Court Actions against Bootleggers and Drunkards

I. Kirianov, A Case Is Heard: Accomplices, Not Witnesses. August 9, 1972

Original Source: Pravda, 9 August 1972, p. 6.

Krasnoyarsk Territory -The other inhabitants of Malaia Tumna probably never thought or guessed that V. Semenova would bring the village ill fame … In the severe war years they knew Valya the tractor driver, and later Valya the tractor brigade accounting clerk and Valya the dairymaid … And suddenly, right out of the blue: ‘She’s a bootlegger. She’s on trial today.” …

At the club we spoke with P. N. Pavlov, director of the local division of Ogurskii State Farm …

” The prospects for the harvest are good now,” he said. “It will also be possible to lay in fodder for the livestock. But our lushes are really hurting us. Aleksei Kirillov and Ivan Nazarkin haven’t gone out haying for two days -they’re carousing. And who can I put on the tractor instead of them? It’s homebrewed vodka all the time, even though it’s not very good. Vasilii Botvich, the district militia officer’s little brother, has made the whole neighborhood smell of home brew.”

The club was full to overflowing.

” All rise, court is in session.

The judge asks:

” Citizen Semenova, do you plead guilty to home-brewing and misappropriation of state farm fodder?”

“I do … ” …

The home-brewing led to another crime: embezzling so-called grindings -coarsely ground wheat and barley used as supplemental feed for dairy cattle-from the state farm store house. The grain distilled into home brew had to be replaced with something; the deficiency had to be made up in order to feed the family’s personal livestock. Semenova involved her son Aleksei in crime. He worked as a livestock hand, and every day he brought back 10 to 15 kg. or more of grindings. Six bags of them – 310 kg. were found at the Semenovs’ home! More than 30 liters of moonshiner’s yeast was dumped from a metal container …

In a brief time span the Irbeiskoe District People’ s Court imposed various penalties on 29 persons for home-brewing. But here is what is characteristic: Eighteen of those convicted were women. Praskovya Mitskevich, of the village of Sergeevka, was fined 300 rubles; Matryona Avdeeva of Agulo, 150; Maria Murashkevich of Podyenda, 300. The male half frequently figure in court cases and proceedings only as witnesses. Is this just? The instigators, the primary consumers of the ” potion, ” remain on the sidelines. They are not even embarrassed. But the law, after all, stipulates punishment both for those who make and sell home-brew liquor and for those who buy it and drink it. Why should the heads of households carouse with impunity? Most often it is they who are the “chief technicians” of the liquor production and who make the equipment.

Such people must be punished!

A. Pliukhov, resident of the village of Sergeevka in Irbeiskoe District, instructed his daughter, N. Sokolovskaia to make 10 liters of vodka. A few days later he imposed the same “tax” on his niece, E. Rogova. The people’s court did the right thing in fining Pliukhov 200 rubles for inciting other to homebrewing. Sokolovskaia was fined 300 rubles.

In many villages of the territory it is considered in the nature of things to set aside a dozen or two liters of home brew for send offs for men called up for the army or for greeting them after their tour of duty. At such times, which as a rule coincide with the sowing or the harvest, the “potion” flows in rivers and the whole village has a spree …

Militia, prosecutor’ s office and court officials say that it is sometimes difficult to fight against homebrewers: One has to deal with family ties and the relations among ”good ” neighbors

Take the aforementioned case of E. Rogova. She made

10 liters of vodka for her uncle. She was caught red-handed But the Sergeevka Village Soviet forbade the administrative bodies to institute criminal proceedings against her, for she was a village Soviet Deputy! …

V. Semenova took leave of her fellow villagers for a whole year: That was the term of deprivation of freedom to which the court sentenced her.

Source: Current Digest of the Soviet Press, Vol. XXV, No. 12/13 (1973).

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