«Необходимая оборона общества»: язык суда над Засулич
Tatiana Borisova examines the connection, heretofore neglected by scholars, between Anatoly Koni’s theory of the right to necessary defense (1866) and the acquittal of Vera Zasulich (1878). Adhering to an expanded understanding of necessary defense, Koni, who presided over the trial, organized it such that arguments in favor of the defense of society from despotism prevailed, even if this aim was achieved through crime. Given the absence of other legal forms of societal participation in making important political decisions, the acquittal of Zasulich became an important act of political solidarity. At the same time, this victory of «societal conscience» over the law enabled both the escalation of despotism and violence and the affirmation of the egalitarian element in the understanding of social equality in post-reform Russia.