How revolutionary was revolutionary justice? Legal culture in Russia across the revolutionary divide
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On 24 November 1917, the Bolsheviks published their vision for a new justice system. Abolishing all existing courts, they established local (later people’s) courts for crimes such as murder, theft and civil disputes, and revolutionary tribunals to combat threatening ‘counter-revolutionary’ crimes such as plots, revolts and sabotage. Both courts were instructed to rely on existing laws only insofar as they did not contradict new decrees or party programmes, and to use revolutionary consciousness to reach a verdict. Through this and subsequent decrees, the Bolsheviks intended to create a new legal culture for the revolutionary state.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Routledge via the link in this record
In: Rethinking the Russian Revolution as Historical Divide. Edited by Matthias Neumann, Andy Willimott, chapter 2
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