The history of formation and development

Tatar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (TASSR) was formed on the basis of the Decree issued by All-Russia Executive Committee (then – EC) and the People’s Commissars’ Soviet of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (then – PCC of RSFSR). This document dates back to 27th May, 1920 and holds the name – Decree no. 15 “On the Autonomous Tatar Soviet Socialist Republic”.
In compliance with the point no.3 of the above resolution 10 (ten) People’s Commissariats were established to manage the system of governance in TASSR. The Peoples Commissariat for Justice of TASSR (then – PCJ) used to be one of the pioneers in the field.
The organizational tasks for PCJ were under way during the summer of 1920. The Peoples Commissariat was set up on the basis of provincial department of justice of the then Kazan provincial executive committee which was reorganized into the Department of justice of TASSR. After the 1st constituent convocation of the Councils of TASSR (it was held 26th September – 28th September, 1920) the Department was transformed into the Peoples Commissariat for Justice of TASSR. On the constituent convocation Alexey N. Nekhotyaev was elected to the position of Peoples Commissar for Justice of TASSR.
A number of serious duties and responsibilities were placed on the PCJ that had turned to be the principal body in juridical sphere. The tasks were as follows: a) completion of judicial institutions in the Republic and management over all the judicial and investigating agencies on a daily basis;
b) keeping everything as regards lawfulness supervision to control the operation not only for judicial and investigating agencies, but being in charge of the activity by all the soviet bodies in the Republic in general;
c) notarial service organization, direct law-editing activity (on the basis of the RSFSR law acts and to execute that law acts).
The most important document having been developed that time at PCJ became the new Statute on the Peoples Commissariat for Justice of TASSR (then – Statute).
Peoples commissar Alexey N. Nekhotyaev took an active part in Statutes drafting. The document was adopted on 22nd of November, 1920 by the PCC of RSFSR and after, on 10th of December, 1920 on the part of the Presidium of the TASSR EC. Among the salient features that characterize the Statute on the People’s Commissariat for Justice of TASSR were high-level of juridical norms definition and completeness of content. A number of juridical novelties and preceding operation experience of juridical bodies and Kazan province were clearly outlined in the Statute… (M.V. Kozhevnikov, History of Soviet court, pp. 108 – 109).
The Statute itself consisted of four chapters.
It was stated that PCJ of TASSR had been the supreme body to exercise law security in TASSR in the 1st Chapter of that Statute. Also it was mentioned that PCJ had been subordinate to both TASSR EC and PCC of RSFR, and PCJ of USSR had been directly subordinate to RSFSR EC as well.
The above status meant that peoples commissar for justice and members of PCJs board were appointed by TASSR EC and PCC of TASSR. It should be also noted that the Statute defined place for juridical bodies in law and order structure in much clearer way – these units were endowed with a status of “higher law security bodies of TASSR” among analogical state units with the same array of duties and responsibilities.
In accordance with the Statute, the following functions had been extended to PCJ. Firstly, having been a special body of the federative republic, it was to exercise supreme surveillance on the subject of abiding by all the laws and decrees within the limits of TASSR territory, issued by All-Russia central power, that in turn had been designated by it as compulsory for any part on the territory of TASSR.
Secondly, as a special body to govern the autonomous republic, PCJ was to be directly involved in managing all the justice in TASSR, exercising total supervision on exact abiding by the laws and decrees by supreme power of TASSR.
Thirdly, the task was to help the development of justice within the republic in accordance with autonomous rights and historical and life conditions of the republic.
Peoples Commisariat of Justice was comprised of the following departments – a) general affairs, b) legal formation and legal procedure, c) inquiry, d) legal statistics, e) consultative with sub-departments(information, legislative suggestions and codification, law publication), correctional, punitive, administrative, liquidation(to separate church from state). Three regional departments of justice in cities like Kazan, Chistopol and Tetyushi were formed with PCJ structure as role model, but it was an abridged version.
There were some other entities that formed the structure of law and order bodies in TASSR that day:
a) judicial bodies of TASSR. They were set up of regional councils comprising peoples judges from Kazan, Chistopol and Tetyushi, regional revolution tribunals in the same cities, Kazan city revolution tribunal, peoples judges and court executors subordinate to them, peoples investigators;
b) correctional institutions of Tatar ASSR – regional administrative commissions, commissions on under-age offenders, common regional places of detention for convicts, work houses, places of preliminary confinement and reformatories for under-age offenders.
The PCJs building was then located on the following address: Chernyshevskogo street (Kremlyovskaya street), 12\20. As of January 1, 1921 the staff at PCJ comprised 1082 employees. Overall, that year saw a progressive dynamics and by the end of that year the amount of employees totaled 2469 persons.
Declaration of TASSR implied granting higher power bodies with legislative functions. Towards this end, in December 1920 juridical commission under PCC of TASSR was formed with an aim to elaborate final versions of statements and decrees. The then people’s commissar for Justice A.N. Nekhotyaev entered the new unit as its chairman. Also members of PCC Bochkov and Izmailov became part of unit’s staff. Juridical commission resorted to machinery that had been at the disposal of PCJs consultative unit. According to that decree all the draft versions of decrees and statements elaborated by peoples commissars must have been preliminarily submitted to the above commission.
