Which Way is The Russian Double-headed Eagle Looking?


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The article examines the historical reasons for the unique relationship between the state and the law in Russia, which has a system-forming impact on all aspects of life in modern Russia. The authors analyze the duality of the Russian political and legal world – ‘Athens’ vs ‘Jerusalem’ – ‘East vs West’ – ‘legal state vs state of obligation’ – and reveal the philosophical and ethical maxims through which it became possible to talk about Russia’s peculiar historical path and the modern image of Russia. In the latter case, the authors focus particular attention on the phenomenon of ‘sobornost’ [‘the spiritual community of many people living in the same space’] establishing that, in the philosophy of the Slavophiles, this category played the role of both a religious and a national proto-symbol, which can be understood as a source of spiritual unity of the people, connecting them from the outset during the sacrament of communal prayer and then being transferred to everyday life, organizing and directing all social practices of the Orthodox society in a special way. It is pointed out that the philosophical reflection on Russia’s peculiar historical path has found a certain continuation in the idea of the ‘Slavic legal family’ proposed by Professor V.N. Sinyukov. The authors do not overlook the problems of legal nihilism as an attribute of the Russian political and legal practice. The instinctive distrust of complexity and inclination towards the utmost simplicity in solving social problems is named as one of the reasons for the legal nihilism of the Russian people. In the final section, the authors address the issue of borrowing the political and legal experience from foreign sources. The ‘pole points’ of the analysis are the Eastern experience of the Chinese state and the Western experience of French law. Expansion of the Anglo-American law is defined by the authors as the ‘other kind of milk’ for the ‘Russian coffee’ – which generally corresponds to the global trend in this sphere.

About the Authors

Vladimir Przhilenskiy
Kutafin Moscow State Law University (Moscow, Russia)
Russian Federation

Professor of Kutafin Moscow State Law University (9 Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya Street, Moscow, 123286, Russia

Maria Zakharova
Kutafin Moscow State Law University (Moscow, Russia)
Russian Federation

Kutafin Moscow State Law University, Associate Member of the International Academy of Comparative Law (9 Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya Street, Moscow, 123286, Russia


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Supplementary files

For citation: Przhilenskiy V., Zakharova M. Which Way is The Russian Double-headed Eagle Looking?. Russian Law Journal. 2016;4(2):6-25. https://doi.org/10.17589/2309-8678-2016-4-2-6-25

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