Andrei Vyshinskii

Vyshinskii, Andrei Ianuar’evich


Born Nov. 28 (Dec. 10), 1883, in Odessa; died Nov. 22, 1954, in New York, USA. Soviet statesman, jurist, and diplomat. Member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1939). Member of the Menshevik Party from 1903; member of the RCP (Bolshevik) from 1920.

After graduating from the law department of the University of Kiev in 1913, Vyshinskii engaged in literary work and teaching. He was rector of Moscow State University from 1925 to 1928, and he was a member of the collegium of the People’s Commissariat for Education of the RSFSR during 1928-31. From 1931 he worked in judicial bodies, and he served as procurator of the USSR from 1935 to 1939. During 1939-44, Vyshinskii was deputy chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, and in 1940-49 he was deputy minister of foreign affairs of the USSR. He served as minister of foreign affairs of the USSR from 1949 to March 1953, and he was deputy minister of foreign affairs. Vyshinskii was the permanent representative of the USSR at the UN during 1953-54. At the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Congresses of the ACP (Bolshevik) he was elected to the Central Committee. A deputy to the Supreme Soviet at its first through fourth convocations, Vyshinskii was awarded seven orders as well as medals.

Vyshinskii was the author of works on problems of state and law, including A Course in Criminal Procedure (1927. with V. Undrevich), The Administration of Justice in tht. USSR (1939), The Theory of Court Evidence in Soviet Law (1941), and Problems in the Theory of the State and Law (1949). His theoretical works contain serious errors, which resulted in an incorrect characterization of the Soviet state and law. Vyshinskii overemphasized the role of compulsion and underestimated the role of education and prevention. He also exaggerated the importance of the confession of the accused as evidence in cases of counterrevolutionary conspiracies, and he made other errors as well. In practice, his mistakes led to major violations of the socialist legal order.