Russia's Legal Fictions
Publication Year: 1998
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Series: Law, Meaning, and Violence
Research for this publication was supported by grants (in 1989 and 1992) from the International Research and Exchanges Board, with funds provided by the U.S. Department of State (Title VIII program) and the National Endowment for the Humanities. None of these...
Much has been written in recent years about the relation between law and the realm of fiction, narrative, and rhetoric. 1 We have been told that law is vulnerable to the same contingencies of interpretation as any other written text and is as dependent on the master narratives of its...
1. The Theater of Sukhovo-Kobylin
On November 9,1850, in the Presnenskii district of Moscow, the police officer Il'inskii reported to his chief, the ober-politsmeister of Moscow, that "outside the Presnenskii gate on Khodynskoe field the dead body of a woman of unknown identity had been...
2. Trial by Jury and Trials of the Jury
The legal reform of 1864 initiated by the government of Alexander II transformed the trial from a secret, written proceeding based on the "inquisitorial" principle into an open, public, oral proceeding organized to a far greater degree by the adversarial principle...
3. Crimes of Fiction/Fictitious Crimes: A. S. Suvorin and N. D. Akhsharumov
The "great reforms" of Alexander II, which brought radical change to Russia's courts, also changed the way the Russian press was regulated. A law of 1865 suspended most of the harsh preliminary censorship that had been in place since the early part of the century...
4. Dostoevsky's Diary: A Child Is Being Beaten
In The Diary of a Writer, his unique one-man monthly journal, Dostoevsky is fascinated by the new jury trials and the new institution of the bar.2 He had already written about the law in his journalistic work of the early 1860s and in his fiction up to 1876, the year he began...
5. Testimony and Testament: Solzhenitsyn and the Scar of the Gulag
Solzhenitsyn was an inmate of the Gulag from 1945 to 1953. His crime was having written a few negative remarks about Stalin in a letter to a friend. He was indicted under article 58, point 11 of the Soviet criminal code, participation in an organization for the purpose of propaganda...
6. Siniavskii, Libel, and the Author's Liability
The trial and conviction of lulii Daniel' and Andrei Siniavskii in 1966 is not a unique instance of the Soviet government's brutality toward its writers. 1In 1964, the poet Joseph Brodsky was arrested. Without regular employment, Brodsky was in violation of the law requiring...
In writing this work, I have been nagged by the thought that no matter how interesting or compelling the materials I describe may be, their import may be dismissed because I am talking about Russia, and the target of discussion in the law-and-humanities field is invariably...