Legal Identity and the Possession of Serfs in Imperial Russia*

  title={Legal Identity and the Possession of Serfs in Imperial Russia*},
  author={Elise Kimerling Wirtschafter},
  journal={The Journal of Modern History},
  pages={561 - 587}
  • E. Wirtschafter
  • Published 1 September 1998
  • History, Law
  • The Journal of Modern History
Political histories of imperial Russia have long recognized that until the creation of an elected legislative assembly in 1906, rulers were expected to observe the law, though they also could change it at will. Tsarist government, it can be said, was based not on the rule of law but on the rule of laws. Like their counterparts across Europe, Russians from all levels of the social hierarchy, including serfs, used formal laws to pursue personal interests and to protect themselves from abuses of… 
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