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NCJ Number: 69554 Find in a Library
Title: Constitutional Changes and the Russian Philosophy of Justice
Journal: International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1980)  Pages:29-35
Author(s): D W Patterson; A Doak
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 7
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The new Soviet constitution as unveiled in 1977 shifted its emphasis from repression and exploitation to a heralding of progress toward a complete communist state.
Abstract: Under Stalin, the criminal justice system was mandated to repress the enemies of the people and to develop a system of forced labor. The goals have since passed from repression to crime prevention through mass legal education. In the 1970's, ordinary crime, not political crime, has become the concern for the leadership of the communist party. Methods of persuasion and coercion are to include considerable reliance on the population to provide crime prevention pressures through volunteer police and comrades' courts. Russian criminal justice is actively working toward Lenin's philosophy that calls for a system of universal controls by the working class itself over the antisocial elements within society; thus, legal instruction begins early. Certain official actions also indicate that the traditional communist belief blaming crime on capitalism is now pointing to industrialization, migration, and urbanization as the partial disorganizers of social groups and as crime-generating. Modern Russian leaders believe that once their communist society reaches maturity, the law will wither away, as class equality, plenty, and internalization of communist norms will be guaranteed. The newest constitution is seen by Western observers as moderate and generally pragmatic, although the Communist Party is strengthened to the point of suggesting that even the criminal justice system is party controlled. Although the public was involved in the revisions made in the constitution, it is believed that their input was cosmetic. On paper, many of the provisions of the Soviet right to due process are similar to those in the U.S. The major difference is that these rights may be denied a citizen charged with a crime. Also, like the U.S., a prominent trend is toward diversion in that more administrative rather than criminal penalties are meted out for minor offenses. A footnote and 13 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Diversion programs; Law reform; Marxism; Political influences; Public education; Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
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