Ministry of Justice (Soviet Union)


Ministry of Justice (Soviet Union)
Ministry of Justice of the USSR
Министерство юстиции СССР
Coat of arms of the Soviet Union.svg
All ministry seals of the Soviet Union used the Soviet coat of arms
Agency overview
Formed 16 July 1923
Dissolved 15 November 1991
Superseding agency Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation (1992)
Jurisdiction Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Headquarters Moscow, RSFSR, Soviet Union

The Ministry of Justice of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) (Russian: Министерство юстиции СССР), formed on 15 March 1946, was one of the most important government offices in the Soviet Union. It was formerly (until 1946) known as the People's Commissariat for Justice (Russian: Народный комиссариат юстиции, or Narkomiust). The Ministry, at the All-Union (USSR-wide) level, was established on 6 July 1923, after the signing of the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR, and was in turn based upon the People's Commissariat for Justice of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) formed in 1917. The Ministry was led by the Minister of Justice, prior to 1946 a Commissar, who was nominated by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and confirmed by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, and was a member of the Council of Ministers.

The Ministry of Justice was responsible for courts, prisons, and probations. Further responsibilities included criminal justice policy, sentencing policy, and prevention of re-offending in the USSR. The Ministry was organised into All-Union and Union departments. The All-Union level ministries were divided into separate organisations in the Republican, Autonomous Oblast, and provincial level. The leadership of the Ministry of Justice came from notable Soviet law organisations from around the country.

Contents

Duties and responsibilities

List of persons to be tried by the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court. Approving signatures: Joseph Stalin, Kliment Voroshilov, Lazar Kaganovich, Andrei Zhdanov, and Vyacheslav Molotov. The first page of a typical trial (de facto execution) list from the time of the Great Purge

According to a decree from 1972, the Ministry of Justice prepared proposals for the codification of law; it carried out methodological management of legal work in the national economy. The Ministry directed and coordinated the work of state bodies and public organisations to promote legal knowledge and to clarify the law among the population about the judicial agencies, as well as general management of the civil registry, state, and legal profession. The Ministry was liable to the Party, the state, and the people. The Ministry's main goal was to strengthen socialist legality and the rule of law within Soviet judicial institutions.[1]

The Ministry was organised into one All-Union (USSR-wide) ministry and 15 Union ministries. The leadership of the ministry consisted of notable figures of the judicial authority of the Soviet Republics, the military tribunals, Bar members, notaries, and other judicial institutions. The leadership's task was to organise and prepare proposals for the codification of legislation. The organisational leadership, and the courts, had full control over the republican, autonomous, and provincial levels of government and the party.[2] On 1 February 1923 the All-Union People's Commissariat for Justice was dissolved, and its responsibilities, duties, and functions were given to the Procurator General.[3] The Department of the Procuracy of the Ministry of Justice, headed by a republican Procurator General, was responsible for limiting the powers of the Procurator General.[4] On the grounds of stopping "unnecessary centralisation", the Ministry of Justice was dissolved both on the Union and the All-Union level. The functions of the Ministry was then handed to the Supreme Court and the Legal Commission of the Council of Ministers. The Ministry was reestablished in 1970 by the Alexei Kosygin government. Extensive regulations on the Ministry were created by the Council of Ministers. The Ministry's main task was to direct and supervise judicially organs, both at the Union and All-Union level, according to a decree from 1975.[5]

The main task of the Ministry was to develop proposals on issues linked to the judicial system; the election of judges, elect the judiciary, organising the judiciary, studying and summarising of the jurisprudence in coordination with the Supreme Court, and to organise work for the maintenance of judicial statistics. According to Soviet law, the Ministry could propose various measures to improve the Soviet court system.[2] According to Article 1 of the People's Commissariat for Justice, the commissariat's main task was to supervise the legal activities of the Soviet central agencies and the people's procurator.[4]

Organisation

The Ministry of Justice was headed by a Minister who was elected by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet between seasons, and authenticated by a Supreme Soviet convocation. Deputy Ministers were elected by the Council of Ministers; allocation of the deputies was decided by the Ministry of Justice. Each deputy usually headed his or her own department. The minister, the deputies, and other senior officials formed the leadership circle, known as the Board of the Ministry of Justice. The members of this board were approved by the Council of Ministers. The Board of the Ministry held meetings regularly to discuss legal matters nationwide. Decisions made by the board were as a rule implemented nationwide. If the board disagreed they sought the assistance of the Council of Ministers to solve the problem.[1]

The structure and number of employees of the Ministry were approved by the Council of Ministers. Staffing of the central apparatus of the Ministry, as well as provisions of the departments and divisions, were approved by the Ministry of Justice. The seal of the Ministry of Justice was the state emblem of the USSR.[1]

History

Nikolai Krylenko was the first People's Commissar for Justice of the USSR

In 1922 Vladimir Lenin chasitised the People's Commissariat for Justice for not dealing firmly enough with political opponents of the Bolsheviks and allowing capitalism to develop outside the framework of state capitalism outlined by the New Economic Policy.[6] Until 1936 the People's Commissariat for Justice existed only in the Union Republican level.[7] Nikolai Krylenko, the first People's Commissar of Justice, said in January 1933 that Soviet law waxed indignant about the leniency of some Soviet officials who objected to the infamous "five ears law":[8]

We are sometimes up against a flat refusal to apply this law rigidly. One People's Judge told me flatly that he could never bring himself to throw someone in jail for stealing four ears. What we're up against here is a deep prejudice, imbibed with their mother's milk... a mistaken belief that people should be tried in accordance not with the Party's political guidelines but with considerations of "higher justice".

