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in Soviet law, oral evidence concerning circumstances of significance for a criminal or civil case made by a witness during questioning or in court and included in the record. The information given as testimony may result from direct observation of the event, action, or fact or may be drawn from the accounts of other persons or from documents.
In criminal cases, testimony can be used to establish any circumstance subject to proof; in certain civil cases, testimony does not constitute proof, for example, an oral agreement concerning a loan of more than 50 rubles. Giving deliberately false testimony, refusing to answer questions, and giving evasive answers are criminal offenses against the administration of justice (for example, Criminal Code of the RSFSR, arts. 181 and 182).
In labor law, testimony is admitted in establishing the length of service when assigning pensions in those cases where the appropriate documents have not been saved and cannot be obtained because records do not exist. Testimony is authorized to determine the length of service of an industrial worker or office employee only in cases where at least one-half of the period in question can be confirmed by documents; for kolkhoz members, the entire period of service required for assignment of a pension can be established by testimony. The period of service is established on the basis of testimony of two or more witnesses, one of whom must know the claimant from working together at the same enterprise or in the same system. The testimony may be submitted in written form, in which case the authenticity of the signatures of the witnesses must be notarized.