Law on People’s Public Order Detachments

Central Committee and the Council of Ministers, On the Participation of the Working People in the Preservation of Public Order in the Country. March 2, 1959


Original Source: Pravda and Izvestiia, 10 March 1959.

The Soviet people have won great victories in all spheres of economic and cultural work. The working people’s standard of living is steadily rising year by year. [Unemployment and poverty have long since been abolished in the USSR.] Thanks to the enormous work done by the Party, the government and public organizations in the communist indoctrination of the people, crime has declined sharply in our country and socialist legality has been strengthened. The overwhelming majority of Soviet citizens are working selflessly in various sectors of socialist construction; they have an honest approach to their public duty, sacredly observe Soviet laws, and respect the rules of socialist society.

At the same time, however, there are still individuals in our Soviet society who do not observe the norms of public behavior, who appear in public places in an intoxicated state and who commit acts of hooliganism and other misdemeanors.

The Party Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers have noted that [there are major shortcomings in the struggle with violations of the public order.] One serious omission lies in the fact that the enormous force of public influence on violators of order is not being used to the proper extent.

Unseemly acts committed by individuals are rarely discussed at meetings of workers, collective farmers, employees, pupils and students and are not brought before the collective to be judged. [The militia, the prosecutor’s office and the courts do not carry on enough prophylactic work to prevent crime, they are not sufficiently well linked with the public organizations, they do not devote the necessary attention to seeking out the causes and conditions which lead to crime, and do not bring them to the attention of the corresponding public and economic organizations. The administrative organs have not brought about the solution of all crimes or certainty of punishment for crimes committed. The hearing of criminal cases rarely takes place in public court sessions at enterprises, building sites, and in collective farms, and this reduces the court’s educational significance. Public accusers are not brought in for court hearings. Materials on court hearings are seldom published in the local press.]

At present, given the growing awareness and political activity of the working people and the further development of Soviet democracy, the struggle against immoral and anti-social acts should be waged not only by administrative agencies, but principally by the extensive enlistment of the working people and public organizations in the cause of safeguarding public order in the country.

The experience of the young people’s brigades for assisting the militia, the Young Communist League detachment headquarters, the voluntary detachments and the other forms of active participation by the working people in maintaining public order deserve encouragement.

Having generalized this favorable experience, the Party Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers decree that

1. In order to enlist the working people on a broad scale in safeguarding public order, the numerous proposals of the working people that voluntary people’s detachments for safeguarding public order be established at enterprises and construction projects, in transport, in institutions, at state and collective farms, and in educational institutions and apartment house administrations be adopted.

The voluntary people’s detachment for safeguarding public order shall be directed by district (city) headquarters consisting of representatives of Party and Soviet agencies, trade union and Komsomol organizations, and individual detachment commanders.

The volunteer detachments and district (city) headquarters must, as a rule, be headed by leading officials of the party organs.

The complements of these detachments shall be recruited on a strictly voluntary basis from among leading workers, employees, collective farmers, students, pupils and pensioners.

The voluntary people’s detachments and the district (city) headquarters for the preservation of public order act in compliance with the statute approved for them, and work in contact with the administrative organs.

The draft of the temporary statute of volunteer people’s detachments for the preservation of public order is to be approved, and the Central Committees of the Communist Parties and the Councils of Ministers of the union republics are charged with confirming it, with due regard for local conditions.

2. Bearing in mind the great public and state significance of attracting working people to the cause of preserving public order, the CC of the Communist Parties of the union republics, and the territorial, provincial, city and district party committees are obliged to organize people’s volunteer detachments, and district (city) headquarters, and ensure that they work successfully in maintaining public order in the country. Extensive explanatory work on the importance of this measure and the necessity for actively supporting the people’s volunteer detachments must be conducted amongst the public for this purpose.

3. The Central Committee of the Komsomol must ensure the active participation of the best Komsomol members and young people in the people’s volunteer detachments.

4. Party and Soviet agencies and trade union and Komsomol organizations must adopt the measures necessary to inculcate in pupils, students and young people strong habits of observance of discipline and rules of conduct in schools, educational institutions, the family, on the street and in public places, and to organize, in an appropriate form, the explanation of Soviet laws to them.

5. Institutions of internal affairs, agencies of the prosecutor’s office, justice agencies and the courts must intensify the struggle against antisocial phenomena and conduct public trials of malicious violators of public order directly at enterprises, construction projects and state and collective farms, ensuring the meticulous and skilful organization of such cases with the aim of increasing their educational significance, and enlisting the services of public accusers when necessary. The aforementioned agencies are also required to give every possible assistance to voluntary people’s detachments in their work.

Source: Current Digest of the Soviet Press. Vol. XI, No. 10 (1960)

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