This post was featured on Comrades corner
Coming into the course my idea of Soviet Russia was the idea of “no work, no food,” and up until this point I have not seen that in what we have been studying, until this week. This week my blog post is on the “Anti-Parasite” decree/law that began in 1961. While the concept of no work, no food was introduced in the 1930s it was not given a formal platform with punishment until 1961.
The Blind Can See. 1956. ‘Did you read it?’ ‘I read it.’ Source: Ezhedognik Krokodila. Moscow: Pravda. 1958.This picture is a metaphor for the fact that those who are not working are seen by all and will be punished.
This picture shows that the “blind can see” that there are holes in the communist production and the anti-parasite law will fix those holes.
On the current digest database, I found the actual decree by the Presidium for the provisions. Within the first paragraph, the author says that the USSR is in a “full-scale building of communism” and that all people should be working towards the building of the country and the collective effort.
The law then establishes that all able-bodied adults who do not contribute to the collective work efforts, and collect “unearned income from the exploitation of land plots,” aka living a parasitic way of life, will be sent to exile in a specific region for a period of two to five years. The decision on who does and who does not get sent to this region for exile is determined by the city or district people’s court.
This decree was made in effort to get those who were not contributing to any collective efforts to start contributing and living like communists. The courts that were to hear the trials were called “Comrades’ Courts” and those who sat on the court were elected every two years by a committee called upon by a factory or local trade union, composed of boards and executives of local soviets.
To me, this sounds like a way to keep those who are elite safe from conviction by these courts for not contributing to the communist building of Soviet Russia. If those sent to the deportation camps were still not working enough, determined by the militia, then 10% of their earnings would be taken away and they could be punished by the provisions of Article 28 of the criminal code. If they tried to escape, they could be punished through Article 186 of the criminal code. I tried to search on google and databases to see what these punishments were, but could only find the modern code.
These charges are not to be taken lightly, however. This is a major stipulation for people, and it is determined by those around them that are taking advantage of the power they have by running the courts and committees in charge of trying and convicting those working in the country. While the point of the law is to ensure everyone is collectively working towards a communist regime, it seems that it could result in those who oversee the Comrades’ Courts having immunity to these charges of not working and living a parasitic life.
This honestly makes me thankful that I feel safe working wherever in whatever field I choose to in America without worry of being charged for not doing enough. I also looked for first-hand accounts through the databases and google for those who were in these camps but could not find anything.