Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Soviet Constitution

Out of sheer curiosity I took a brief look at the Soviet Constitution.

It is an astonishing, and dishonest, document to say the very least. Ninety percent of it is methods of administration and some surprising little absurdities, but the guaranteed rights of Soviet Citizens was a bit of an eyeful, and was by far the most intersting part.

Here's a real beauty from their equivalent of the Bill of the Rights. (or Chapter Seven Rights in their terms.)

Article 54. Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed inviolability of the person. No one may be arrested except by a court decision or on the warrant of a procurator.

Article 55. Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed inviolability of the home. No one may, without lawful grounds, enter a home against the will of those residing in it.

Article 56. The privacy of citizens, and of their correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications is protected by law.

Article 57. Respect for the individual and protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens are the duty of all state bodies, public organisations, and officials.


Citizens of the USSR have the right to protection by the courts against encroachments on their honour and reputation, life and health, and personal freedom and property.

Article 58. Citizens of the USSR have the right to lodge a complaint against the actions of officials, state bodies and public bodies. Complaints shall be examined according to the procedure and within the time-limit established by law.

Actions by officials that contravene the law or exceed their powers, and infringe the rights of citizens, may be appealed against in a court in the manner prescribed by law.
Citizens of the USSR have the right to compensation for damage resulting from unlawful actions by state organisations and public organisations, or by officials in the performance of their duties.

Article 59. Citizens' exercise of their rights and freedoms is inseparable from the performance of their duties and obligations.

Citizens of the USSR are obliged to observe the Constitution of the USSR and Soviet laws, comply with the standards of socialist conduct, and uphold the honour and dignity of Soviet citizenship.
Article 59 appears to be an escape clause to justify the state ignoring all those other rights. These absolutely essential rights seem to have been totally ignored by the authorities of the old Soviet government. (Numerous examples could be cited but it's virtually common knowledge, except amongst those who believe that only America can be wrong.)

Actually it's full of high sounding stuff that in reality was never observed, and it is full of these escape clauses that enable the government to do whatever it deemed fit.

Or their "Freedom of Speech and the Press" Take special note of what is I have marked in Green.

Article 50. In accordance with the interests of the people and in order to strengthen and develop the socialist system, citizens of the USSR are guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly, meetings, street processions and demonstrations.

Exercise of these political freedoms is ensured by putting public buildings, streets and squares at the disposal of the working people and their organisations, by broad dissemination of information, and by the opportunity to use the press, television, and radio.

I think it comes down to this article

Article 39. Citizens of the USSR enjoy in full the social, economic, political and personal rights and freedoms proclaimed and guaranteed by the Constitution of the USSR and by Soviet laws. The socialist system ensures enlargement of the rights and freedoms of citizens and continuous improvement of their living standards as social, economic, and cultural development programmes are fulfilled.

Enjoyment by citizens of their rights and freedoms must not be to the detriment of the interests of society or the state, or infringe the rights of other citizens.


I can't help but notice that it includes the "right" to things like education, healthcare, a job, the right to have museums (no kidding! Article 46!) The rights of the accused on the other hand are not well defined.

A lot of what they wrote sounded good on paper, but a bill of rights is only as good as the people who have power are determined to let it be. The fact that so many of the articles included the escape clause "in the interest of Communism" or words to that effect frequently nullified the meaning of the rest of the clause. You were free to speak so long as what you said was in the "interest of Communism". Sounds like Political Correctness was written right into that Constitution.

12 Comments:

Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Yep, a bill of rights without the equivalent of a Second Amendment to back you up is useless.

12:33 PM  
Blogger Maggie M. Thornton said...

We also have our escape clauses - like eminent domain. It's what makes socialism work in the U.S.

Then there are escape clauses in every single piece of legislation written and made law. What we think our Congressman voted for, is always more when the lawyers find the need to defend it.

In Russia, we have seen that the best interests of the people are always at the detriment of the government - so nothing is in the best interest of the citizens.

Good work.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

It brings to mind this from the U.S. military Uniform code of Military Justice:

ARTICLE 134. GENERAL ARTICLE

Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.

In other words if they can't charge you with an offense elsewhere specified, they have a "catch-all" anything that brings discredit or dishonor upon the U.S. military, such as exposing a war crime to the press, or as banal as flipping someone the bird while in uniform.

Also, it can be said that the U.S. government for many years has completely ignored the 4th ammendment whenever it feels like it, and puts such restrictions on the 1st ammendment that it may as well not exist. This really ramped up after 9/11 and I see no rush by Obama to loosen these intrusions of our privacy or free speech.

As far as the second ammendment goes: I feel that there really is no right to bear arms. If there was you could just strap your hogleg on and walk into 7/11 a get a slurpee without a cop arresting you. I wouldn't try it if I were you. You can "keep" them at home. Unless you are a Muslim in N.C. Personally, I think guns should not be carried into bars because alcohol and guns do not go well together and would be just as dangerous as automobiles and alcohol.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Maybe the libs accidently read this to come up with all of the "rights" they claim we have.

5:11 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Citizens of Russia are given rights by the government.

Citizens of the U.S.A. already have those rights and the Constitution forbids the government from infringing upon them.

That's the theory, anyway.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

All mankind has the inalienable rights, Joe, and the US Constitution is meant to protect these rights.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

In America there is statute law and what has come to be known as actual practice. Though you may have a "policy" of X which adheres to various bodies of law, one is commonly held, in terms of torts, to what one actually PRACTICES.

BZ

10:39 PM  
Blogger christian soldier said...

The Dark Side always obfuscates ...Where-ever the Dark Siders happen to be....
Carol-CS

1:27 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I can't help but notice that it includes the "right" to things like education, healthcare, a job, the right to have museums (no kidding! Article 46!)

Interesting as I see a parallel with many Americans' attitudes today.

One downfall in our United States Constitution is the general welfare clause in the Preamble. I know the history of our Founders' intention of that clause. But that same clause has been used and abused over and over again by activist judges.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Z said...

The new escape clause for us is "..or whatever Obama thugs see fit."

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim said: It brings to mind this from the U.S. military Uniform code of Military Justice:

ARTICLE 134. GENERAL ARTICLE

Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.

In other words if they can't charge you with an offense elsewhere specified, they have a "catch-all" anything that brings discredit or dishonor upon the U.S. military, such as exposing a war crime to the press, or as banal as flipping someone the bird while in uniform.

Also, it can be said that the U.S. government for many years has completely ignored the 4th ammendment whenever it feels like it, and puts such restrictions on the 1st ammendment that it may as well not exist. This really ramped up after 9/11 and I see no rush by Obama to loosen these intrusions of our privacy or free speech.

As far as the second ammendment goes: I feel that there really is no right to bear arms. If there was you could just strap your hogleg on and walk into 7/11 a get a slurpee without a cop arresting you. I wouldn't try it if I were you. You can "keep" them at home. Unless you are a Muslim in N.C. Personally, I think guns should not be carried into bars because alcohol and guns do not go well together and would be just as dangerous as automobiles and alcohol.

xxxx

I wanna point out your first argument. Military law is totally different from Civil law. The men in women who join the Military are told this from the get-go and KNOW that if they disobey the rules of conduct they can face punishment.

And the second ammendment is meant so that should the government ever becomes tyrannical, the people have a way to fight back. Read the DOI, it basically says that we had the right to rebel because our rights were being trod upon, and if they(the American Government) began to trodd upon the rights of the citizens they would have the methods with which to resist.

2:01 PM  
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2:36 PM  

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