Beyond formalism: sociological argumentation in the “Pussy Riot” case
In this article the author attempts to throw a light on the famous criminal case of “Pussy Riot” singers, and particularly on the argumentation the judge used in the verdict against these singers. This case shows that the formalist, syllogistic mode of legal thinking can sometimes be overruled by the sociological arguments, even in the criminal cases where the rule nulla crimen, nulla poene sine lege praevia persists. It is not the place here to hint on any possible political put-up job behind this case (the province of the research which should rather be reserved for political science): we would just examine the argumentation of the court decision to demonstrate flexibility of legal argumentation (in this case, in the Russian criminal procedure particularly, and in law generally) to overcome the positivist restraints.
The author considers the essence of religious crimes, their classification system and principles as well as the general character of religious delicts in the criminal law of Russia of the end of the XIXth - the beginning of the XXth century.
The report addresses the methodological challenge of studying judicial reasoning in a Codified Systems of such Western countries as France and Germany in the 19th century and Russia in the late 19th early 20th century. The difference in style of Western European and Russian decision should be explained by taking into account national legal consciousness along with black letter rules of the codes and statutes.
The publication reviews the correlation between legal doctrine and legal argumentation in European legal history in the period of Middle Ages and Modernity.