In general, conditions marking the development of local juridical bodies and those characterizing major trends in the then Soviet juridical practice in the scope of RSFSR were not poles apart. National and local levels had very much in common. Nevertheless, there has always been room for differencies. And some local circumstances of outer and inner character were in place in TASSR. As history shows they have seriously influenced the operation of judicial bodies in the wake of developing national traits in TASSR.
Influence and results of the WWI should go into the1st set of circumstances together with terrific famine that put a chokehold on Volga Region in 1921.
Another serious circumstance that seriously complicated operation of judicial bodies in the republic was different national composition of population in the Republic. The 1920 census pinpoints that more than 28519 persons lived on TASSR territory at that time. And the then TASSR had 26102 persons in rural areas. As for the national composition, Tartarian population comprised 50 per cent of population in TASSR, with slightly lower Russian representation accounting for 42 per cent of population, while other ethnic groups were underrepresented with mere an 8 per cent share.
By the moment of TASSR formation, i.e. by 1920, persons of native nationality were generally underrepresented in the Soviet state power machinery. For instance, in 234 volost executive committees all of which sooner became part of TASSR there were only five or six volost Tatar secretaries and 20-25 Tatars as personnel. The machinery of volost and Kazan executive committees had only 4 per cent of Tatar as part of personnel. And the above figures clearly outline the historical fact that says the Tartarian population did not possess any opportunity to speak their language and address the judicial bodies in their own language, whereas the Soviet rule upbrought national human resource in complete preparedness for future occupation.
In June 1921, on the 2nd convocation of the TASSR Soviets its delegates elect Gimaz B. Bogautdinov to the position of peoples commissar for justice.
On accomplishing the targets set before PCJ, the leadership of peoples commissariat had to settle the problem of judicial bodies supply with professional staff, developing the faculties of judges and investigators. It should be noted that the majority of officials and staff of the previous judicial system, judges of peace and advocates refrained from collaboration and contribution to the Soviet power. Moreover, the problem was complicated with the Statute by Peoples Commissariat for Education. This document abolished Faculties of Law at universities and analogical education establishments. Faculty of Law at Kazan State University was also cancelled. In the majority of cases illiterate people, without professional education and skills and with low and narrow cultural horizons were employed in the sphere. And it was for this reason that short-term crash courses to develop faculties of those employed at juridical sphere were permanently alive and working in PCJ.
Under the management and direct participation of Peoples Commissar G.B. Bogautdinov oblast juridical courses were set up.
The history connected with the start of the project in Kazan is interesting in itself. In compliance with the Statute issued by All-Soviet Executive Committee Presidium (it dates back to 30th of September, 1922) it was proposed to open not less than ten juridical schools (courses) at local dimension. The tuition term was to be one year. The Statute by the Soviet of People’s Commissars of RSFSR (12th of December, 1922) decided to organize juridical courses in ten cities across the country. Peoples Commissariat for Education was instructed to elaborate detailed plan specifying format and conditions of courses. According to archive materials the juridical courses were not set for opening in Kazan. The Republic was to be served by juridical courses in Ivanovo-Voznesensk according to the then plan. The leadership of PCJ operatively reacted to the abovementioned Statute. The decision was reached to set up a special commission to organize juridical courses in Kazan on PCJs open meeting on the basis of reports made by people’s commissar for Justice and Public Prosecutor G.B. Bogautdinov.
Shortly after that organizing commission worked on all the necessary materials. And on 6th of February, 1923 people’s commissar for justice submitted the report with theses on courses and other organizational documents. It should be noted here that PCJ was very keen on opening juridical courses in Kazan. To such extent was PCJ interested in it that all the stumbling blocks among PCJ of TASSR and PCE crashed. Moreover, people’s commissar G.B. Bogautdinov, skipping the TASSR government and other structures of that kind sent a telegram to comrades Kurskiy and Krylenko. The text of that telegram reads (word for word) “Begun organization district juridical school Kazan point give instructions money (sign PCJ TASSR Bogautdinov). The style of that telegram clearly speaks of decisive and bold nature of Bogautdinov’s deeds so as to set up Oblast juridical courses in Kazan. It even crossed his mind to what addressee he should have sent telegram to ask for means and seek other instructions. The Resolution by Soviet of Peoples Commissars (then SPC) clearly outlined that the courses were subject to Main Professional Education (then MPE) direct subordination.
It was operative and decisive take on the matter by the management at PCJ of TASSR that contributed that much to organization of juridical courses in Kazan. In turn it partially eased the tensions of human resource issue afterwards. Classes at the courses started on 1st of April, 1923. On 17th of April the meeting of Commission for coordinating events by PCJ of TASSR to organize Oblast juridical courses in Kazan with MPE of TASSR. The parties have agreed upon Statute on oblast juridical courses in TASSR in the meeting. According to this document total number of annual listeners was defined at a level of 200 persons, with 25 per cent of the share to be given to persons from neighboring republics and territories. One average one third of responsible law officials developed their faculties each year. The task of professional human resource supply and developing professional skills of specialists from different juridical bodies in TASSR used to be one of top topical priorities for management of the then PCJ of TASSR.
