Diversity of legal systems in a totalitarian and democratic society

Keywords: totalitarian regime, democratic society, state, law, human rights


The article presents an analysis of the diversity of democratic and totalitarian systems, proposes the following legal criteria for
delineation: different interpretation and realization of human rights, the presence of negative freedom, revisionist attitude to the institution
of citizenship, the predominance of criminal law over civil and administrative, as well as the low functional specification of the
justice system in totalitarian states.
The diversity of legal systems in totalitarian and democratic societies is manifested through the fundamental difference between
these types of regimes.While, in general terms, democracy is a form of political organization of society based on the recognition of ci -
tizens as the main source of power with the ability to influence political decision-making, at least through participation in periodic elections,
the fate of the scientific concept of totalitarianism in the humanities is shorter.
It is important to draw a certain distinction not only between democracy and totalitarianism, but also to emphasize the latter’s
non-identity to authoritarian rule. In authoritarianism, there is also a usurpation of power, which may have the character of sole tyranny,
the fusion and control of its branches, the restriction of human rights and the like. Despotism and tyranny provide for equal conditions
for subjects, but for totalitarian rule such equalization was not sufficient since it did not affect non-political public relations between
subjects. At the same time, totalitarian regimes lead to the destruction of such ties, atomizing society and leveling any formal or informal
associations other than those authorized and merged with the total state.
Totalitarianism and democracy are systems based on values and ideologies (at least at the time of their formation and legitimization)
and also require individual activity from members of society to support the political system for the sake of their sustainable existence.
For political regimes, the nature of the relationship of law to State can be described as a partial – authoritarian regime, or a continuous
– democratic regime, one of the conditions of which is the rule of law over the State and the determination of the orientation
of the State and its methods of implementation by law. Under a totalitarian regime, law becomes only an instrument of the State to
impose its will on society and man.


1 Kul'chyts'kyj S. V. (2013). Totalitaryzm. Entsyklopediia istorii Ukrainy. (Vol. 2). K.: Instytut istorii Ukrainy NAN Ukrainy [in Ukrainian]. URL: http://www.history.org.ua/?termin =Totalitaryzm
2 Aron R. (1993). Demokratyia y totalytaryzm. M. [in Russian].
3 Chabanna M. (2003). Avtorytaryzm i totalitaryzm. Uiavna podibnist' ta sutnisna riznytsia. Politychnyj menedzhment, 2, 83-92 [in Ukrainian].
4 Curtis M. (1979) Totalitarianism. New Brunswick. New York: Transaction Books [in English].
5 Bzhezynskyj Zb. K. (1963). Ydeolohyia y vlast' v sovetskoj polytyke. M. Yzdatel'stvo ynostrannoj lyteratury [in Russian].
6 Bidenko Yu. M. (2009). Ideolohichni determinanty politychnoho protsesu (derzhavnyj ta hlobal'nyj vymiry). Doctor’s thesis. Kharkiv [in Ukrainian].
7 Kalynina A. O. (2014) Vynyknennia totalitaryzmu: umovy formuvannia ta typolohiia. Aktual'ni problemy polityky : zb. nauk. pr. 51, 264-272 [in Ukrainian].
8 Pekhnik A. V. (2000) Riznovydy totalitaryzmu: spil'ne j osoblyve. Aktual'ni problemy polityky : zb. nauk. pr. 9, 118-122 [in Ukrainian].
9 Bondareva K. (2012) Transformatsii prava ta joho instytutiv u totalitarnykh politychnykh rezhymakh. Yurydychna Ukraina. 10, 11–16 [in Ukrainian].
10 Petrechko Z. M. (2014) Vytoky idei politsejs'koi derzhavy. Nashe pravo. 2, 33–37 [in Ukrainian].
11 Subota S. I. (2016) Osoblyvosti vzaiemodii hromadians'koho suspil'stva ta politsii v umovakh totalitarnoho politychnoho rezhymu. Pravo i bezpeka. 1 (60), 73-80[in Ukrainian].
12 Yurchak I. R. (2017) Obov'iazky osoby: teoretyko-pravovyj vymir: Сandidate’s thesis. L'viv [in Ukrainian].
13 Andrusiak T. (2002) Totalitarni struktury: bazovi kharakterystyky. Chasopys «Y». 25. URL: http://www.ji.lviv.ua/n25texts/andrusiak.htm
How to Cite
Tartasiuk, V. (2020). Diversity of legal systems in a totalitarian and democratic society. Law Review of Kyiv University of Law, 1(3), 71-74. https://doi.org/10.36695/2219-5521.3.2020.11
State and law theory and history. Philosophy of law