Laws and Men in Soviet Society

Courtesy Reuters

STALIN'S death in 1953 started his heirs on a hurried effort to modify the severity of Soviet codes of criminal law and procedure. In March of that year Beria promised that new codes would be ready in six months. Yet, as the year 1957 came to a close, the task was still in the hands of the law professors. No new codes have yet become law. Only a patchwork has been carried out to eliminate a few of the major points of complaint against the criminal code.

The silence of the Soviet legislators stands out the more strongly in contrast to the extensive debate currently proceeding in Soviet law institutes and the press. This debate is symbolic of widespread dissatisfaction within the U.S.S.R. over conditions in the courts as they had developed during Stalin's tenure. Even the most dogmatic of the present Communist leaders seem to appreciate that they

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