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Everyday Law in Russia$
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Kathryn Hendley

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501705243

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501705243.001.0001

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Lawlessness in Russia? Rethinking the Narratives of Law

Lawlessness in Russia? Rethinking the Narratives of Law

(p.1) Introduction Lawlessness in Russia? Rethinking the Narratives of Law
Everyday Law in Russia

Kathryn Hendley

Cornell University Press

This book examines how ordinary Russians experience the law and the legal system. Russia consistently ranks near the bottom of indexes that measure the rule of law, an indication of the country's willingness to use the law as an instrument to punish its enemies. The book considers whether the fact that the Kremlin is able to dictate the outcome of cases seemingly at will—a phenomenon known as “telephone justice”—deprives law of its fundamental value as a touchstone for society. Drawing on the literature on “everyday law,” it argues that the routine behavior of individuals, firms, and institutions can tell us something more about the role of law in Russian life than do sensationalized cases. Rather than focusing on the “supply” of laws, the book concentrates on the “demand” for law. This introduction discusses the perceived lawlessness in Soviet Russia and the dualism that lies at the heart of Russians' attitudes toward law and legal institutions. It also provides an overview of the book's chapters.

Keywords:   law, legal system, Soviet Russia, rule of law, telephone justice, everyday law, dualism, legal institutions, lawlessness

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