Nikolai Korkunov

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Korkunov, Nikolai Mikhailovich


Born Apr. 14 (26), 1853, in St. Petersburg; died Nov. 27 (Dec. 10), 1904, in UdePnaia, present-day Leningrad Oblast. Russian scholar and lawyer. Authority on state and international law. Instructor (from 1878) and professor (from 1894) at the University of St. Petersburg.

Korkunov is noted for his sociological approach to the study of the state and law, in which he eclectically combined various idealist conceptions about the laws of development of social phenomena. Although he acknowledged the influence of society’s material conditions on the state and law, he denied their decisive role and criticized Marxism from this standpoint. An advocate of the idea that the state be subject to the rule of law, Korkunov attempted to apply this idea to the conditions of Russian autocracy. He held that institutions of popular representation and the government’s responsibility to parliament were of secondary importance. To Korkunov the main guarantee of legality was the right of an independent and irremovable court to ascertain the conformity to law of the legal rules issued by the administration.


Lektsii po obshchei teorii prava. St. Petersburg, 1886.
Mezhdunarodnoe pravo. St. Petersburg, 1886.
Russkoe gosudarstvennoe pravo, vols. 1-2. St. Petersburg, 1892-93. (Master’s dissertation.)
Ukaz i zakon. St. Petersburg, 1894. (Doctoral dissertation).
Istoriia filosofii prava. St. Petersburg, 1896.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(28) For Gessen, as for most fin-de-siecle Russian legal theorists, the starting point of his legal education was the legal positivist jurist Nikolai Korkunov. Gessen approved of the historical role Korkunov and the positivists played in Russian law, particularly their promotion of the juridical construction of the state and the rational working out of consistent legal norms.