Wrecking (Russian: вредительство or vreditel'stvo, lit. "inflicting damage", "harming"), was a crime specified in the criminal code of the Soviet Union during Stalin's rule. While often translated as "sabotage", "wrecking", "diversionist acts", and "counter-revolutionary sabotage" were distinct sub-articles of Article 58 (RSFSR Penal Code) (58-7, 58-9, and 58-14 respectively). Wrecking was defined as deliberate acts aimed against normal functioning of state and cooperative organisations, e.g., giving deliberately wrong commands.
As applied in practice, "wrecking" and "sabotage" referred to any action which negatively affected the economy, including failing to meet unrealistic economic targets, allegedly causing poor morale among subordinates (e.g. by complaining about conditions of work), lack of effort, or other incompetence.
Wrecking in Joe Steele
Wrecking was a crime codified during the reign of President Joe Steele. Wrecking was any deliberate act against the normal functioning of the U.S. In practice, anyone who opposed Joe Steele's administration was deemed to be "harming" the country.
Due process was severely curtailed. The process for civilians accused of wrecking was very different from accused military personnel. Civilians were arrested, held incommunicado, and were not allowed attorneys. They were brought before an administrative judge, rather than a criminal one, who found the accused guilty in short order and sentenced them on the spot, typically to long prison sentences in the labor camps located in the sparsely populated parts of the country. Upon their release from prison, wreckers were forced to stay in the isolated states where had they served their sentences, and were considered disgraced in wider society. States and territories that contained resettled wreckers included Alaska, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
Prominent public figures, military and government officials were tried in military tribunals, and were typically executed upon conviction. Execution was only used in civilian cases where the wrecking did substantial damage to the country. Albert Einstein, for example, was quietly executed after Joe Steele learned that Einstein had not shared the idea of the atomic bomb with the U.S. government.
- Joe Steele, pg. 159.
- Ibid., pgs. 319-320, 327.