Criminal Code of 1903

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Criminal Code of 1903


a criminal code of tsarist Russia designed to intensify the struggle against the revolutionary movement and to adapt feudal criminal legislation to the protection of the interests of the bourgeoisie.

The first chapter of the code, which constituted the general part, defined intent and negligence, imputability, complicity, preparation and attempt, justifiable self-defense and defense of others, and extreme necessity. The penal system was marked by extreme harshness and provided for capital punishment, penal servitude, exile, incarceration in a house of correction, fortress, or prison, arrest and attachment, and fines. Political demonstrations and strikes were classified as punishable acts, and the struggle against property crimes was intensified.

The Criminal Code of 1903 was not fully put into effect. Beginning in 1904, the chapters and articles containing the new definitions of political crimes and increased punishments were introduced. These included the chapters “On Rebellion Against the Supreme Authority” and “On Sedition” and nearly all the chapters on political crimes that specified measures of reprisal for those fighting against tsarist autocracy.

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