Created: 7/1/1989

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Director* I* of InteUijeoct

Soviet Legal Reformtate of Law |

Approved for ileleass




Soviet Legal Reform: InstitutingStatev*H

Key Judgments

General Secretary Gorbachev has celled for significant change to strengthenlegality* in the USSR, which he believes Is key to guaranteeing the durability of his political, economic, and social reforms. The firstlasd the USSR sines Lenin, Gorbachev says ho wants toof ravrfln which no's sbovs the law and all citizen^ urnhv it He has criticiied party interference in the administration of Justice and'Implicitly renounced the traditional Soviet view of Iaw as an instrument of social control and repression i

Despite Gorbachev's professed determination. Soviet legal reform Is st[ii at an early IS end Its future Is uncertain. Continuing leadershipn maintainingriTni^'orrol' the Crjmmumst Party--which Gorbachev shareit uteiT Sb-ong" barrier to the creationegal system that operates Independently ofai pressure. The regime is wrestling with the problem of trying to msintam its ultimate' authority wtille prsventlng government srbltrarlnsss snd protectingrights. Ths creation of'state of law* In the USSR may remain beyond the reach of this generation, but modest changes already made snd others thst are under consideration could be Irnrjortant first steps in reducing regime coercion and strengthening civil liberties. I


Gorbachev has several motives for pushing legal reform. Eliminating corruption builds regime legitimacy and effectiveness*trenothPns nnnnlar rpsnnct for Jaw and order. Overhauling the regulatory process, whichandloapped byand often contradictory laws, Improves the likelihood of consistentof rolorm laws. Engendering public trust in the predictability of the law and confidence that economic and civil rights provided in the law will not be Ignored "encourages private Initiative. Supplanting the notionotalltarian^re-- w

oneountry ruled by law improves the USSR's Image abroad.

Accordingly, Gorbachev has taken steps to remove corrupt party and lawofficials and to prosecute some of the worst offenders. Laws have been passed to protect the rights of whistle blowers who uncover" official abuses, to regulate psychiatric commTTMflm'S, to give citTiens the rioht tn sue officials, and to

So far. how-

mcreBSB "Tie rights ot economicenterprtses and private businesses, ever, implementation of the new laws has been uneven. JH^^

9 was used in this st


Scope Note

This study provides an overview of the Soviet legal reform effort including what the regime is trying to address and why. actions It has taken and proposed, and the hurdles It Is already beginning to confront It does not attempt to track ell the changes made in Sovieton the economic side. Nor does Itan assessment of overall human rights performance]!

Tho paper does touch on several other political, drawing from several recant assassmentsj

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Table of Contents




Soviet Law in1

The Bolshevik Claim of

Soviet Law in Theory ana Practice .

Gorbachev's Motives in Pressing forState of

Building Regime Legitimacy

Making the System Moreiving New Legal Footing to the Economy

Unfettering Initiative

Reviving Respect for Law end

Improving Image In the

Progress to

Cleaning up

Broadening Citizens'

Relaxation of


Activating Dormant Constitutional

Regulating Economicew

Further Chenges Under

Criminal Law Reform: One Step Forward. Two Steps Back7v Against Arbitrary Repression Stalled

New Procedures To Improve the Fairness of Investigations and Trials 27

Reducing the Seventy of


Raising the Stetus of the

Eliminating Unconstitutional and Contradictory

Equipping Citizens for Legal .



Broadening and Defining Rights of

Strengthening Legal Compliance by Law Enforcement Organizations

Potentlel Hurdles



Uck of Legal

tate of Law

Indicators of

Legal Administration In the USSR.


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Prospects for Achieving



The Situation Oorbachav Inharltad

When Mikh.ii GorbachevSgcfeturv the content and application of Sovielere cogorsent.arge degree, on political considerations:

Certain groups and categories of activity were not protected by the law. People doemed 'troublemakers* often found themselves In conflict with the authorities and without even thn minimal dim nrnrwaa gnafintffte ffitflrl*'H to common criminals. Existing constitutional rights were Ignored whenthreatened social control or party privilege.

Other groups, such as party and oovpmmont ntfiriaU received special treatment and were in many respects above the law. High standardsIn party rules were subvened by widespread protectionism. Abuse existed at all'

Communist Party control of legal Institutions andoversight podlas and the appointment ofesponsible legal onicials often acquiesced to the orders of strong party or ministry officials. Direct intervention in particularto even by Soviet officials as 'telephonecommon

The political police (KGB) had considerable operational independence, wars regulated oy few legal constraints, and. In the name of internal security re-qunemanls. routinely snort-tircuitoa those leaai and procedural safeguards thatit

In general, officials responsible for ths economy and social Issues often used ths principle that the end justifies the means to rationalize actions that sidestepped laws and regulations.

Motives for Reform

Publicly acknowledging these gaps between Soviet law In theory and In practJcs, Gorbachev has several important reasons for pursuing legal reform:

' Building regime legitimacy Gorbachev wants to curtail official abuses thatorrosive effect on the loqimrj's reputation. Corruption erodes pop-ular respect for the party, thus robbing itource of legitimacy andthe credibility of Gorbachev's reform program. Noting that, more thanercent of ail citiien complemts were about ths police or ths courts, one CPSU official asserted that such perceptionstime bomb* under reform.

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Making tht system more eHective. Arbitrary law enforcement and blatant con-uption also threaten to weaken the regime's ability to enforce ItsUnder-the-table dealings strip the leadership of rts leverage overofficials by providing thorn with alternative sources of money and pnvT-fege beyond the benefits dispensriri hyty Morever, policies cannot be enforcod effectively if lews and regulations are unpublished, ambiguous, or contradictory.

Giving new legel footing to the economy. Even if the leadership gets enpugh support to implement an economic rtrform. the continued existence of conflicting sdministrative regulations might still" undermine ItsInorbachev referred obliquely to the problem when he called for assurances that the state enterprise law would be supreme and not be "diluted with ell menner of departmental instructions and

Unfettering Initiative. Uniformity infl nmrflnihility In implying the'lawinitiative among the more outspoken and productive members. Of socierv. bvioi* muens win act and participatePSU candidate In an election orooperativemust believe thai the law provides edequete protection of their fights, trust that the regime will enforce the law. and be assured that secret regulatorydo not override the formal legal process.

Reviving respect for jaw and order. Gorbachev also wants to reform the legal establishment to keep in check crime a'ndohesive end disciplined society. Failure bvlons to obey the law encourages the Riibllc to disrnaard It as well. mat problems such as violent crime, luvenlle delinquency, and drug jbuse. on the rise. Gorbachev has decried the neglect of such social Ills ano ine concentration by law enforcement bodies on repression of dissent ascannon to shoot at sparrows, while leaving gravensolved."

improving the imj^aa to the West. Gorbachev Is mindful that supplanting the notionotalitarian dictatorship with oneountry ruled solely by law and respei tful of human rights could have foreign policy payoffs. |H

Progress to Date

Uk* Andropov before him, Gorbachev Initially focused on removing corrupt hold- vers oj the Brezhnev era and publicizing his Intentions to make all officialsiuiiiluui ft* the law. He has begun to ettack the immunity of party officials from prosecution and has doled out severe penalties to elite offenders.executionandful. In the most celebrated case, Brezhnev'sfficial Yuriy Churbanov, wai recently convicted for briberyTs-



slvo investigationorruption scandal that so far has led to punitive actions against thou sandsof officials In Uzbekistan andew top officials In other areas H hi II

The regime also intonslflod cleanup efforts targotod at law enforcementaccused of protecting and fostering widespread cbrhjp'non. NO IBw uuforce-memtheescaped high-level personnel changes, large numbers of dismissals, and criminal sanctions:

In6 Gorbachev appointed Aieaaandrtalented regional party official known for hishead the Ministry ofiasov replaced the police chiefs in several republics eluding Moscow, and continued the drive to remove tainted andstaff and Improve training. Vadlm Bakatln, who replaced Viasov when he was promoted to Premier of the RSFSR, has emphasized the need to continue"v's policies. BaKatin announced recontly thet0 MVD staffers wore punished for law violations8 atone.

Members at every level of theuge organization that combines Vio functions of US-stylo prosecutors and state attorneys, have been cnargeo with protecting and erigagirfg" in8 theappointed Aleksandr Sukharev, former RSFSR Minister of Justice, to replace Aleksandr Rekunfcov as USSR Procurator General. Rekunkov. who headed the USSR Procuracy for over seven years, was subsequentlyIn aeveral major corruption scandals still under Investigation.


have been convicted of accepting bribes In return for lenient sen-

Judges punished for "deviations from the law" totaled7 andccording to the Soviet press.he regime announced theof USSR Suornmn Cnurt Chairman Vladimir TorebHov. who subseq-

uently was publicly implicated In corruption.

ifflciais have been publicly chastised for violations such as framing defendants and mating Illegal arrests.

Gorbachev immediately went after corruption, rt was only In6 that he began to iei the basis 'or thorough legal reform by calling for new fawl strengthening Individual rights. He has advocated an end to party Interference In the administration of Justice and the creationstate of law" in which noIs above the law and all citizens are protected by it. The regime has taken Its firstsometimesgiving citizens end the legal com-

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munlty the tools necessary lo act as whistleblowers and watchdogs against official manipulation of the law to persecute critics:

The leadership allowed unprecedented oress coverage of problems in Soviet psychiatry and sanctioned changes to the law on psychiatric incarceration. Theseleast onpatients with broader and clearer legal rights than in thelt Is still uncertain whether these legal changes will be fully Implementec

New laws, effectiveelineate citizens' rights to sue officials who violate their'TTghYs and to particlpatn )ri wirtp^nrr.arl rlkr-mslnn nf public'and proposedpromised In7 USSR Constitution. Although symbolically important, the law giving citizens the right to suehas several limitations and In practice has had only modest fmpact. The public discussion law, on the other hand, has contributed toeffort to "democratize" the lawmaking process. The regime used Its legal prerogative selectively to Initfete public discussion on severs! draft laws that were major pegs In Gorbachev's reform agenda but avoided public discussion of laws that were potentially embarrassing or disruptive.

The regime has also moved to protect the new economic rights of enter-prisesand legalize privatev rM-inn* whits rrwrkinn down oncrime and that part of the flourishing "second economy* that re-"mains illegal. Several new laws grant privale businesses expanded rights, to "enter Into contracts, engage in foreign trade, and transfer property.

The regimo has granted more power to ths quasi-judicial organ tasked with settling disputes among state and private businesses and Is trying toand remove laws and regulations that are obsolete or Inconsistent with rne retorm laws. The RSFSR Procuracy reported recently that rt annulled iB.uuu obsolete and contradictory regulations

New Umlts on Civil liberties


Despite these advances, the regime has been struggling toalance ba-tween relaxing regime controls and maintaining order amid Increasing demonstra-tlons and ethnic violence.!


Innocent bystanders,

resulting from demonstrations. While pressing for legal reform to encourageexpression, Gorbachev has been forced or persuaded to take into account the concerns of orthodox Politburo members who argue that lawlessness or anarchy could ensue.

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Tho regime hasederal law on demonstrations passed In late6 to narrow the limits on acceptable activity and to legitimize actions to shut down protests. The new law requires citizens to request permission toays in advance, to inlorm iho local pariVexecuTn/Spurpose and location ol ihe demonstration, and to be liable for any materialto privale or public property. ^Regional authorities are also given the rlqhTTo pass additional regulations to take into account local conditions. Several republics nave instituted large fines and even imprisonment terms of up to six months for violations, whMeother republics have, defiantly refused to enforce the law on

At the same time, the regime nulled back temporarily from announced Plans tn overhaul the criminal justice system. Soviet officials had said for over two years thai ihey planned to "humanlzo" criminal law and to provide more protections against arbitrary state action. Draft federal legislation, published Inutlined general principles of criminal law and encompassed most of the changes proposed by reformers In the area of punishment. Thflse Included aIn the use of the death nanflltv and emphaslzod wort; release oroorflrps over Imprison ment. Officials announced that the draft would be passed by the new Supreme Soviet Innd promised further changes to strepgthen rights of due process and expression..

Inowever, the Presidium of the Supreme Sovietontroversial decree that stiffened rather than softened laws against dissent and free speech. -Although the decree was depictedeform document, It actually created the legal means for clamping down on public criticism. I

en?ls"sslon In June.

-Jlhi 'pillationII*

Riittislon, degradingfl

sTftW to five .TO^mBV^laiaaa'^atfSlaSittT commmed byr or Involve the loss of life.'D v* tna committedroup

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Further Changes Under Consideration

Numerous proposals that would revitalize the reform effort are also underThey ara at different stages of preparation, and options ranging fromto radical are being hotly debeted:

Reformers are attempting to soften further the April decree and are pushing for further criminal law reform, Including revision of federal legislationgeneral principles ol criminal law; and of the more specific criminal code for the Russian Republic. Issues of particular importance include pro-vnionr. oovrninotreatment of relloloua believers, procedurelsuch es early involvement by defense attorneys and an Increased number of lay judges, ana adjustments to make punishment proportional to the crime.

Laws aimed at Increasing judicial independence ere expected wrthin the next yew. They will build on the framework created by the8 "amendments to the USSR Constitution. Key provisions Include providinguhlcsndldate elections and new removal procedures for Judges, whose tiuusiginuneTj"Trorn five toears, and increases In the number oTTay judges toi create large paneis--if not Western-stvieleast for capital crimes.

%^The regimeonstitutional amendment8 topnstl-*T tutlonal Qvarsloht Commitrrja that would, for the first time since Stalin's

purges, provide some active state oversight of the constitutionality ofThe Congress of People's Deputies failed to select members for this oversight committee after disputes arose over the commlttae'ato Interpret republic constitutions and laws. The Congressroup of Deputies to draft the enabling statute outlining the overalght com-mlttee's powers and responsibilities but left the membership Question for leter. it Is also still unclear how much Independence from party guidance the committee will have.

Laws increasing citizens' rights end access to Information.are said to be In' the worts, but most are not likely1merge 'or several months (seeost Important and controversial are lews that define the role ofis citizens end delineate procedures and standards forof grievances and charges of wrongdoing.

Efforts to strengthen legal compliance by law enforcement organizations continue. They focus on establishing now supervisory organs, eliminating unnecessary secrecy. Improving competency. anO rggstUfTflg' the publicaw enforcement bodies follow the lew. MVD officials reportaw on the mllltla Is under preparation. Though not expectedraft law on state security willey Indicator of regime intentions totate of law. Said to be under consideration are far-reaching proposals

to ellminete many KGB domestic functions, or at leest transfer them to the

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MVD. and to create standing committees on state security with broad oversight under the legislature.

Differences Within the Elite

As in his other reform efforts. Gorbachev Is mooting significant, npiiti^aiopposition. The reform battle is twofold:the leadership to agree on clear and oncompassing laws that institutionalize policies, and to seeesistant bureaucracy implements the laws as written.

Gorbachev has not had full control of the Politburo nor Its complete support for all elements of his legal reform agenda. Legal reform appears to have been slowed by hesltance about delimiting police powersime of rising popular unrest. ifferences at the top over the Jaws on glasnost and the media have caused

As In the case of many other reform Issues, Politburo members Yegor Ugachey and Viktor Chebrikov are rallying points for orthodox ogrTv opposition. Although both clearly support the regime's crackdown on crima and on official corruptionwithinhave shown discomfort with such far-reaching Gorbachevlan changes as giving citizensi access tond the right to express their views. Chebrikov probably used his influence as head of the Central Committee's tegaPCommisslon to push the9 decree restricting public expression. At the April Central Committee plenum, several hardline officials spoke strongly Inof keeping the harsh April decree and warned against coddling "criminals" while restricting the powers of the police.

