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Murder Most RussianTrue Crime and Punishment in Late Imperial Russia$
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Louise McReynolds

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451454

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451454.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Murder Most Russian

Louise McReynolds

Cornell University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the Great Reforms, which reformed the legal system and revolutionized justice, launched by Tsar Alexander II (1855–1881) following Russia's disastrous defeat in the Crimean War (1853–1856). Structurally, the new Code of Criminal Procedure—which created an independent judiciary with trials open to the public—transformed the inquisitorial system into an adversarial one. The theatricality of the adversarial courtroom made it a place where modernity could be performed by all involved in the pursuit of justice. Moreover, the open, adversarial courtroom introduced two emergent professions to the public: the defense attorney, or zashchitnik, and the forensic specialist.

Keywords:   Great Reforms, Russian legal system, Tsar Alexander II, independent judiciary, adversarial courtroom, modernity, defense attorney, forensic specialist, autocracy, postreform Russia

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