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History

of Prosecution Service of the Russian Federation

 

The Prosecution Service of the Russian Federation, as a body of the federal government, supervises over observance of the legality, law and order in Russia with a view to secure supremacy of the Russian Constitution and the federal legislation, to protect human rights and freedoms, and legal interests of the Russian Federation, its constituent elements and municipal units.

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The foundation of the modern Russian Prosecution Service was laid by Peter I, (Peter the Great) who founded the Prosecution Service in Russia on January 12, 1722. Peter I Highest Decree ordered to the Governing Senate: "It is of need to have a Prosecutor General and a Chief Public Prosecutor, and also one Public Prosecutor in every Board to the Senate who should report to Prosecutor General”.

On January 18, Emperor Peter I appointed Count Pavel Ivanovich Yaguzhinsky as the first Prosecutor General of the Senate. When representing the Prosecutor General to the senators Peter I said: “Here is my eye with which I shall see everything”.

This idea was reflected in the Decree of April 27, 1722 On the position of Prosecutor General: “And since then this position shall be like our eye and attorney in the state affairs”. This Decree set the main duties and powers of the Prosecutor General in supervising over the Senate and managing subordinated prosecution authorities.

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Catherine II held the position of Prosecutor General in high esteem. In 1764, taking up the post of Prosecutor General, Prince Alexander Alekseyevich Vyazemsky received “strictly confidential instructions” from the Empress written with her own hand, not limiting his official duties, and giving basic guidelines for his mutual relations with the Senate and senators, focusing on the matters of high priority he should first deal with. For example, the Empress proposed to keep strict watch upon the “circulation of money “ in the state, to consider carefully the “issue of silver”, to think over the restriction of bootlegging, in which, according to her, so many were guilty that entire provinces could be punished”.

 

In different periods of the Russian history the Prosecutor General acted not only as the guardian of the law, but also as the Minister of Finance, Minister of Internal Affairs. It was especially evident during the reign of Catherine II and Paul I. Since 1802, the Prosecutor General simultaneously became the Minister of Justice. The judicial reform of 1864 established the Fundamental principles of judicial transformations which, in terms of judicial organization, defined that “special public prosecutors should have colleagues due to the great number of complicated matters they deal with” and that “prosecution authority should be separated from the judicial one”. In 1864, taking up the post of the Minister of Justice, Dmitriy Nicolaevich Zamyatin who formed and chaired the Commission that changed justice and the judicial system in Russia in accordance with 1100 judicial statutes which were approved on 20 November 1864.

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The courts were separated from executive and legislative, the institutions of the jury and lawyers had been created, transparency and competitiveness to the process were introduced. One part of the reform was the transformation of the Prosecutor's supervision.

On November 24, 1917, the public supreme authority — the Council of People’s Commissars accepted Decree 1 On Courts abolishing courts, existed up to the October Revolution, institutes of examining magistrates, prosecutorial supervision, and jury and private lawyers. Their duties were taken on by newly created people's courts and revolutionary tribunals. Special investigative commissions were set up to conduct preliminary investigation.

On May 28, 1922, a Regulation on prosecutorial supervision was accepted. According to the Regulation, the State Prosecution Service was established within the People’s Commissariat of Justice. At that, the following functions were assigned to the Prosecution Service:

- Realization on behalf of the state supervision over legality of actions of all authorities , economic establishments, public and private organizations, as well as private persons by criminal prosecution against the guilty and protest against decisions breaking the law;

- On behalf of the State, to supervise over the legality of actions of all public authorities, economic institutions, public and private organizations, as well as individuals through institution of prosecution against the guilty and appeal against resolutions violating the law;

- to directly supervise over activities of inquiry authorities detecting crimes, and over activities of the State Political Administration authorities;

- to appear for the prosecution in courts;

- to supervise over the legality of detention in custody.

In accordance with the Law on the Prosecutor's office of the USSR dated 30 November 1979, by order of the General Prosecutor of the USSR №46 from November 5, 1980, in the system of prosecution agencies transport Prosecutor's offices were established, which were acting on rights of regional, district and city prosecutor's  offices. In Gorky the Transport Prosecutor's office og the Volga Vyatka (Gorky)Transport District was located, in Kuibyshev (now Samara) the Transport Prosecutor's office of the Middle Volga Transport District was located.

Eventually, it was necessary to rebuild the entire system of specialized prosecutor's offices. By order of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation of April 12, 2001 N 23 the supervision over the implementation of laws in the apparatus of Customs, Departments of Internal Affairs on transport, railways, air, water and automobile transport, sea and river shipping companies, basin inspections, and marine and river registers was imposed on the prosecutors of the regions of Russian Federation, where  the listed bodies were located. Thus, the functions of the Transport Prosecutor's office were transferred to the procurators of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation.

Finally time and practice of the execution and application of laws made things right, previously eliminated system was almost restored and improved.

The structure of the system of the Prosecutor's Offices must not be connected directly with the administrative - territorial division of the state.

Also, the supervision of execution of laws on transport and in customs area needs to be concentrated in the hands of the Transport Prosecutors. The presence in the Russian Federation of a unified system of transport Prosecutor's offices consolidates the lawfulness, simplifies organizational and informational communication, allows to provide a valid level of the lawfulness  in transport and customs.

On August 1, 2007, the Transport Prosecutor's Office of the Volga Transport District, formed by order of Prosecutor General of Russian Federation Yu. Ya.  Chaika, started to work. 

The evolutionary development of the Russian Prosecutor's Office has identified her purposes and place in the system of public agencies. The main aims of the Prosecutor's Offices are the rule of law, unity and consolidating of the lawfulness, protection of rights and freedoms of citizens, legal safeguard of interests of the society and of the state.