The Court and Cassation Phenomenon in a Soviet Russia in the Twilight of NEP: Microhistorical Analysis of the Case
The Soviet judicial system of the 1920s is one of the most controversial issues in the social and political history of early Soviet society. It seems that the mechanism of functioning of the Soviet justice system considered more effectively in the methodological framework of microhistory. As an example of microanalysis, we have taken one criminal incident, described in details. The article describes and interprets the judicial and cassation practice in this “close-up” criminal case, which revealed the professional level of regional and central courts in Soviet Russia in the late 1920s. Conducted micro-historical research has determined a number of features of the legal system in the Soviet province at the end of the NEP, which had the fragile and extremely dependent from the power character. Particular case showed a high authority of the Cassation Board from the RSFSR and the legal profession. In general, this incident creates a slightly different idea of the Soviet legal system, contrary to the established view of the total disempowerment of convicts in the early Soviet society. However, it is difficult to conclude whether the above incident was a “normal exception” at the time without serial researches.