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The political, economic, and social reforms resulting from Gorbachev's ""perestroika"" have become more radical and comprehensive throughout the years.;Increasingly, in their implementation, a central role has been accorded to law. The construction of a viable democratic system, the establishment of an economy in which market factors are decisive, the readmittance of a pluralistic civil society, all of them presuppose, in the eyes of the present Soviet leadership, the creation of a reliable legal foundation.;Legislative activity in the Soviet Union during the past few years has therefore been hectic. At the same time, while law was being used as an instrument of change, the character of Soviet law itself was deeply affected. From being the obedient servant of a totalitarian master, law is becoming the core element of a new order in which its supremacy is accepted as the starting point for redesigning all the major sectors of social life.;In this volume a number of leading Western experts consider the practical effect of this emancipatory process on the most important branches of Soviet law and investigate its philosophical dimensions.