As it was mentioned earlier it was not until 1920 when the Tartarian population got an opportunity to speak their native language and address juridical bodies of TASSR in mother tongue. Formation of national autonomies sort ofpushed them further to settling the problem of native language's realization in judicial sphere, nativization of judicial machinery, setting up law and investigation network with certain attention directed to national composition of this or another territory.
By the end of 1922 CEC of TASSR had approved the instruction “On realization of Tatar language” (TLR). Soon after, it was followed by a wave of enactments and events that had defined “road map” for the sphere. The Resolution issued by All-Russia Central Executive Committee “On measures to ensure the transition of record-keeping in state machinery within national territories and republics on into indigenous languages” (date of issue 14th of April, 1924) played a great role in Tatar language realization. CEC of TASSR, having taken the above act as guiding tool, issued the Resolution “On realization of Tatar language in state institutions and on enterprises in TASSR” (date of issue 7th of August, 1924) to promote national dimension. It was necessary to adjust machinery for needs and request from population, especially in rural scope, where the Tatars constituted major ethnic group. And it was possible to achieve the goal by converting record-booking in Tatar districts into native language and attracting local human resource to work in law machinery.
Regulation of the national issue required tense and serious work from PCJ of TASSR. Peoples Commissariat of Justice stumbled across harsh difficulties in the sphere with most acute having been complete absence of Tatar employees at local level. Even in provincial centers that gap was pronounced. Initially the problem in Kazan was solved by allocating judicial bodies in Tatar language on four districts with the majority of Tartarian population. Trade unions picked out 50 persons of Tatar descent to work as peoples assesors.
PCJ of TASSR reached quite remarkable achievements as regards recruiting its personnel with native employees not earlier than in 1922. That time the proportion of Tatars at important positions totaled 11 per cent, 28 persons in absolute account. And as for 1926 the share of Tatars at important posts was at 40 per cent level out of 673 persons that comprised the PCJ machinery. In parallel with this the amount of judicial and investigatory network with pleadings and office work in Tatar language was on the rise. If for 1921 – 1923 time period the pleadings in Tatar language were held only at three districts, by 1925 the situation had changed with nineteen districts where Tatar was spoken. But sometimes that practice left some room for confusion. In particular, it was at one of those court districts where the pleadings were conducted in Tatar language, under the chairmanship of judge Zyapporov both Russians and Tatars were prisoners at the bar. The Russians did not have command of Tatar language and they required that court proceeding would be held in Russian. By 1925 court hearings in Main court in native language for Tatars both in judicial practice and cassation boards had become a system. Moreover, for the first time in 1924 three Tatar investigatory districts were organized, and the number reached nine in 1925. Complaints offices with Tatar as working language had started to be a commonplace.
In 1922 to provide the necessary conditions for judicial bodies to operate in Tatar language and to ensure more convenient ways of law application the work to translate normative legislative acts of RSFSR begun. By 1924 Civil and Civil-Procedure Codes, later Criminal and Criminal Procedure codes had been translated and published.
Delivering the report in the 2nd meeting of the Republican juridical workers Bogautdinov would say that “… realization of Tatar language is one of top priorities for us. Recently report by Central commission on putting the Tatar language into effect (RTL) has been released. And the document rated the activities taken by juridical bodies as “normal”. Articles by our leadership – comrades Gabidullin and Sabirov – also point to the fact that PCJ gains the1st place among other Peoples Commissariats as regards realization of Tatar language…”
In the Resolution by All-Russia Executive Committee (AREC) “On putting Civil code of RSFSR into effect” adopted during the 4th session of the 7th convocation in 1922, Central executive committees of autonomous republics were entitled to amendments and modifications into the code which were necessary in order to adjust the document to a republics mode of life in case of the approval by Presidium of AREC. It should be said that the enumerated right was topical for the then Tatar Republic, for example, until December 20, 1917 the Sharia law practiced polygamy among noble and well-to-do Tatars. Towards this end some problems arose at the times of estate division or inheritance in families with polygamous way of life, because in RSFSR monogamous family was legal. Also traditional oral form of bequeathal was popular among the Tatars.
Certainly there were other peculiar national and everyday conditions in Tatar republic which had not been subject to legal settlement. PCJ of TASSR did not have experience in the sphere. For this reason Sharia commission (then – Commission) was set up in 1922. Commission started its operation from November 18, 1923. Adjusting certain Sharia right norms to local needs and conditions of life and also struggling with tribal life extremes deeply rooted into peoples consciousness and making away with old customs and traditions that came as incompatible for Soviet regime – the enumerated activities were among the duties and responsibilities of commission. As a result of commissions work the PCJ of TASSR suggested drafts with amendments and recommendations into Civil and Criminal codes of RSFSR that were submitted for examination by CEC of TASSR. Proposed modifications into Criminal code dealt with increase in terms of start of criminal responsibility for under-age from 16 to 18 years, also it was recommended to change rules and order of defining the scope of punishment for under-age. At that time simplified system of defining punishment scope was in place – sanctions for under-age between 14 and 16 years of age were 50 per cent in comparison with the same breech of law or crime that was committed by person of legal age, the rate of two thirds was established for under-aged between 16 and 18 years of age.
