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Until 01.01.2019 - Scientific Yearbook of the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

ISSN 2686-7206 (Print)

ISSN 2686-925X (Оnlinе)

Safonov Aleksander

Abstract: The authors explore legal consciousness of Russian higher bureaucracy during the First Russian revolution expressed in its views on the problem of advancing political and legal system. They examine the role bureaucracy played in the course of defining the content of civil liberties and, more broadly, in the political development of the Russian Empire towards democratization. The authors analyze the impact of bureaucracy on the process of decision-making and policymaking. Bureaucracy is treated as the architect of the political and legal modernization of the Russian Empire as the country of “delayed modernization” at the beginning of the last century. The article demonstrates that policy of exercising individual rights and freedoms gave rise to confrontation between conservative officials who were skeptical toward the possibility of implementing civil liberties in the time of revolution and weakening of monarchical power, and reform-minded bureaucrats who were ready to create foundations for the «renewed order». Growing in conditions of deep political and legal reforms in the last decade of the Russian monarchy, the conflict between bureaucratic elites made impact over the policy of granting freedoms, turning it into the result of fragile compromise among the highest power hierarchy. In search for modernization of institutions, laws
and procedures, the enlightened bureaucrats defended the projects of reforms, according to which a person was given the opportunity to exercise his/her rights and to obtain certain guarantees for their implementation from the state, as well as the protection by the judicial system. Traditionalist views of conservative officials limited the content of reforms and adapted them to the conditions of the existing legal order. The reforms aimed at the implementation of civil liberties became the result of the views and influences of both progressive and traditionalist-minded bureaucrats.
Keywords: bureaucracy; individual rights and freedoms; constitutional reform; beginning of XX century; Russian Empire.

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