The problem of crowd crimes: the approach of P.N. Obninskiy



We describe the specific approach to crowd crimes proposed by prominent Russian lawyer and public figure of the XIX century P.N. Obninskiy. We clarify its fundamental differences from other concepts of Russian and foreign psychologists and lawyers. Particular attention is paid to the P.N. Obninskiy treatment of possible sanity and responsibility of participants of mass cholera riots of the late XIX century in various regions of the Russian Empire. We reveal the moral potential of his views. Crowd as a social associations, the personality changes in the crowd, the crowd propensity to violate the law, the issue of punishment for crimes committed by it – these are some of the questions that interested the public opinion of the time. The article emphasizes that the lack of trust and lack of equal dialogue between representatives of different social groups have played a negative role in the development of «contagion morale», and later became reasons for the even more tragic events of Russian history.

General Information

Keywords: :crowd, crowd psychology, approach of P.N. Obninskiy, crowd properties, impact on the individual in the crowd, crime in the crowd.

Journal rubric: Psychology of Deviant and Criminal Behavior

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Gorbatov D.S. The problem of crowd crimes: the approach of P.N. Obninskiy [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i pravo = Psychology and Law, 2014. Vol. 4, no. 1 (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Dmitriy S. Gorbatov, Doctor of Psychology, Professor of Chair of Management Mass Communications, Faculty of Applied Communications, St. Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:



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