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in Soviet criminal law, a concept incorporating three types of crimes: accepting a bribe (Criminal Code of the RSFSR, art. 173), giving a bribe (Criminal Code of the RSFSR, art. 174), and acting as an intermediary in bribery (Criminal Code of the RSFSR, art. 1741). Receiving a bribe is defined as the acceptance of any material valuables (objects or money) or the acquisition of any property benefit by an official in person or through intermediaries, in exchange for performing or not performing in the briber’s interest an action that the official must or could perform because of his position. The granting of non-material benefits is not considered a bribe. Among the circumstances legally recognized as aggravating responsibility in accepting a bribe are the responsible position held by the person who accepted the bribe; a previous conviction for bribery; the repeated acceptance of bribes; and extortion of the bribe. Accepting a bribe without aggravating circumstances is punishable by deprivation of freedom for a three- to ten-year term and confiscation of property. When there are aggravating circumstances, taking a bribe is punishable by deprivation of freedom for an eight- to 15-year term, with confiscation of property and with or without exile for two to five years. In cases with particularly aggravating circumstances, accepting a bribe is punishable by death and confiscation of property. Responsibility for taking a bribe is borne only by officials. A nonofficial’s acceptance of a property benefit for unlawful actions—for example, a conductor’s accepting money from a passenger for a ride without a ticket—is regarded as a property loss through deceit or abuse of trust. A person who poses as an official and receives property for actions that he can supposedly perform in the interests of the giver is called to account for fraud.
Giving a bribe is defined as the transfer of material valuables or property benefits to an official for performing (or not performing) in the interests of the briber certain actions that take advantage of an official position. The repeated giving of a bribe or the giving of a bribe by a person previously convicted of bribery are considered aggravating circumstances. The giving of a bribe is punishable by deprivation of freedom for a three- to eight-year term; with aggravating circumstances, for a seven- to 15-year term, with or without confiscation of property and with or without exile from two to five years.
In order to expose bribees—officials who have accepted bribes—Soviet law has established the instances in which bribers are exempt from criminal responsibility. Exemption from responsibility is possible if the»briber was blackmailed by the official or if he voluntarily disclosed this before it became known that a case of bribery was being investigated by state bodies.
Acting as an intermediary in bribery is defined as performing actions aimed at transferring a bribe from one person to another—for example, the direct transfer of an item of bribery, the creation of conditions for such a transfer, and so forth. Acting as an intermediary in bribery is punishable by deprivation of freedom for a two- to eight-year term. When there are aggravating circumstances—for example, when there is a repeating offender or a person who was previously convicted of bribery and used his official position for bribery—acting as an intermediary is punishable by a seven-to 15-year term, with confiscation of property and with or without exile for two to five years. The commission of the above actions in the realm of activity of public organizations is equivalent to instances of bribery by employees in state institutions.
Bribery is a disgraceful vestige of the past; it was widespread in the prerevolutionary Russian state apparatus. V. I. Lenin repeatedly pointed out the necessity for a resolute, hard struggle against bribery. The CPSU and the Soviet government consider the struggle against bribery one of the most important tasks of Soviet agencies fighting against crime.
Bribery is widespread on an enormous scale in contemporary bourgeois states, especially the USA.
N. A. STRUCHKOV