Modifications and alterations into Civil code also concerned hereditary right norms. It was suggested to amend Article 418 with the following annotation “For Tatar population within TASSR the section of subjects that are called for inheritance is expanded – apart from the subjects listed in Article 418, also direct ascending (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents) and branch relatives not further than of 2nd degree (brothers and sisters) are also entitled to the right. It was proposed to amend Article 420 with an annotation of the following contents “If after the death of a Tatar two or more wives is left, marriages with whom were registered in sticking to legal provisions and forms until December 20, 1917, all of them inherit in the estate of the deceased in equal parts with all other legatees that are listed in the Article 418 of Civil code”. Also it was suggested to amend the procedure of bequeathal composition (Articles 425 and 435 of RSFSR Civil code). The above modifications and amendments into Criminal and Civil codes of RSFSR respectively were approved by Resolution issued by CEC of TASSR on November 3, 1923. Afterwards they were directed to AREC Presidium for final consideration and approval.
In compliance with Statement on supervision exercised by Prosecutors Office this organ was established in TASSR. The above Statement dates back to May, 1922 when it was approved during the CECs 3rd session at 11th convocation. Peoples Commissar of Justice at the same time acted as the Republican Public Prosecutor. Directorate of Public Prosecutions was formed in the structure of PCJ machinery. It was headed by one of the nine aides to Public Prosecutor of TASSR. This figure was appointed by AREC Presidium in contrast to other responsible PCJ officials. Deputy people’s commissar for justice Bylyshev was assigned to the position of head of department at Prosecutors Office, and then it was Usmanov at the helmet of this institution. Usmanov would later occupy the position of people’s commissar of justice of TASSR.
These are the duties and responsibilities of Prosecutors Office – exercising control for legality of actions taken by republican and local governing bodies, organization and certain number of citizens, direct supervision over investigatory and inquiry bodies operation, managing the former institutions, start of penal processes, supporting the prosecution in court, supervision over places of detention. In 1932 in connection with expansion of duties and activities of Prosecutors Office, the Resolution was approved by AREC Presidium of TASSR. It dealt with allocation on the part of PCJ of TASSR responsibilities of the Republican Prosecutor.
The introduction of Prosecutors Institute in the Soviet Republic in parallel brought to life institute of advocacy in the form of a board of advocates. On August 10, 1922 the Board of defenders on criminal and civil cases was formed under PCJ of TASSR. Its operation was subject to control by special resolution. Eleven persons who got the approval of CEC of TASSR Presidium entered the Board. In the beginning, the Board was set up out of pre-revolutionary advocates, but they were way back the requirements suggested by the Soviet specialists – they could not be effective helpers on the march of Soviet proletarian court into radiant future, they went through a series of “purges”. For instance, for 1923 – 1924 twelve persons were “purged”. In 1924 twenty-eight out of sixty-seven lawyers at the TASSR Board of defenders were representatives of the old advocate school.
In 1925 the following bodies were in operation to provide the population of Kazan with juridical advice – main consultative unit under PCJ, 16 lawyers on land law worked at Central peasants house. There were also groups of lawyers assigned to different industrial enterprises, some other specialists were employed in different trade unions (e.g. trade unions of Soviet workers, of workers of food industry). Overall there were up to 50 advocates in the above structures. In comparison with Kazan providing the population of rural areas with juridical help used to be far worse. The statistics for 1924 has that there were only 17 acting advocates in districts with 5 of which of Tatar descent. By 1925 the number has tripled.
From 1923 onwards with an aim to provide rural population with juridical help in Rural soviets, village library and reading-rooms, bureaus of juridical help or law study groups were being gradually set up. Local judicial workers and investigators took an active part in the process. The aforementioned institutions were comprised of active part of peasantry, members of the Soviet Communist Party, Young Communist League members and village intelligentsia.
In 1927 Kazan had 14 consultative bodies, 63 members of board of defenders worked in cantons. The number of law study groups in rural settlements reached 150.
In 1924 on the initiative of people’s commissar Bogautdinov the Juridical society was organized under PCJ of TASSR.
After revolution notarial institute as an institute of bourgeois state was abolished. At the time of TASSR establishment the Notary section was set up as part of PCJ. It had limited duties and responsibilities with document and warrant certification having been its sphere. In December, 1920 all the notary functions were transferred into the hands of peoples judges, and the notary section itself was closed. Also the position of notary bureau head was abolished in the cantons (administrative and territorial units which includes several volosts and districts). Their responsibilities were relegated to peoples judges.
The matters took a dramatic twist with the arrival of the new economic program epoch. The period saw a crucial rise in the role of juridical bodies, it had to come across responsible tasks. New economic program contributed to rise in private entrepreneurial activity of different administrative units, increase in turnover and in number of treaties. With an emergence of free-trade market the necessity in having special agency to register civil deals and in general to serve the nascent civil turnover.
