Issue 2 (20) 2013



V.G. Golubtsov

Perm State National Research University
15, Bukirev st., Perm, 614990
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The article analyzes classic theories of distinction between the public law and the private law that were developed in the pre-revolutionary Russian civil law. The “formal” and “material” theories are analyzed; the classification and the analysis of the views are given that existed in the pre-revolutionary Russian civil law concerning the issue in question, a modern evaluation of the Russian civil law classicists is presented.

The pre-revolutionary civil law contains numerous fundamental works on this issue. Practically every prominent pre-revolutionary civilist considered it necessary to thoroughly describe this fundamental problem in his works.

During that period, in spite of the fact that practically all the authors identified two principal areas of focus, the so-called “material” and “formal” schools, this was mainly caused by the necessity to have a minimum classification of numerous views. The theories proposed by the pre-revolutionary authors, with some minor exceptions, are difficult to be referred clearly to the “formal” or the “material” ones. In the majority of cases such theories are either the great modifications of the “classical” ones, or represent a complex of material and formal criteria of the law differentiation. As a result, it is very difficult to classify all the variety of the views per “material” or “formal” grounds, and the undertaken attempt to make such a classification has mostly a relative character. Nevertheless, we consider such an attempt for the classification, although criterion-flawed, necessary for the analysis of the pre-revolutionary material, to make it not simply a list of the views existed but something having a known scientific value.

The analysis of the Russian pre-revolutionary civil thought development shows that none of the formulated theories received an absolute acknowledgement in literature. The majority of works represented criticism of all the views expressed earlier with the proposal of a new view different from every view state earlier.

With this, the performed historical analysis is deemed to be important and meaningful, because, in spite of the fairly long period of time which separates us from the pre-revolutionary period of the civil law thought development, the disputes on the private and the public law are not finished, and modern researcher studying this topic, should take into account the experience obtained by the science.

Keywords: distinction between the public and the private law; harmonization of the public and the private law; pre-revolutionary civil law


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