Objectives of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - comments of the Federal Judge / MIP Law Group

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The main purpose and objectives of criminal law

Enforcing and regulating criminal law is perhaps the most important function of criminal law. Public legal consciousness and ideals of justice are the basis of criminal law.

It is to ensure justice that is the main purpose of the concept of criminal law, from which other functions flow, such as:

  • education of consciousness;
  • restoration of justice;
  • prevention of violations;
  • and other purposes.

The task of criminal law is to implement its main functions in life. The general part of the Criminal Code regulates the relationship between citizens and the state in matters where persons who have committed illegal actions provided for by the Criminal Code can be held accountable.

In addition, liability standards are defined depending on:

  • the age at which criminal liability is imposed;
  • general condition according to medical criteria (sanity and insanity);
  • complicity in the crime committed.

There are different types of punishment for a crime and the possibility of exemption from criminal liability and appropriate punishment, the peculiarity of bringing minors to criminal punishment.

One of the most important tasks, of course, is to prevent and prevent a criminal offense, to eliminate possible causes that could give rise to a crime.

Concept and signs of crime

According to Art. 14 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, a socially dangerous act committed guilty of guilt, prohibited by criminal law under threat of punishment, is recognized as a crime. This definition contains an exhaustive list of elements of a crime necessary to recognize the criminality of an act (action or inaction):

  • the guilt of the act, i.e. the person’s mental attitude towards the act being committed prohibited by criminal law and its consequences, since criminal law is primarily addressed to those members of society who have will and consciousness;
  • social danger of the act, i.e. causing or a real threat of causing significant damage to protected social relations;
  • illegality - legislative recognition of this act as a crime;
  • Punishability, i.e. the presence of severe penalties provided for by law against a person legally found guilty of committing a crime. The typology of criminal penalties is enshrined in the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and cannot be applied when committing other types of offenses.

There are various types of classifications of crimes, one of which is the classification of crimes depending on the nature and degree of public danger, which distinguishes crimes of minor gravity, crimes of moderate gravity, serious crimes and especially serious crimes:

  • crimes of minor gravity are considered intentional and careless acts, for the commission of which the maximum punishment does not exceed three years of imprisonment;
  • crimes of average gravity are considered intentional acts, for which the maximum penalty does not exceed five years of imprisonment, and careless acts, for which the maximum penalty exceeds three years of imprisonment;
  • serious crimes are intentional acts for which the maximum punishment does not exceed ten years in prison;
  • Particularly serious crimes are intentional acts, the commission of which is punishable by imprisonment for a term of over ten years or a more severe punishment.

In addition to the classification of crimes by severity, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation introduces the following fundamental concepts for law enforcement judicial activities:

  • recidivism of crimes entailing more severe punishment (including dangerous and especially dangerous), i.e. the commission of an intentional crime by a person who has a criminal record for a previously committed intentional crime;
  • aggregation of crimes, which recognizes the commission of two or more crimes, for none of which the person has been convicted. In case of aggregation of crimes, a person bears criminal liability for each crime committed under the relevant article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

For the qualification of a crime, that is, the criminal legal assessment of an act, the corpus delicti, that is, the system of signs and features that characterize a socially dangerous act as a crime, is of fundamental importance. There are four elements of a crime: the object of the crime, the objective side of the crime, the subject of the crime, the subjective side of the crime.

1. The object of the crime is public goods protected by criminal law, which are caused or expected to cause significant harm as a result of a criminal act. In fact, the Special Part is formed from articles that are grouped by objects of criminal offense (paragraph 4.2.). As a result of a specific crime, an impact is made in relation to a specific phenomenon of the material world, i.e., the subject of the crime. These concepts must be distinguished: for example, the object of theft is social relations associated with property. The subject of the theft will be a set of specific things that were stolen by the criminal.

A criminal legal norm is created to protect the main object, while there may be an additional object that is harmed along with the main one. An example is robbery, the main object of which is property, and the additional object is the health of the property owner.

2. The objective side of a crime is the external manifestation of a criminal act. This concept includes the form of an act: action, i.e., an act of active behavior, which manifests itself in the form of body movement, or inaction, i.e., failure to carry out an action when it is necessary to perform it, for example, failure to provide assistance to a patient, leaving in danger, etc.

