Added: February 4, 2017 – Last updated: February 4, 2017


Author: Rhiannon Dowling

Title: Soviet Women in Brezhnev’s Courts

Subtitle: “The Case of Two Boys,” Gender, and Justice in Late Soviet Russia

Journal: Russian History - Histoire russe

Volume: 43

Issue: 3-4

Year: 2016

Pages: 245-274

ISSN: 0094-288X – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1876-3316 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | European History: Russian History | Cases: Offenders / Alik Burov, Sasha Kabanov; Cases: Victims / Marina Kostopravkina; Victims: Homicide


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Abstract: »This article examines a criminal case from 1966–1969 concerning a crime that took place in 1965 in the town of Izmalkovo outside of Moscow. Two young men were charged and eventually acquitted for the rape and murder of their female classmate. Their trial drew the attention of jurists and journalists from the capital, as well as scrutiny from the highest judicial and party organs in addition to the ire of local villagers. Two accounts remain of the trial: one written in 1969 by a Moscow journalist, Olga Chaikovskaia, well-known for her writings on crime and law throughout the late Soviet period, and the other penned over a decade later by Dina Kaminskaia, one of the defense lawyers in the trial and later notorious for her advocacy on behalf of prominent dissidents. Both of these women, in describing their defense of the young men, employed gendered conceptions of justice and legality in order to criticize or condemn the Soviet justice system and its agents. And yet Kaminskaia’s and Chaikovskaia’s narratives reveal that, in spite of deep divisions between people from different classes, localities, and with disparate education levels, both urban intelligentsia elite women and the simple village women who heartily opposed them could still have a remarkable degree of faith in the criminal justice system well into the era of “stagnation.” What interested the women from the capital in this case was their perception that the highest organs of Soviet power were involved in these boys’ prosecution, and that their convictions were a foregone conclusion. What kept them coming back to Izmalkovo after repeated set-backs, was the hope that, with the right arguments and evidence, and in spite of the political bias working against them, that justice could nonetheless be achieved for the boys. On this count, they were correct.« (Source: Russian History)


  Abstract (p. 245)
  The Crime (p. 249)
  Juveniles and Crime in the Late Soviet Era (p. 252)
  The Village Women and the Law (p. 256)
  Conclusion (p. 272)

Lecture: Dowling, Rhiannon. »Soviet Women in Brezhnev's Courts: 'The Case of Two Boys,' Gender, and Justice in late Soviet Russia.« 46th Annual Convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, & Eurasian Studies. San Antonio 2014. – Bibliographic Entry: Info

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of Russia / History of the Soviet Union (1964–82)