Besides absolutists of the right (the tsar and his adherents) and left (Lenin and his fellow Bolsheviks), the Russian political landscape in 1917 featured moderates seeking liberal reform and a rapid evolution towards a constitutional monarchy. Vasily Maklakov, a lawyer, legislator and public intellectual, was among the most prominent of these, and the most articulate and sophisticated advocate of the rule of law, the linchpin of liberalism. He advocated a wide range of reforms, especially in the realms of religious freedom, national minorities, judicial independence, citizens’ judicial remedies, and peasant rights.
This book, written by D.C. Court of Appeals Judge Stephen F. Williams, tells the story of Maklakov’s efforts and his analysis of the reasons for their ultimate failure. It is thus, in part, an example for movements seeking to liberalize authoritarian countries today―both a warning and a guide.
Hon. Stephen F. Williams, Senior United States Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
Prof. Julia Fromholz, Director, Rule of Law & Governance Program, Arizona State, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
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