“An assumption that by abolishing the post of Notarial unit head would provide better conditions for law workers and an additional judge would demonstrate such brilliant skills as a notary like head of Notarial unit, did not prove to be successful. The possible revenues from concluding agreements of\between state bodies and private persons were missed. It was due to the fact additional judges did have chronic lack of time, because of loads of work to be done within the cantons, on the one hand and on the other hand there are always urgent cases at local level”, - Bogautdinov would pinpoint in his speech on the 2nd convocation for law workers of TASSR.
In September 1921 the notarial department under PCJ of TASSR was established. It was to deal with the following duties and responsibilities – servicing the city of Kazan in the sphere of deals and agreements registration, organizing Notarial agency within TASSR together with giving instructions and being in charge of cantonal notarial establishments (these were mainly notarial chambers under cantonal bureaus). With the expansion and complication of turnover, notarial functions were expanding and complicating too. In cantons with less degree of turnover, fair enough, notarial activity was not so ebullient.
In 1922 “notary reincarnation” process in Russia started its way. But the process went in another form, with the object under review being implied not less than an institution of socialist state with its peculiar traits. The statement about State Notary was approved on October 4, 1922 by the RSFSR Soviet of Peoples Commissars. The several lines to follow shall outline the main founding principles – “self-repayment of notary agencies, that were not able to enjoy state supply anymore with all the expenses fully relegated to notary taxes and fees, but at the same time the new institutions the character of state bodies, which was in notary chambers subordination to regulation and constant supervision by Provincial courts (then – PCs) and in public character of finance with further allocation of free residual amounts of money, and also all the revenues into the state coffers”.
It should be noted that Resolution on Tatar State Notary differed from another Resolution that was published in the Centre in some way. The difference was in direct submission of every notary agency in TASSR to PCJ of TASSR. In turn, it was within the framework of the latter, in which the notary department was conserved. And it was then endowed with the function of organizing supervision for notary agencies activity. As for 1925, 12 notary agencies were active in the republic, 2 of which were in Kazan. Arsk, Buinsk, Laishevo, Mamadysh, Menzelinsk, Tetyushi, Chistopol, Naberezhnye Chelny and Spassk – each of the enumerated cities had 1 notary agency.
Also the Main court of TASSR was part of judicial “structural backbone” in the Republic. In compliance with the Statute on Peoples Commissariat for Justice (1923), Main court of TASSR was a kind of body directly subordinate to PCJ. Full reglamentation of the above order was contained in the Statute “On judicial system composition of RSFSR”. As for 1925 there were the following departments in the structure of Main court – a) general affairs, b) criminal, c) civil judicial, d) cassation. The body also consolidated 57 peoples courts districts, 41 peoples investigators districts, 20 sectors of judicial executives, boards of defenders. The latter had 11 affiliates across the cantons. The majority of criminal and civil cases went through the peoples court system, with their jurisdiction having been expanded because of All-Russian Special Commission for Combating Counter-revolution and Sabotage reorganization in 1922. Main court served as the court of first instance on some categories of the most important cases. It acted as the court of appeal when it dealt with the cases that fell into peoples judges competence. Until 1924 Main court also went through a series of multiple changes – there were district revolutionary tribunals in Kazan and Chistopol, later the Joint tribunal was set up, also Council of peoples judges was in place. Later, like Joint tribunal, it was abolished and it paved the way for Oblast court that after was converted into Main court of TASSR to appear. In 1937 Main court of TASSR would be re-organized into Supreme Court of TASSR. It nevertheless would retain its subordination to Peoples Commissariat of Justice of TASSR.
Main court used to turn into that judicial centre, that had been rapidly and correctly combating with all those crimes, having been flourishing in the first years of New economic policy. And those days Tatar Republic seriously suffered from the bitter aftermath of famine and abnormal economic, trade and industrial way of life were present as a result. Venality, economic counter-revolution, bandits, considerable embezzlements – these were those “ulcers” having been “treated” by Main court. And judicial action, firm application of revolutionary law norms came as “effective medicines”...”, wrote G.B. Bogautdinov in the article “Justice of the Tatar republic”, published in a jubilee proceedings “Over the 5-year course” (Kazan, 1925).
In 1924-1925 every peoples judge had around 70000 of population and he had to deal with around 15 cases every day. In the same article, analyzing the results of peoples courts activity, G.B. Bogautdinov wrote such lines – “People’s court directly communicates with populace, and many sections of population form the opinion on overall judicial machinery efficiency looking at peoples courts as an example... People’ss courts operation efficiency is boosted, they are standing firm on justice principles”.
In 1923 – 1925 the magazine ‘Soviet Justice Bulletin” saw the light of a day as publishable voice of Peoples Commissariat for Justice. It mainly investigated into Republican judicial bodies operation. For example, the materials of bulletin make clear that information, news and reports for 1920 – 1922 time period were marked with delays and compositional incompleteness and the majority of the above was destroyed in a fire in Commissariat building on 17 February 1922. Due to the lack of finance by 1925 they had ceased to publish the magazine. In the beginning, deputy people’s commissar M.U. Usmanov was magazine’s editor in chief, after the post was filled by G.B. Bogautdinov.
