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This article provides an overview of certain ideologemes of Western (European) and Russian legal consciousness – prominent works of Ivan Ilyin and Duncan Kennedy are taken as examples. The article analyzes the tabula rasa principle and its place in legal consciousness. We use legal scholarship, judicial practice and opinion polls to examine the relationship between legal consciousness and the lack of trust in Russian courts, as well as their inefficiency from the point of view of public opinion. There are a number of shocking cases of torture of innocent people by the Russian police. Why is this so? The answer lies in the legal consciousness of police officers and of judges. This is something that has been inherited from the Soviet period. It is completely different from the Western legal consciousness, one of the key features of which is denial of authority. The critical legal studies branch of American legal realism almost denies the very existence of law, and, perhaps for this reason, American culture is less open to abuses like torture. At the same time, there is no possibility to shift legal consciousness immediately, the tabula rasa principle does not work. The final objective of the article is to provide a perspective on the reform of higher legal education and its relation to legal consciousness and legal anthropology. We propose that a greater part of the university curriculum is devoted to legal anthropology.

About the Authors

A. Tyrtyshny
Russian New University, Moscow
Russian Federation

Alexey Tyrtyshny (Moscow, Russia) – Ph.D. in Psychology, Associate Professor of Law (Russia), Professor and Dean of the Department of Law
(22 Radio str., Moscow, 105005, Russia)

S. Tomas
Russian New University, Moscow
Russian Federation

Stanislovas Tomas (Moscow, Russia) – Ph.D. in Law (Sorbonne), Attorney-at- Law (Principality of Andorra), Professor of Law at Russian New university
(22 Radio str., Moscow, 105005, Russia)


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ISSN 2409-9058 (Print)
ISSN 2412-2343 (Online)