¹ 1, 2020
“Rules of Game” for Bureaucratic Empire: Political Routine of the Late Imperial Russia in the Discourse of Political Science Soloviev K.A. The Political System of the Russian Empire in 1881—1905: Problem of Lawmaking. Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2018
The article presents a review of the monograph by K.A.Soloviev, “The Political System of the Russian Empire in 1881—1905: Problem of Lawmaking.” The book is devoted to the routine political process in the late imperial Russia and, in essence, contains political analysis that has dived into the past. According to A.Tumanova, Soloviev’s major innovation consists in abandoning the established interpretation of political history as a presentation of events in a chronological order and in shifting the focus from legislative acts and agents who played a major role in their preparation to institutions — models of organizations’ functioning, formal and informal practices that determined the scope of their political activity and mechanisms of interaction, rather than organizations per se.
Soloviev’s monograph talks about the strength and weakness of the autocratic-bureaucratic model of governance. This study can be considered exemplary due to its fundamental nature, the scale of the scientific problems, the depth of the analysis of the historical sources and the style of historical writing. The book also raises a wide range of important contemporary questions: is there a public field of politics under an autocratic regime? What is the meaning of legality under an absolute monarchy? How do feedback mechanisms between government and society work? How does the system of checks and balances in an autocratic state work? Who, in addition to state institutions, is involved in lawmaking? Does bureaucracy represent the state and to what extent is it in solidarity with state power? What is the reason for the stability of the “bureaucratic empire” and what is its vulnerability?
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