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Working paper

Political And Legal Views Of Mikhail Speranskiy In “Rules On The Siberian Kirghiz”

Mikhail Speranskiy, outstanding Russian statesman and legislator of the first half of the 19th century was the Siberian Governor-General from 1819-1821. The main result of this stage in his career was the reform of government in Asiatic Russia as well as development in 1822 of a set of codes – rules and regulations – for Siberia and its peoples. Speranskiy tried to incorporate his theoretical views on the state and law into these codifications. One of them were the “Rules on the Siberian Kirghiz” which provided reforms of the government system of Kazakhs (“Kirghiz” in the Russian pre-revolutionary tradition) of the Middle Horde which were under the control of Siberian regional authorities. The Middle Horde became a place for practical experimentation for Speranskiy’s ideas. Previous researchers have paid more attention to consequences of the promulgation of the “Rules on the Siberian Kirghiz” on the further history of Kazakhstan. This paper clarifies which specific ideas of Speranskiy on the state and law were reflected in the “Rules on the Siberian Kirghiz” and answers the question of whether they had practical importance. A substantial part of the “Rules on the Siberian Kirghiz” was, in fact, ineffective and didn’t use in practice because of lack of knowledge of Speranskiy on Kazakhs and his underestimation of their political and legal level. At the same time, authority of Speranskiy in the Russia of the 19th c. as legislator and reformer was so high that his “Rules on the Siberian Kirghiz” became actual until 1860s when next substantial reforms in Kazakhstan took place.