Gorbachev hassucceeded Inplace allies, most notably "Vice President Anatolly Luk'yanoy.osition to counter Chebrikov's Influence on matters of legal reform. Luk'yanbv and former MVD chief Aleksandrstaunch supporter ofesult of the sweeping changes to the leadership inontinued support from Viasov. now Premier of the Russian Republic, would provide great Impetus for overall legal reformRussian law has hlstnrlralluthnfnr nthar republics. LukVanoVS

recent election by the new Congress of People's Deputies as Vice Presidenthis continuing Influence. Politburo members Aleksandr Yakovlev andof Foreign Affairs Shevardnadze also sup'piirt TfiB'Iflgal reform enort. Never^ Theiess, even those In favor of reform have advocated cautionontinued broadening of civil rights when confronted with the upsurge of grassroots political agitation.

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Reform Uglsbtloa in Ihr Worts


elected Supreme Sovietil



cenunued conHO'tny. ti pec ted

Rtvittona will probably:Kopa of death penalty.if ii pnton iottoL.workrelcaae

jtKwS cVfimiiooof ana-Soviel

(.'ontnbutrs to regime aim U> impiove image in Wen. eapeciilly in light of putii man right! abuee* ind Weatem

ilrmiixi lo cnininil law. Gorbachev il

balancingith regime u* inn for mainiaining conuol end publ*.nil fat Miang It- caforccfncitL

betl toefcca nbcaied pro nnetttt of Apnl WWh watrui*

propoaali rndoraedty confera nee In, tome enacted in Conjuaitianal arr-raJmenu thtlraft Im "On indicia] Aeonmutrioon-tad -On of ludieaf reportedly draftedby Supreme Soria rVwadrarn. Procwicy ISM tochangei eJIwinj Mi power.

CorualiutMnal Ovenighthar-lend Incratituuontl AmrnomrnU. anhme IWJ Corpm ol Peoplc'i Depuikt anpninied aiuup to draft la- on -Ccewrrotlonal OvcrugM in thencrrncd that ii could enrroaih on iheir ngliU U- onblegi.leuon- reportedly being drafted

Amandmcnit prnvxfc duelerma will be lengthened from 5year* io provide

*i" oc elected by'Mtt plana lo out perry controli are Mill ttnclcar.


of liy judge*f ecru) probably will be mcrcacd for amooe cnlmea. chance* of propoaali fr. creawg/ary mum ara oca aa good.

penetuee for eoraempr of WW aaJtaaatrawaa fakdy.

New leglilarun iomember com minee.

Mai power to impend--but notregulation) thai conflict with

Some form ol rcgltuaiion with Genual awhoriiy for all new regulation! ii likely.

Haa polenlial lo help regime (wild legm macy and el unmandepen dew on how far ii limiu parry control ewer jiutnnry Public edocttioo and HMriinf larger legal cadre will take lime. Funher political reforrne ncccuary for ilgraficani

liberal ptoviitcro Di Comutaiion. which have been largely ignored in practice, potentially most far teaching check un nary power ihal could reduce contradictory edminiitralive rcgulauoru and aignificanily unfeHer iniiialive. Its momberahip and caie record will be indicium of lu tadepen denee

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secAet nc^6rn noco^tract oytan

Even if the leadership is able to transform some of the controversial reformInto law. It still faces an uphill battle to force the foot-dragging bureaucracy to enforce and Implement them:

Mirroring the concerns voiced by hardliners in the leadership, localresisted changes that appear to threaten social control. PointingInjuries and fatalities suffered by police duringlast fall that "many of our citizens take democ-

racytomeantotanicense andhe need to maintain social order has already provided the excuse for not following laws to the letter.sources have pointed to several instances In which local authorities denied good-faith demonstration requests and harassed activists withpenalties.

Local officials, like some members of the leadership, that would reduce their control over private economic sons are probably both practical and Ideological. Some officials, forhaveecree on "unearned Income" to discourage cooperatives and private enterprise. Many claim that new private businesses, which must often turn to the black msrket for supplies, and which are often'required to pay protection money to corrupt officials, are the root cause of-the increase In crime and the growth of the Soviet mafia.

Some officials are likely to become frustrated with what they perceive to be contradictory calls from Moscow. Since the rewriting of law has not caught up with economic and social reform efforts, local officials are encouraged to circumvent some laws while chastised for violating others.]

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Potential Impact

Oorbachav standsritical |unetura In the legal reform process, havingthe old but not yet built the new. The regime must balance its push forreform with the need to enact enforceable laws. It needs to avoid removing constraintsay that would suggest everything ia permitted in the name of glasnoat and private enterprise while guarding against the kind of constraints that are preferred by orthodox officials and that have become second nature to most In the legal apparatus that Gorbachev Inherited, j |

Evan If the regime makes only moderate headway on legal reform. It will further Its goal of Improving the USSR's Image abroad. The regime gave wide publicity to

the release flfdraftn pinmhir IQUH. Rai/Hlnni.

such as abolishing exile andlong used againstnarrowing the death penalty have significant international appeal.officials have already contrasted Ihelr use of the death penalty with US policy, labeling the execution of Juvenile convicts In some US stateshuman rights abuse. Despite the obvious drawbacks In ths9 decree on antl-Sovlst ac-tfvttJes. the regime has highlighted only the most positive sides of the law and flooded the foreign and domestic press with Justifications for it Improvements In ths country's image abroad will be ahort lived, however. If its actions flagrantlythe law's purported intent Although the regime's move to 'decriminalize*administrative Instead of criminalmore ftuqiapy. It TWBpyajs ihbtbw uub prmrais fjuafantees defendants have In the criminaleliant* on aorninistrative penalties also makes Identifying abuses more difficult for Western observers.

Ths chances for ths regime to write and apply laws Inay as to revivefor the law are less certain. Soviet citizens aupport firm and prompt law enforcement and would favor efforts to Improve the competency of the police and the cpurfTTridhB OTfoTrTate,WBraThuses ot nu'fflatl rTQTrts. Changes In sentencing that make punishment fit tha crime will be seen by criml-nologlsta aa an aid In tha fight against crlma and recidivism. Fairness andapplication of the law by th* regime would revlva cltlzsns* respect for the law. However, many ordinary citizens ana concerned that reforms are straining thsfabric andegree of turmoil that la damaging tha country.are portraying the recent increases Inlegal specialists blame on the relaxation of tbe aniialcoholtha result of democratization and tha "humanizing" of criminal law. Tha regime may also confront anuneasy and disgruntled law enforcement sector, which has bean asked to eliminate all the country'sjiis yet told to play by new rules and subjected toby liberal oubllclsts.1

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Using law to unfetter initiative and place the economyew legal footing willong, step-by-step process dependent on policy development, on how well the new laws are written to encompass the policy, and on the regime's ability to enforce and implement the laws. We expect progress to be spotty. Nevertheless, new laws, even if poorly drafted and handicapped with compromiselike the law giving citizens the right to sueinstitutionalize change that has already taken place and allow reformers to progress to the next level. By amending the April decree that had set back reform, the Soviet Government has given citizens slightly better legal protection against arbitrariness than they had before the decree. They will be even better off if other prohibitions are defined more narrowly.

The Interdependence of legal reform and political change makes building legitimacy snd Improving the systems effectiveness the most problematic ot the regime's alms. Gorbachev's campaign against corruption and official abuse of authority has contributed to his overall effort to bringapprochement between theand the society. New rules for Judicial selections, improvements In lawtraining, and new due processas providing counsel for criminal defendants duringfurther enhance the Integrity of the legal system In the eyes of the public. Nevertheless, the regime iswith the contradiction of trying to maintain it< ultimata mithnrjtv while some-how preventing government arbitrariness And protecting Individual rights. The pajjy CoiUlnues toey voice in the appointment of personnel in "the legal and law enforcement system, the ability to promulgate party decrees that inhave the force of law. and the constitutional position of being the country's 'guidingithout broader political reform that effectively limits tfie party's authority, the regime is unlikely to ensure independent judicial andorganizations. Similarly, continuationarge political police force, charged with monitoring dissent and operatingore or less arbitrary fashion notby strong legal controls, would undermine efforts toew founda-tlon for party rule based less on fear and more on support from the population.

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Soviet Legal Reform:tate of Law,

Soviet Law In Perspective

Western scholars have debated for decades whether the Soviet system ofpublic orderegal system comparable to other principal systems of the world. On the surface, many aspects of Soviet law resemble Western law. In factegalprocedures that jiow exist in the Soviet Union'were adopted from Western Europe by the czars end continued by the Bolsheviks. Forears, Soviet law has dealt with problems common to any Westernas employment disputes. iQh^rJtance. family problems,Injuries, distribution of goods, andhas often arrived at solutions similar to those in other countries.

Despite these surface similarities, the Soviet legal system has been uniquelybv Its roots In non-Western culture and, thus, differs fundamentally from that In the West, its roots, as one American scholar writes, "areommunist political and social system,entrally planned economy, andhe historical tradition of Russia, with its Byzantine, Mongol, and Russian Orthodox heritage Marxist-Leninist theory accounts for the most significant and fundamental dlffer-ance between the nature and function ot law In tha USSR and in the West

The Bolshevik Claim of Legality

'A lawolitical measure; It Is enin (lUl6)

Law, under Marxist-Lenir)ist theory, ia no more than an Instrument of theand Is not above or independent of politics. When the Bolsheviks took power, they viewed laweflection of the economic conditionsountry. Law would eventually fall Into disuse as the state "withered away* Under thisthey argued for rule by "revolutionaryby writtenand warned against allowing tha revolution to be slowed by legal formalities'.the Liberal Democrats pushed for Western legal concepts as czarlst Russia hadew years orevlously, the Bolsheviks rejected cells for such ajiystern, in which law would be an impartial'standard controlling society and the" political taHefsnip alike. Ihis type ot legality. tfifly_eraued,ourgeois principle that concealed class antagonisms. Their position was strengthened by Russia's prere-^



volutlonary experience. The country did noteep-rooted tradition that allowed law to hind the ruier. Despite periodic flirtation with Western legalthe Russian logal system had existed at the will of the czar. It lacked strong independent legal institutions and concepts of absolute and Inalienable rights of man. | |

Lenin struggled to harness law. as did subsequent Soviet leaders, andechanism to enforce regime policies without binding the regime itself. Calls were heard for "revolutionary legality" and later for "socialisttheoretically defined as the strict observance of law by officials and citizens-when the regime was attempting to establish order and uniformity in the routine) functioning of the system, for example, Soviet leaders called strongly forof the taw as they tried to implement major economic reforms In thend again5evertheless, the leadership continued to limit the role of law enduse it selectively In order to retain maximum flexibility In Its own behavior. I

Soviet Law in Theory and Practice

The selective and arbitrary application ofaw at it* worst under Stalin. The "inexpedlence* of wmten law became the justification for Stalin and his legal adviser, Andrey Y, Vyshlnsky, to ignore existing safeguards. For example, forced collectivization of agriculture and the liquidation of the merchant class were launched9 in violation ot existing legislation. Law during Staltn's,rule was little moreeans of providing an institutional veneerespotic regime. This Is best Illustrated by the Stalin Constitution passedhich emphasized the importance of strict enforcement of the law, the Independence of judges, and guarantees of civil liberties, such as freedom of speech and the press snd rights of assembly. Law enforcement organizations. Ilk* the police and the KGB's predeces-ior, became instruments to enforce harsh penalties and ensure rigid discipline.

Since Stalin, the authority of law has expanded and the regime's casual subversion Of It has declined, but legal formalities continue toack seat to political considerations. Under Stalin's tyranny, the Soviet elite found that the weak legal safeguards against official abuse left the party itself unprotected. Under thear of "socialistbxushcJiev openly criticized Vyshinsky's legal theories and encouraged large-scale codification and systemizetion of legislation. Despite his purported aims to limit abuse of state power and to protect the rights ofsignificant breaches of legality, such as religious repression, continued. Khrushcnevs attempTS TO rein in the security services, including the execution of security czar Berlya and the firing of several other KGB officials, werenotThey proved Ineffective. Corruption and inefficiency grew duringyear tenure untilabuses by officials Were common. General Secretary Andropov'snajpn which sputtered somewhat during Charnenko's brief rule, resulted In the removal and punishment of



Officials in the police, military, republic party and government bureaucracies, and economicowever, these efforts were again primarily coarcive and appeared to be targeted at the most flagrant abuses as well as would-be political rivals. Arbitrariness and administrative fiat continued to predominate over law, "which had becomeool of party officials to stifle criticism and perpetuate their positions. Repression ot dissidents. In fact. Intensified

The legal system under Gorbachev continues to reflect the sporadic and uneven emphasis given to law over the years. Its characteristics include:

Exclusion of certain groups and categories of activity from protection of the law. People deemed 'troublemakers' often find themselves in conflict with the law and without even the minimal due process guarantees accorded common criminals. Constitutional guarantee's are-Ignored to the extent that they threaten social control or party privilege. When activities are deemed "political" or threatening to the state, they receive little protection.

The exclusion of other groups from application of then unwritten rule restricts government authorities fromriminal suitarty member until the party approves. Ofton members of the party elite are subject only to sanctions or other "administrative penalties less severe than would result from the appropriate criminal prosecution. High standards embodied in party rules are subverted by widespread protectionism and have been abused at all levels.

Legal institutions and officials subject to such thorough political control that their decisions and actions often lack integrity. Party Interference in crimi-nal and civil cases Is common. Judges, nominated for election wlth_partv


Ineven bv Soviet officials as telephone justice'--Is so common that poorly trained ludoes often avoid matdnn certain decisions on their own. Judges are afraid to "take responsibility" and acquit the tnno-cent, according to one Soviet critic, and in most cases find the defendant guilty or remand the case for further Investigation.

A political police organization with limited legal constraints. In Its drive for political control, the regime has Installed significant power In the KGB, Its focus on ends, not means, results In routine short-circuiting of legal and broceaurat sateguarqs. independent supervision or pubtic scrutiny ot the security service is rare, because laws outlining the authority andof the KGB and covering other security Issues are classified andto the public.

1 See DI Intelligence AssessmentSecret NF NChe Soviet Antlcorruptlon Campaign: Causes, Consequences, and Prospects. *Mgm



Regimo Acknowledgment ot Problems

The regime under Gorbachev only gradually acknowledged Iheof justice and due process violations that have boon longstanding charges of Soviet legal specialists, dissidents, and Western observers. Party officials report that citizens filedustified complaints on law enforcement organizations, one-third of which were on tha criminal investigation process. The national paper Komsomolskaya pravda reports it receivesomplaints each month egainst the police. The major complaints exposed In the Soviet press Include:

o Judges avoiding acquittals by finding defendants guilty orcases for further investigation. Duringourt plenum. Chairman Vladimir Terebllov condemned^ this longstanding practice, charging that it violated theof Innocence and was unfair to those who usually remained in custody throughout the reinvestigation.

o Police officers using excess force and coercion. Several exposes beginning7 publicly confirmed for the first time that law enforcement bodies used brutal beatings and torture tactics on suspects. One articleourt official as saying "Who will confessrime if you don't beat him?"

o Performance rating systems thatisincentive to thorough and objective criminal investigations. Inovietcriticized the police for abuses such as falling toreported crimes; illegal prosecution, detention, and arrest of citizens; and the falsification of evidence. Critics charge that these abuses are caused by police being evaluated on unrealistl-cally high quotas forercent of criminal cases) andhis practice, as noted by tne recent Izvastlya article "Givean, and Wellharge,"police to Ignore cases unlikely to be solved and to find Innocent scapegoats to fill their arrest plans,

o Improper use of psychiatry. The Soviet press alsoeries of articles beginning Inhat exposed abuses long charged by dissidents and foreign observers. In which sane but troublesome people were placed In psychiatric hospitals. Inoscow psychiatrist supported Western charges that Soviet psychiatry had been used systematically to suppress dissent In, writing that law enforcementbelieved that "anyone opposed to anything was, hiddenly orental case."


