ANTI-SOVIET AGITATION AND PROPAGANDA
“Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” (the author of the earliest version – “counter-revolutionary agitation and propaganda” - was Vladimir Lenin).
In Soviet legislation of the Stalin era, this was one of the most common charges against individuals arrested on political grounds. In the post-Stalin period, it was to become the main charge, and from 1956 – 1986 the vast majority of political prisoners were tried and convicted under this Article.
In the Criminal Code of the RSFSR of 1922 various aspects of this “criminal behaviour” were split up into several articles – 69, 70, 72 and 73. In the first amended version of the same Criminal Code from 1926, this division was retained (points 13, 15, 17, 18 of Article 58 were “counter-revolutionary crimes”), later all these points were joined into one – the notorious Article 58-10 which was in force right up to 1958. In the Criminal Code of the RSFSR of 1927 and in its revised version from 20.07.1934 this is Article 54-10. In 1959-1960 charges of “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” were made under Article 7 of the Law of the USSR from 25.12.1958 “On criminal liability for state crimes”, and from 1 January 1961, after the entry into force of new criminal codes for the republics under Article 70 of the CC of the RSFSR and Article 62 of the CC of the Ukrainian SSR.
In 1966 a part of the repressive functions of Article 70 of the CC of the RSFSR (Article 62 of the CC of the UkrSSR) was taken by Article 190-1 of the CC of the RSFSR (Article 187-1 of the CC of the UkrSSR) - “Dissemination of patently false information defaming the Soviet political and social system”. However in cases which the KGB deemed to be reasonably serious, the charges of “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” continued to be applied.
In Ukraine from 1961 to 1986 several hundred people were convicted on this charge.
In 1989 on the decision of the Congress of State Deputies of the USSR the wording of the relevant articles of the different Criminal Codes was radically changed: there was only criminal liability in the event of a call to violent overthrowing of the constitutional order. People stopped being charged with “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda” during the perestroika period. One of the last convictions under this Article was on 29 November 1985 (member of the Ukrainian Helsinki Group P. Ruban). From January 1987 the process began of releasing political prisoners sentenced for “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”.