Written by Vladimir Moss



The Tsar remained above all human laws in his realm, since he was the source of them. Therefore if he bestowed a law, or manifesto, or even a constitution, then insofar as his power still remained autocratic, he was entitled to enforce it, or modify it, or remove it altogether. Only if he formally abdicated was he no longer “above the law”. Until then, being the God-appointed guardian of the Church and the Divine Laws in Russia, he had full authority to institute, modify or remove any and every law in the political realm in accordance with whether the law in question promoted or violated the Law of God.


     For the concept of “the rule of law” as understood by liberals, and that phrase so beloved of them, “Nobody is above the law”, are incoherent and contrary to the Gospel principle that “the Sabbath [i.e. the law] was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2.27). Laws can be good or bad depending on the goodness or badness of the (always human) legislator, be he a king or a judge or a parliament. Laws have authority, and should be obeyed, so long as the legislator who issues them is a God-established authority. In that case, “whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgement on themselves.” But a God-established authority cannot be one who legislates evil that is clearly against the Law of God. "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil" (Romans 13.2-3). Take the case of abortion in the contemporary United States. In 1971, following the Roe versus Wade case, abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court. The legislators then were acting against the Law of God, so nobody in the USA was “under” this law, but rather was obliged to defy and trample upon it. Over forty years later a new president changed the composition of the Supreme Court and abortion (that is, the torture and murder of unborn babies) was banned. 


     The primacy of the human (but God-established) authority of the Tsar was affirmed by N. Rodzevich in Moskovskie Vedomosti: “Let us assume that the Tsar is not knowledgeable on military affairs. Well, he selects an experienced general and declares that without the agreement of this general no military question may be decided. A time comes and the Tsar realizes that the general selected by him gives bad advice; can he really not change his previous order and dismiss the general? Of course he may do so. Similarly, if the Duma does not warrant the Tsar’s confidence, would he not be justified in dissolving the Duma and then creating a new one or refusing to convoke one at all? This depends on the Autocrat’s will.”[1]


     For he is above all man-made laws, including his own, in his kingdom.


     The Tsar’s right to dissolve the Duma, and promulgate new laws in the interval between elections, was enshrined in Article 87. As Reginald E, Zelnik writes, “Because the same article also required that, for such laws to be valid, the next Duma must approve them within two months, Article 87 by itself did not directly undermine the new order, but it did create a situation where an insecure or embattled regime could promulgate a law to change the Fundamental Laws themselves, and thereby alter the composition of the next Duma.” Also, “the Fundamental Laws invested the tsar (still called ‘autocrat’) and his appointed ministers with what appeared to be full power over diplomacy and war, but made any increase in the military budget contingent on the approval of the Duma.”[2]


JUne 17/30, 2022.

[1] Rodzevich, in A. Ascher, The Revolution of 1905, Stanford University Press, 1992, p. 12.

[2] Zelnik, “Revolutionary Russia 1890-1914”, in G. Frazee (ed). Russia. A History, London: Constable, 2001, p. 258.

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