Crimes Against the State

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Crimes Against the State


in Soviet criminal law, the most grave crimes, transgressing against the most important interests of the Soviet state. Liability for crimes against the state is established by an all-Union law enacted Dec. 25, 1958.

Crimes against the state are divided into two groups: especially dangerous crimes and other crimes. Especially dangerous state crimes are acts or omissions aimed at overthrowing, undermining, or weakening the Soviet social and state system. They include high treason, espionage, terrorism, sabotage, wrecking, anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda, war propaganda, organizing activity for the purpose of committing especially dangerous state crimes, and participation in an anti-Soviet organization. Similar crimes directed against other socialist states are also punishable. Especially dangerous state crimes differ from other criminal offenses in their anti-Soviet intent, manifested in acts directed against the foundations of the Soviet system.

Crimes classified as other state crimes include a large group of acts that infringe on such political, economic, and other state interests as national and racial equality, the military strength of the USSR, the inviolability of the country’s borders, the foreign trade monopoly, the monetary and credit system, the normal operation of the railroads and water and air transport, and public security. Specific crimes include divulging state secrets or losing documents containing state secrets, illegally leaving or entering the USSR, violating international air regulations or safety regulations in public transportation, smuggling, making or disposing of counterfeit money or securities, violating currency regulations and speculating in currency, banditry, and mass disturbances. Most of these crimes involve intent, but the intent does not have a direct antistate orientation. Unlike especially dangerous state crimes, which are committed deliberately, many of the other state crimes can be committed either deliberately or through negligence, and some of them are committed only through negligence, such as the loss of documents containing state secrets.

Liability for state crimes arises at the age of 16, although liability for acts that may cause a train wreck ensues at age 14.

Different types and terms of punishment are established for state crimes, depending on the nature of the crime and the gravity of the harm caused. Especially dangerous state crimes, for example, banditry or speculation in currency or securities as an occupation or on a large scale, are punishable by deprivation of freedom for up to 15 years with confiscation of property or by death with confiscation of property.

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