July 08, 2022

Soviet Law Against Sabotage May Return


Soviet Law Against Sabotage May Return
Ammar Sabaa

According to Meduza, the National Anti-Corruption Committee (NAC) has proposed resurrecting the Soviet-era law against “wrecking” (or “sabotage”), adding back an article to the Criminal Code.

The head of NAK, Kirill Kabanov, wrote a letter to Senator Andrei Klishas, in which he said that the criminal code does not contain “the concept of harm and material damage as it relates to defense capability, national and economic security.” Therefore, he said, he believes that people responsible for “a decrease in the country's defense capability, for a negative impact on domestic industrial and financial markets, for disruption of the state order" cannot be held accountable if there is no direct material damage.

Kabanov proposed that Klishas evaluate the possibility of returning a sabotage statute to the criminal code, “considering modern realities and the law of the Russian Federation.”

Klishas said that Kabanov's proposal “at a minimum is worthy of serious discussion… when you consider the successes of our institutions at ‘import substitution’ and in other areas, one would really like to return an article on wrecking to the criminal code."

The USSR’s 1930 criminal code did not have a separate article about wrecking per se, but several points in the section on “counterrevolutionary activity” dealt with wrecking, and several million persons were repressed (imprisoned and/or killed) in the Soviet era as “saboteurs.” Most cases against “saboteurs,” according to Mediazona, were initiated under Article 58.7 – “Obstruction of the Normal Activities of State Institutions and Enterprises… for Counter-revolutionary Purposes.”

In 1960, sabotage appeared as a separate offense in the Criminal Code of the USSR. It was described by Article 69, in the section "Especially Dangerous State Crimes." The article provided for up to 15 years in prison with confiscation of property. The RSFSR Criminal Code article "Sabotage" remained in effect until 1996, when a new Russian Criminal Code came into force.

In 2015, Valery Rashkin, at that time a member of the State Duma from the Communist Party, suggested that the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the FSB, and the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office, return the “Sabotage” article to the Russian Criminal Code. No law enforcement response to his proposal was reported.

 

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