Gorbachevs Motives in Pressingtate ot Law

7 Gorbachev beosn tn raileform of the leoal system and tho enforcement of 'socialiste has advocatedstate of law-Tn which law applies to officials and citizens equally:

Gorbachev realizes that the present legal system lacks Integrity, is frequentlyand is badly in need of improvement. Left unchanged it* nrhitrnrjrip^ will continue to reinforce corruption, alienation, and stagnation. By pursuing legalhe can further some of his other reform goals:

The elimination of arbitrary law enforcement and blatant corruption would build regime legitimacy and the leadership's ability to govern and enforce its policies.

It wouldooting for economic and political changes, andtheir prospects for Irreversibility.

It would create the kind of predictability that encourages initiative among the more outspoken and productive members of societyime when changes in the social, political, and economic environment are increesing Insecurity.



It would Improve the country's Image, especially on human rights, in the eyes ol the West.

Gorbachev has recognized the importance of an Independent legal system tohis political, social, and economic reforms. However, he has nothow much he is willing to change to achieveystem. He hascommitmentsumber of key points, possibly to maintain his political flexibility or because they go beyond his Ideological beliefs. He has not argued, as the most radical reformers have, that the checks and balances necessarytate of law cannot occurne-party state. His support for informal groups and pluralism within the CPSU has stopped short o< advocating multiple parties or trlBTigM to Tree speech as in the West. He also has noteparation of low the judiciary to overrule legislative and executive acts.

Building Regime Legitimacy

From the last few years of Brezhnev's tenure through the present evidence has increasingly Indicated that many segments of the Soviet elite believe corruption and legal incompetence are serious problems at all levels of the system. These problems are seen as adversely affecting tha administration of Justice, eroding popular concepts of law and order, and raising questions about the party'sto govern. For example:

(Officialsthat despite the decrease in overall crime ratesarge-scale economic crime wasajor problem. According to Pravda,ribery cases were exposed In the first half7 andillion rubles were lost by the state through embezzlement.

ournalist Arkadty Vaksburg observed that telephone Justice had "not disappeared; It has gathered strength" and that It was eroding thelegitimacy in the public eye.

Interviews of Soviet emigres by American scholars Indicate that the leaders of the KGB and police are not viewed as very honest Whileercent of all respondents stated that all or almost all of tha KGB's leaders wereonlyercent judged that all or almost all of them were honest. The local police fared worse, with two-thirds of the respondents finding all or almost all of toe police leaders Incompetent andercent judging them as honest.




Making the System More Effective

Arbitrary taw enforcement and blatant corruption also threaten to weaken theability to enforce its policies. Opportunities for lucrative under-the-table dealings weaken regime control over the elite because they provide alternative* sources of Income and make lower level officials less dependant on nriullpgas-fin-Stowed by the party.inimum, false economic reporting, padding statistics, black-marketeering, and protecting embezzlers inhibit planning and complicateFor example, economic planning Is more difficult because some production statistics are Inflated, as is social planning because crime statistics have been al-tered by lower level officials who want to appear to be doing their Job.

The leadership's ability to use laweapon to install Its policy has been weakened by sporadic and arbitrary enforcement Low-level officials tend tofocus their work, and( similar to Judges, are afraid to uphojd.the law for Its own. sake Surroundedyriad of ambiguous, contradictory, and draconlan. ecrees, these administrators tend to enforce only those laws that they must In* order to protect themselves and their positions. The police also are Ineffective because they are tasked to do more than their resources allow. Gorbachev noted* the misdirection of law enforcement organs when he criticized them for usingannon to shoot at sparrows, while leaving grave crimes against the Interests or our society and citizensarty official, noting recently thatercent of all citizen complaints to the party were about the police or the courts, opined that the arbitrariness of these legal organizations hastime bomb" under Gorbachev's reforms.

Giving New Legal Footing to the Economy

Such Inconsistent enforcement of law Is especially threatening to the regime'sreform policies. While numerous factors contribute to the successfulof economic reform, the role of law is twofold:

The regime must replace the extensive body of law that directed the Manly regulated plan-driven economy with law that encompasses fundamental changes. Economic reformers must draft laws that clearly delineate new procedures arid rules that will affect theirwhile the policies are still developing. They must also reeducate the economic bureaucracy as to what law Is effective and what is obsolete. After the regime passed Its first major set of reform legislation Ininistry of Justice officialoviet newspaper that0 taws and regulations would have to be rewritten tb bring them Into accordance with the changes.

The nature of theexample, decreasing central control,the rights of both state and private Industry,.and emphasisingand negotiation over top-down administrativeconsistent



and predictable law anforcemant. law is the vehicle to regulate compatltlon protect the rights end obligations of individual economic play-eft, and redress wrongs former principles that held the supremacy Ol planning norms over the sanctityontract must be eliminated lor the reforms to succeed. .Further development of Soviet civil law. Includingof finance, property, contract, and dispute resolution, is necessary to de-velop the self-regulating and self-adjusting system envisioned by reformers'.

The regime's decision to pursue legal reform also enhances its potential tothe benefits of the Illegal second economy, another goal of economic reform. Recognizing that the economy's Inability to supply citizens with basic goods and sen/ices often drives them to break laws, the regime is legalizing certain economic practices and mora clearly defining the line between criminal and legitimate acts. By legitimizing the private supply of goods and services, the regime can encourage the Soviet coniumer to wortrlnn this irtlvltv Intn the nnan where It can be taxed and controlled, and can simultaneously tap the Initiative of enterprls-Trtflan thusituation that fosters disrespect for law ant! law enforcement organs fl

Unfettering Initiative

Encouraging citizens to take the initiative, not only in the economy but aiao in to-ciai ana political uie. is another reason for legal reform. By the time Gorbachev took power Inhe corruption, party protectionism, and miscarriages of Justice that began to flourish under Brezhnev had alienated many members ofand stitiod economic and political growth. Consistent application of the law encourages tha productive.members of society to take Initiative and trust thatwill not be reversed. By advocating tha adoption of Western-style principles that allow any activity not specifically prohibitedbylaw. Gorbachev hopes toprohibitive and burdensome regulation. J ^

without simultaneously attacking tha critical problem of laws and,regulations being

authorities have managed the country's economic, social, and political spheres by administrative methods. Hundreds of ministries and other state organs promulgateand regulations on acceptable activities and properThese laws are published selectively, often remaining systematize and update laws are lacking. Soviet lawyers, students, and private citizens complain that may are unable ID find the texts of laws endOne Soviet specialist estimated that aboutercent of all national-level regulations passed Inent published in relatively accessible collections of laws, aboutercent were published in abstract and tha rest were published In official literature or handouts with limited printings. In addition to receiving

Tha regime, however, recognizes that adopting auch an approach would ba useless without simultaneously attacking tha critical problem of laws and regulations beln unavailable and often--somatlmasForears, tha



Bureaucratic Fiat Above the Law

Soviet jurists argue that bureaucratic arbitrariness is due to the lack of adequate legislative and constitutional review In the legel theory has generally rejected US concepts, which give thepower to annul laws passed by the legislature and regulations by the executive branch that violate the Constitution or existing law. Instead, the Soviet system redes on limited review, really "self-control" by the Su->reme Soviets formulated in3 "Stalin* Constitution.

Under current Soviet law. legislative commissions of both chambers of the USSR Supreme Soviet are responsible for preventing the passage of eny statute that conflicts with the Constitution or existing federal law, and the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet is authorized to repeal decrees made by the USSR Council of Ministers. The USSR Procuracy may review (but not annul) regulations made by ministries and other state organs. I

History has shown that such legislative "self-control" has been ineffective in preventing tne passage of violative laws and regulations:

o During the five years prior to the Stalin Constitution, when the Soviet (udiciary had constitutional review power, ft reviewed0 legal acts, lodged protests againstederal acts, and fudgedepublic laws unconstitutional.4he authorities made changes based on the courts' decisions Inercent of the ceses.

o8nder the legislative "self-control" thatexists, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet discovered onlyiolations.

oupreme Court Chairman Terebllov reponed thatnpublished contradictory regulations existed end caused meny of the unjust convictions reviewed by the courts.

narrow distribution, the steady stream of subleglslatlon often contradicts higher lew. In the past two years, opponents of Gorbachev's policies "have "been using subleglslation to undermine efforts at change, particularly aco- -nomlc reform. Inorbachev referred obliquely to the problem when he called for assurances that the state enterprise law would notbe^ 'diluted with all manner of departmental instructions and

Reviving Respect for Lew and Order

Gorbachev also appears to believe that reform of the legal establishment will end the problem of keeping common crime and antisocial behavior Inthreatohesive and disciplined society1 Failure by law enforcement organs to obey the law encourages the public to disregard It as well. When Gorbachev came to power, socialertirtivisrp, rjruo end alcohol abuse, and pornography were on the rise. Ha recognized the need to encourage public discussion of these previously taboo subjects under his policy of glasnost. while tightening enforcement of laws viewed by the public as socially necessary. In7 Gorbachev observed that "elements of social corrosion that emerged In the last few yearsegative effect on society's. The spread of alcohol and drug abuselsa in crime became indicators of the decline of social mores. Disregard for lews, report-padding, bribe-taking andof toadyism and adulationeleterious Influence on the moral atmosphere in society' J

The regime continues to call for legal reform to make laws more effective against crime and to improve the competency of law enforcement organs:

officials have recently broken their longtime silence on crime rates and have admittedteady Increase in mnitr-rimo ^nr.t, 1QR7

Inolice officials announced that the overall crimewo-year plateau6heytheft, embezzlement, moonshining. and hlflrk-mnrkpteering are on

Soviet criminologists have traced crime problems and juvenile delinquency to alcohol abuse, which5 hadna study found that more than half of all crimes were corn-mined by intoxicated people. Includingercent of the casesercent of robberies, andercent of all murders and rapes.

Officials view increases in recidivismailure of society and the legal system. Several Soviet press articles have charged that labor campsare poorly run, decrepit, unsanitary, and Ignore education andune author charged camp administratorstalinist 'gulag' mentality that does little to resoclallze prisoners and creates repeatOther authors accused officials of using prisonsource of cheap labor and ignoring existing labor legislation, forcing unwarranted overtime, and allowing unsafe conditions resulting In prisoner deaths. JB

1 See Ol Intelligence AssessmentSecret NF NCo-mastic Stresses in the USSR

1 Seeesearch PaperSecret NF NC OCLorbachev's Campaign Against Alcohol



Improving Image in the West

In addition to pursuing the domestic benefits of legal reform, Gorbachev Is trying to improve the USSR's image abroad by supplanting the notionotalitarian dictatorship wfth oneountry ruled solely by law and not subject to thewhim of an authoritarianhis new image could have multiplepolicy payoffs. The most Important would be:

Stripping the West of Its human rights "weapon* by emphasizing theof civilnd the break from the Stalinist past.

Encouraging foreign trade andopwrjuion by reducing the risk to foreign companies of doing business In an unpredictable and arbitrary

ess threatening image in the Westbymovmg the USSR closer to the legal practice of Western democracies.

Progress to Date

Cleaning Up Corruption

the put


Vowing from the outset to remove officials who disregard the lew, Gorbachev moved quickly after gaining power to replace large numbers of officials tainted with corruption from the Brezhnev era Gorbachev's Initial focus on this aspect of reform, like that of Andropov before him, probably resulted from the drive's utility in achieving Important political aims: discrediting the policies ha Intended to change, strengthening his position through the power of appointment, andto the public and the elite that he intended to reestablish control from the top.

In contrast even to Andropov, Qorbarhpyhur, increased the publicity of specific cases and the resulting severe sentences, thus encouraging whistle-blowers and

trial of Brezhnev's son-in-

law. Yurty Churbanov, former first deputy chief of the MVD, end eight Uzbek police officials wes in the spotlight for nearly four months inhe Soviet press

See Dl Research StudySecret NF NCSSR: Gorbachev's Policy Toward Dissent and Emigration. |H|

See Dl intelligence AssessmentSecret NF NChe Soviet Anticorruptlon Campaign: Causes, Consequences, and Prospects."J



The Unfolding Battle With Corruption

Gorbachev's patron. Yuriy Andropov, was perhaps best known forelentless antlcorruption campaign designed to reverse Brezhnev-era stagnation. Many of the cases have involved huge Mafia-style networks that, according to subsequent Soviet press accounts, created "thousands* of "undergroundhese cases resulted in punishmentsfrom party censures to long prison terms and even execution:

oyear rule of republic party boss and candidate Politburo member Sharif Rashldov has been blamed for the widespreadin Uzbekistan that involved party, economic, and Ujwofficials. Morefficials were punishedncluding the Minister of the Cotton Processing Industry, whoentenced to death. Rashldov's successor and the former republic" president are currently under arrest awaiting trial for corruption.

o The regime sentenced seven officials, part of the "Moscow food trade crimen charge of retail trade organizations, toterms ranging from eight toears. The national press detailed crimes that included bribe-taking, abuse of office, andItetwork ofPolitburo member and Moscow party boss Viktorhad spread throughout the retail trade network overears. The head of the chief Moscow food store was executed

o The USSR Supreme Courtumber of officials In the foreign trade network for receiving bribes from foreign businesses and stealing government funds. Those convicted Included theDeputy Minister of Foreign Trade, who was sentenced toears; histate committee official, who was sentenced toears; his assistant, who received six years; and several members of the foreign trade (construction) combine, Soyuzveshstroylmport, that built the new US Embassy in Moscow. ,

o Onhe USSR Supreme Court convicted former police official Yurly Churbanov and six former high-level Uzbekofficials for bribery amounting to over SI million. Churbanov. who married Brezhnev's daughteras depicted as antalented opportunist whose career flourished because of family connections. Sparing all the defendants the death penalty, the court sentenced Churbanov toears Imprisonment and six other defendants to prison terms ranging from eight toears. Itone defendant and remanded the case of another for


carried numerous articles detailing ChurbanoVs abuses as well as the teneratlon" that took place in the republic during the Brezhnev years.

The regime has intensified efforts that began under Andropov to remove tainted and incompetent personnel from the MVD. described by Gorbachev7 as one of the country's two most corrupt Institutions. In6 Gorbachev appointed Alaksandrtalented regional party official known for hishead the MVD. He remained there untilhan he'T""'fQAj" Premier nf tha RfipJjR.Jn his first year. Vla-sov replaced the ministers of police In several republics and In Moscow. He pledged to eliminate police abuses and shortcomings by removingand Improving police training. Commenting that only specially qualified and morally irreproachable people should be hired, he stated that theofolice35 proved 'only to be the startarge amount of personnelccording to official statements, the MVD has dismissed an0 on corruption charges and for falling the MVD certification process that tests knowledge and professional tralnlr

New MVD Chief Vadim Bakatin has emphasized the need to continue Vlasov's 'personnel and training policies' Inakatin said thatVD staffers were punished8 for breaches of socialist legality. Ha said that it was necessary "to get rid of bullies, downright idlers, and demagogues wearing the uniform.' Thousands of employees working atlabor camps were also dismissed8 on 'moral grounds,"to the MVD official In charge of the camp system. Thia officialoviet newspaper that camp employees who trample on the law and violate the rights of the condemned" would not be tolerated.

