in Soviet criminal law, criminal acts that disrupt the correct functioning of the socialist national economy. These crimes are treated in a special chapter in the criminal codes of all the Union republics, for example, Chapter 6 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR. Economic crimes may be committed by either officials or private individuals.
Economic crimes are subdivided into general economic crimes, which may be committed in any sector of the economy, and economic crimes committed in particular economic sectors. General economic crimes include engaging in forbidden trades, falsifying figures or otherwise distorting reports on plan fulfillment, private entrepreneurial activity, intermediary commercial operations, and the illegal manufacture, sale, and storage of alcoholic beverages.
Economic crimes committed in particular economic sectors include (1) crimes in industry, such as producing poor-quality or substandard goods or goods in incomplete sets or using trademarks illegally; (2) crimes in agriculture, such as violating veterinary regulations and regulations for controlling plant diseases and pests or deliberately destroying crops and damaging shelter belts or other plantings; (3) crimes in the retail trade, such as speculation, deception of customers, or selling poor-quality or substandard goods or goods in incomplete sets; (4) crimes that violate the regulations for protecting natural resources, such as illegally fishing or catching other marine animals, illegally hunting fur seals and sea otters, violating regulations for protecting fish reserves during timber rafting or work with explosives, illegal hunting, violating the regulations for mining and turning gold over to the state, and illegal woodcutting; and (5) crimes in communications, transportation, and finance, such as forging postal fees and tickets for travel or the small-scale buying, selling, or exchange of currency and securities.
The criminal codes of some Union republics also provide for such economic crimes as mismanagement (Kazakh SSR) and bad repair work (Kirghiz and Kazakh SSR’s).
Economic crimes may be either acts or omissions, for example, failure to take steps to protect fish resources. In some instances criminal liability ensues for violating legally established prohibitions or prescriptions regardless of the consequences, for example, producing poor-quality goods, engaging in a prohibited trade, or speculating. In other instances criminal liability ensues only if there are harmful consequences, for example, in violations of veterinary regulations or regulations for controlling plant diseases and pests. Some types of economic crimes can only be committed by persons in official positions.