Washington Law Review


John N. Hazard


Socialism has been heralded as the cure for crime. To the Marxist the claim seems reasonable. He believes that crime springs from poverty coupled with despair. Reorganization of the economic and socal structure of society under socialism is promised as the route to hope and wealth. In consequence, socialism should create conditions under which the citizen will have no need to steal and no desire to kill. To examine the effect of the thesis upon the writings of Soviet authors and the policy of the Soviet leaders this paper will review what has happened to the crime of embezzlement over the years in the U.S.S.R. Embezzlement ought to be a type of crime which one could expect to find influenced at an early stage in the development of a socialist economy such as that claimed by the Soviet Constitution for the Soviet Union. Those convicted of embezzlement in capitalist countries have often explained their transgression in terms of need for money to meet unexpected sick bills or to speculate in the hope of gaining funds to meet a wife's claim for social distinction where money counts. Neither of these motives is on the list of those expected to be important to citizens living under conditions of socialism. What, then, has become of the crime of embezzlement in Soviet society?

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