Judicial bodies of TASSR with people’s commissar G.B. Bogautdinov at the helmet worked fruitfully. This was owing to efficient operation by the Board under Peoples Commissariat for Justice which was comprised of 3 officials – its chairman G. Bogautdinov and his deputies – Republican Public Prosecutor and Chairman of Main Court. From 1922 to 1925 around 100 meetings were held by the Board, and more than 300 principal issues connected with PCJ together with problems of legislative character were examined. CEC of TASSR marked the success achieved by the Board in its work in its Plenary Session in 1925.
In 1923 as a result of the formation of USSR state machinery reorganization started. The process also took place in TASSR. Speaking about PCJ, from 1923 onwards there was being its machinery streamline with an aim to make it capable of handling more work and flexibility, and “cut the distance” between the needs and requests by populace and PCJs machinery. The above process was in place till mid-20s. This time frame allowed closing some departments in the structure, other departments were reorganized, and Public Prosecutors department appeared for the first time. Departments of cults and correctional-labor were dismantled. Duties and responsibilities of the former were transferred to Central executive committee, of the latter – to Peoples Commissariat for Interior Relations. Also revision-instructional department of Main court was closed with its functions having been transferred to organizational-instruction department of PCJ. Such functions as judicial and investigatory machinery control, normative material development, legal advice on the then legislation, human resources and personnel, scattered earlier across the number of PCJs departments, were concentrated in judicial composition and supervision department. Commission of legislative suppositions which was set up under the aegis of PCJ was relegated to Peoples Commissars Council of TASSR. Nevertheless PCJ of TASSR retained a certain degree of power with the PCJ commission. It was headed by Peoples Commissar of Justice.
The reorganization process had been mainly finalized by the end of 1925. The then department composition of PCJ is as follows – a) general affairs, b) court composition and supervision, c) public prosecutor’s, d) organizational-instructional, e) notary, f) finance and administration. Also some other bodies comprised the juridical machinery – a) Main court, b) cantonal court districts, c) peoples investigators chambers, d) court executives, e) notarial agencies, f) board of defenders, g) public prosecutors aides in districts. The abovementioned structure of juridical bodies was in place until mid-30s.
“... judicial bodies as juridical center played the leading role in the law system at that period of time. PCJ organized, directed and controlled the operation of judicial, investigatory, notarial and other juridical bodies, and also exercised a number of functions that had not been the feature of juridical bodies – mainly they fall into the competence of public prosecutor's supervision, and in part to the agency on internal affairs. And this structure of law and order bodies with the leading role of PCJ had a number of advantages.
At first, the structure allowed better co-ordination of all the law and order bodies that had one common task: strengthening legality, law and order, struggle with crime.
At second, such composition enabled to considerably save all the means and forces with increasing cooperation in machinery's operation.
At third, managerial functions fused with executive ones. Also the further development of law and order bodies system required expanded specialization, differentiate between managerial and executive functions, separate prosecutor's office from juridical units. Afterwards it caused serious changes in law and order units structural formation principles” (M.V. Kozhevnikov, “The history of Soviet court, pp. 108 – 109).
In March 1926 G.B. Bogautdinov was exempt from duties and responsibilities as peoples commissar of justice and Public Prosecutor of TASSR on the 6th All-Tatar convocation of the Soviets. Khafiz Rakhmatullovich Palyutin, deputy chairman of CEC of TASSR, was assigned to the post of peoples commissar of justice and Public Prosecutor of TASSR.
Khafiz Palyutin was a man of broad outlook and he had a clear understanding that the task of comprehensive strengthening of revolutionary lawfulness requires the preparation of professional human resource and Soviet law ideas' popularization among the population. During the 3rd judicial workers convocation which was organized in October 1926, Khafiz Palyutin came up with an idea of Law Faculty re-introduction within Kazan State University.
«At its basics judicial activity cannot live without any mistakes at all. Obviously mistakes at court will remain an everlasting reality. We have to take into account that 90 per cent of our judges and investigators descended from peasants and workers. Only around the half of them have juridical education and professional skills. For this reason, they have always made, make and would make a plenty of mistakes for a very long time because of having the lack of professionalism».
«As for now there share of responsible workers in juridical bodies who graduated from juridical courses does not exceed 44 per cent. But an experience of the past outlined that juridical courses cannot satisfy the requirements which are «posed» to juridical worker by life. Organization in a «crash course» form and a great number of study disciplines (up to 18) do not give an opportunity for listeners to present them in detail, and what is more important, to take part in practical work. And the above used to be a reason explaining why some of the previous juridical courses listeners could not successfully deal with technical bureaucratic work and had nothing concerning practical skills in judicial and investigatory work. In direct connection with the abovementioned the task about establishment of local institute or faculty of law, with 4-year-long syllabus, that could service not only TASSR but also neighboring areas is clear. We cannot speak of expediency of having faculty of law or an institute of law in Kazan. For this reason PCJ and Government of TASSR on the whole have to pose this question to Glavproforg (Main professional education state agency) RSFSR and by all means achieve its expedient resolution with PCJ's support. Otherwise, TASSR and its neigboring republics will be devoid of an opportunity to have education possibilities that provide juridical sphere with professional lawyers of local national descent.