The objective side includes the consequences of the crime, for example, harm to health, moral harm, etc., the cause-and-effect relationship between the act and the onset of harmful consequences.

Some crimes include such elements of the objective side as place, time, method, setting, and instruments of crime.

3. The subject of the crime is the person (individual, person) who committed the crime. An essential feature of a subject is his age. According to Art. 20 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, a person who has reached the age of sixteen at the time of committing a crime is subject to criminal liability. A number of crimes (murder, intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm, rape, etc.) imply criminal liability in relation to persons who have reached the age of fourteen at the time the crime was committed.

The second essential feature of a subject is his sanity, that is, the ability to realize the actual nature and social danger of his actions or to direct them. Persons who, at the time of committing a socially dangerous act, were in a state of insanity due to a chronic mental disorder, temporary mental disorder, dementia or other painful mental state are not subject to criminal liability. Such persons may be imposed by the court with compulsory medical measures provided for by the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

On the other hand, mental disorders do not always completely exclude sanity; in such cases, a person is subject to criminal liability, but when assigning a punishment, mental illness must be taken into account by the court.

Some articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation presuppose special subjects as subjects of a crime, that is, those with additional characteristics. A special subject is a participant in social relations protected by criminal law. Thus, a special subject of some crimes in the sphere of economic activity is a person who is a participant in social relations in the sphere of production, distribution and consumption of material goods and services.

4. The subjective side of the crime reflects the internal, mental content of the criminal act. First of all, the subjective side of the crime is associated with the concept of guilt, which comes in two forms: intent and negligence.

An act committed through negligence is recognized as a crime only if it is specifically provided for by the relevant article of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

Intentional crimes are divided into two groups: crimes committed with direct intent, and crimes committed with indirect intent. In the first case, when committing a crime, the person was aware of the social danger of his act, foresaw the possibility or inevitability of socially dangerous consequences and desired their occurrence. Indirect intent means that the person who committed the crime was aware of the social danger of his actions, foresaw the possibility of socially dangerous consequences, did not want to, but consciously allowed these consequences or was indifferent to them.

Objects of criminal legal protection

The main issue of criminal law protection is precisely the definition of the object, on which the construction of all legal norms depends. In the new Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, crimes against the person are given priority and the main task is, accordingly, to protect the freedom and rights of citizens.

Society and the state are placed in second place as objects of protection. Since criminal law is designed to publicly protect society as a whole, its norms collectively protect social values ​​that belong to citizens, society and, of course, the state.

Social objects include those that belong to each person, as well as public property, order in society and security.

Also, objects of personal property of people or the state, legally owned, are objects of criminal legal protection.

In addition, it is criminal law that regulates relations in society, behavior considered as a dangerous form that necessitates special protection. The Criminal Code of the Russian Federation defines values ​​that are subject to criminal legal protection.

We can highlight a list that the legislator identified as objects of criminal legal protection:

  • in the first place are the rights and freedoms of the individual;
  • order in society and relations between its members;
  • environment;
  • constitutional system of the country;
  • peace in general and the security of all mankind.

Commentary on Article 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation

1. Unlike the norms of Art. 1 and the wording of part 1 comment. The article is somewhat declarative and eclectic in nature.

2. Part 1 comment. The article names the following five groups as the tasks of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation: 1) protection from criminal attacks on the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, property; 2) protection from criminal attacks on public order and security and environmental protection related to this task; 3) protection from criminal attacks on the constitutional system of the Russian Federation; 4) ensuring peace and security of mankind; 5) crime prevention.

3. For the list of human and civil rights and freedoms, see Chapter. 2 of the Constitution.

4. In the Russian Federation, private, state, municipal and other forms of property are recognized and protected equally (Part 2 of Article 8 of the Russian Federation).

5. Public order is understood as a state of life in society that ensures the peace of citizens, the physical and moral integrity of the individual, the uninterrupted operation of enterprises, institutions, organizations, public transport (no interference with the movement of personal vehicles).

6. Public security - the state of security of society from internal and external threats (Law of the Russian Federation of 03/05/1992 N 2446-1 “On Security” <1>).


<1> Vedomosti RF. 1992. N 15. Art. 769.

