RICHARD HELLIE (Chicago, U.S.A.) THE ORIGINS OF DENUNCIATION IN MUSCOVY The practice of denunciation has been viewed by foreigners as one of the most reprehensible features of Russian civilization. It was not a common practice, as far as is known, in the Kievan or Mongol periods of Russian his- tory, and seems largely to have originated and been institutionalized in the Early Modem period. This essay will examine the origins of denunciation in law and practice in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In Muscovy political denunciation was known by the terms donos and izvet. In the more ordinary criminal sphere, denunciation generally was called a iazychnaia molka, but the term izvet was also used in non-political cases. lazychnaia molka typically was involuntary, and thus there may arise some doubt whether it belongs in this essay, or whether it is a subchapter in the history of evidence produced by torture. Be that as it may, the two, political and criminal denunciation, seem to have developed together, and one of the tasks of this essay will be to determine whether they are linked or related in any way. Almost certainly denunciation in Muscovy and its intimate partner, the duty to
Russian History – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1997
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