According to Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov, Nikita Khrushchev abolished the Ministry during the height of the Khrushchev Thaw in an attempt to restore the "Leninist norms of socialist legality" which had disappeared under Joseph Stalin's rule. Khrushchev tried to make the Soviet court more independent from central authority by enforcing the 1936 constitution on the country's judicial branch. This would, according to Khrushchev, give the courts further independence from the central authority.[9] The functions, duties, and responsibilities of the Ministry were reassigned to the Supreme Soviet and the Legal Commission of the Council of Ministers at all levels of Soviet society.[10] By the 1960s it became clear that these reforms were not working as planned,[11] and the ministry was reestablished by the Alexei Kosygin government in 1970.[12] The Ministry, along with the majority of other Soviet ministries, was supposed to be abolished in December 1991 on the orders of the State Soviet, this did not happen, and the Soviet Union dissolved itself before this date.[13]

Commissars and ministers

The following persons headed the Commissariat/Ministry as commissars (narkoms), ministers, and deputy ministers of the Soviet era:

Name Took office Left office Duration
People's Commissar for Justice of the RSFSR (Narkom)
Oppokov, GeorgyGeorgy Oppokov 01917-11-08 8 November 1917 01917-11-29 29 November 1917 &100000000000000000000000 years, &1000000000000002100000021 days
Stučka, PēterisPēteris Stučka 01917-11-29 29 November 1917 01917-12-22 22 December 1917 &100000000000000000000000 years, &1000000000000002300000023 days
Steinberg, IsaacIsaac Steinberg 01917-12-22 22 December 1917 01918-03-18 18 March 1918 &100000000000000000000000 years, &1000000000000008600000086 days
Stučka, PēterisPēteris Stučka 01918-03-18 18 March 1918 01918-09-14 14 September 1918 &100000000000000000000000 years, &10000000000000180000000180 days
Kursky, DmitryDmitry Kursky 01918-09-14 14 September 1918 01923-07-06 6 July 1923 &100000000000000040000004 years, &10000000000000295000000295 days
People's Commissar for Justice of the USSR
Krylenko, NikolaiNikolai Krylenko 01936-07-20 20 July 1936 01937-09-15 15 September 1937 &100000000000000010000001 year, &1000000000000005700000057 days
Ryshkov, NikolaiNikolai Ryshkov 01939-01-19 19 January 1939 01946-03-15 15 March 1946 &100000000000000070000007 years, &1000000000000005500000055 days
Minister of Justice of the USSR
Ryshkov, NikolaiNikolai Ryshkov 01946-03-15 15 March 1946 01948-02-05 5 February 1948 &100000000000000010000001 year, &10000000000000327000000327 days
Gorshenin, KonstantinKonstantin Gorshenin 01948-02-05 5 February 1948 01956-05-31 31 May 1956 &100000000000000080000008 years, &10000000000000116000000116 days
Terebilov, VladimirVladimir Terebilov 01970-01-09 9 January 1970 01984-04-11 11 April 1984 &1000000000000001400000014 years, &1000000000000009300000093 days
Kravtsov, BorisBoris Kravtsov 01984-04-11 11 April 1984 01989-07-17 17 July 1989 &100000000000000050000005 years, &1000000000000009700000097 days
Yakolev, VenyaminVenyamin Yakolev 01989-07-17 17 July 1989 01990-12-11 11 December 1990 &100000000000000010000001 year, &10000000000000422000000422 days
Lushchikov, SergeiSergei Lushchikov 01990-12-11 11 December 1990 01991-08-24 24 August 1991 &100000000000000000000000 years, &10000000000000256000000256 days

