CHAPTER 7
VYSHINSKY'S THEORY OF LAW

Condemnation of the previous Soviet doctrine of law as an inadequate instrument of the proletariat in its struggle for socialism

THE leading jurist in the second period is A. Y. Vyshinsky, who, in an address delivered at the First Congress on Problems of the Sciences of Soviet State and Law ( Moscow, 1938),1 outlined 'the fundamental tasks of the science of Soviet socialist law'. One of the most characteristic features of his theory of law is that it is openly and expressly presented as an effective instrument of the policy of the Soviet government, directed at the abolition of capitalism and the realisation of socialism. The essential point of his violent criticism of other legal theories developed by Soviet writers during the first period, especially by Pashukanis -- and this criticism presents the greatest part of his address -- is the assertion that these theories are not such an instrument but that they can be used by the enemies of the Soviet government and of socialism, that their authors, therefore, are enemies of the Soviet people, traitors, provocateurs, and the like. Vyshinsky says with reference to these theories that

'over a period sufficiently (and unfortunately) long, the trend of our science of law has not been in accord with the interests of the cause of socialist building.... Over a series of years a position almost of monopoly in legal science has been occupied by a group of persons who have turned out to be provocateurs and traitors -- people who knew how actually to contrive the work of betraying our science, our state, and our fatherland under the mask of defending Marxism-Leninism and championing orthodox Marxism and the Marx-Lenin methodology'.

'These persons directed their energies to holding back the development of our juridic thought and to perverting the essence of our Marx-Lenin doctrine concerning law and state. These persons strove to dash from the hands of the

____________________
1
Loc. cit., p. 303et seq.

-116-

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