7. A special object of criminal legal protection is the environment. Everyone has the right to a favorable environment, reliable information about its condition and compensation for damage caused to his health or property by environmental violations (Article 42 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation). Chapter 26 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation establishes the criminal code for environmental crimes. These are socially dangerous acts that encroach on environmental law and order, the environmental safety of society and cause harm to the environment and human health (Environmental Protection Law).

8. The constitutional system as an object of protection, its concept and content are discussed in Chapter. 1 of the Constitution, ch. 19, 29 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

9. Ensuring the peace and security of mankind by means of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation - establishing a criminal offense for crimes against the peace and security of mankind (see Section XII (Chapter 34) of the Criminal Code).

10. The task of crime prevention is achieved through general and specific prevention. The general prevention of criminal law (warning, threat of law) affects an indefinite number of people, in particular those prone to committing crimes. Private prevention consists of applying to a person who has committed a socially dangerous act the punishment established by the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation or other measures of criminal law and thereby depriving him (at least for a certain period) of the opportunity to commit new attacks.

11. To solve the comments mentioned in part 1. The articles of the tasks of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation in Part 2 of this article formulate the main ways of their implementation. These include: 1) establishing the basis and principles of the MA (see Articles 3 - 8 and comments thereto); 2) determining which acts dangerous to the individual, society and (or) the state are recognized as crimes (see Article 14 and commentary thereto); 3) establishment of types of punishment (see Article 44 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation and commentary thereto) and other measures of a criminal legal nature.

11.1. The Criminal Code of the Russian Federation calls other measures of a criminal legal nature: compulsory measures of an educational nature, including placement in a special closed educational institution of an education management body (Article 90 -); compulsory medical measures (Articles 97 - 104). Since July 27, 2006, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation began to refer to confiscation of property as another measure of a criminal law nature (Articles 104.1 - 104.3).

Rights and freedoms of man and citizen

In the Russian Federation, personal rights and human freedoms are placed in first place among constitutional rights, recognized and guaranteed on the basis of the principles of international law by the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

The rights and freedom of every person are intended to:

  • everyone's life could be guaranteed;
  • the opportunity to protect everyone from attacks expressed in any form, such as violence, cruel or degrading treatment;
  • create personal integrity for each person. Non-interference in family relationships and private life;
  • The freedom of every member of society to establish norms regarding moral, national, and religious behavior is guaranteed.

The following rights are recognized as fundamental in Russia:

  • rights and freedom belong to every person from the moment of his birth;
  • Each person can exercise his rights and freedom without violating the freedom of others. Equality of all in responsibility before the court and the current law;
  • equality regardless of gender between men and women;
  • priority attitude to generally recognized norms of international law over the law of the Russian Federation;
  • a specific definition of the conditions under which human rights may be restricted;
  • a strict ban on using personal rights and freedoms to incite hostility in interethnic relations, attitudes towards religion, race, attempts to change the constitutional system of the country by force, all kinds of propaganda of war and violence.

The main task of the state is to ensure the rights and freedoms of every citizen.

Criminal punishment and its types. Circumstances influencing court decisions

The variety of life situations obliges the court and other law enforcement agencies to take an individual approach to resolving the issue of classifying a crime, assigning responsibility and punishment.

The Criminal Code contains an exhaustive list of circumstances excluding the criminality of acts:

  • necessary defense, i.e. causing harm to the attacker while protecting the personality and rights of the defender or other persons, legally protected interests of society or the state from a socially dangerous attack, provided that the limits of necessary defense were not exceeded, i.e. intentional actions that are clearly inconsistent with the nature and danger of the attack;
  • causing harm when detaining a person who has committed a crime in order to bring it to the authorities and suppress the possibility of him committing new crimes in the case when it was not possible to detain such a person by other means and the measures necessary for this were not exceeded;
  • extreme necessity, which means causing harm in order to eliminate a real danger in the case when this danger cannot be eliminated in any other way and the harm caused is less than the harm prevented;
  • physical or mental coercion, i.e. a situation as a result of which, under the influence of coercion, a person cannot control his actions;
  • justified risk, i.e. such a risk that a person takes in order to achieve a socially useful goal that could not be achieved in any other way and the person took sufficient measures to prevent harm;
  • execution of an order or instruction that resulted in harm, the responsibility for which is borne by the person who gave this illegal order or instruction. A subordinate who carries out an illegal order or instruction shall not be held liable.

