The Politics of Marital Strife
This concluding chapter describes changes in Russian law in the early twentieth century. The revised passport law of March 12, 1914, ended the chancellery's role in resolving marital disputes. The law granted married women the right to obtain a passport without a husband's permission, and to take a job or enroll in school, also without requiring permission. However, modifications to family law notwithstanding, key components of it remained in place until the revolutions of 1917. Until then, the law continued to bestow on fathers and husbands near absolute authority over other household members. Divorce became a civil process in 1918, under Bolshevik rule. The imperial chancellery, despite being traditionally inclined by their paternalism to regard women as the weaker and more vulnerable sex, began around the mid-1890s to demonstrate increasing responsiveness to female aspirations and greater respect for the female person, and became more demanding of men. These processes continued into the twentieth century, in part as a result of turnover in personnel, for younger cohorts were more likely to have received a university and/or legal education with a humanistic bent, as well as of profound shifts in Russian culture and values.
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