Tha campaign has broadened, targeting other law enforcementlike the police, are being charged with protecting and fosteringcorruption since the Brezhnev years. Member? of thaorganization that combines the functions of US-style pFoseduTCIs"of the ludiciary have been publicly chastised,prosecuted: '


Tha Soviet press has implicated former USSR Procurator General Re-kunkov, removed from his post Inn several scandals. Heof involvement in major corruption In the Siberian gold mining4 coverup of the dismissal of an official whose corruption Investigation was pointing to members of the CPSU Central Committee, and possible involvement with Churbanov. The authorities have also Initiated several cases against lower levelecent case in which several Rostov. Oblast procuracy personnel were brought to trial for bribery.

Judges have bean convicted of accenting bribes fnr ppsslnn lament sBn.tflnr.flS.6 the authorities reportedly recalledudges for ebuse of office, subjectedo administrative liability, andthatercent should not stand for reelection. The number of judges punished for "deviations from the law"7 andccording to the Soviet press. USSR Supreme Court Chairman Vladimir TarebHov retirprt in flnrii iqrq Subsequently, former procuracy investigators publicly linked him to corruption.

Gorbachev has not spared thethroughout the Brezhnevdespite its importance to mainTaTnlng political stability and the considerable power it derives from providing security to the Soviet leadership:

In an unprecedented public statement In Pravda inhen KGB Chairman Viktor Chebrikov chastised (and laterGB official who "framed" andournalist Investigating official malfeasance In the Ukraine. Chebrikov pledged that the KGB would act within the lew.



Broadening Citizens' Rights

Although Gorbachev immediately pursued corruption. It was only In6 that heasis for thorough legal reform by acknpwledplng tho Importance of citizens'6 law on 'strengthening socialist legality* and "stepping up protection' for citizens made few concrete changes. However, It callod on tha party to ensure strict observance of tha law. Improve tegal education, and eliminate shortcomings in law enforcement The regime called for new laws affecting social and Individual rights in Its five-year legislative plan passedater, at the7 Central Committee plenum. Gorbachev unveiled his "democratization* policy, averring that Improved citizens' rights and legal reform were key to the success of his domestic reforms, particularly totha creativity and enterprise of the Soviet citizen.

Relaxation of Repression. After tha7 plenum, Gorbachev backed his calls to protect citizens' rights with the Initiation of significant steps to relaxof dissident speech and activity:

regime releasedolitical prisoners from jails, psychiatric hospitals, and exile7ost of them before serv-"ng their full sentences. Those released Included members of virtually all

and religious'orientations and nationality groups, including allhuman rights monitors, representatives of the free labor movement SMOT. members of the pacifist Group To Establish Trust, and Hare Krish-nas.

and inyest.igArir>nc nndor rrlmlnal laws on antl-Sovlet propaganda and agitation have stopped for the most part, although harassmentdetentions, and fines against certainprominentThe regime has also discontinued the practice ofconvicted troublemakers afraaclv In laborommon during

"Andropov's and Chernenko's XmurkTTSBM/T

This legislative plan delineated someills to be drafted duringeriod. While most of the proposed draft laws deal with specialized governmental orsubjects, the agenda lists bills affecting social and individual rights, such as nationwide discussion, judicial appeal against unlawful actions of officials, press In-formation, social development and culture, trade unions, and state securit

See Dl USSR Review SOVSecret NF NCSoviet Human Rights Initiatives: What They Have and Have Nothis article Is being expanded and updated and will bo published as an Intelligence assessment!


Progress on the Psychiatric Front

Soviet organizations got oftlow start in enforcing new laws onHowever, evidence isinformation gleaned through bilateral cooperation on thepsychiatric practices are improving:

o8 interview publishedoviet periodical, the Ministry of Health's chief psychiatrist Aleksandr ChurUnthat his organization has taken several steps since the new laws were passed. He said that authorities hadsychiatric cases and had foundo be misdiagnosed and had punished an unnamed number of violators of the lawpsychiatric confinement.

o Another health official stated7 that commitmentwere being drafted and the temporary ones wereand were available to patients' families.

o InS and Soviet officials signed an agreement on mutual inspections of psychiatric institutions, it provideselegation of American psychiatrists, lawyers, and otherin forensic psychiatry to conduct Interviews "under strict professional .standards* of Sovietby the Unitedwere recently committed to mental Institutions. In accordance with thisS delegation visited the USSR Innterviewing patients in end outsideAlthough the group's final assessment of Soviet progress was not scheduled to be Issued untilarticipantsthat most of the Soviet officials Involved appeared to be trying to fulfill the agreed requirements. Such cooperationSoviet support from the highest levels.

o Inoviet officials Invited British experts to visit psychiatric hospitals In theS television crew was also allowed toacility outside Moscow and Interview patients staff,



ma|or changes Inuthorities introduced rej

chev also sanctioned of anuses, tha

Changes in Psychiatric Practices.ove closely linked to the release of dissidents, but also affecting many nonconformists andorba-

otiowing Soviet press cov-reylsinns In thaiaw relating to civil and

criminal commitment. The changes,rovideleast onbroader and clearer legal rights than In the past

Patients must be told they are dealingsychiatrist and. Ifcommitted, have tha ricjhteview at multiple levels, including by the courts. The Ministry of Health is required to publish its instructions and guidelines for commitment which in the past were tightly held.

Authorities are required to notify a


in hospitals only after iong searches by their families.

patient's relatives or legaLre'presentatlvaommitmentommon complaint that patients were round


according to their danc.

Institutions for 'he criminally insane are to be transferred from theheinistry pflHealUjew system devised to separate pi human llfe.l

Activating Dormant Constitutional Rights. In lateheadopted two laws that have the potential to significantly broaden citizens' rights especially at the local level. One lawechanism for citizens toourt complaint about unlawful actions of officials, and tha other allows wide-

III um HI , vim,

8 and

laws too

jreao oiscussion ot public issues and nropos+dUw. Officials acknowledged thatlaws activated two of the many rights that ware provided Inut were never implemented.

have bean usedimited scale.

See DI USSR Review SOV URSecret NF NCSoviets' Shifting Policy Toward Psychiatry '





Law on Citizens' Right To Sue Officials. Of the two lews, the one establishing the right to sue officials is more significantegal standpoint Highlighted by reformersajor watershed, it is intended to activatef the USSR Constitution. It provides proceduresitizen to challenge in court unlawful actions committed bv officials and to have the action reversed and material losses

Although symbolically important, in practice Its impact has been modest. The law, as it now stands, has important limitations:

Most significantly, citizens may bring suit only against actions byand not actjons_by 'cojlegiai.predominate in

[Reform-minded scholars .and officials

have criticized this provision asoophole for officials wishing to avoid responsibility.

The law also oxompts actions involving the safeguarding of the country's defense capability and state security. This has the potential to provide broad immunity tothe'XGB, the"military, and perhaps the MVD.

The law says citizens filing frivninn*.found to be slanderous may be prosecuted under existing slander laws. In addition, court costs may beto the defendant who is found to be at fault In thelthough these restrictions will help prevent unfounded suits, they may also deter citizens who are unable to bear the costs of losing or who fear their suit will not beair hearing.'

Law on Nationwide Discussion. While less importantarrow legal sense, the public discussion lawignificant part of Gorbachev's effort to "democratize* the system. Implementing Artinw ar nf the USSR Constitution, which givesthe "right to participate in the administration of state and socialhe law alms to bring the population Into the political processontrolled fashion. According to the law, the Supreme Soviet or its Presidium decides which national Issues and draft laws should be publicly debated and for how long. The press hasays to publish information on the Issue, and all citizens have the right tocomments. The comments are summsrized and submitted to the Supreme Soviet before the flnej_iaw is passed. The law Is much more specific in detailing What iocbi issues are'lo"be submitted forthe procedures for carrying this out are less formal. Former Politburo member Andrey Qromyko listedseveral types of local decisions that should not be handled without the people's advice: construction of housing, schools, hospitals, and factories; demolition of old



Using the New Law on Nationwide Discussion

The Supreme Soviet hes selectively used its legal prerogative under the new lew to initiate public discussion. The regime instituted formal public discussion procedures for tour draftcooperatives, elections. Constitutional amendments, and fundamentals of criminal law. These were major pegs in Gorbachev's reform agendaand laws that the regimebelieved needed popular supportB


During the discussion of the draft law on cooperatives, authoritiesreceivedroposed amendments end suggestions. From the language changes made to the final law. drafters appeared to take Into account many of the Issues raised In the public debate. Significantly,all of the changes Incorporated in the final version of the; lawliberalization.

Discussion of the draft election law and the Constitutional amendments was more volatile. Officials and popular front leaders In severalrepublics strongly opposed provisions that they believed would hinder progress toward regional economic end political sovereignty. After the Estonian legislature declared itsoscow made changes to nearly half of the draft amendments recommended. Commentators also criticized the debate procedures, arguing that the one month ailoted was too little time

The draft fundamentals of criminal legislation was subject to about three months of public discussion. Most ofecommendations received focused on punishmentthe death penalty, andto the Soviet press. Many of the letters supported widening the applicability of the death penalty. On the other hand,from the Baltic republics charged that the draftreflection of the epoch of stagnation" and criticized the fact that republic legal experts were not consulted uariior in the process.M

The regime avoided nationwide discussion on other laws passedhese Included lawa regulating public demonstrations, delineating special powers of the MVD Internal Troops, on the Armenlan-Azeri dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, and stiffening punishments for anti-Soviet ectlvltles. The authorities probably perceived public examination as embarrassing or threatening to public order. The regime received public criticism when they passed an additional law on cooperatives, seen by most to limitactivity, without public discussion at the end of


se/ret nofj/rn

buildings; erection of monuments: naming and renaming of cities and streets; and environmental issues. Overall, the law falls short of guaranteeingfreedom of speech or referendum.11

Regulating Economicew Frontier

7 the regime began replacing the extensive group of laws governing theplan-oriented economy with laws aimed at Implementing economic reform. Although still formulating the details of reform, reformers began efforts to de-crease central control over the operation of: local industries and busjnesjTrestrict ItScal party inte'rfere?iga"Tn economic relations, and ojvg managers JmriTworfccrs greater Incentives to'rnprove their performance. They passed several new laws. Including tne centerpiecendividual ,labpr activity, cooperatives, foreign trade, ioIdj ventures'and arbitration. These laws .grant state ana private enterprises expandedcontract engagelnforeign trade, and transfersecure their economic independence. | |

The new economic reform taws focus on eliminating the.oven-egulatjon ando mah at existed in the plan-oriented economy and replacing It with consistently applied, self-regulating laws. The state enterprise law, for example, increases the rights of enterprises to contract directly with suppliers, rather than funnel their requirements through Moscow, and to manage their own property and finances, even at the risk ofnterprises also have Increaseg rights In foreignonbusiness venty-es. These changes mean an jncreas^dem-^phasls on upholding agreements, resolving disputes, and redressing

^contract, property,ther Ipga!aTTr*<rflltL The process of reviewing and revoking obsolete and contradictory laws Is continuing. RSFSR officials reported that the procuracy0 reouia'lpns8 /



6 legislative plan indicated that tha lew was to be on nationwide discussion and referendum. Proposals for referendum were not discussed widely and were apparently dropped. During the recent elections, candidates for the Congress of People's Deputies, most notably former Moscow party chief Boris Yel'tsin, calledaw onJ

See DI Intelligence Assessment1 {ConfidentialRestructuring* the Soviet Workplace: Tha New State Enterprise Law.


sec/et Nor*ORN nocq/tract obcon

Gorbachev is also using law to broaden Individuals' rights to angaga in economic activity while stiffening punishment for those who cross the liberalized

Laws passed in6 and Implemented In7 es part of aon "unearned Income" ware intended to force the.second the, surface and thereby reduce corruption, theft, and tax evasion. Theset penalties for failure jo rflflHteri P'VThey also called for closer monitoring of Individual income by the state.

The law on "individual laborhich went into effectnlarged the range of self-employment, legalizing certain activities that were previously prohibited, such as taxiThe law regulates and taxes the activity by requiring permits, license fees, and, in some cases, income taxes.

Several laws passedncluding8 Law or* Cooperativehave amplified earlier laws by allowing groups of Individuals to form private businesses that work fuiM|rne to provide numerous goods endThe businesses are regulated by licensing and taxed on their profits8 lawide range of rights, including rights to hire, set wages, contract own and transfer property, and engage In foreign8 decree limits certain types of cooperative activity. The law bans several activities for cooperatives. Including many already Illegal under criminal law. those obviously elmed at health and safety concerns, andthat clearly threaten state control over the media.1 The lew elaoseveral activities, like printing, as permissible only in cooperation with statei

ee Dl Intelligence Assessment4 (Confidentialncouraging Private Business: Gorbachev's New Policies Offlow Start

Some ol the activities prohibited by the new lew include the manufacture end sale

of narcotics and toxic substances; specialized medical services; wine and vodka production; running gambling establishments; general education; making, excheng-Ing, selling, or showing movies or videos; manufacturing and restoring icons andsymbols: and caah foreign currency transections,

limited activities include editorial and publishing services; organizationano discotheques; manufacture end sale of records and audio tapes;manufacture of duplicating equipment and organization ofJB



Increasing Prominence for Lawyers

Gorbachev Is the first lawyer toovieXJeftrjflrHe has emphasized tho importance of law and views Itritical tool to Institutionalize his political economic, and social reforms. But he hasthat simply enacting new laws without.devolopjng anand respect torTpTTowTffi^

In. Gorbachev.studied jaw at Moscow State University and graduaTe3 fourth Incjass. Returning"RTs home "in"ajor agriculturalegree in agriculture and worked his way up in the local Komsomol (Young Communist"League) and then the party.e was first secretary of tha Stavropol' Kray party committee, and wasull member of the CPSU Central Committeee haseputy to the USSR Supreme Soviet (legislature)0 where he served as chairman of the Commission on Legislative Proposals as well as in other posts. Heull member of the Politburon charge of party personnelents and Ideology, before becoming General Secretary

Since Gorbachev has taken power, he has promoted ficiais In policymaking and Influential roles:

o Anatolly Luk'yanov attended the law faculty ofniversity at the same time as Gorbachev andufcVanov received his Doctor of Law degreef-teTTolding Important executive positions in the Council ofand the Supreme Soviet ha began working in the party apparatus,


heecretary of the CPSU Central Committee,legal and security affairs. In8 he wasto Politburo candidate status and selected as USSR Supreme Soviet first vice president for administrative affairs.

o Vladimir Krvuchkoy. who replaced Viktor Chebrikov as KGB chalr-man insrained lawyer. Ha received his law degree by correspondence9 and attended the Higher Diplomatic School of tho Foreign Ministry2e had longstanding ties to former KGB Chief and General Secretary Yurty Andropov, working tor him in Hungary during6 Hungarian uprising. Kryuchkov had held senior positions In the KGBnd has probably known Gorbachev since the



hen both were Andropov proteges. Kryuchkov became chief of the First Chief Directorate4 and wasdeputy chairman of the KGBe accompanied Gorbachev to the Washington summitpparently In charge of security.