Criminal punishment is one of the most severe measures of state coercion, which consists in limiting the rights and freedoms of a person legally found guilty of committing a crime.

The purposes of criminal punishment are:

  • restoration of social justice;
  • correction of a convicted person;
  • prevention (prevention) of new crimes.

Criminal punishment can only be imposed by a court. A distinctive feature of criminal punishment is the subsequent conviction.

All penalties provided for by the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation can be divided according to the principle proposed in Art. 45 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, into main, additional and mixed groups, which includes punishments imposed as both main and additional:

The main punishments that are imposed by the court in the amount of one sentence include compulsory labor, correctional labor, restrictions on military service, restriction of freedom, arrest, detention in a disciplinary military unit, imprisonment for a certain period, life imprisonment.

Additional punishments accompany the main ones. These penalties are not assigned independently. These include: deprivation of a special, military or honorary title, class rank, state awards, confiscation of property.

Punishments that are imposed, both basic and additional: fine, deprivation of the right to hold a certain position, engage in certain activities.

When assigning a punishment, the court proceeds from the limits of punishment specified in the relevant article, as well as from the principles of criminal law. The court takes into account mitigating and aggravating circumstances that are associated with the social danger of the consequences of a criminal act and the characteristics of the criminal’s personality.

Mitigating circumstances include:

  • committing a crime of minor or medium gravity for the first time due to a random combination of circumstances;
  • the juvenile age of the perpetrator;
  • pregnancy of the perpetrator;
  • the presence of young children with the perpetrator;
  • committing a crime due to a combination of difficult life circumstances or motivated by compassion;
  • committing a crime as a result of physical or mental coercion or due to financial, official or other dependence;
  • committing a crime in violation of the conditions of legality of necessary defense, detention of a person who committed a crime, extreme necessity, justified risk, execution of an order or instruction;
  • illegality or immorality of the behavior of the victim, which was the reason for the crime;
  • confession, active assistance in solving and investigating a crime, exposing and prosecuting accomplices in a crime, searching for property obtained as a result of a crime;
  • provision of medical and other assistance to the victim immediately after the commission of a crime, voluntary compensation for property damage and moral harm caused as a result of the crime, other actions aimed at making amends for the harm caused to the victim.

On the other hand, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation contains a list of aggravating circumstances, including:

  • relapse of crimes;
  • the occurrence of grave consequences as a result of committing a crime;
  • committing a group crime;
  • a particularly active role of a person in the commission of a crime;
  • involvement in the commission of a crime of persons who suffer from severe mental disorders or are in a state of intoxication, as well as persons under the age of criminal responsibility;
  • committing a crime motivated by political, ideological, racial, national or religious hatred;
  • committing a crime out of revenge for the lawful actions of other persons, as well as in order to hide another crime or facilitate its commission;
  • committing a crime against a person or his relatives in connection with the performance of official activities by this person or the performance of a public duty;
  • committing a crime against a pregnant woman, a minor, another defenseless or helpless person or a person dependent on the perpetrator;
  • committing a crime with particular cruelty, sadism, mockery, and torture for the victim;
  • committing a crime using weapons, ammunition, explosives, explosive or simulating devices, specially manufactured technical means, narcotic drugs, psychotropic, potent, poisonous and radioactive substances, medicinal and other chemical and pharmacological preparations, as well as using physical or mental coercion ;
  • committing a crime during a state of emergency, natural or other public disaster, as well as during mass riots;
  • committing a crime using the trust placed in the perpetrator by virtue of his official position or contract;
  • committing a crime using the uniform or documents of a government official;
  • commission of a deliberate crime by an employee of internal affairs bodies;
  • commission of a crime against a minor by a parent or a person replacing them, as well as by a teacher or employee of a medical organization;
  • committing a crime for the purpose of promoting, justifying and supporting terrorism.

The Criminal Code of the Russian Federation provides for exemption from criminal liability and punishment in the case when the person who committed the crime confessed, contributed to the detection and investigation of the crime, reconciled with the victim, compensated for the damage caused and, due to active repentance, ceased to be socially dangerous. Naturally, this rule applies only to crimes of minor or moderate gravity committed for the first time.

