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in the USSR, the communication of a citizen (or a group of citizens) to a state or public organization in connection with the violation of a right or interest protected by law or in connection with the violation of the rights of a labor collective. According to the disciplinary code of the armed forces of the USSR, a complaint is a personal petition of a member of the armed forces in connection with the violation of his rights. At the same time, a complaint is one of the means of eliminating violations of legislation and a basis for raising the question of the responsibility of persons who have permitted these violations, bureaucratism, or red tape.
Soviet legislation on the procedure for action in a complaint or other communications submitted by citizens to state or social agencies calls for a timely and careful examination of each complaint and a proper resolution for it.
The Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR of Apr. 12, 1968, On the Procedure for Examining the Proposals, Petitions, and Complaints of Citizens, sets forth the basic regulations for the examination and resolution of complaints. As a rule, a complaint is submitted to the agency or to the official directly supervising the agency (or the official) being the object of the complaint. In instances provided for by law, a complaint may be submitted to the people’s court, for example, a complaint in connection with the unlawful imposition of a fine. It is absolutely forbidden to forward complaints of citizens for consideration to the officials whose actions are appealed. The law requires that in resolving a complaint all necessary measures be taken to consider it in its essence, to assemble all documents and other materials, and to take a well-founded decision and ensure its timely and proper execution. The person who has made the declaration is informed of the decision taken, and, in the event of the dismissal of the complaint, he is notified of the reasons for the refusal.
The law provides for a time limit of up to one month for the consideration of a complaint. The complaints that do not require additional study or verification must be considered without delay or in any case not more than 15 days from the day the complaint is submitted to the competent agency. A shorter time limit is established for the consideration of complaints of members of the armed forces and their families.
Disciplinary responsibility of officials has been established in the event of violations of the procedure provided for by law for the consideration of complaints made by citizens. In instances when considerable damage has been done to state or social interests, when citizens’ rights have been infringed upon, or when the citizen who lodged the complaint has been persecuted, a criminal proceeding may be instituted against officials guilty of these acts.
N. G. SALISHCHEVA