Gorbachev nlaces much stock in receiving legal advice fromno'ablv those at the Academy ofttjngtifuts of State andTav? "fTsT) and the Ministry of Justice institute of SocialistcllmirVudry-avtsev. head of ISL3ighly respected legal scholar. He has been at the forefront of the legal reform effort and adviser toaccompanying him to7 Washington summit Last year, Kudry-evtaevmade vice president of the Academy ofosition that gives him strong Input intofl*"mi alioeorgry Sha-khnazarov. former ISL section chief and author of several books on law. bo-came aide to Gorbachev8 after serving two years aejlrst deputy chief tor the Central Committee department concerned with Soviet Bloc liaison.

The regime has also highlighted weaknessesjnjegai organizations that arebureaucrats and enterprise managers to ignore and subverVfhe new economic reform laws In Junehe party criticized the fudiciary_for neglecting theof the law In the economic sphere' and directed prosecutors to "switch the emphasis" of their work and ensure that management organizations,and other Institutions properly execute the law. Economist teonid Abalkinpointed out the Importance of tha courts to economic reform, saying tha USSRegal system In which the interests of enterprises and workare defended not by Journalists but by thathat they candefend their own Interests In thehe procuracy has alsoandate to Improve law enforcement and. as one republic official wrote, 'defend the enterprise's rights and interests In every possible way and protect Its activity from all kinds of illegal interference andJ^f

The regime Is strengthening the state arbitration system, Qosarfaltrarh. made up of tribunals thai BBUia Bi^jutos BWlWBin enterprises.ew law on flosarbi-trflih was passedosarbitrazh" had mandatory Jurisdiction'only over disputes arising out of planned activity. Changes to arbitration law under Gorbachev have put Gosarbitrazhar with ordinary courts and have made it in theory, the main force Interpreting new economic laws ands tasked with hearing and settttna cases arising from new private activities nnd from

the Increased contracting Bv ornenlzatlons acting under tha state enterprise law.



Further Changes Under Consideration

During the8 CPSU Central Committee Plenum, Gorbachev reiterated the intardependeftfce"of political, legal, and economic reforms and highlighted the Increasing urgency ofaw-based state. Participants at the June party coiiiMFencu toiWirmetT'leganTform's increased priority byorkingand makingentral theme in the conference resolutions. At theGorbachev implicitly acknowledged the absence of several fundamental rights and recommended:

Guarantees to ensure respect for the Individual, such as 'freedom of

speech, the press, conscience, assembly, street processions and demonstra-


Guarantees of citizens' personal rights, such as Privacy and theof correspondence and telephone. *

Protection for law enforcement organizations againstre or

Improvement in public leoai education to support increased activeness.

Several new laws are under consideration that would encompass these rights and institutionalize the policies of glasnost and perestroyka, evon though recent changes to criminal law appear to pull in the opposite direction. Authorities have announced plans to overhaul the criminal justice system. Increase theof the courts, ralsejne status of the bar. eliminate unconstitutional and contradictory law, equip citizenTfor'legBrattTon. and streng'trienleliaT^mpilcrnce law enforcement organizations. Most of the work Is to be inTng-BV"i-

laws passed In9 amid severe nationalist unrest Inhave called Into question whethor reformers haveetback in the first of their efforts aimed at liberalizing criminal law.

Criminal Law Reform: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

The regime appeared to take its first step toward overhauling the criminal justice system by publishing draft federal legislation outlining generalaw In late* Reformers passed theriminal Legislation' and said that changes to several federal and republic laws would also be necessary. At tho federal level these include laws on state crimes, on "crimes against the peace and security ofgenocide.

ee Dl USSR Review SOV,First Step In Soviet Criminal Law Reform'!




aggressive war. and terrorism1 'military crimes, on criminal procedure, on corrective labornd eventually on administrative law and procedure. These changes will take at least two years, although, as one Soviet academicall of the laws are intertwined and should be completed as soon as be keptonformance with tha federal Jaw Jhe RSFSRCode will probably servepdel fpr.pther republics. Procurator General Sukharev told Western reporters InI February"IflBBtwo-thlrda of the code would be overhauled, leaving only aboutrticles untouched. While much of this is bound to be technicalmajor change usually requires languagein severalsubstantive revisions are being proposed.

For moreear authorities spoke with Increasing confidence about upcoming changes that would, in their view, "humanlza" criminal law. Proposals included new protect!t rary repressjonjiy .thestatBvprrgcjed ura.Mo Improve theeductions In the leyerrry of punttn-ments.

Protactlona Against Arbitrary Repression Stalled. Among the most controversial and potentially important proposals undertheir Impact onthose restricting articles traditionally used to repress Soviet dissidents, religious believers, and nthnr nnnmnfnrmltt-. These provisions have been the focus of much attention not only In the West but also among the more politically active sections of the Soviet public.

broad prohibitions against "anti-Soviet agitation' (Articlen tha RSFSR Criminalespite claims that these restrictions would beThe decree improves the old law by repealing the vague provisionslander-n the RSFSR Criminal Code) and speclflcrty. Tha decree prohibits public calls for the overthrow of tha atata and social system or for change that Is contrary to the USSR Constitution. However, It alsoroad category outlawing calls for obstructing the execution of Soviethis provision negates anyagainst arbitrariness and makes the article much broader than Ii Implied by Itsfor the Overthrow or Change of the Soviet State

While definitions of these crimes must await tha specialized laws mentioned and the republic criminal coda,existing in currentmentioned in the new draft criminal fundamentals as an act punishable byears Imprisonment Such an offense Is probably aimed at ethnic-related violence that has broken out In the past yeara, such as tha Azerl attackon in the town of Sumgait In which at leasteople died. I



obo*rn Noco^rfRACT^Ofjc'oN

and Socialor does the law require that calls subject to the law be for the violent overthrow of the system, as proposed by reformers and as specified in Western countries, including the United States.

Increases regime control over ethnic-related strjfe. The law expandsprohibitions against deliberate actions aimed at Inciting national orenmity or dissension to include actions aimed at degrading national honor and dignity. Harsher punishments are allowed, depending on theof the crime. Citizens convicted of Inciting nationalist dissension, degrading national honor, or discriminating against ethnic groups can be imprisoned for up to three years or fined upubles, punishment is stiffened to five vearsubles if the actions are combined with vio-TenciTor committed by officials, and up toears If the actionsroup or Involve the loss of life.

ew new activities. By requiring the actions to behe law allows criticism of the Soviet system In private conversations br Inwritings. In contrast to the former law. Also, the mere possession of anti-Soviet material is norime, as long as the person does not have the intent to distribute it.

The April decree alsohort-jiyed provision,jghich maderime totio ns or^ oRicIlal sil sib ri'o have been hastily written and may have been addTtfto the draft in the heat of theesides the fact that It did not define what constituted en insult, the provision did not require thet the, intent to discredit the state be present, nor even that the Information be false. If

Soviet reformers and legal experts quickly called for amendment of the Aprilwhich was reportedly railroaded by party hardliners*!


itata and Law specialists Aleksandr Yakovlev and Boris Kurashvlllin an Interviewestern journalist Kurashvlll characterizedwhich maderime to Insult officials, as unconstitutional.Soviet criminal law expert criticized the same provision In Pravda.start indjcting people for this, he wrote. "It will be necessary to say farewell

unanimous. Several officials at the April Central Committee plenum spoke strongly in favor of keeping the law as It was. Nevertheless, at the end of Its first session Inhe Congress of People's Deputies

1SeeSSR Review SOVSecret NF NC

^Changes to the Law on Anti-Soviet Activities: An End to Criminal Law Reform?"




repealed _the decrees provision Wat madsrima to Insult stata officials and organizations, "f

Tha April dacraa did not affect proposals that have been made to modify thelaws under which many religious believers have been sentenced. These changes appear to be targeted at making the law lass vague, defining Intent, and possibly bringing the law into line with policy changes advocated In the draft law on Freedom of Conscience (detailed in next section):

It also may abolish or significantly narrowRSFSR Criminalhich prohibits religious groups from urging citizens not to perform their civic duty and from causing them harm.

New Procedures To Improve the Fairness of Investigations and Trials. Although they are less politically charged, fairer court procedures willroader stratum of the populace. Including -accidental*idealists who inadvertently run afoul of the system. Most reports suggestwill redistribute institutional responsibilities over criminal Investigation! and markedly increase the role of defc

_ ther officials, however, told the Soviet press In9s have been delayed, Officials have said that thia change Is designed to re-move the ,bias_against the defendant, caused bv-theprocurator Investigations. Giving power to police at tha national level appears to be aimed at .oreventjnjLjpj^has happened In the past. According to Procur"atorGeneral"Sljknarev,

the procuracy willeneral supervisory function and take on Investigations In exceptional cases, particularly when law enforcement organizations are Involved.

In addition to removing tha prosecutor from direct control of the Investigation,plan to give defendants access to legal counsel during the criminalCritics charge that the present law allowing counsel only aftertha Investigation prevents any objective check against violations of due process and fosters continued bias. Some reformers have advocated anmodal giving broad rights to"Miranda' warnings of these

taken into custody,



Reformers are pushing to esteblish ihese new realities in law and to provide protections for their continuance. Regime actions have included the following:

Religious organizations and believers have donated millions of rubles as well as goods and services to other charitable causes, including the victims of Chernobyl'f the recent Armenian earthquake. The board of the newlyChildren's Fund even Includes ecclesiastical leaders.

o Soviet officials have begun to return former church buildings and property to religious organizations and to register new religious communities.8 Interview, Council onAffairs Chairman Konstantln Kharchev stated that since the beginning8 moreeligious organizations have opened. The slowest growth has been In Muslim groups. Later he told Afghan officials in publicized talks that this number inr eludedhi'ite mosques In Azerbaijan (tond another five mosques in the RSFSR. Inhe Soviet pressthat the Council hadew religiousin the past year.

o The regime endorsed and widely publicized celebrationsin8 by the Russian Orthodox Church for theof Christianity in Russia. The Soviet media televised portions of the Russian Orthodox Easter services In Moscow and gaveto the Millennium celebrations, including Gorbachev's meetingsumber of Church hierarchsJ

Also In connection with the Millennium celebration, Sovietallowed the entry of tens of thousands of Bibles and other religious books7nharchev stated publiclyillion Russian end Ukrainian Bibles had been imported into the USSR


th* regime's actions aretoward bringing rallglous belisvers Into thacontinue to punish and control elements that threateneform-oriented regime. Its treatment of religious groups such as Muslims and the Illegal Ukrainian Catholic Church (the so-calledtill contrasts with that of the Russian Orthodox and Baptist churches, indicating strong regime concern over the former's role in gene ret -Ing nationalism and strengthening external links with foreign coreligionists.

Reducing the Severity of Punishment In line with Gorbachev's ridicule ot Soviet punishment es shooting et sperrows with cannons, authorities have already begun to change laws relating to punishmentociological study of corrections policy, experts are advocating thejtmmdencprojs canvicts extending by two"mit 'ft/ |HV*JJI'< offenders to remain In youtn detention facilities rather than regular labor camps. They also advocate expanding substantially the use of 'colonyhere convicts must work at assigned iobs but are free of the extreme



The draft criminal law fundamentals, published In late Decomber, encompass most of the changes proposed by advocates calling for punishment that barter suits the crime and lessens the likelihood of imprisonment Some of their proposals were watered down or turned aside, however. The draft law includes:

Reduction of the use of the death penalty. Although some legal scholars favored its complete abolitionignificant segment of the public strongly supported its use, moderate reformers may have won their push to reduce the scope of the death penalty by reserving it for the most serious criMsT. Under the draft law! capitarcrimos Include only high treason,terrorist acts, sabotage, intentional, homicide with aggravating clr-*cTTmstances;inor, and special cases determined by federal law during times ot war, tconomlc crimes would no longer be punishable by death. The draft broadens ejtfmRjJpns. which now includes only niinfits and pregnant women, to Include all persons


rtson alone; (but not labor camps) to rpJgirTen the case of minors.

Adjustment of prison terms.

imits the term for incarceration in JJVfl_yoars. But



the mflxifmrnTtetmitoLincarcefatlon was dropped fromo seyen years, spite some calls to limit it to five years. - - *,

Abolition of exile and banishment While the draft eliminates thesewhich in the past ware often used against malcontents, it apparentlyew penalty, "limitation ofhat could accomplish the same goBl by assigning convicts to specific lobspecific areas forup to five years.1

Though not In the draft fundamentals, other proposals Include cutting the number of workdays for prisoners to allowgfwork conscientiously, and ejlmlnat|pon tftfi hiring of en-cnn vlnts.

While further analysis must await the publication of the Russian Criminal Code, "limitation of freedom* may innota renaming of the practice, commonly referred to as "khlmh/a"f sending convicts to fixed places of work. The first victims of this punishment under Nikita Khrushchev were sent to work In the chemical Industry; thus, its informal name.



Judicial Independence

Gorbachev has emphasized the importanceudiciary free from outsideto decide both criminal and civil coses, in his opening speech to tho party conference, he saidajor aim of reform was to 'restore tha.Lenlnlst, ylslgn

oMhe role ofjhe_caurtr^ itrirTly 'o obsqry8 ihr.

"ESlto.ysUjl* indepandaDceof.Judges and their subordination.omyjo.he conference resolution on legal reform affirmed the need to Improve theof the courts and to Implement principles such as the adversarialstria observance of the presumption of Innocencjr and the elimination of the prosecutorial ^s. Constitutional amendments affecting the judiciary.'passed In'et up the framework for future legislation aimed at cutting the influence of local officials flhV

Additional laws on the independence of the court ere being drafted, and theiris planned forlthough details are sketchy, two new'Judicial Administration in the USSR" and on the "Status of Judges In the USSR^re likelyinclude proposals made bv Gorbachev at the partyence,

selection and removal. The new laws will Incorporate theamendments extending |udlclai term* from five toears andthat all judges be Soviets (elected councils) at theirlevels.

B Soma acarJemL

have suggested setting professional qualifications for Judges, who are not required to have formaM^gal education.

The new Constitutional amendments increased the

Increasing lay judg

term of lay judges from twoaft tnLfiylyW. Further proposals have focused onlliftif .aumPBr,(currentiy two lay judges sit with one professional judge, with decisions being made by mejorlty vote among the three) and oivino th,em more,j'Y Suggestions have renged from simply Increasing their number toestern-style orh-century Russian

soviet academics sal

randants will be able to objectay judge In the early stagesase as well as at the pretrial stage as they can now.



Interference with the courts. Citing the forthcoming law on the 'Status of Judges/ the Constitutional amendments provide that any interference with the courts is impermissible and entails legal liability. The new law will probably follow Gorbachevs call at tho party conference to toughen existing penalties for Interference or contempt of court Some reformers haveeliminating protections granted to_party mernbers. such as requiring party permission before authorities can formallyemberrime, though this has not bean publicly endorsed by most officials.o nek editor Vitally Korotlch stated. "What we haveicious circle. People who cannot be made answerable cannot be condemned; and since they have not been condemned they cannot be accused of anything; and so oa" One Pravda reader suggested that party membership of onea crime ('abuse') should in fact bejeo1ard6djsjn aggravatingresulting in stiffer punishment

Raising the Status of the Bar

Gorbachev has alsorowing movement within the Soviet legalto organize attorneys and other legal professionals and to strengthen their role in protecting their clients' rights and Interests. The Sovlotjubllc generally holds attorney- in Inw Hueem. In largo pan because_of their poor education and limited, Advocates complain'cnHweVwork. lowresults in unpopular demands for unofficialbeing blamed for thounenforced procedures and unfair result's.ublic discussion lastrommontrfal attorney cited'eases where lawyers were harassed simply forlient, and stated "advocates should not be afraid to protect their clients'

Leading attorneys have proposed major changes In the organization and role of the bar to improve its ability to function and withstand local party and government pressure. These include the following:

Creating national organizations for lawyers that would Improve information now. especially in the provinces and smaller cities. Lawyers want toIn making official legal policy and In drafting legislation. Twoorganizations have formed, one representing alllawyers at state enterprises, and trialthe other representing only trial lawyers. While the Ministry of Justice appears to have led the formation of the larger group for Jurists, the organization of trial lawyers Is trying hard to keep its independence from the government The head of tha All-Union Association of (Trial)eputy director of the Moscow legal Defense Researchto the Incompetence in theof Justice at all levelsajor reason for forming his organization.