Another basis for exemption from criminal liability is the expiration of the statute of limitations (the period from the day the crime was committed until the court verdict enters into legal force): two years after the commission of a crime of minor gravity, six years after the commission of a crime of medium gravity, ten years after the commission of a serious crime, fifteen years after the commission of a particularly serious crime. Statutes of limitation do not apply to persons who have committed crimes related to terrorist activities.

After the convicted person has actually served a certain term of punishment (corresponding to the gravity of the crime), the court may decide on conditional early release. The conditional nature of the release means that it is revoked in the event of misconduct by the person.

In addition to the listed grounds, release from punishment may occur due to a change in the situation, due to illness. In some cases, a deferment of serving a sentence is provided (pregnancy, having a child under the age of 14, drug addiction).


The concept of property can be defined as the ownership of certain material goods by a specific individual or legal entity.

The law defines several forms of ownership:

  • private;
  • state;
  • municipal property and others.

Regardless of the form of ownership, rights and powers include:

  • right of possession and use;
  • the right to dispose of property at its own discretion;
  • the right to transfer powers to use and dispose of property to other persons, both individuals and legal entities.

There are also shared and joint ownership.

Shared ownership is based on the principle that several persons own the same property in certain shares. Responsibility for the use of shared property is also borne by all persons to whom this property belongs.

The principle of joint ownership is that several persons own certain property, but without the allocation of shares. But, if it is necessary to divide such property, the share of a participant who leaves the circle of persons running a joint household may be allocated.

Liability, as a rule, lies on the principle of the share of each participant who owns the property, but it is possible to establish joint and several liability.

Common ownership is based on the principle of ownership by several persons over one object.

Public order and public safety

The entire set of relations in society, which consists of the principles of how social norms are implemented, such as: norms of law, morality, public organizations, traditions and customs, rituals, and determine the social order in the state.

All elements of the social order of a legal state are closely interconnected and protected by the norms of state law. It is the law and order in the country that is protected by special state-legal measures.

Social security and order ensure a normal rhythm of life, public peace, conditions that have a beneficial effect on people who create and consume social benefits, respect for the interests of each person, honor and personality, on the principles of equality, regardless of nationality and social status.


The concept of environment is quite general. It includes the natural conditions and ecological state of a certain area in geographical space.

All vital activity and the immediate life of people is also the environment. Sometimes it is the activities of people that negatively affect the state of the world around us.

It is on a legislative basis that environmental quality standards and standards that allow influencing it are established. Only compliance with these standards will ensure the normal functioning of ecological diversity.

The basis for evaluating the work of standards aimed at protecting nature is how the impact on the environment corresponds to its quality.

Constitutional system of the Russian Federation

The concept of a constitutional system includes the order in which society and the state as a whole are structured. Enshrined in the norms of constitutional law.

The constitutional system of the Russian Federation today is a democratic state in which every person, respect for his personal rights and freedoms, protection of the honor and dignity of every citizen are considered the highest value and are mandatory objects for protection by the state.

The fundamental principle of establishing the legal status of any person in Russia is the recognition and observance, as well as the protection of the rights and freedoms of every person and citizen.

This principle is enshrined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation and is evidence of a rule-of-law state.

Grounds and principles of criminal liability

The basic concept of criminal law is criminal liability. The very concept of responsibility implies the need to be held accountable for actions and deeds committed. The grounds for criminal punishment are crimes defined in criminal law.

Criminal prosecution is the most severe type of liability that exists today.

Criminal liability is implemented in criminal, criminal procedural and correctional legal relations after the commission of a specific crime.

Another comment on Art. 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation

1. Criminal law is designed to protect public relations from socially dangerous attacks. In accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation in Part 1 of Art. 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation establishes a hierarchy of values ​​placed under criminal legal protection. This sequence was also observed when constructing the Special Part of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

2. Criminal law is designed to prevent crimes. Private prevention serves to prevent violations of criminal law prohibitions by persons who have already committed crimes. Private prevention is achieved by imposing criminal penalties or other measures of a criminal legal nature on such persons.

General prevention serves to prevent violations of criminal law prohibitions by other citizens. General prevention is achieved by establishing in the criminal law not only prohibition norms, but also enabling norms (for example, on exemption from criminal liability in the case of positive post-criminal behavior of the perpetrator). General warning is carried out from the moment the law is published.

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