1934,¹ the final triumph of the state over the advocates was achieved only in 1939. The most compelling explanation for this is the low priority attached to the advocates’ function by the political leadership. In providing legal assistance to...

  12. Glossary of Russian Terms
    (pp. 229-232)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 233-242)
  14. Index
    (pp. 243-247)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 248-248)