Title

Making Hooliganism On a Mass Scale - The Campaign Against Petty Hooliganism In the Soviet Union, 1956-1964

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2006

Department

History

Abstract

In 1956, the Russian Republic (RSFSR) decided to crack down on its rising hooligan problem not by giving a small number of people heavy prison sentences, but by giving a large number of people light ones. With the passage of the 1956 RSFSR petty hooligan decree, the state created a less serious form of hooliganism and a less serious form of hooligan punishment in order to combat this multivalent criminal category's most minor and mundane manifestations. The petty hooligan decree, by watering down the definition of hooliganism, transformed the commonplace borderline behaviors of the everyday into imprisoning offenses. By defining deviance downward, it made millions of ordinary citizens, whose behaviors would earlier have escaped punishment, into hooligans; exposed them to police power that was often arbitrary and unregulated; and dragged them through a degrading detention process. The petty hooligan decree shows us that 1956 was more than a year of liberalizing political reform. It was also a time of increased prosecution, coercive refashioning and aggressive state intolerance towards an expanding array of outsider identities.

Publication Title

Cahiers du Monde Russe

Volume

47

Issue

1-2

First Page

349

Last Page

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