Orthodox America

  The Cry of the New Martyrs - Isolation by Law

      "A decree of the USSR Supreme Soviet which was to have gone into effect last July, allows fines for violations of legislation on visits to and travel over Soviet territory by foreigners and non-citizens. Subject to fines are Soviet citizens who, for example, let foreigners stay overnight in their homes or give them rides in their cars. But the penalty is limited to a fine only in the event that the violation does not involve instances "subject to criminal responsibility."

    "The new law is undoubtedly intended to breathe new life into a terrible scarecrow from Stalinist times--"contact with foreigners"--which never died, but which had drooped somewhat in recent decades. One other thing is also important: the law-making trend which this past year created a whole series of new articles of the Criminal Code has not died down at all. Its essence has been to broaden and at the same time "legalize" lawlessness. It is well known that the Soviet authorities can interpret the la w in many ways so the ordinary citizen must always be prepared for the unexpected. Adding to the list of what is forbidden in no way clarifies the outlines of the 'not prohibited, and therefore permitted' zone (an outdated concept of 'bourgeois' law). To the contrary, it suppresses the last sparks of a sense of justice, forcing each person to feel that he is a potential criminal. And once again, as before, to beware of that mortal sin--'contact with foreigners ("Samizdat," April, 1985; #144)