State Secret

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

State Secret


military, economic, and political information that is of great importance to the state and is especially guarded by the state.

In the USSR the list of information considered to be state secrets is established by the Council of Ministers in the interests of protecting the economic power, defense capability, and foreign security of the USSR. Keeping a state secret is the duty of every Soviet citizen to whom such information is known. In order to prevent the disclosure of state secrets, a certain procedure has been established for drawing up, storing, and using documents and objects, information about which constitutes a state secret. If violation of the established procedure results in disclosure of a state secret or loss of the documents involved, the guilty parties are brought to criminal trial under the Law of Criminal Responsibility for State Crimes of 1958 (arts. 12 and 13). In the absence of evidence of such crimes as treason and espionage, disclosure of a state secret by the person to whom it was entrusted or to whom it became known because of his official position or work is punishable by deprivation of freedom for a term of two to five years. If the disclosure of a state secret entailed grave consequences, the penalty is deprivation of freedom for five to eight years. Severe penalties are provided for the loss of documents containing state secrets.

A type of state secret is a military secret, the keeping of which is directly connected with ensuring the military power and combat readiness of the armed forces. Disclosure by servicemen of information of a military character that constitutes a state secret is punishable in accordance with the Law of Criminal Responsibility for Military Crimes of 1958 by deprivation of freedom for two to five years. The loss of documents or objects containing state secrets by a serviceman to whom the documents or objects were entrusted entails deprivation of freedom for one to three years, provided that the loss resulted from a violation of established regulations. If the disclosure of a state secret or the loss of secret documents by a serviceman has grave consequences, the offense is punishable by a term of five to ten years.


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