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Taxes and Empire: The Russian Tax Debate of 1870–1871

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This article analyzes the 1870 – 1871 debate in the Russian central government and zemstvos over abolition of the soul tax and its replacement by a direct tax on property or by an income tax. It concludes that, in Russia, law mattered; taxation functioned as a social marker; a new hybrid political culture, a mixture of Polizeistaat and Rechtsstaat was coming into existence. The article draws a parallel between imperial Russia and the Ottoman empire, where by the early 1840s a similar hybrid legal culture also existed.

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