One of the points that were included into final Convocation's resolution was the decision about the organization of the Faculty of Law in Kazan State University.
In June 1927 Khafiz Palyutin delivered a special report on the 3rd All-Russia meeting under PCJ of RSFSR, in which participated Peoples Commissars of Justice from autonomous republics. In his speech he reasonably outlined the necessity of opening the Faculty of Law within Kazan State University. In autumn 1927 Khafiz Palyutin was received by Peoples Commissar of Justice and Public Prosecutor of RSFSR Dmitriy I. Kurskiy who approved of the idea of re-introducing faculty of law in the University of Kazan, promised to back the idea in Communist Party's Central Committee and CEC of RSFSR. Having remembered the fact that Vladimir I. Lenin studied at the Faculty of Law in the University of Kazan he said: «Only this fact comes as necessary must to have faculty of law in your university».
From 1 October 1928 on the studies begun on «re-introduced» faculty of Soviet state-formation and law with three departments: Soviet law, Soviet state-formation and Economic. Khafiz R. Palyutin worked hard to attract students from workers' and peasants' youth to study at the faculty. On his suggestion special commission was set up from prosecutor's office's practical workers to select and prepare the peasants' and workers' youth for entry examinations.
Khafiz R. Palyutin contributed much to strengthening the authority and influence of judicial units and prosecutors office both in Kazan and other districts of TASSR. It was on his initiatives that bribe-takers and double-dealers were disclosed and taken to responsibility.
In his report about PCJ's operation for 1927 peoples commissar Palyutin would mark the following: “... Nevertheless, not along ago there were such comrades as Petrov (former judge at 3rd district in Arskiy canton), who is now arrested for bribery, Yusupov (former judge at 2nd district in Kazan), a number of workers from Sviyazhskiy canton, who were arrested and trialed in connection with “the Shakurov case» (case on hourse-thieves)”.
It should be noted that horse-theft was typical «daily crime» in the life of Tatar villages those days. The nationality of horse-thieves shows the evidence to the fact: 90 per cent of horse-thieves in Tatar villages were Tatars. For 1925 and 3 months in 1926 it was reported about 1202 cases of horse-theft. But after 1927 when «the case of Shakurov» resulted in strict sentence with death penalty for 12 convicts, the horse-theft phenomenon started to go down. Though, in some remote areas gangs of horse-thieves were still committing the crimes. For instance, Main court in Bugul'minskiy canton examined two cases involving horse-thieves . On the first case it was decided to sentence 34 horse-thieves to imprisonment, on the second one 17 convicts got imprisonment sentence between 3 and 8 years. Afterwards horse-thefts became rarer and minor larcenies only were reported.
PCJ actively collaborates with the media, serious measures are taken to examine letters and reports, published in newspapers and pointing to breeches of law committed by juridical workers. On the other hand, as regards press PCJ took a very careful take: more haste results in confusion, bad results.
“... It should be specially recommended for our newspapers and mainly to «Krasnaya Tatariya» the most careful and thoughtful relation to publication of materials that deal with juridical units operation... publishing separate mistakes by that or another judge, investigator, notwithstanding their graveness, is prohibited only in cases the latter ones are performed systematically and have personal venal motives...” ( people’s commissar's Palyutin report on PCJs operation for 1926 – 1928).
In 1928 Kh. Palyutin was sent to Moscow to study at Higher law courses for faculty development. In connection with this fact on the basis of Resolution by CEC Presidium he got an exemption from the duty of people's commissar of justice and TASSR public prosecutor. The above resolution assigned Shagi-Valei G. Bashkirov to that position.
The end of 20's – beginning of 30's was marked by massive collectivization in village. At that time serious measures were applied to those peasants that did not want to become kolkhoz members. Breeches of law became an everyday reality, repressive measures included also death penalty. Shagi-Valei Bashkirov as people's commissar of justice refused to immediately run the errands by the Oblast Committee of the Communist Party. Those errands stipulated death penalty for those who refused to enter kolkhoz. As an argument Bashkirov pointed out that the above resolution was unlawful, and final sentences must have been approved by the Supreme Court of RSFSR. On 5 November, 1929 he was freed from his duties and relegated to another position. His refusal to run the above unlawful errand became a formidable reason for his dismissal.
On 16 November 1929 Vasily N. Filippov was assigned to the vacant post. Earlier Vasily Filippov was an acting chairman of the Union of Agricultural Workers in Chistopol', was in charge of Chistopol' people's education department, worked in Chistopol' cantonal committee of the Communist Party where he presided over organization unit. It was during his term in PCJ when in 1931 a new Statute on PCJ was approved.
In December 1934 on the 10th convocation of the TASSR Soviets Mavlyud U. Usmanov was appointed to the position of TASSR people's commissar of justice.
