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Soviet Union


The Procuracy (Prokuratura) functioned like a cross between a police investigative bureau and a public prosecutor's office. It investigated crimes, brought criminals to trial, and prosecuted them. The Procuracy also supervised courts and penal facilities within its jurisdiction (see The Procuracy , ch. 19).

The Supreme Soviet appointed the procurator general of the Soviet Union for a five-year term. Like other leading positions in the Soviet government, the position of the procurator general was on the nomenklatura of the central party apparatus. In turn, the procurator general appointed each officer of the Procuracy, known as a procurator (see Glossary), who served at the republic, provincial, district, or city level. Procurators at all levels theoretically answered to the Supreme Soviet for their actions. Moreover, they derived authority from the procurator general and thus exercised their authority independent of any regional or local government body.

The Procuracy, as well as the Supreme Court, ensured the strict and uniform observance of law by all government bodies, enterprises (see Glossary), and public institutions. The Procuracy also reviewed all court decisions in both civil and criminal cases. A procurator could appeal decisions considered flawed to higher courts. The Procuracy was therefore responsible for ensuring the uniform application of law in the courts.

The Procuracy supervised investigations conducted by other government agencies. A procurator could file protests in the court system when evidence indicated an agency acted illegally. In theory, these rights of supervision extended to the KGB and other security agencies. In practice, however, the KGB often operated outside the law.

Data as of May 1989