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Breaking the Ties That BoundThe Politics of Marital Strife in Late Imperial Russia$
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Barbara Alpern Engel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449512

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449512.001.0001

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The Ties That Bound

The Ties That Bound

Chapter:
(p.14) 1 The Ties That Bound
Source:
Breaking the Ties That Bound
Author(s):

Barbara Alpern Engel

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801449512.003.0002

This chapter examines the structures that reinforced the marital bond in late nineteenth-century Russia. The constraints against people's ability to free themselves from the bonds of matrimony were unusually severe because of the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, which, regarding marriage as a sacrament, fiercely protected its control of the regulation of marriage and divorce among its faithful. Limiting the grounds for divorce to adultery, sexual incapacity, abandonment, and penal exile, even then the church granted divorce only reluctantly, and only after a cumbersome and expensive process. Separation was illegal under article 103 of family law, which strictly forbade any action that “might lead to the separation of spouses.” Russia's civil courts also lacked the authority to intervene on women's behalf, despite the appeals of innumerable unhappily married women.

Keywords:   marriage, marital bond, imperial Russia, divorce, separation, Russian Orthodox Church, family law, judicial separation

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