First Soviet Criminal Code

The Criminal Code of the RSFSR, 1922. June 1, 1922

 

Excerpts

Original Source: Sobranie uzakonenii i rasporiazhenii raboche-krestian’skogo pravitel’stva, 1922, No. 15, Art. 153.

General Section

II. General Principles Governing the Application of Punishment

5. The Criminal Code of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic has as its object the legal protection of the Workers’ State from crimes and from socially dangerous elements, and achieves this object by applying punishments or other means of social protection against violators of the revolutionary system of law.

6. A crime is any socially dangerous act or omission which threatens the foundations of the Soviet structure and that system of law which has been established by the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government for the period of transition to a Communist structure.

7. A person is dangerous if he commits acts which are injurious to the community, or if his actions present a serious menace to the established laws of the community.

8. Punishment and other measures of social protection are applied for the following purposes: (a) generally to prevent the commission of further offences, both by the particular offender and by other unstable elements of the community; (b) to adapt the offender to the conditions of social life by subjecting him to the influence of corrective labor; (c) to deprive the offender of the possibility of committing further offences.

9. Punishment is to be determined by the judicial bodies in accordance with their socialistic conception of law, and in conformity with the Articles and fundamental principles of the present Code.

10. In cases where the Criminal Code makes no direct reference to particular forms of crime, punishment or other measures of social protection are applied in accordance with those Articles of the Criminal Code which deal with crimes most closely approximating, in gravity and in kind, to the crimes actually committed, and in conformity with the regulations laid down in the General Section of the Present Code …

IV. Classification and Forms of Punishment and of Other Measures of Social Protection

32. The punishments which may be applied under the provisions of the Criminal Code are: (a) temporary or permanent banishment from the territories of the RSFSR; (b) imprisonment with or without strict isolation; (c) compulsory labor without custody; (d) conditional conviction; (e) confiscation of property in whole or in part; (f) fine; (g) forfeiture of rights; (h) dismissal from office; (i) public censure; (j) the imposition of an obligation to make good the harm done.

33. In cases examined by the revolutionary tribunals, until abolition by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, whenever the supreme penalty is specified by articles of this Code, execution takes place by shooting…

46. Among other measures of social protection which may, by sentence of the Court, be substituted for the punishment imposed, or may succeed it, are the following:

(a) Internment in an institution for the mentally or morally defective.
(b) Compulsory medical treatment.
(c) Prohibition from holding a particular office, or from engaging in a particular occupation or craft;
(d) Removal from a specified locality…

Chapter 1. State Crimes

(I) Of Counter-revolutionary Crimes

57. The term counter-revolutionary is applied to any act committed with the intention of overthrowing, undermining or weakening the authority of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Soviets, and of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government founded on the constitution of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, and also to any acts calculated to assist that portion of the international bourgeoisie which does not recognize the rights of the communistic system of ownership which is replacing capitalism, and which strives to overthrow that system by means of intervention or blockade, espionage, press subsidies, etc.

An act is also to be counter-revolutionary which, though not directly aimed at attaining the above objects, nevertheless, to the knowledge of the person committing it, endangers the fundamental political or economic conquests of the proletarian revolution.

58. The organization, with counter-revolutionary intentions, of armed risings, or of the invasion of Soviet territory by armed detachments or bands; likewise participation in any attempt, made with such intentions, to seize power at the metropolis or in the provinces, or forcibly to detach from the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic any portion of its territory, or to subvert any treaties concluded by it, is punishable with the supreme penalty and confiscation of all property. This punishment may, however, in extenuating circumstances, be reduced to imprisonment for not less than five years with strict isolation, and confiscation of all property.

Where the Court is satisfied that a participator was ignorant of the ultimate purpose of the crime described in the present Article, such participation is punishable with imprisonment for not less than three years.

59. Communication with foreign Governments or with their individual representatives with the object of inducing their armed interference in the affairs of the Republic or a declaration of war on it, or the organization of a military expedition; likewise the rendering of assistance, in any shape or form, to foreign Governments after war has been declared on them or after the dispatch of an expedition, is punishable with the penalties prescribed in the first part of Article 58 of the Criminal Code.

60. Participation in an organization aiming at the commission of the crimes specified in Articles 57-59 of the Criminal Code, is punishable with the penalties prescribed in the first and second parts of Article 58.