Raising legal fees to foster better work and to eliminate the file ments resulting from the Ministry of Justice's low foe schedule.


Increasing the number of lawyers and improving their education to meet the expected increase in-demand as. the countrylaw In the economy ana sucial services. J

While Moscow'stlon nearly doubled0he number of lawyers grewercent. Legal scholars also advocated eliBjjnaiiriaja^.degroQs Though correspondonceschoojs, arguing that few professionals are taught In the same manner.

Eliminating Unconstitutional and Contradictory Law

One of Gorbachev's most radical reform suggestions at the partyby the resolutions and the recentonstitutional review organization. According to Gorbachev, thewould 'monitor the conformity oTour laws and other legal acts with the basic law of the country, and would be allotted sufficient powers for thishe amendments authorize the new Congress of People's Deputies tomember USSRvers [ghtCommlttee "from among specialists In the sphere ot politics and"Members'willyear terms and are torepresentatives from every union republic. The committee^ will have the power to review and suspend drafts. laws, and 'sublegisiation'-made by federal and republic legislatures, ministries, and other state organs when they contravene higher law. However, it cannot annul these acts like US courts can, but is required to submit them to the originator tor action.

The committeetep forward but Is less than what some Soviet legal professionals advocated, its effectiveness will dependarge extent on Its membership, powers, and procedures, which are still unknown. In9 the Congress of People's Deputies failed to select members for the oversightattar disputes arose over the committee's authority to Interpret republicand laws. The Congressroup of deputies to draft thestatuteOversight in thehich will regulate the committee's powers and procedures. Tha committee's basic structure resembles the Hungarian Constitutional Council, which is tha least far-reaching of tha three East European models that the Soviets probably reviewed (seehealso falls short of the proposals of Supreme Court Chairman Terebilov and former Institute of State and Law head Kudryavtsev that the USSR Supreme Courtpeciala body under thehave constitutional




Constitutional Review Organizations: East European Models

Beginning In. Poland. Hungary, and Yugoslavia evolved eway from the Soviet model of legislative "self-control" by creating specialized organizations to review the constitutionality of laws and administrativedirection the Soviets now appear to be taking. Polandonstitutional Tribunalupreme Administrative Court made up of professionals with "distinguished" legal knowledge serving eight-year terms. Yugoslaviaonstitutional court system made up only of Judges, also serving eight-year terms. Hungaryonstitutional Council with members who arewith conflicts ofpeople "of public life" serving four-year terms, ajjajjjj

These review bodies do not have the power of the US Judiciary to annul unconstitutional legislation or hear challenges from individual citizens!in ail three countries. If the review organization finds statutes passed by the legislature unconstitutional or contravening other law. It submits the law to the legislature for amendment The review bodies of Poland and Yugoslavia can annul administrative regulations thatthe Constitution or federal law. The Hungarian council can onlysuch regulations. The three countries permit only official organlze-tlons to file complaintsaw or administrative order. In an effort to improve the publics role. Poland has recentlyewstateinvestigete citizens' complaints, ]

In sll three countries, these orgenlzatlons seem most active In evaluating laws relating to the economy as opposed to those effecting civil rights:

o In Poland, the Supreme Administrative Court heard0 casesnd Individual citizens succeeded In more than one-third of the cases, accordingolish lawyer. In one case the court annulled pans5 decree that hadrepair fees to owners of apartments In state-run houses.

o In Its first decisionhe Hungarian Constitutional Council8 ministerial decree on liquidating enterprises, holding that the decree violated rights granted to enterprises end cooperatives in the course of reform efforts.

o Accordingestern specielfst Yugoslavian constitutional courts have annulled regulations that violate workers' social and economic rights.



review responsibilities. Justice Minister Kravstov implicitly rejected these suggestions when he told the Bulgarian press that the committeetepseparation ofn the other hand,member Anatoliy Luk'yanov recently told an Italian journalist that hethe country wasath towardeparation.

in addition to creating the review committee, reformers are proposing

nrocuracy official announcedew law wasprepared with the aim of eliminating contradictory and illegal regulations. Though details on the draft law are scarce, officials have said It will require all government agencies to register fthetr regulations with tha USSR Ministry of Justice and the USSR Procuracy^

Equipping Citizens for Legal Action

Gorbachev Is continuing to link the success of his antlcorruptlon andcampaigns with providing citizens sufficient tools to stand up to officials who have traditionally used the legal system to persecute their critics, in addition to calling for better "practical application" of the law giving citizens the right to sue officials, the regime has proposed Improving looal education and taking steps to guarantee access to information. Proposed laws that may broaden citizens' rights -for example, in" the practiceor In forming Informalalso being drafted to define Individuals' rightsis the government and to improve their enforceability.

Legal Education. Recognizing that most Soviet citizens hava Inadequate legal knowledge, Gorbachev has called for universalegalhe party conference resolution on legal reform called for measures to restructure publiceducationniform statewide and partywldahough specifics have yet to be formulated, trade unions are being called upon toen-

thet will indue

Under his broader policy of glasnost, Gorbachev la encouraging the press to-inform and raise thenlltirtrtl nnd legal consciousness^ Soviet media are dealing more frankly with legal problems, including crime and corruption of the elite. Newspapers ere increasingly carrying columns addressing legsiJsaues and have already helped educate tha populace on the work of lawyers.


Institutionalizlns Glesnost. in one of the most forceful official statements on the issue, the party conference resolution on giasnosi ststed that It was the inalienable right of every citizen" to obtain "full and authentic Information that does nottate or military secret" on any issue of social life.are attempting to give citizens this increased access by dreftlng three newpublic access to archives, the press, end glesnost. Beceuse these laws ere supposed io define the legal rights of citizens and the medleli party and government organizations, they are critical to reform. They "should be one of the guarantees of the irreversibility ofccording to politicalFedor BurlatsUy. in part because of their importance, these laws are probably among the most controversial end have already slipped past theirannounced In"J ^

2 tna Press and Information. Tho draft law covering the madia hai gone through several drafts. One of them was under review by the Party Ideological Commission, according79 TASS report. Numerous sourcesthat the law wilt regulate operations of the press, television, and radio. It will address Issues such as the responsibilities of officials and governmentthe role of party guidance for the mess media, the status of Journalist', regulations for disseminating foreign periodicals, and the status of foreignin the USSR. Late laat year, an official at the censorship organization Olavlltoreign newspaper that the new law would set out for thefirst time the" rights and duties of Glavlit. as well as channels of appeal for those whose work Is censored.

Western end Soviet press reports indicate that the latest draft now under officiel review, does little to attenuate party control of thecontroversy re-

publishing not performed by these government-sponsored organization! Is likely to be protested vlgoroualy by reformers and grassroots activists. The Issue Istied to the draft law regulating voluntary societies and Informal groups, which is also being draftofl I

The8 supplementary law on cooperatives bans cooperatives from making, exchenging. selling, or showing videos or movies, and limits editorial and publishing services to those provided in cooperation with state Institution-..



Law on Glasnost. Several commentators have described the upcomingundergoing several drafts and stillprovidingobligations and rights for public organizations and forespectively. Incademy of Sciences Vice President Velikhov said that authorities were nearing completion of the new law. According to one of the original drafters,

ties of statenot paand Toj.sjt state'organlza-tions, inspect data, anq receive explanations from officials. It purportedly obligates state organizations to make public their decisions, which In the past have often been secret. The draft, however, ejtcluiiBS from coverage Information involving state security, privacy (for example, healthwar,propaganda, racialandpornography.

Further legislation regardingexample, that would delineate clear guidelines and procedures for classification, andalso be in the works. Following the party conference, several articles written by academics end even KGB officials appeared in the Soviet press advocating clearly defined regulations on secrecy. While it is unclear whether the Soviets are drafting alaw on secrets, as advocated by some, the Issues may be addressed In the bill on state security currently being drafted (described In the sectionLegal Compliance by Law EnforcementfJJJ"ajJ|

Law on State Archive Collection. The draft law, which purportedly is completed. Is aimed at continuing the regime effort begun7 to lift the heavy restrictions on access to historical archives.I

ther commentator publicly complained about the secrecy that has surrounded the draft itself. The bill also may touch on the destruction of archivecontroversial issue In light of recent official rehabilitations of theof Stalin's repression and purges.7 the regime publicly denied charges by unofficial Journal editor Sergey Grigor^yants that officials were destroying Infor-matlon on the pur

irigoryants's charges followed the revelationsoung student of the loscow Institute of Historical Archives. Dmitriy Yurasov, who told an audience at an official lecture about materials on the purges he found In several Soviet



Broadening and Defining Rights of Citizens, The regime Is developing other laws to implement Its social and economic reform policies that are tocitizens with new rights and ensure their enforceability. Drafters are focusing on delineating these rights ana establishing clear and generally acceptedfor addressing grievances. Some proposals, such as Gorbachev's call at the party conference for privacy guarantees and the confidentiality of mall and phone cammunicarinris, have yet to be elaborated.!

Freedom of Conscience. Gorbachev has calledew law to Institute themore tolerant policy toward rpiioinn attempting to gain support for his broader economic and social revitalizatlon programs from religious believers and especially from the Christian community.'* The new law will replace the9 Law_on Religious Associations much of which nffiniaic claim. Is no longer

Giving registered churches the status of legal entitles, therebyights and obligations sucn as engaging iii"contract! and litigation.!

' Several officials havethat the draft will allow limited private Instruction for children. While private church schools for children would not be permitted, parents would be allowed toriest to their home to teach their own children

Other proposals that include sanctioning more publishing activity oforganizations, allowing international links and economic actTyTtyTpro-viding Judicial review of disputes between religious societies and localand obliging state Institutions to supply religious organizations leterlel resources!

DI Research StudySecret NF NCayConfronts the Challenge of Christianity or its Executive



Voiurvtary Societies end Informal Groups. Reformers have been callingaw to establish The riohtsf nrnanlratlnns.the growing number of informal groups, which now numberew law Is sorely needed to protect new groups from 'the heavy hand of govem-ment* according to one Soviet official.]

[Soviet press sources have reported that the legislature was to begT work on the draft as well as on another entitled "Organs of Independent Societies and Other Self-Organized Associations* In

A version obtained in8esternthethat wasnot markedly Improve the status end protections of these groups. It requires official registration for all such organizations, restricts approval to those which are "socially useful" and "In accordance with the goals of Communistnd requires burdensome procedures, such as having membership dues approved by the Ministry of Finance. Soviet reviewers (probably, of the same version) also added that It failed to define clearly the organizations covered, did not grant them crucial political rights such as Initiating legislation and nominating candidate deputies, and omitted special sections on economic and publishing activities. It Is unclearevised draft will be more liberal than Its predecessor. In the case of the Estonian Popular Front, however, the group has been formally registered and allowed to run candidates for Soviet elections.

Economic Rjghts. The regime is developing several laws to expand the economic rights otissue of significance for Gorbachev's handling of the growing drive for autonomy by local leaders and nationalist groups. In response to theent surge of national self-consciousness and political activism; Moscow has agreed to significantly expand republic economic rights while drawing the line at separatisthese draft laws are aimed at closing loopholes In existingreform legislation and Introducing measures to encourage private Initiative. These measures include expanding agricultural reforms that grant broader property rights to farmers; giving local authorities more controH

locj'lon at tnTexpense ol "he cflmsr, ana fev&mJeTTirTa" continuing the effort begun two"years ag6 to increase loreign trade rights andpossibly creating special trade zones throughout the country. Onelocaland localby Gorbachev in9 Is Intended to give local Soviets access to steady sources of revenue from all area enterprises through long-term regulations, power to raise revenue through taxation of the

A Dl Intelligence Assessment entitled Soviet Informal Groups: The Potential for Political Opposition Is In preparation.

ee Ol USSR Review SOVIX (Secret NF NC PRBottle Drive for Autonomy Growing Stronger."



sec/et no-6rn nccc^tract orjJon

allowed to spend their revenues in-

Legal Compliance by Law Enforcement Organizations

Undoubtedly recognizing that competent and law-abiding law enforcement bodies are critical to control corruption, protect civil rights, and engender popular support Gorbachev has continued efforts to improve their compliance with the law,that of the KGB and MVD. This reform appears to include four significant aspects: establishing new supervisory bodies, eliminating unnecessary secrecy, improving competence, and reassuring the public that law enforcementare under control preventing their overreaction to citizens exercising new-found political

Within the past year, the regime has permitted public calls for Improvedover the security servicesore strictly applied rule of law and has supported the creation of high-level supervisoryetterroreform weekly argued for tighter control over the security services by pointing out that the party's loss of control in the past "led to arbitrariness and lawlessness in their work, which produced such sadnoviet Journalist with ties to Gorbachev publicly called for "public control" of the KGB.the MVD. and the military through the creationupreme Soviet commission.,

| Such legislative oversight. If effective, would breaT fr-the practice of the KGB's simply taking orders from the party and would broaden the circle ot control to include representatives of the people. The simultaneous reform of the Supreme Soviet Soviet's nomination process might lead to the election of some reformers Ilka Andrey Sakharov. who have called for tightand an end to human rights abuses.>T| |

In the fallhe partyew supervisoryCPSU Central Committee commission headed by Politburo member and former KGB chiefparallel the forthcoming Supreme Soviet body. This commission isby representatives from the key InstitutionsMinistry ofSupreme Court, andby orthodox party officials with little legal

A DI Intelligence Assessment entitled Gorbachev's Challenge: Restructuring the Party's Role In the Economy is in preparation.

See forthcoming DI Intelligence Assessment entitled Gorbachev and the Restructuring of the Soviet Security Apparatus.

A DI Intelligence Assessment on the restructuring of the Supreme Soviet is In preparation.




background. Nevertheless. It may still contribute to greater oversight of the old dministrative Organsrenamed the teoal Affairspossibiy reducing its cozy relations with the security organizations (seehe absence of Gorbachev adviser Georgiyurist by training,unexplained.^

second key facet of theby Gorbachev and apparently supported by some law enforcementremoving unnecessary secrecy. Forpurposes, increasing the public's knowledge of law enforcement'send limits will strengthen the public's roleheck against abuse.secrecy alsoource ofcause In which law enforcers also have an interest. Inhen KGB Chief Chebrikov admitted publicly that In some cssbs secrecy should beon thereafter, several letters and articles by local KGBa department headGB research institute, Vladimirfor reducing the levels of secrecy In lew enforcement and political life. Rubanov, for example, charged that excessive secrecy In the USSR has produced abuse of power, crippled schojarship, andjeft citizens Ignorant of basic information about their own countr

Evidence suggests that the regime is taking action to soell out publicly the legal authority of law enforcement organizations In the Soviet political-system:

* inhe regimeecree that defined the authority of the MVD Internal Troops to use firearms against demonstrators, make arrests, search homes without warrants, perform spot Identity checks, and cordon off areas of unrest While the decree does not change the role or mission of the Internal Troops. It does delineate publicly their authority for the first time since their creationears ago.