See also

Law
Organisations

References

  1. ^ a b c Government of the USSR (21 March 1972). "УКАЗ: ПОЛОЖЕНИЕ О МИНИСТЕРСТВЕ ЮСТИЦИИ СССР [Decree: Position of the Ministry of Justice of the USSR]" (in Russian). pravo.levonevsky.org. http://www.sssr.su/zopp.html. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Government of the USSR (12 August 1971). "УКАЗ: ПРЕЗИДИУМА ВЕРХОВНОГО СОВЕТА СССР [Decree: Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR]" (in Russian). Moscow: State Duma. http://ntc.duma.gov.ru/duma_na/asozd/asozd_text.php?code=106956. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  3. ^ Ferdinand, Maria Feldbrugge Joseph (1992). The Emancipation of Soviet law. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 144. ISBN 0792314360. http://books.google.com/books?id=8zAxiTgVBggC&dq. 
  4. ^ a b Morgan, Glenn G. (1962). Soviet administrative legality: the role of the attorney general's. Stanford University Press. pp. 32. ISBN 0804701431. http://books.google.com/books?id=Br6rAAAAIAAJ&dq. 
  5. ^ Szirmai, Zsolt (1975). Codification in the communist world. Brill Archive. pp. 337. ISBN 9028601252. http://books.google.com/books?id=8zAxiTgVBggC&dq. 
  6. ^ Lenin, Vladimir. "On the Tasks of the People's Commissariat for Justice under the New Economic Policy". Marxist Internet Archive. http://marxists.anu.edu.au/archive/lenin/works/1922/feb/20c.htm. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  7. ^ Solomon, Peter H. (1996). Soviet criminal justice under Stalin. Cambridge University Press. pp. xvi. ISBN 0521564514. http://books.google.com/books?id=YHB3XhZlDiUC&dq. 
  8. ^ Radzinsky, Edvard (2008). Stalin: The First In-Depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia's Secret Archives. Paw Prints. pp. 258. ISBN 1435211960. http://books.google.com/books?id=cE2fPwAACAAJ&dq. 
  9. ^ Avtorkhanov, Abdurakhman. "Технология власти [Technology of power]" (in Russian). bookz.ru. http://bookz.ru/authors/abdurahman-avtorhanov/tehnologiq/page-39-tehnologiq.html. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  10. ^ Yatskov, Anna. "ИСТОРИЯ СОВЕТСКОГО СУДА [History of the Soviet court]" (in Russian). Notes of the Fatherland. http://www.strana-oz.ru/?numid=11&article=509. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Government of the USSR. "Президиумы судов и некоторые вопросы судоустройства [The Bureaux of the courts and some of the issues of the judicial system]" (in Russian). Business Law Institute of the State University of Management. http://law.edu.ru/article/article.asp?articleID=1179395. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  12. ^ Government of the USSR. "Об утверждении Указов Президиума Верховного Совета СССР об образовании и преобразовании некоторых органов государственного управления и о внесении соответствующих дополнений в статьи 70 и 78 Конституции (Основного Закона) СССР [On approval of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the formation and transformation of some government bodies and on making relevant amendments to Articles 70 and 78 of the Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the USSR]" (in Russian). constitution.garant.ru. http://constitution.garant.ru/history/ussr-rsfsr/1936/zakony/3946556/. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  13. ^ Government of the USSR. "ОБ УПРАЗДНЕНИИ МИНИСТЕРСТВ И ДРУГИХ ЦЕНТРАЛЬНЫХ ОРГАНОВ ГОСУДАРСТВЕННОГО УПРАВЛЕНИЯ СССР [Abolition of ministries and other central organs of the union government of the USSR]" (in Russian). businesspravo.ru. http://www.businesspravo.ru/Docum/DocumShow_DocumID_39591.html. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ministry of Finance (Soviet Union) — Ministry of Finance of the USSR Министерство финансов СССР All ministry seals of the Soviet Union used the Soviet coat of arms …   Wikipedia

  • Ministry of Health (Soviet Union) — Ministry of Health of the USSR Министерство здравоохранения СССР All ministry seals of the Soviet Union used the Soviet coat of arms …   Wikipedia

  • Ministry of Communications (Soviet Union) — Ministry of Communications of the USSR Министерство связи СССР Official emblem of the Ministry of Communications of the USSR on a Soviet Union stamp (1972). The Ministry of Communications was responsible for issuing postage stamp …   Wikipedia

  • Ministry of Culture (Soviet Union) — Ministry of Culture of the USSR Министерство культуры СССР All ministry seals of the Soviet Union used the Soviet coat of arms …   Wikipedia

  • Ministry of Education (Soviet Union) — Ministry of Education, founded as the People s Commissariat for Education but commonly called Narkompros (Russian: Народный комиссариат просвещения, Наркомпрос), was the Soviet agency charged with the administration of public education and most… …   Wikipedia

  • Ministry of Railways (Soviet Union) — The Ministry of Railways oversaw the railways of the Soviet Union. It was subdivided into 32 different railway agencies, which between them had millions of employees. The ministry was responsible for several centralized departments, such as… …   Wikipedia

  • Ministry of Justice (Ukraine) — Ministry of Justice of Ukraine Міністерство юстиції України Agency overview Formed 1990 Preceding agencies *Ministry of Justice of the Ukrainian SSR (1947 1963) *Legal commission of the Council of Ministers (1963 1970) *Ministry of Justice of the …   Wikipedia

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Soviet Union) — Ministry of External Relations of the USSR Министерство внешних сношений СССР …   Wikipedia

  • Ministry for State Security (Soviet Union) — The Ministry of State Security (MGB) (Russian: Министерство государственной безопасности, Ministerstvo Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti) was the name of Soviet secret police from 1946 to 1953. Contents 1 Origins of the MGB 2 Functions of the MGB 3… …   Wikipedia

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Food (Soviet Union) — The Soviet Ministry of Agriculture and Food was established in 1923 and known prior to 1946 as the People s Commissariat for Agriculture Narkomzem). It took over the Narkomzem offices located at Orlikov Pereulok, 1, Moscow, designed by Aleksey… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.