Jeffrey Kahn, Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law, has two new SSRN postings on Russian legal history. The first is the Introduction to his book, Federalism, Democratization, and the Rule of Law in Russia (Oxford University Press, 2002). The second is an article, The Parade of Sovereignties: Establishing the Vocabulary of the New Russian Federalism, which appeared in the journal Post-Soviet Affairs.
Here's the book abstract: Combining the approaches of three fields of scholarship – political science, law and Russian area studies – the author of this 2002 Oxford University Press book explores the foundations and future of the Russian Federation. Russia's political elite have struggled to build an extraordinarily complex federal system, one that incorporates eighty-nine different units and scores of different ethnic groups, which sometimes harbor long histories of resentment against Russian imperial and Soviet legacies. This book examines the public debates, official documents and political deals that built Russia's federal house on very unsteady foundations, often out of the ideological, conceptual and physical rubble of the ancien régime. One of the major goals of this book is, where appropriate, to bring together the insights of comparative law and comparative politics in the study of the development of Russia's attempt to create – as its constitution states in the very first article – a 'democratic, federal, rule-of-law state'.
Here's the abstract for the article, The Parade of Sovereignties: Establishing the Vocabulary of the New Russian Federalism: On the basis of extensive on-site interviews and documentary sources, the author interprets the dynamics of the collapse of the Soviet Union by analyzing the cascade of sovereignty declarations issued by republics of the USSR as well as by autonomous republics and other subunits of the Russian republic, in 1990-1991. Interrelationships among the declarations, and other putative causes of their content and timing, are explored. A case study of Tatarstan is provided. The study also analyzes the impact of the process on subsequent Russian approaches to federalism.