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ANDREI VYSHINSKY QUOTES

THE LEGAL PHILOSOPHY OF TERROR

IN STALIN'S RUSSIA

Although Andrei Yanuaryevich Vyshinsky is best known as Joseph Stalin's chief prosecutor during the trials of "state enemies" in the 1930s, Vyshinsky was also something of a theorist of the relationship between law, Marxism-Leninism, and the Socialist state.  The quotations below are drawn from three of Vyshinsky's publications.  They illustrate the basic direction of Vyshinsky's thought and political philosophy throughout his life as a leading member of the Soviet state apparatus.  What is here is a scientific justification for the use of terror by the state.


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FORCE ACHIEVES SOCIALISM SOCIALIST LAW IS A WORKING CLASS WEAPON

SOCIETY MOVES TOWARD COMMUNISM VIA THE STATE SOCIALISM DECREASES CRIME

THE LAW AND THE STATE ARE THE WILL OF THE WORKING CLASS

SOVIET SOCIALISM IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF DEMOCRACY


FORCE ACHIEVES SOCIALISM

"Suppression and the use of force by the state are still essential during the transition period [from capitalism to communism] - force, however, exerted by the exploited majority upon the exploiting minority, different in type and new in principle.  The indispensability of this force necessitates a special apparatus, the special machinery, to crush enemies and all elements hostile to socialism.

The new Soviet state is a machine to crush the resistance of exploiters, to do away with exploitation and class domination by exploiters, to reinforce the class dominance of the proletariat and its leadership of the rest of the toiling masses to the end of finally liquidating classes in general and passing into communism."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 3.

"Marxism-Leninism ... starts by admitting the necessity of proletarian utilization of the state for its purposes of emancipation ... [Marxism-Leninism] starts by acknowledging the peculiar character - the particular nature - of the state of the transition period as a special machine to crush exploiters.  The state which the proletariat won by conquest and organized is not only machinery to crush the exploiters - to destroy and annihilate their resistance.  The organization of violence and repression with reference to exploiters and their agents does not complete the historic tasks of the state and of the proletarian dictatorship. ... The proletarian state is a special form of leadership of the remaining masses of toilers by the proletariat.  For precisely this reason it represents the highest form of democracy possible in a class society."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 41.

"Not a single question bound up with class interests, Leninism teaches, is solved in history otherwise than by force, than by compulsion.  Force and suppression, naturally, served the workers and peasants who had commenced the building of their own state as an important instrument for overcoming resistance on the part of all the outlived and decaying forces of the old society.  Nor could it have been otherwise.  Force and compulsion on the part of the state are indispensable in class struggle, and there is not state that does not resort to the use of force against those who violate public law and order, against those who violate the laws and injunctions of the ruling authorities."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, Lenin and Stalin: The Great Organizers of the Soviet State (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1952), p. 25.


SOCIALIST LAW IS A WORKING CLASS WEAPON

"The dictatorship of the proletariat solves the problems of the proletarian revolution both with the aid of law and with the assistance of measures strictly defined by statute, through administrative and judicial organs.  The dictatorship of the proletariat is authority unlimited by any statutes whatever.  But the dictatorship of the proletariat, creating its own laws, makes use of them, demands they be observed, and punishes breach of them."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 48.

"Marxism teaches the necessities of using law as one of the means of the struggle for socialism - of recasting human society on socialist bases ... It is invoked to meet the problems of the struggle with foes of socialism and the cause of building a socialist society."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 50.

"Law - like the state - will wither away only in the highest phase of communism. ... Until then, however, there is necessity for general control, firm discipline in labor and in community life, and complete subordination of all the new society's work to a truly democratic state."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 51.


SOCIETY MOVES TOWARD COMMUNISM VIA THE STATE

"The Soviet state is the historically integrated form of the state during the transition period from capitalism to communism."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 42.

"Without a correct understanding [provided by Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin] of the nature and essence of the state and of state power [as necessary to move from capitalism to communism], proper guidance in the matter of building the state and the swift successes attained by our country's toilers would have been equally impossible."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 4.

"The transitional state is a form of the dominance of the proletariat.  Without the state, the proletariat cannot secure its successes and its victories - cannot guarantee to itself the success of the further movement toward communism."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 43.


SOCIALISM DECREASES CRIME

"In the USSR, repression is not the decisive factor in combating crime.  The mighty growth of Socialist construction, and the abolition of exploitation, unemployment, and poverty create conditions that necessarily lead to a constant drop in crime."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, Crime Recedes in the USSR (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1939), p. 17.

"The reason for the successes of the struggle against crime in the USSR is to be found in the very organization of the new, socialist society, a society which rests upon a new economic basis and is protected from the ulcers and corruptions of the old world by a new, Socialist culture, by Socialist democracy, and Socialist law."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, Crime Recedes in the USSR (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1939), p. 23.


THE LAW AND THE STATE ARE THE WILL OF THE WORKING CLASS

"Marxism-Leninism ... teaches that the legal relationships (and, consequently, law itself) are rooted in the material conditions of life, and that law is merely the will of the dominant class, elevated into a statute."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 13.

"Law and state cannot be studied separately and apart from each other.  Law draws its force, and obtains its content, from the state."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 5.


SOVIET SOCIALISM IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF DEMOCRACY

"The Soviet state represents the expression of the highest possible form of democracy."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, ed., The Law of the Soviet State. Tr. H.W. Baab (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, Publishers, 1979), P. 48.

"The Soviet state, as a state of a new type, is new in its democracy - consistent Socialist democracy.  Soviet democracy ensures the domination in society of the will of the majority of the workers and peasants, the majority of the working people, as participants in the administration of the state."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, Lenin and Stalin: The Great Organizers of the Soviet State (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1952), p. 24.

"[The] Soviet government is the expression of the most complete and most fully developed democracy.  At the same time, it is the expression of the dictatorship of the working class, which secures the very possibility of democracy for the people.  Soviet democracy and proletarian dictatorship are two aspects of one and the same phenomenon."

Source: A.Y. Vyshinsky, Lenin and Stalin: The Great Organizers of the Soviet State (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1952), p. 25.