Text and Context in Russian Legislation

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Sutrasong
Words 20768
Pages 84
Text and Context in Russian Legislation
With Specific Reference
To
The Russian Constitution

Nigel J. Jamieson*

ABSTRACT

Law and politics have a closer inter-textual relationship in Russian jurisprudence than would be understood generally of any European legal system. The closeness of this inter-textual relationship can be partly explained by history, culture, and language, as also by dialectics, ideologies, and literature. Concepts of law, government, and the state, together with concepts of federalism, democracy, and the rule of law, can vary so markedly from their apparently translatable equivalents that, even when recognising the formal concept of a codified Constitution, the inter-textual relationship between the enacted law and politics remains so dynamic as to be impossible to tell which it is, of law or of politics, that is the text, and which the context. This inter-textual relationship remains so strongly and continuously dynamic at the level of public and international law that the customary division by which lawyers, and common lawyers especially, assume law to be the text and politics to be the context carries a critical risk. This paper identifies that risk in terms of law, literature, and logic, as well as in terms of history, politics, and dialectics. To focus solely on law as a specialism without any more syncretic and synergic account of the other contributing disciplines, is to make the textual tail of the law wag the contextual dogsbody of the other disciplines, and this perhaps only by false assumption or begging the question. Lawyers obviously, but in literature also with such writers as Edward Gibbon, George Eliot, Harper Lee and John Galsworthy, we too are apt to assume, perhaps by way of excusing ourselves or in self-justification for inaction, that the text of legal command is always for us, no less than ultimately for…...

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