One of the manifestations of the Stalinist repressive policy in the countryside is the resolution of the Central Election Commission and Council of People's Commissars of the USSR issued on 7 on August 1932 of August “On the protection of state enterprises, collective farms and cooperation and the strengthening of social (socialist) property”, often referred to in the publicist literature as the “Five Spikelets Law”.
Were there any rational grounds for the adoption of this resolution?
The then Soviet legislation was distinguished by extreme gentleness towards criminals. Even for premeditated murder with aggravating circumstances, no more than 10 years of imprisonment were supposed [11, p. 70]. The punishments for theft were almost symbolic. The secret theft of another's property, committed without the use of any technical means, for the first time and without collusion with others, entailed imprisonment or forced labor for up to three months.
Repeatedly committed, or in respect of property that is obviously necessary for the existence of the victim, is a prison sentence of up to six months.
Committed with the use of technical equipment or repeatedly, or by prior agreement with other persons, as well as, albeit without specified conditions, committed at stations, wharves, steamers, in wagons and hotels - imprisonment for up to one year.
Committed by a private person from state and public warehouses, wagons, ships and other storage facilities or at public places indicated in the preceding paragraph, through the use of technical equipment or in collusion with other persons or repeatedly, as well as by a person who had special access to these warehouses or their guard, or during a fire, flood or other public disaster - imprisonment for up to two years or forced labor for up to one year.
Perfect from state and public warehouses and storages by a person who had special access to those or protected them, by using technical means or repeatedly, or in collusion with others, as well as any theft from the same warehouses and storages, with especially large amounts of stolen, - imprisonment for up to five years. [11, p. 76 – 77].
Of course, such mild sentences did not frighten the lovers of someone else's good: “The thieves themselves defiantly declared:“ You will meet me again in a year. You can't give me more. ” One judge said that some inveterate thief, detained for committing one theft, confessed to committing four more thefts in recent months. When asked about the reason for the confession he made, he said that in any case he would be sentenced to only one year! ”[10, p. 396].
However, for the time being, the superhumanity of the Soviet laws was compensated by informal means. The peasants who constituted the majority of the population from time immemorial, were accustomed to defending their property, without resorting to the help of official justice.
However, as a result of collectivization, a vast array of public property was formed. General - it means a draw. The newly-minted collective farmers, who zealously defended their property, as a rule, were not eager to take care of collective-farm goodness in the same way. Moreover, many of them strive to steal what is badly lying.
The letter L.M. Kaganovich from July 20 1932. Stalin so argued the need for a new law:
“Recently, first of all, theft of cargoes on railway public transport has become more frequent (they are plundering tens of millions of 101 rubles); secondly, the theft of cooperative and collective farm property. Plunders are mainly organized by fists (dispossessed) and other anti-Soviet elements that are trying to undermine our new system. By law, these gentlemen are considered as ordinary thieves, receive two or three years in prison (formal), but in fact through the 6 – 8 months are amnestied. Such a regime for these gentlemen, which cannot be called socialist, only encourages them in essence a real counter-revolutionary "work." To tolerate such a situation is unthinkable ”[6, p. 115].
Of course, theft must be punished. However, the penalties provided for by the 7 Decree of August 1932 look excessively harsh (Stalin himself in the above-cited letter called them "draconian"). If we proceed from the letter of the Ordinance, the main punishment for the theft of goods in transport, as well as for the theft (theft) of collective and cooperative property was to be shot with confiscation of property, and only if there are extenuating circumstances - 10 years of imprisonment .
How was it in practice? The results of the application of the law since its publication on 1 in January 1933 in the RSFSR are as follows: 3,5% were convicted to the highest measure, 10% to prison years and to 60,3% below [36,2, p. 1]. Of the last 2,% of convicts received non-custodial sentences [80, p. 10].
It should be noted that not all sentences were carried out to the highest degree: by 1 in January of 1933, the general courts in the RSFSR carried out 2686 death sentences according to the Decree of August 7. In addition, the RSFSR accounts for a hefty part of the sentences imposed by linear transport courts (812 death sentences in the whole USSR) and military tribunals (208 sentences in the USSR) [10, p. 139]. However, the Supreme Court of the RSFSR reviewed almost half of these sentences. More excuses handed down the Presidium of the CEC. According to the People's Commissar of Justice of the RSFSR N.V. Krylenko, on 1 in January of 1933, the total number of people executed under the law of August 7 in the RSFSR did not exceed a thousand [10, p. 112].
17 November 1932 of the Year The Board of the People's Commissariat of Justice of the RSFSR decided to limit the application of article 51 of the RSFSR Criminal Code, which allowed passing sentences below the lower limit provided for by law for committing this crime. From now on, the right to apply Article 51 was granted only to regional and regional courts. People's courts, when they considered it necessary to mitigate the punishment below the limit, should have put the matter before the regional or regional court [1, p. 2].
