Practice of relationships between the Prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie in the investigation of political crimes
The article discusses the practice of the relationships between the Prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie, which formed during the investigation of political crimes in the Russian Empire after the judicial reform of 1864.
It is indicated that the law of May 19, 1871 changed the legal relationships between the gendarmerie and the Prosecutor’s office. The gendarmerie was given the right to conduct an inquiry, and the prosecutor’s office was entrusted with the supervision of this activity. Central agencies targeted the prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie to coordinate their activities in the investigation of political crimes, which resulted in their gradual rapprochement.
In practice, the Prosecutor’s office began to take an active part in the conduct of inquiries on the state crimes. As a result, it gradually lost its original meaning “guardian of the law and an impartial observer for the correctness of the actions of a person who conducted the inquiry”.
The actual relationships between the Prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie was not unambiguous. They largely depended on specific individuals and could be diametrically opposed. Along with the relations of “mutual understanding” there were also facts of direct conflicts between the prosecutor’s office and the gendarmerie. Despite such different relationship, in society, the existing level of political repression “was attributed to the joint and solidary activities of zealous gendarmes with zealous prosecutors”. The career of prosecutors depended largely on the relationship with the gendarmerie.
Later, during the inquiry, many prosecutors began to lose their impartiality and gradually turned into agents of gendarmerie goals. According to the figurative expression of the former Chairman of the Council of Ministers S. Witte, the Minister of justice himself “from the Supreme guardian of legality became an assistant to the chief of gendarmes and the chief of secret police”.
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