The Russian Empire as a "Civilized State": International Law as Principle and Practice in Imperial Russia, 1874-1878
July 14, 2004
Domestically, the Russia Empire was not governed by the rule of law. Yet from 1870 down through 1917, it was precisely the Russian government that championed the cause that all states, including the Russian Empire, be brought under an emerging system of codified international law—specifically, a codified set of the rules and customs of land warfare. This working paper examines why the Russian government initiated this project in the period from 1872 to 1874, culminating in the 1874 Brussels Conference. The paper then analyzes the effect of this project to codify the "laws of war" on how Russia conducted the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War. This paper, like the larger study, studies the elaboration of norms of conduct and measures the attempt to implement them in practice.