Article 58, Criminal Code of the RSFSR (1934)

Copyright 1999 by Hugo S. Cunningham
First posted 971006
Last updated 991115
latest minor change 001226

Russkij tekst (original Russian text).

///Translator's notes are marked off by triple slashes///

///partial summary (mostly from Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago"):
58-1: "counterrevolutionary" defined
58-1a: traitors to the motherland (including defectors)
58-2: bourgeois nationalists and separatists
58-3: abettors of the enemy
58-4: agents of the international bourgeoisie (eg emigres)
58-5: inciting a foreign state to declare war on USSR
58-6: spies. Includes PSh (Suspicion of Espionage), NSh (Unproven Espionage), SVPSh (Contacts Leading to Suspicion of Espionage)
58-7: subversives
58-8: terrorists (may include TN, "Terrorist Intent," eg speaking rudely to an official)
58-9: saboteurs (wreckers)
58-10: anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda
58-11: hostile group (an aggravating factor)
58-12: non-informers
58-13: service to former (Tsarist) government
58-14: economic sabotage: any failure to perform a task.



State Crimes

1. Counterrevolutionary Crimes

58-1. "Counterrevolutionary" is understood as any action directed toward the overthrow, subversion, or weakening of the power of worker-peasant councils or of their chosen (according to the Constitution of the USSR and constitutions of union republics) worker-peasant government of the USSR, union and autonomous republics, or toward the subversion or weakening of the external security of the USSR and the fundamental economic, political, and national gains of the proletarian revolution.

In consideration of the international solidarity of interests of all workers, acts are likewise considered "counterrevolutionary" when they are directed at any other workers' government, even if not part of the USSR.

58-1a. Treason to the motherland, ie. acts done by citizens of the USSR in damage to the military power of the USSR, its national sovereignty, or the inviolability of its territory, such as: espionage, betrayal of military or state secrets, crossing to the side of the enemy, flight (by surface or air) abroad, shall be punishable by--

58-1b. The same crimes, perpetrated by military personnel, are punishable by the supreme measure of criminal punishment--
58-1v. In case of flight (by surface or air) across the border by a military member, the adult members of his family, if they in any way aided the preparation or carrying-out of treason, or only knew about it and failed to report it to authorities, shall be punishable by--
Remaining adult members of the family of the traitor, living together with him or as his dependents at the moment of the perpetration of the crime, shall be deprived of voting rights and exiled to remote districts of Siberia for 5 years. [20 July 1934 (SU No 30, art 173)]

58-1. Failure by a military member to denounce preparations or the carrying-out of treason shall be punishable by--

Such failure to denounce by other citizens (not military) shall be punished according to article 58-12. [20 July 1934 (SU No 30, art. 173)]

58-2. Armed uprising or incursion with counterrevolutionary purposes on Soviet territory by armed bands, seizure of power in the center or areas with the same purposes, or, in particular, with the purpose of forcibly severing from the USSR and an individual union republic, any part of its territory, or of breaking agreements between the USSR and foreign states, shall be punishable by--

58-3. Dealings for counterrevolutionary purposes with a foreign state or its individual representatives, and likewise aiding by whatever means a foreign state, engaged in war with the USSR, or conducting against the USSR a struggle by means of intervention or blockade, shall be punishable by--
58-4. The offering of whatever kind of aid to that part of the international bourgeoisie, which, not recognizing the equal rights of a Communist system replacing a Capitalist system, exerts itself for its overthrow, and likewise to public groups and organizations, being under the influence of or directly organized by that bourgeoisie, in the carrying out of hostile activities toward the USSR, shall be punishable by--
58-5. Adherence to a foreign state or any public groups in it, by means of relations with its representatives, use of false documents or other means, toward a declaration of war, armed intervention in the affairs of the USSR or other unfriendly actions, eg: blockade, seizure of state property of the USSR or of union republics, the breaking of diplomatic relations, the breaking of treaties concluded with the USSR, etc., shall be punishable by--
58-6. Espionage, ie. the transmittal, seizure, or collection, with the purpose of transmittal, of information, being a specially kept state secret due to its content, to foreign governments, counterrevolutionary organizations, and private individuals, shall be punishable by--
Transmittal, seizure, or collection for purpose of transmittal of economic information, not consisting by its content of specially preserved state secrets, but not subject to publication either due to direct legal prohibition, or due to the decision of the management of the department, institution, or enterprise, whether for a reward or for free, to organizations and persons listed above, shall be punishable by--
58-7. The undermining of state production, transport, trade, monetary relations or the credit system, or likewise cooperation, done with counterrevolutionary purposes, by means of corresponding use of state institutions and enterprises or impeding their normal activity, and likewise use of state institutions and enterprises or impeding their activity, done in the interests of former owners or interested capitalist organizations, shall be punishable by--
58-8. The perpetration of terrorist acts, directed against representatives of Soviet authority or activists of revolutionary worker's and peasants' organizations, and participation in the performance of such acts, even by persons not belonging to a counterrevolutionary organization, shall be punishable by--
58-9. Destruction or damage with a counterrevolutionary purpose by explosion, arson, or other means of railroad or other routes and means of transportation, means of public communication, water conduits, public depots and other structures, or state and community property, shall be punishable by--
58-10. Propaganda or agitation, containing a call for the overthrow, subversion, or weakening of Soviet authority or for the carrying out of other counterrevolutionary crimes (art. 58-2 to 58-9 of this code), and likewise the distribution or preparation or keeping of literature of this nature shall be punishable by--
The same actions during mass disturbances, or with the use of religious or nationalist prejudices of the masses, or in a war situation, or in areas proclaimed to be in a war situation, shall be punishable by--
58-11. Any type of organizational activity, directed toward the preparation or carrying out of crimes indicated in this chapter, and likewise participation in an organization, formed for the preparation or carrying out of one of the crimes indicated in this chapter, shall be punishable by--
58-12. Failure to denounce a counterrevolutionary crime, reliably known to be in preparation or carried out, shall be punishable by--
58-13. Active participation or active fighting against the working class and revolutionary movement, manifested in a responsible or secret position in the tsarist regime, or with counterrevolutionary governments in a period of civil war, shall be punishable by--
58-14. Counterrevolutionary sabotage, ie. conscious failure to perform some defined duties or intentionally negligent fulfillment of them, with the special purpose of weakening the authority of the government and functioning of the state apparatus, shall be punishable by--

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