61. Participation or co-operation in an organization aiming at assisting the international bourgeoisie as specified in Article 57 of the Criminal Code, is punishable with the same penalties.

62. Participation in an organization aiming at the objects specified in Article 57 of the Criminal Code, by inciting the populace to mass disturbances, nonpayment of taxes, non-fulfillment of obligations, or by any other means, to the manifest detriment of the dictatorship of the working class and the proletarian revolution, even in cases where an armed rising or armed invasion was not the primary object of such organization, is punishable with the same penalties.

63. Participation in an organization which, for counter-revolutionary ends, operates against the normal working of Soviet institutions or enterprises, or which uses such institutions or enterprises for the same ends, is punishable with the same penalties.

64. The organization, with counter-revolutionary intent, of terrorist acts directed against representatives of the Soviet Government or against officials of the revolutionary Workers’ and Peasants’ organizations; likewise participation in the performance of such acts, even if the participator did not belong to a counter-revolutionary organization, is punishable with the penalties prescribed in the first part of Article 58.

65. The organization, with counter-revolutionary intent, of the destruction or injury-by explosion, by fire or by any other means-of railroads or other routes and their equipment, the public postal, telegraphic and telephone services, aqueducts, public depots and other buildings or structures; likewise participation in the commission of the aforesaid crimes, is punishable with the penalties prescribed in the first and second parts of Article 58.

66. Participation in any form of espionage, involving the delivery or communication or abstraction or collection-with counter-revolutionary intent or for a reward -of information bearing the character of State secrets, and in particular of military information, to or for foreign Powers or counterrevolutionary organizations, is punishable with the penalties prescribed in the first part of Article 58.

The publication of such information, in the absence of counter-revolutionary or venal intentions and in ignorance of the possible consequences of such acts, is punishable with the penalties prescribed in the second part of Article 58.

67. Active participation in the struggle against the laboring class and the revolutionary movement by persons who were in responsible positions in the tsarist regime is punishable with the penalties prescribed in the first part of Article 58-

68. The concealment or aiding of any of the forms of crime described in Articles 57-67, in the absence of direct participation in the performance of such -crimes or in ignorance of the ultimate purposes of such crimes, is punishable with imprisonment for a period of not less than one year.

69. Propaganda and agitation in the form of a call to overthrow the Soviet power by means of acts of violence or treachery, or by active or passive opposition to the Workers’ and Peasants’ Government, or by mass non-fulfillment of the obligations imposed on citizens in the matter of military service or taxation, is punishable with imprisonment for a period of not less than three years, with strict isolation. The punishment for these crimes, if committed in time of war or popular disturbance, is the supreme penalty.

In cases where counter-revolutionary intent is not proven, summons to non-fulfillment of, or opposition to, orders of the central or local authorities is punishable with the penalties prescribed in Article 83 of the Criminal Code.

70. Propaganda and agitation intended to assist the international bourgeoisie specified in Article 57 is punishable with banishment from the territory of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, or imprisonment for a period of not less than three years.

71. Unauthorized return to the territory of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic after the application of punishment under paragraph (a) of Article 32 is punishable with the supreme penalty.

72. The distribution of agitation literature of a counter-revolutionary character and the preparation or storage of such literature for the purposes of distribution is punishable with imprisonment for a period of not less than one year.

73. The invention and diffusion, with counter-revolutionary intent, of false rumors or unconfirmed news which may create a panic among the public or provoke lack of confidence in the authorities or discredit them, is punishable with imprisonment for a period of not less than six months.

In cases where counter-revolutionary intent is not proven, the penalty may be reduced to compulsory labor for a period of three months …

(2) Crimes against Public Administration

84. The distribution of literary productions inciting to the commission of the criminal acts specified in Articles 75-81 of the Criminal Code, and the preparation or storage of such productions for the purpose of such distribution, is punishable with imprisonment for a period of not less than six months; but in the aggravating circumstances described in the second part of Article 83- imprisonment for a period of not less than one year …

87. The insulting expression of disrespect towards the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, in the form of reviling the emblem or flag of the State, or a memorial of the revolution, is punishable with imprisonment for a period not less than six months …

Source: The Criminal Code of the RSFSR (London: HMSO, 1925), Articles 33, 46, 63, 67.

 

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