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NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 57 Issue: 4 Dated: (December 1993) Pages: 54-58
G F Allen
Date Published
5 pages
The author describes his observations of Russia's criminal justice system as a member of a delegation of criminal justice professionals who visited the country in May 1990.
Following a historical overview of Soviet criminal justice from 1917 when the Bolsheviks seized power through 1971 when a new constitution went into effect, the author describes the structure and activities of the delegation during its visit. Among four families of legal systems -- common, civil, Islamic, and socialist -- the author classifies the Russian system as socialist. Socialist law regards law as a teacher and a parent. The offender is perceived as a member of a growing, unfinished society that is moving toward a higher phase of development. The judge plays the part of a parent or guardian in requiring offenders to comply with the responsibilities the state imposes on them. When a procurator goes to court to prosecute, he is there in the capacity of a prosecutor and a procurator who oversees the court's handling of the case according to the law. The potential conflicts of interest in this dual role are currently being examined in Russia. This article also examines the roles of the police, the KGB, the courts, the criminal defense, and corrections in Russia. The author doubts that Russia will undergo a dramatic shift from the socialist law principles, although the country will probably be influenced by democratic governments and market- directed economics. The Soviets have traditionally had a low tolerance for the high crime levels that sometimes accompany market economies, and they particularly abhor serious crimes. The system will likely be reformed in ways designed to produce effective crime control rather than to reflect the western style of criminal justice for its own sake. 3 references