At the same time, the Board indicated that in each individual case of attracting a worker for petty embezzlement, it was necessary to approach differentially and in particularly exceptional circumstances (need, multi-family, insignificant number of stolen, lack of mass embezzlement of such embezzlement) could be terminated in the order of art. 6 UK RSFSR [1, p. 2].
The restriction on the use of the 51 article, and especially the 7 – 12 of January 1933, which took place on January 7, the combined plenum of the Central Committee and the Central Control Commission of the CPSU (B) forced the judges to exercise greater severity. As a result, in the RSFSR out of those convicted under the Law of 1 in August from 1 January to 1933 in May 5,4, the highest measure received 10%, 84,5 years of imprisonment - 10,1%, softer punishments - 1% [2, p. XNUMX]. However, the death rate still remained very low.
Who fell under the punitive law of the Law of August 7?
“Three peasants, two of whom according to the indictment, fists, and according to the information submitted to them — not fists, but the middle peasants — took the collective farm boat for a whole day and left for fishing. And for this unauthorized use of the collective farm boat applied the decree of August 7, was sentenced to a very serious measure of punishment. Or another case where, by 7 decree of August, an entire family was convicted for engaging in fish from a river that passed by a collective farm. Or the third case, when one guy was convicted by the 7 decree of August for having dabbled in the barn with the girls at night, as stated in the verdict, and this caused concern to the collective farm pig. The wise judge knew, of course, that the collective farm pig was part of the collective farm property, and the collective farm property was sacred and inviolable. Therefore, this wise man reasoned, you need to apply the 7 of August decree and condemn “for anxiety” to the 10 years of imprisonment.
We have sentences with very serious social protection measures because someone struck a collective farm piglet (again a piglet), caused him some bodily injury: the August 7 decree was applied as a violation of public property ”[3, p. 102 – 103].
These facts are cited in their pamphlet by the famous Stalin prosecutor A.Ya. Vyshinsky. However, it immediately makes an important addition:
“True, these sentences are continuously canceled, the judges themselves are steadily removed from their posts, but still it characterizes the level of political understanding, the political outlook of those who can pass such sentences” [3, p. 103].
And here are a number of similar examples.
“Kollekhoz Alekseenko for the careless attitude to the village. -h. inventory, which resulted in partial abandonment of inventory after repair in the open air, was sentenced by the people's court under the law 7 / VIII 1932 to the city of 10, l / s. At the same time, the case was not fully established so that the inventory received full or partial disrepair (D. narsuda Kamensky r. No. 1169 18 / II – 33) ...
Kolkhoznik Lazutkin, working on the collective farm as a ox-driver, let the bulls out on the street during harvesting. One ox slipped and broke his leg, as a result of which, by order of the board, he was slaughtered. Narsud Kamensky district 20 / II 1933. Sentenced Lazutkin under the law 7 / VIII to 10 g. L / s.
A religious minister of Pomazkov, 78 l., Climbed the bell tower to remove the snow, and found there 2 bags of corn, which he immediately told the village council. The latter sent for verification of people who discovered another bag of wheat. Narsud Kamensky district 8 / II 1933 was sentenced Pomazkova under the law 7 / VIII to 10 g. L / s.
Collective farmer Kambulov Narsud Kamensky district 6 / IV 1933 was sentenced under the law 7 / VIII to 10 g. L / s for the fact that he (being the head of the collective farm collective farm “Poor man”) allegedly hung a collective farmer, resulting in a volatile audit excess grain found in one barn in 375 kilo. Narsud did not take into account Kambulov’s statements about checking other barns, since, according to his statement, due to improper write-off there should be a lack of the same amount of grain in another barn. Already after Kambulov’s conviction, his testimony was confirmed, since this grain was taken to another barn, and there was a shortage of 375 kg ...
Narsud 3 uch. Shakhtinsky, now Kamensky, district 31 / III 1933. The collective farmer Ovcharov accused that “the latter gathered a handful of grain and ate because he was very hungry and exhausted and had no strength to work” ... according to Art. 162 CC to 2 g. L / s. ”[8, p. 4 – 5].
Each of these facts could be an excellent excuse for exposing the "crimes of the Stalinist regime," if it were not for a small detail, all these absurd sentences were immediately revised.
The condemnation "for the spikelets" was not the norm, but lawlessness:
“On the other hand, every employee of justice was required not to allow the law to be applied in cases when its use would discredit it: in cases of theft in extremely small amounts or under extremely heavy material need of the robber” [2, p. 2].
