Administrative Responsibility

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Administrative Responsibility


the responsibility of a citizen or official before the state (as represented by a plenipotentiary administrative body) for an offense of a lesser degree of public danger than a crime. A case of administrative responsibility is usually not characterized by an official subordination between the administrative body that imposes the punishment and the person who has violated the legal norm. Administrative responsibility differs from disciplinary responsibility in this.

In the USSR a people’s judge determines a citizen’s administrative responsibility for certain types of offenses that are punishable by arrest and several other kinds of administrative punishment. The legislation on administrative responsibility is an important means of protecting citizens in a spirit of unflinching observance of the law and the rules of socialist society. The aim of administrative responsibility is not only to subject an offender to administrative punishment, but also to instill in him a habit of lawful conduct and to keep other unstable persons from committing offenses.

Citizens who are at least 16 years old may be answerable to administrative responsibility only on the basis of, and according to, the procedure provided for, by the law or by legal acts of the supreme bodies of state authority and state administration of the USSR and of the Union republics. Examples of that fact are the June 21, 1961, ukase of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet “On Further Restricting Administrative Fines” (Bulletin of the USSR Supreme Soviet, 1961, no. 35, p. 368) and, based on it, the ukases of the presidiums of the supreme soviets of the Union republics, statutes on administrative commissions and the procedure to be followed in administrative offenses. In the RSFSR such a statute was confirmed on Mar. 30, 1962 (Bulletin of the RSFSR Supreme Soviet, 1962, no. 13, p. 166). The normative acts establishing responsibility for specific administrative offenses contain rules on administrative responsibility—for instance, the July 26,1966, ukase of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet “On Strengthening Responsibility for Hooliganism,” the Customs and Air Codes of the USSR, the USSR Veterinary Code, and others.

A citizen is answerable to administrative responsibility for committing an administrative offense (misdemeanor). In some cases repeated administrative offenses, committed by someone previously convicted of the same action, creates a corpus delicti—for instance, the evasion of training or military registration by a person liable for military service (Criminal Code of the RSFSR, art. 198–1), illegal hunting (Criminal Code of the RSFSR, art. 166), and engaging in a prohibited trade (Criminal Code of the RSFSR, art. 162).

The establishment of administrative responsibility for the violation of various rules is within the competence of the highest organs of state authority of the USSR and of the Union republics. The krai, oblast, raion, and city soviets have been granted the right to adopt decisions, violations of which are subject to an administrative fine. These decisions may bear on the protection of the public order; the improvement and preservation of housing; the sanitary conditions of communities; the protection of forests, water resources, fishing, and hunting; the campaign against persons who damage agriculture and forestries; and others. Decisions of the local soviets provide for the imposition of fines for violations, are issued for a period of not more than two years, and become valid at least 15 days after their promulgation.

The basic forms of administrative punishment are warning, fine, arrest, corrective labor, temporary deprivation of special rights, confiscation of property, and administrative exile. A protocol, or act, must be drawn up for every administrative offense, except in cases where the punishment is imposed on the spot. The protocol must indicate the person of the offender, the nature, place, and time of the offense, and the witnesses. Cases of administrative offense are heard by administrative commissions. The right to impose fines without recourse to administrative commissions has been reserved for agencies of the militia, agencies of the railroad, sea, river, and air transport, customs agencies, the officers of several state inspectorates, and others.

The execution of the decisions to impose administrative penalties is governed by a three-month statute of limitations. The imposition of an administrative fine can be appealed within a period of ten days to the people’s court. The imposition of other administrative punishment can be appealed to the raion or city executive committee, or to the corresponding higher body of state administration.


Lunev, A. E. Administrativnaia otvetstvennost’ za pravonarusheniia. Moscow, 1961.
Vlasov, V. A. Novoe zakonodatel’stvo ob administrativnykh shtrafakh. Moscow, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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