It took quite short for Mavlyud Usmanov to be a people's commissar of justice – until the August in 1937 when he was arrested. He was falsely charged according to the notorious Article 58 of the Criminal code. And almost always this sentence meant nothing but death for the convict. The spring in 1937 was followed by massive arrests of party, Soviet bodies' officials, workers and agricultural workers. The process used to be on the serious rise throughout both the USSR and TASSR.
The fate of people's commissar M. Usmanov was repeated in the destinies of the former people's commissars of justice G. Bogautdinov, Kh. Palyutin, Sh. Bashkirov and V. Filippov. From May 9 to May 12, 1938 USSR Supreme Court's Military Board session was held in Kazan. It was marked with fierce, authoritarian and one-sided decisions. Between 5 and 10 minutes it took to fully investigate the case. All the convicts were linked in the Case no. 3389. Cassation appeals, participation of prosecutors and advocates, none of the presented formidable direct evidences were taken into account – these were the typical conditions of that time. It was written in the bills of indictment with bare directness: «There is no evidence found on the case». Then 185 persons were sentenced to be shot, with 40 persons in the share from juridical bodies. The sentences had to be executed at once in compliance with CEC Resolution (1 December, 1934).
On 13 February, 1938 Ivan V. Kornev was assigned to the position of people's commissar of justice of TASSR. During his term at PCJ another Statute on PCJ of TASSR was approved. On the basis of the Decree issued by TASSR Supreme Council Presidium on 8 May, 1940 Ivan V. Kornev was released from his duties in connection with his direction to another position.
From 18 April 1941 until 15 January 1945 Misbakh S. Yakupov was at the helmet in the PCJ of TASSR.
During the Great Patriotic War the duties and responsibilities of PCJ were military-oriented and subordinate to the common task of combating fascism. On 25 February 1946 Shakir Sh. Valeev was assigned to the post of people's commissar of justice.
The Decree by USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium issued on 16 March 1946 changed the name «People's Commissariat of Justice of TASSR» into «Ministry of Justice of TASSR».
On 13 October 1950 Yarulla N. Nasybyllin was nominated the TASSR Minister of Justice on the basis of the Decree by the Supreme Soviet Presidium of the USSR.
According to the Statement issued by the RSFSR Soviet of Ministers (11 May 1957) the Ministry of justice of TASSR was abolished. From 1957 until 1963 the TASSR Supreme Court bore the duties and responsibilities of the defunct Ministry.
Later, on the basis of the Decree by TASSR Supreme Soviet (4 February 1971), the Ministry of Justice of TASSR resumed its operation. Anas G. Tazetdinov was nominated minister of justice of TASSR on 5 February 1971.
The following duties and responsibilities were placed on the Ministry of justice of TASSR: a) organizational management fulfillment as regards district (city) people's courts in TASSR; b) conducting operation to systematize and preparation of proposals to improve legislation in TASSR; c) methodical management fullfillment as regards legislative operation in national economy; d) methodical management and activity coordination in state bodies and social organizations of TASSR to boost propaganda of law knowledge and explaining legislation among the population; e) notarial and advocate institutes coordination.
From 1987 until 2004 Albert M. Salabaev was in charge of the Republican Ministry of Justice.
In 1996 State Registration Chamber was established within the framework of the Ministry of Justice of Tatarstan on the basis of the Decree by the President of the Republic of Tatarstan. The new body used to register juridical persons and later – real estate and operations with it.
On 22 December 2004 State Registration Chamber was annexed into Federal Registration Service under the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation. The Decree by the President of Tatarstan came as legally binding act in the case.
From 1997 to 2001 Bailiffs' Service was structural part of the Ministry.
From 1998 in connection with the Federal Law «On judicial department under the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation» the competence of Bailiffs' Service again fell into the hands of Judicial Department Board in the Republic of Tatarstan.
From 2001 a number of functions were extracted out of the Ministry's competence and they became part of Main Board of the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in Tatarstan competence.
The Decree by the Tatarstan President (7 June 2004, no. UP-451), the Ministry of justice of Tatarstan was endowed with the function of material and technical support exercise for operation of the judges of peace in the Republic of Tatarstan.
Midhat Mazgutovich Kurmanov was head of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Tatarstan from May 2004 to November 2013.
In November 2013, the Ministry of justice of the Republic of Tatarstan was headed by a woman for the first time in history- Larisa Yurievna Glukhova.
From 23 of June 2017 to the present time, the Ministry of justice of the Republic of Tatarstan is headed by Zagidullin Rustem IldusovichToday the Ministry of justice of the Republic of Tatarstan is the executive body of state power in Tatarstan. Its duties and responsibilities include state policy realization in the sphere of justice, organizing interaction with self-government units on legal matters, legal support and coordination of law-editing activity of executive bodies in state power system of Tatarstan, assistance in keeping to rights and legal interests of person and state, keeping the unified bank of normative legal acts in Tatarstan, material and organizational support of the operation of judges of peace.
You may familiarize yourself with it on the Ministry's web-site.
 

Last updated: May, 21, 2019, 17:42

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