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The Re-birth of Soviet Criminal Law in Post-Soviet Russia

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Unlike some other Soviet Codes, first acts of the Bolshevist Criminal law were not modeled after the pre-revolutionary imperial codes. In the early Soviet criminal legislation, key juridical categories were replaced by sociological categories. The Marxist-Leninist principle of supremacy of interests of the state over the interests of an individual was envisaged on the legislative level and became a fundamental principle of the Soviet criminal law: crimes against the state were made the gravest ones, and the punishment for these crimes was much heavier than for all other crimes. The principle of analogy allowed criminal prosecution even in the cases, where the offence was not stipulated in the Criminal Code. In 1930s, the trend towards criminal repression intensified. Big changes, including the restoration of the traditional vocabulary of criminal law, the limitation of the doctrine of analogy, the careful analysis of crime in terms of subject and object, took place in the Soviet criminal legislation in 1960, when the new Criminal Code of the RSFSR was adopted. 1990s saw the long-awaited humanization and modernization of Russian criminal law, but situation started to change after the turn of the millennium.
Certain cases as well as recently passed pieces of the Russian legislation show the sings of old Soviet attitudes in contemporary Russian criminal law and law enforcement.

About the Author

Ekaterina Mishina
University of Michigan
United States

Visiting Professor, Law School, Department of Political Science

5946 Cedar Ridge Drive, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103, USA


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For citation:

Mishina E. The Re-birth of Soviet Criminal Law in Post-Soviet Russia. Russian Law Journal. 2017;5(1):57-78.

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ISSN 2309-8678 (Print)
ISSN 2312-3605 (Online)