Evolution of the Legal Status of Bukharans in Russian Legislation of the 18th-19th cc.

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Author analyzes the legal status of “Bukharans”, i.e. immigrants to Russia from the Central Asia who took out citizenship of the Russian Empire or constantly arrived for trading, This category of population began to form already at the first half of the 17th c. And during the 18th-19th cc. they had numerous advantages and privileges as were the principal mediators in relations of Russia with Central Asian states. So, they had tax immunity, liberation from the military service and other duties, right to establish own municipal structures (city councils and districts - volosty ). Also they had own courts acted on the base of Islamic and customary law and were put on imperial trial only in special cases. Bukharans also were not forced to convert to Christianity although this action was welcomed by Russian authorities and there were not any limitations because their Islamic religion. Some privileges were established also for Bukharans who traveled to Russia as traders (using Russian guards for caravans, possibility to marry Russian subjects and take them to Bukhara, etc.). Then the importance of Bukharans in relations of Russia and Central Asia decreased and it was reflected on diminution of their privileges: the taxes were levied upon them and, at last, Bukharans were equated to non-Russian imperial subjects ( inorodtsy ) with all their rights and obligations. But this policy was gradual and all measures of the Russian authorities were explained for Bukharans in special legal acts. The policy of imperial authorities towards Bukharans is analyzed on the base of the Complete Collection of the Laws of the Russian Empire.

About the authors

Roman Yu Pochekaev

National Research University Higher School of Economics - Saint-Petersburg

Author for correspondence.
Email: ropot@mail.ru

Law Faculty

17, Promyshlennaya st., Saint-Petersburg, Russia, 198099


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