However, it is not for nothing that they say: “Make a fool to pray to God - he will hurt his head!” The low level of legal literacy of local personnel, along with excessive zeal, led to massive “excesses”. As A.Ya. Vyshinsky, “here we can talk about a“ leftist ”perversion, when everyone who commits petty theft was brought under the class enemy” [3, p. 102].
They struggled with excesses, in particular, demanding to apply the article 162 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to minor thefts, which, as we recall, provided for a much less severe punishment:
“In a number of cases, the law was unreasonably applied to workers who committed theft either on a small scale or out of need. That is why it was pointed out that it was necessary to use Article 162 and other articles of the Criminal Code in these cases ”[2, p. 2].
Such judicial errors, as a rule, were immediately corrected:
“According to the data recorded in a special resolution of the NCJU Board, the number of canceled sentences in the period from August 7 1932 to July 1 1933 from 50 to 60%” [3, p. 100].
But among the convicts under the Law of 7 of August, there were also experienced plunderers.
From the note of deputy. Chairman of the OGPU G.E. Prokofiev and the head of the Economic Department of the OGPU L.G. Mironov addressed I.V. Stalin on 20 March 1933:
“From the cases of embezzlement opened by the OGPU for the reported two weeks, the large bread thefts that took place in Rostov-on-Don attract attention. The whole Rosstrokhlebokombinat system was embezzled by embezzlement: a bakery, 2 mills, 2 bakeries, and 33 shops, of which bread was sold to the public. More than 6 thous. Pounds, bread, 1 thous. Pounds, sugar, 500 pounds, bran and other products were stolen. The lack of clear reporting and control, as well as criminal nepotism and employee spikes contributed to embezzlement. Public worker control, attached to the bread trading network, did not justify its purpose. In all established cases of embezzlement, the controllers were accomplices, affixing with their signatures knowingly fictitious acts to undertake the bread, to write off shrinkage and to weight, etc. In the case, 54 people were arrested, of which 5 are members of the CPSU (b.) ...
In the Taganrog branch of Soyuztrans, the organization of 62 chauffeurs, porters and port employees, among whom a significant number of former were identified, was eliminated. kulaks, merchants, as well as the criminal element. The organization during transport stole goods on the way, transported from the port. The size of the theft can be judged by the fact that only grains and flour were stolen around 1500 pounds ”[9, p. 417 – 418].
“6 thousand pounds of bread ... 1500 pounds of grain and flour ...” These are not “ears”.
Strict measures bore fruit. Thus, embezzlement on transport has been reduced from 9332 cases across the entire network in August 1932 of the year to 2514 cases of June in 1933 of the year [2, p. 1]. Theft of collective farm property has also decreased. The Central Committee of the CPSU (b) and the SNK of the USSR 8 in May 1933 of the year issue a joint instruction “On the termination of the use of mass evictions and acute forms of repression in the village”.
“This ruling means a fundamental change in the entire punitive policy of the judiciary. It requires shifting the center of gravity to massive political and organizational work, and emphasizes the need for a more accurate, clearer, more organized strike at the class enemy, since the old methods of fighting have become obsolete and in the current situation are not suitable. The directive means the cessation, as a rule, of massive and acute forms of repression in connection with the final victory of the collective farm system in the village. New methods in the new environment should be carried out "policy of revolutionary coercion" [1, p. 2].
The use of the Law of August 7 on 1932 is drastically reduced (see the Table 1). From now on, it was to be used only for the most serious, large-scale thefts.
Table - Number of convicts 1932 year
A similar picture was observed in Ukraine. The number of convicts under the Law of 7 of August 1932 of the year by the general courts of the Ukrainian SSR was:
1933 - 12 767
1935 –730 people
Moreover, in January 1936, rehabilitation of convicts under this law began in accordance with Decree No. 36 / 78 of the CEC and SNK of the USSR dated 16 in January 1936 of the year “On the inspection of cases of persons convicted on the basis of the decree of the CEC and SNK of the USSR dated 7 August 1932 of“ On protecting the property of state-owned enterprises, collective farms and cooperations and strengthening social (socialist) property ”.
As a result, the number of people convicted for plundering socialist property under the law of August 7, held in correctional labor camps (ITL), almost tripled during the year 1936 (see Table 2).
Table - Number of convicts 1932 year
Thus, the task of the Resolution from 7 of August 1932 of the year was not to plant and shoot as many people as possible, but to sharply toughen up the responsibility measures to protect socialist property from plunderers. At the initial stage of applying the Decree of 7 in August, especially in the first half of 1933, there were massive excesses on the ground, which, however, were corrected by higher authorities. At the same time, in accordance with the old Russian tradition, the severity of the law was compensated by the non-binding nature of its execution: contrary to the formidable wording, the death penalty was used quite rarely, and most of those sentenced to 10 years were rehabilitated in 1936 year.
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