' Shortly before the party conference, the KGB called on the party to speed up the draftingaw 'onlated8 for completion

^maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaato one legal specialist. It provides mechanisms toabuses by the KGB while placing the KGBirm legalnecessarily decreasing its power and functions. The billaddress general rules for secrecy and classification that wouldthe bill on glasnost.

A law on the militia Is also under preparation and is to be adoptedccording to MVD head Bakatin.elevision program inakatin said the law would define tho rights and obligations of theegal expert at an MVD research institute mentioned9 Interview with Moscow News that the law was In preparation, yet noted that the general public had not had any Input In Its preparation.



Table 1

Key Members of the Party Commission on Legal Policy

V. M. Chebrikov

l/*J. V. Bakatin V. I. Terebilov

F. D. Bobkov Tu. P. Batalin

A. A. Logunov N. P. Rubtaov A. D. Liglchev

A. A. Khomyankov

A. K. Braxauskas

K. Makhkamov

Post Chalroan

Chief, MVD

Former chairman, Supreme Court

First Deputy Chairaan, KCB

Deputy Chalrnan, USSR Council of Ministers

Vice President, USSR Academy of Sciences

Chief of Secretariat, Supreme Soviet Presidium

Chief, Main Political Directorate, Soviet Any and Navy

First Secretary, Saratov Obkoa

First Secretary, Lithuanian Central Committee

First Secretary, Tadzhlk Central Cooalttee


Concerned about growing unrest, strong on lax and order

Apparent reforn supporter, strong on law and order

Publicly endorsed legal reform but appears unlnfluentlal

Publicly supported legal refora and further openness

Once protege of Chebrikov, say share sisllar concerns

Probably nost concerned with socioeconoolc dimension of reforms

Purported conservative, Moscow State University Rector

Possibly Luk'yanov's nan on commission

Shares military concerns over unrest

Posted5 to help root out corruption; has been harshly criticized ln press

One of most reforn-mlnded regional party leaders

Publicly critical of glasnost




Key Heabers of the Party CoMlssion on Legal Policy


Seoretary, Sverdlovsk Obkon

aupporters of reformer Yel'tain at party conference

Secretary, Crlnean Obkon (Ukraine)

concerned over nationalist.activisn, given Tartar demands'

P. Hysnlchenko First Secretary, Khar'kov Obkon (Ukraine)

Apparent reforoer, but heads region accused of widespread corruption

Zatvornltskly Head, Moscow Main

Construction Coanlttee

official public! stated InS that parts ot thYcentral MVDand economicbeing cut byercent

Several articles have implied that the huge network of informers and pollt operatives succeeded only In repressing patriotic citizens interested in un proving .the country whilelind eye to blatant corruption end bribery.


Fourth, the regime isoncerted effort to reassure the public that laworganizations are under control and will not again Dexome the organsthey were under

* The regime has sanctioned several articles written by KGB officials thatto distance the present KG8 from Its predecessor of the Stalin era. Chebrikov emphasized in his8 interview that the securitythemselves suffered under the repressions of.

Gorbaciuv. however, may go beyond merely raising the police and KGB to higher standards under glasnost and move to streamline and reorganize their apparatus


recent Western press account hit alleged that the KGB will even be shorn of its border guards, which would be incorporatedew Ministry of the Armed Forces along with regular troops and some MVD units.

Potential Hurdles

battle to attain legal reform requires him to overcome _two hurdles: to prevent conservatives from eviscifanno fhe draftworse, using the newlaws to institute even more restrictiveto seeesistant bu-

I tntrit As in his other reform efforts.

roucracy implement* th? laws in Gorbachev is apparently meeting significant political and bureaucratic opposition to the pace and specifics of change. Individuals question whether the reformist case is worse than the stagnation disease

Ai -


Leadership Differences

Gorbachev has not had full control of the Politburo nor its complete support for all elements of his legal reform agenda. Events In the past two years indicate that some of his most far-reaching legal proposals have hit significant opposition. Forhurch official interviewedestern newspaper In8 mentionedolitical 'struggle* surrounding Gorbachev's reform haddelayed the draft law on freedom of conscience, though he stated later in thi

Former PolitburomnAtrnmvfcn also probably Apposed some aspects of GcToachev^en^^Tuptlon campaign until theirIn


ko'a less than enthusiastic stand on anticorruptlon Issues was already clear6 when he warned against vilifying 'honestnd was again reflected In the conference resolution on legel reform preparedommittee he chaired. Often more general than the preliminary conference theses or Gorbachev's opening day speech, the resolution and the limited treatment of legal reform by conference membersisappointment to reform-minded observers. Most telling was the absence of Gorbachev's call for guaranteeing rtghta such as privacy andof correspondence and telephone conversations in theid did appear in the resolution on political reform that was draftedommittee headed by Gorbachev.


sec/et nof^rn NOCQJITRACT

Increasing Unrest Fuels Resistance to Legal Reform

The upsurge of demonstrations and ethnic violence appears to haveresistance by some leadersontinued broadening of civil

_ Gorbachev apparently has had to balance his policy of encouraging public expression against warnings of Politburo members, such as Chebrikov and Ugechev. against lawlessness or anarchy. The regimeederal law on demonstrations In latend haso narrow the limits on acceptable activity and to legitimize actions to eliminate volatile situations.

The new law on demonstrations is generally restrictive. It requiresto request permission toemonstrationays in advance, to Inform the local party executive committee of the purpose and location of the demonstration, and to ba liable for any material damage to private or public property. Regional authorities are also given the right to passregulations to take into account local conditions. The Russian and Ukrainian laws, published soon afterward, both provide that violators can be fined upubles or be jailed up toays; repeat offenders canine of upear of corrective labor, or up to six months in jail

In justifying the new (aw, officials pointed to the numerous rallies and demonstrations cropping up in the USSR that were attended of thousands of citizens.!

The9 decree amending the law on state crimes also legitimizes regime actions aimed at quelling nationalist and ethnic unrest WhileInsisted the decree waseaction to the ethnic violence taking place In Georgia the weekend It was passed, it specifically targets anti-Soviet activities end ethnic violence. Citizens convicted of incitingdissension, degrading national honor, or discriminating against ethnic groups can be Imprisoned for up to three years or fined upPunishment is stiffened to five yearsubles If actions are. combined with violence or committed by officials, end up toears when the actions are committedroup or Involve the loss of life.



Over timo, however, strong advocates of legal reform, particularly those involved In foreign affairs, have advanced to key positions. Politburo member Alexander Ya-kovtev has provided the most consistent support for Gorbachev on the necessity and details of legal change, inakovleveeting of mediathat 'society hasuge step forward" with the party conference'sof the primacy of law 'In every area ofhe developmento-:ialist law-governed state, and the "absolute equality of everyone before law."

The sweeping overhaul of the top party leadership made by the September CPSU Central Committee plenum and the subsequent reorganization of the partyappear to havethe mostchances jfoc making further progress toward legal reform. Having retired all Brezhnev-era appointees but Ukrainian party boss Vladimir Shcherbitskly, Gorbachev has replaced several with Individuals who have strongly supported his efforts to reform criminal Justice and law enforcement:

ey Gorbachev ally and trained lawyer, who as CPSU secretary headed the party's day-to-day oversight of the legal system, was elevated to candidate member of the Politburo and First Deputy Chairman of the USSR Supreme.Soviet,

Former MVD head Jflajjgv, the most outspoken of the law enforcementIn favor of Gorbachev's legal agenda, was elevated to candidate member of the Politburo and Premier of the RSFgp. Although his shift to Premier will take him away from direct oversight of law enforcement, Vlasov haspublicly encouraged anticorruptlon and legal reform efforts In the largest and most crucial region of the USSR. His continued support would provide grest Impetus for overall legal reform because law In the RSFSR has historically been the model for other republics.

Although the circumstances of Vadlm BakBtin's appointment as MVD chief-three weeks after Vlasov'sa compromise, Bakatin has enthusiastically supported reform. He also demonstrated his managerial ability as first secretary of two Important regions In the RSFSR. Bakatin does, however, appear to be mora concerned than was Vlasov about the threat of crime and social order. These views probably maderoader cross section of the leadership.


Even Chebrikov's transfer to the party Secretariat at themove which in other cases has signaled an expansion of politicalefits Gorbachev. Itersonal opponent from direct control over


Even if there were unanimity at theis not therests-


The Ministry ot Justice appears threatened by the efforts to create

nd attorney associations, wnne it has appar6rihy pushed and influenced one organization for all law-trained professionals, thehas attempted to interfere with trial attorneys' attempts to create their own nationwide organization, according to Western pressf attorneys thateeting In8ilesf Moscow found that the Justice Ministry had canceled their hotel bookngs and given the conference hall to another group.eeting this February on the association, conservative delegates proposed charterthat in the view of their more reform-minded and vocal colleagues, gave the Justice Ministry too much control.

Local officials have continued to resist changes that threaten social control,for bOTTi practical and Ideological reasons. These officials are forced tocalls to protect citizens' rights with their responsibility to maintain order:

have also expressed skepticism of the regime's emphasis on.the criminal justice system. Inrocurator General Sukharev told Western reporters that efforts to overhaul criminal law were running Into opposition from some officials, saying that "some believe that the stricter the laws ara, theiscussion of prison reformoviet Journal, one senior camp official said that he knew the work theperformed was difficult and sometimes monotonous and unpleasant.

"Bin forgive me. we arerison,esort We have not Invited Anybody behind our barbedo all this talk about conditions is dema-boguery*

officials at the9 Central Committee plenum complained that law enforcement was not vigorous enough. Hardliners strongly advo-CBtecf retaining the9 decree's provision, which maderime to Insult officials, and warned against caving In to lawyers' attacks on the law.

The Institutions and individuals that lost the fight at the drafting stage willcontinue efforts to protect their Interests during implementation. Similarwith maintaining control and law and order are already providing excuses to pull back on full Implementation:


Members ol the informal groupedicated to the memory of Stalin's Belorussian victims, have hari several run-Ins with the law because of "unauthorized" public meetings. The group members charge that they hove been given administrativefines and detention-based on fabricated evidence and forced confessions.

Moscow police chief noted in the Soviet press last fall that 'many of our itizens take democracy to mean total license ande noted that n the previousonths, six soldiers of the MVD's Internal Troops had

been killed andnjured in performing riot-control duties.

have used strong law enforcementeans to discourage the cooperative and private enterprise movement which they apparently oppose for ideological or other reasons. Many charge that these new businesses are the root of Increases in crime. Including the growth'of organized crime Inremier Ryzhkov. speaking to the Supreme. Soviet, attacked criminal prosecutors who threaten would-be business leaders with theincome law

Moreover, the regimeormidable battle in preventing local officials from becoming frustrated byituation they may experience in attempting to satisfy often contradictory calls from Moscow. Many laws have not caught up with policy changes, yet the regime continues to demand improvements inThus, officials are forced to break laws and to be liable for determiningarticular rule supports reform and therefore Is necessary to uphold or counters reform and therefore is acceptable to circumvent:

- In the economic area the regime is continually telling officials to uphold tha law while encouraging them to bend the rules in support of reform. The Soviet press has calledtop to the prosecution of enterprisewho violate tha letter of thenot the spirit of reform. Onescathingly crrtized the prosecutionanager who illegally hired outside construction teams To ao essential worx that could not be complot-ea in any other manner. Uespite the laws on the books, the Supreme Court nas heldarty is not guilty of abuse of office unless he is acting for mercenary or other personal interests.



Law enforcamant officials have recently criticized harshly the work of local police organs for allowing an increase In violent and other serious crimeevertheless, some have charged that reform policies aimed atcriminal punishment and reducing the number of convicts held in prisons are partly to biamo for Increases In recidivism, since the necessary supervision and training for convicts "on the outside" is not yet In place.

The case of several citizens in Ryazan' who were fined and imprisoned for gathering illegally outside the local city council building was the subject of several articles in the Soviet press during the March elections. The city council reportedly ignored efforts in good faith by the group toeeting to nominate candidates for the Congress of People's Deputies. When ihe group tried to force an answer by congregating near the city council building, the police were called and arrests made. When asked the reasons for the government actions, the official replied that he was "simply afraid" that the meeting of voters would affect the elections. If he had not cracked down, he and others could 'have been summoned and asked: whyjverejjreventative measures not taken?on't want to be punished."

Lack of Legal Culture

Resistance to legal reform or. at least, inaction will continue as the regimeto transformand citizensrespect and utilize law as the final word.I

oll reported by Moscowespondents in several

Soviet cities were asked about the principle that "everything Is permitted that is not prohibited byhileercent approved of rt,ercent believed that It would open the door to anarchy andercent were undecided.F)

Soviet regimes, including the present one, have repeatedly held politicalsuperior to law. Officials, including Gorbachev, stm rin nnttnthat the integrity of lewstate of Ibw" are threatened by such practices:


ooting with Gorbachev. Kazakhstan Council of Ministers Chairman Na-zarbayev described the difficulties of expanding rural private ownership in the absence of strong legislation on the subject. Gorbachev brushed off the difficulties, according to Nazarbayev, telling him to proceed evensuch legislation.

Oespite the regime's calls for the past few years to stop blindly passing

burdensome regulations, ministries continue to act Independently end seam Indifferent to the need of careful review and widespread publication. When asked about the issue of subiegislation, ministry officials and enterprise managers failed to seeroblem existed, while their own attorneys assessed the problem as severe.

The regime recentlyaw prohibiting cooperatives from engagingeries of activities. In an Izvestlya roundtable on these newestInstitute ot State and Law specialist Tamararedited privately with drafting the majority of the original law ondisgruntled by the amendments and confronted^ Council of Ministers official, asking whether there was "even gne scientistnvolved In the working group to draft the new law. The official replied that legalwere consulted^butthelr opinions did not mesh with those of the. Council of Ministers, flj

Other specialists heavily involved In drafting reform legislation have complained that the drafting process Indicates lack of respect for legal expertise:

9 legal commentator Arkady Vaksburg went so far as to say he was glad that the laws on glasnost, the media, and Informal groups had been delayed. Given the current Soviet stage ofe said, they would not be good or enforceable laws.

law spaclallst Aleksandr Yakovlev told an American audience In9 that he and his colleagues were fed up withand forward-leaning draft laws and then losing all control over whfit happens next Ho oxpiainea mat ministries also submit their owr jsubHv

'narrow-mTrTBed.olitical tug of war eventually resultsraft that is approved by the party. But no justifications or reasons for the





choices in the official draft are Issued. Yakovtev advocated that all the drafts submitted by different parties be made public and that the legislature be required to publicly defend Its choice.

- Yakovlev and his associate Boris Kurashvlllestern Journalist that parts of the9 decree amending the law on state crimes wereThey claimed that, when they saw the draft proposals, they did not contain the provision that prohibited the public Insult of stateor organizations. Kurashvlll characterized this article as "exceedingly Infelicitous" and attributed it to haste and the Incompetence of those in government who drew it up.

In the fail8 three jurists whoontroversial draft of the press (aw that was quickly rejected by authorities as too liberal tookinto their own hands to get their views known. Their efforts included giving several interviews to Soviet youth and reform journals in which they complained that the authorities had eliminated almost all their/proposals in the final draft persuading an Estonian newspaper editor to print theirdraft and contracting with an official publishing house to print copies of their draft

tate of Law Possible?

