History of Communism in Europe

Volume 14, 2023

Left-Wing Radical Politics and Emergency Powers in Interwar Europe

Cosmin Sebastian Cercel
Pages 111-130

Unearthing the Dark Side of the Law. Narratives of Law and Authority in the Tatarbunar Trials

This article examines a series of events that are generally known in historiography as the “Tatarbunar Uprising” – an armed rebellion that took place over ten days in September 1924 in south-eastern Bessarabia. I am also interested in the aftermath of those events as well as in their legal and memorial afterlife. My attempt is to reason through and to clarify the legal and historio­graphical construction of narratives of sovereign power as they emerge from the archives of the trial as well as that of the preceding and subsequent military and police operations. The reflection I will conduct here is indeed grounded in the historical context of 1923-1925, but the jurisprudential and comparative legal and political analysis I will deploy here has more general reach insofar as it aims to grasp some more general points about the status of legality under the conditions of emergency.