V. I.   Lenin

Rough Theses of a Decision on
The Strict Observance of the Laws

Written: November 2, 1918
Published: First published in 1942 in Lenin Miscellany XXXIV. Printed from the manuscript.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, 2nd English Edition, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 42, pages 110-111a.
Translated: Bernard Isaacs
Transcription\Markup: D. Walters
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README

I. Legality must be raised (or rigorously observed), since the basis of laws in the R.S.F.S.R. has been established.

II. Emergency measures of war/are against counter-revolution should not be restricted by the laws, provided:

(α) that an exact and formal statement be made by the appropriate Soviet body or official to the effect that the special conditions of civil war and the fight against counter-revolution require that the limits of the law be exceeded;

(β) that such a statement in writing be forwarded immediately to the C.P.C. and copies sent to the local authorities concerned.

III. In all conflicts, friction, misunderstandings or disputes as to the limits of jurisdiction, etc., between officials or Soviet government bodies-all such persons and bodies are obliged immediately to draw up the briefest of reports giving the date, place, and names of the officials or bodies and the bare gist of the matter (without details). A copy of the report must be handed to the other party.

IV. Similar brief reports shall be drawn up by every official or Soviet body in the event of any citizen of the Republic complaining against any measure (or red tape,etc.) on the part of the said official or body. A copy must be sent to the citizen lodging the complaint, and another to the body higher up.

V. Anyone making patently groundless statements in the report tantamount to gross abuse shall be liable to prosecution.

VI, Refusal to hand over a report with the clearly written name of the official is a criminal breach of trust.

I propose that the C.C. approve in principle and instruct the People’s Commissariat for Justice to word this as a decree.[1]




[1] On November 8, 1918, the Extraordinary Sixth All-Russia Con- gress of Soviets, on the report of People’s Commissar for Justice D. I. Kursky, passed a decision on revolutionary legality based on Lenin’s theses, which were approved by the Party’s Central Committee. The decision was published in Pravda on November 10.

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