Gorbachev now standsritical Juncture In tha legal reformcriticized the old, he is required to build the new.B

imperative,ii of Muscovites rangingyear-olds to pensionersconductedoviet Institute, the largest share of respondents found that legal reform was the aspect of life most in need otoreover.IB* forms cannot be effectivelySgaTframework.

Indicatora of Progress

To be successful, Gorbachev must balance his overall push for legal reform with the need to enact enforceable law. Soviet jurists have warned the leadergnip-agamst pushing through poorly written laws or laws not coordinated with other efforts, requiring amendments soon after the laws are promulgated. The regime's task Is especially difficult because draft laws tend to cover overlapping issues: for example, the proposed laws on the freedom of conscience and on voluntaryProgress on one may be held up until the entire package is ready forMilestones for the progress of newcould change slightly when the full-time legislature develops Itscompletion of drafts, favorable review by the Supreme Soviet's legislative commission, approval by the Politburo, publication for public discussion, and promulgation. Oelay In a


secb-eV noeo'rn nocot^ract or/on

law does not always indicate the scope ol controversy; lor example, disputesew provisions could range Irom important policy debates to discussions oltechnicalities. M

However, delays in addressing criminal lawack ol significant changes in criminal law reform, considering the significant publicity that has surrounded it, would Indicate that Gorbachev has been forced to mark time and compromise:

Further amendment of the9 decree, and In turn Articlef the RSFSR Criminal Code, that broadens rights of Iree speech andfor example, prohibiting only public calls for the violent overthrow of thaadvance reform significantly.

The regime's decision onf the RSFSR Criminal Code--directed at religiousbe key indicators of regime Intentions and seriousness about religious freedom.

Revisions to criminal procedure could rangeinimalist approach that slightly reduces the threat of due process violations in specific cases to major changes that provide full procedural protections and mechanisms for redressing violations. Indicators of progress toward legal reform will Include the regime's decisions on when defendantsight to anwhether the attorney will be the equal adversary of the prosecutor, and how the function and number of lay judges are chTnged."

The promulgation and content ol proposed civil legislation expected over the next lew years will be another important barometer ol the pace of reform. Passage of laws outlining new Institutionalas those on the Judiciary, theReview Commission, and securitycrucial for progress In reform and will Indicate the extent to which the regime Is willing to risk Its control to maintain the Integrity of the law:

" The more specific the law on the Constitutional Review Commission Is on rnembership qualifications and recall, the more likely Its members'the greater their objectivity- BequlrinoJeaal knawladoe and wipwieaae ana ex

mernbers Is important. Avoldino vague guidelines for removal,

such as in Hungary where the legislature may remova Constitutionalwho "do not properly perform theirs essentialeal check on the legislature. The commission would ai*neffective il It could review anv law regardless pf when It wasopposed to being restricted to law nmcdk-

given to the Constitution Them Will also be kevj



Though no! expectedha draft Law on State Security willey indicator of regime intentions totate ofinimalist approach limited to enumerating existing KGB and MVD practices mighta step toward openness, but little more. Further-reaching proposals such as reorganizing the KGB to reduce some of its domestic securityor creating standing committees on state security under tha Supreme Soviet, with broadpassed andgreater po-tential for providing checks on the power of any one organization.!

on expanding citizens' rights to information and protection against arbi-rarlness will depend on the passage and Implementation of several other laws:

Gorbachev will achieve significant reform if he can override opposition to the bills on glasnost. the media, archives, and freedom of conscience and push laws through theif they do no mora than codify tha present policy. In all these laws, provisions delineating procedures snd standards for review of grievances and charges of wrongdoing aroThese provisions need to be linked to Improved slander and libelthat would allow the openinoup of Information while protecting lainst rts false and misleading

An increase In tha use or amendment of the law on citizens' rights tounlawful actions of officials would indicate progress. Reform-minded officials have already criticized Its implementation, one charging that cases ware filed against onlyfficials es of8 vMHaeaaealM

Jonly one of theases initiated under this law that she

knew about has lad to the trial^nd conviction of an official whohittle-blower. The publication of cases would serve to educate the public or possibly provide incentive for other cases. Most significant would be amending tha law to remove the "collegia! organ' exception. Courts have used the exception against refuseniks suing OvlR on Hi'emigration decisions, if the exception Is removed by amendment thehaving accepted jurisdiction under thaba forced to decide cases that may overturn OVtfl or make obvious political decisions that violate the law and that would be subject to public scrutiny.



Prospects for Achieving Goels

Even IT Gorbachev makes only moderate headwayursuing legal reftrm,oal of improving the Soviet imaoe abroad. Becausearguablya country's legal systemcriminal law. even minor changes will go far In bolstering the credibility ofsystem. Revisions such as abolishing exile and banishment, narrowingpenalty, and decreasing prison sentences have great internationalportrayed as improving human rights by 'humanizing* andSoviet officials have already contrasted their use of the death penalty tolabeling the execution of juvenile convicts in some US states a* aabuse.

However the potential for foreign observers to overestimate change Is high and the difficulty In monitoring potential abuses is thus Increased. -Although Soviet authorities describea violation from the criminalto the less punitive administrativeliberalizationessening ofaccused has even fewer procedural due process guarantees than exist in the current criminal system. Further revision of the law on state crimes-even itsbe easily circumvented ff other procedural safeguards, such as early defense counsel, were Ignored. The dangers are Illustrated by the regimes' reported Increased use during the past few months of administrativedetentions, confiscations, and fines to harass and prevent activists, such as members of unofficial groups and demonstrators, from causing too muchamaaaaam

If the regimeiddle-of-the-road course, as most sources Indicate itwill also probably be fairly successful achieving anotherrespect for Thff IflW- Soviet citizenswould favor efforts to Improve the competency of the nrdlrV, and thecorruption and eliminate the worst police abuses of human rights.from citizens commenting on the proposed criminal law fundamentals.have criticized the narrowing of the death penalty: one letter evenhangings. Changes in sentencing that make punishments better fitas well as movement away fromof which areIn criminologists' view, aid In the fight against crime andand universal application of the law hv thn rpnime#

respect tot the law. mtmaammm/

On the other hand, the drives against corruption and incompetence may causeamong personnel in law enforcement organizations Than*to public control, could be Inhibited by new procedures anddisgruntled by the purges, and might become less effective atH



grad press confirmed that the complaints ot the demonstrators included low-salaries, poor housing, the "social and legal defenselessness" o( the police and the "insult" of "disrespectful relations toward theore significant, if reform results in moreexample, in allowing nationality interests to cause

wlrtr.tnri.mlhP majority nf the SnuiatdJ"/1

could feel things have gone too far. Hardliners are portraying the recentrirna--wnicn "agar specialists"&tame on the relaxation of the antialchohoithe result of democratization and the "humanizing" of criminal law.

Gorbachev's use of law to unfetter initiative and place the economyew footing will probably meet moderate success, yet will require significant time to dovolop. Legal reform is not the only requirement tor successful economic reform. Gorbachevs progress in makingool to guarantee the Irreversibility ofand political reform will be affected by the quality of the new law and Itsof which we expect to be sporty. Moreover, the. regime has to convince the public that the new laws encouraging Initiative will not be ignored or revoked. Arguing that the8 law restricting cooperatives further undermined people's trust in the law, two Institute of State and Law lawyersetter to Moscow News that stated:

A law-governed state does not mean more laws. It meansrust is so far tenuous. It Is still weak, and people shouldn't be disillusioned again. No one can now guaranteeouple of months from now, other activities will not be recognized out of bounds for co-ops.

Although there has not been enough time for the country to develop the legalneeded toechnically good law, some changes arediscussion, legal education,upreme Soviet that may begin to flex itsas it did In protesting provisions to tax cooperatives and forcing changes to the draft Constitutional amendments. Efforts to develop information access and public legal education, important to encouraging and protecting those seeking change under the new laws, may also fall short of reformers' proposals. Concerted public legal education and professional training will be expensive and require time and long-term commitment, m

Since there are so few written guarantees in this area, some core'legislation must be passed for reform to progress. Newif they are poorly drafted and handicapped with compromisehelnnrpcwss ofnew policies. Change win probably come in steps as consensus grows, in the-"case of the law giving citizens the right to sue officials, for example, several sources Indicated that controversy resultedompromise document that was unsatisfactory to reformers. Three months after the law was passed but before it was effective, amendments were passed that broadened It and gave citizensprotections. Now Justice officials have joined academics in advocating further



changa andaw lhat would never have been seriously considered last June.

tor building legitimacy by eliminating loopholes have the least chance of totalsome progress Is likely. The public may get an Increased sense of participation in the legalexample, through additions to the number of lay Judges and new chances to enforce rights such as the ability toocal official forousing permit. Gorbachev has been able to clean outimited scale, those who egregiously violate the law, thereby reinforcing his words that no one is above the law. He has brought the need for change to the forefront and has opened discussion more than any past Soviet leader, which Is beginning to raise the public's legal consciousness and expectations for change. The fairness of the system will be substantiated by Gorbachev's broadening legitimate activity (both In economic and politicaletter defining the boundaries ofbehavior, and even increasing punishment for those who cross the line.F)

However. Gorbachev's anticorruptlonberop In the bucket given the winflscale extant of thn nrnhlem While ho has taken

ymg prob-

lems in society and the economy.

to task huge numbers of corrupt officials, Gorbachev Is far from achieving andclean" party, law enforcement and economic bureaucracy. Broad media coverage of the success of campaigns against unearned Income andincluding the recent publicity given the Churbanov trial, mayalse impression that the remaining problem is smaller than It really


The effectiveness of the legal system Is more dependent on the success ofpolitical change than on reforms within the legal establishment The regimewith the contradiction of trying to maintain its ultimate authoritypreventing government arbitrariness anrl nrotacHno Individualparty continues toeythei heo rce"ofS la w"onstituteoofuidingnriMheJudt clary and other |ege| organ* |re trulyof party control and provide the finalbe able to create theil listing self-rpnuiirinne apparently

he legal system will be limited in Its ability to provde afor Instituting economic and political reform and will continue toool of the political will of the leadership. Similarly, continuationarge political police force, charged with monitoring dissent and operatingore or less arbitrary fashion not restricted by strong legal controls, would undermine efforts toew foundation for party rule based less on fear and more on support from the population.

While any progress should be seentep forward, implementation of thelegal reform strategies without further politlcel change will fall short of achieving Gorbachev's stated goals, and far short ofystem that



would guarantee individual rights as provided for In Western democracies. However, while that goal would remain beyond reach for this generation, legalis helping to further otherthe USSR into the modern world and lowering the barriers to change. As such, it could be an important first step In the elimination of traditional arbitrariness and could begin laying the groundworkore fundamental liberalization of the political system in the future. I




Legal Administration In the USSR

Law enforcement and the administration of Justice is carried out by party and governmental organizations at the national, republic, and local levels. *

ia btate-

Legai Department appears to retain the responsibilities of Its predecessor for supervising all Judicial organizations and the security apparatus. In the fallnatolly Pavlov, former deputy chief of the Admlnstra'tlve Organsreplaced Nlkolay Sevlnkln as chief. Savlnkln was the lasLBrezhnev appointee among the Central Committee department heads.

Judiciary. The Soviet court system has fourUSSR Supremesupreme cnun* nt the nninnhe courts of the provinces.

a-noJ-aTthe lowest level, the people's court. Military tflhlinil't. arbitrationoanizations. end jriminteiretiva uppnrjp* supplement civil courts in theirof Justice. The people's court is the general trial court, while the higher courts prov.da appellate review and, in specific types of cases, act as the tnai court Usually one appeal is available to both partiesase. The Soviet Judiciary has limited Interpretive functions compared to US courts. Soviet courts. Including the USSR Supreme Court do not have the power to Interpret the legality or constitutionality of legislation, end their decisions are not recognized as binding precedent for subsequent cases fSovlet law rejects the principle of stare

The USSR Supreme Court hears protests against decisions of lower ranking courts, semes jurisdictional disputes between courts of differentand Issues Instructions to lower courts concerning the application of laws. It can also act In smallerCivil. Criminal, and Military

(past examples include the trials of Lavrentiy Barlyand Mathlas Rust. The USSR Supreme Court Isto the legislature and Its decisions may be reviewedil Millill II mi

For more detail on tha structure of the Soviet legal system and key Individuals within it. see DI Research Paper7 (Secret NFhe Soviet Legal System and Its Kmj Players: Facing the Challenger, of Reform. I




Procuracy. Tha procuracy has tha broadest responsibility in trie legal apparatus. It is charged with overselling nearly every legal. executive, and administrative procedure in the USSR Its authority over investigativepolice conduct, ano tne observance of law in most governmentand Institutionsandate that combines the functions of all forms of US-style prosecutors and states attorneys in one central body. Tha procurator also supervises trialunction that Is ostensiblywith Its functions of charging and prosecuting criminalTbe courts are accountable to the procurator, who has the power to dlsciplineand remove judicial personnel However, the procurator does not have the power to command or countermand the court with respect to pending trial.

The procuracy Is headed by the USSReven-year renewableTefm. and at loweTlev-eis by procurators who serve five-year terms. Sukharev was Minister, of. Justice in the RSFSR4 tohan he assumed his current post replacing Aleksandrhardline conservative. Sukharev has publiclyumber of reform


tlnulng to serve as head of the Association ot Soviet Jurists. Sukharev hastrong internetionpi nmfiie and has taken several opportunities to address human rights and criminal law Issues, including advocating'the elimination of the death penalty.l

Ministry of Justice. The principal duty of the USSR Ministry of Justice and its subordinate network of republic ministries and provincial departments Is 'judicialproposals on court organization andelections, ovorstelng both the training of Judicial personnel and maas legal education, and controlling various legal services to tha community such as tha bar. legal departments in enterprises and other Institutions, andThe Ministry also has tha Job of systematizing legislation and preparing for furthermajor focus of reformefforts. The Minister of Justice, Boris Kravtsov, was appointed

_|He has publicly expressed support for Gorbachev's

"plans to restructure the legal system and has called for further glasnostefforts against corruption, and general reform.

Ministry of internal Affairsn addition to carrying out usual policenil cjlpinn'functions, the MVD Is in chargeeriellv trained security troops that have been active In restoring order during incidents of ethnic unrest and large-scale public demonstration over the past few years. It also runs prisons and corrective labor camps and performs other duties



such as (ire protection end traffic control. Siberian party official Vadim Bakatin was appointed MVD chief ineveral weeks after his predecessor. Aleksandr Viasov, was made RSFSR Premier. The delay ina new chief suggests Bakatinompromise candidate. Although he supported Gorbachev at tho8 party conference by endorsing reform proposals, he has appeared more cautious on law and order issues and may have ties to conservative Politburo member Ligachev, forged when both wero in Siberia j^BF

Committee 'or State Securityhe KGB thinks of itself as the 'sword and shiBin" nf the Communist Party.'

ts component

icTude chief directorates for foreign intelligence, internal security andmilitary counterintelligence, communications security,of government facilities, and communications Intercept OtherInclude transportation security* dissident and Ideological subversion, protection of the economy, surveillance, and leadership protection.ladimir Kryuchkov replaced Viktor Chebrikov as chairman of the KGB. Chebrikov. chairmanontinues his policymaking role as full Politburo member and chairman of the newly created Central CommitteeCommission.

See Dl Research PaperDX (Secret NF NChe internal Troops of the MVD: Moscow's Muscle for internal Security.

ee Dl intelligence AssessmentS NF NCorbachev's Growing Confrontation With the KGB:oming Showdown? An Intelligence assessment on restructuring the state security organs is In preparation. fSfffl


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