Government, Law, and Courts in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe - Vol. 1

Government, Law, and Courts in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe - Vol. 1

Government, Law, and Courts in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe - Vol. 1

Government, Law, and Courts in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe - Vol. 1

Excerpt

The expansion of Soviet influence toward the West of Europe in the era following the Second World War lent new dimensions to the study and significance of Soviet law. For well over two decades after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the jurisprudence of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had little impact on law in the world outside Russia, other than through cognizance by foreign courts in conflict of laws eases. The Civil Law and the Common Law continued to role the West and unlike those two basic legal systems, the totalitarian law of the Soviets was unable to find voluntary acceptance by foreign states on any continent. The Soviet sphere of influence was not extended until the armies of the USSR occupied East European countries. Soviet military occupation gave birth to regimes known as People's Democracies, which undertook to apply the fundamental principles of Soviet law in various forms. After a straggle for a return to normal in some countries during the immediate post-war period, traditional law had been obliterated in all those new regimes.

The transformation of legal systems by the introduction of Soviet law encountered sustained opposition from large sections of the population in whose minds the imposed concepts and theories were irreconciable with the nature and purpose of law. By means at their disposal, dissident groups resisted conversion to the new order. Although perverted by the decisions of the Communist courts and gradually weeded out from the statute books, the old legal precepts showed vigorous signs of revival whenever political considerations in Soviet satellite countries necessitated a temporary respite in the effort to impose institutions of "socialist legality". Traditional law with its local jurisdictional variations could not be replaced with uniform effect in all countries. These satellite deviations from the Soviet prototype, together with the instability of the legal doctrine throughout the communist bloc, pose problems of great complexity.

The book prefaced by these remarks is the first attempt to present . . .

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