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Criminal liability for vandalism - article 214 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation


In the city where I am studying, the Hebrew word was torn off by someone on a sign at a student Jewish center. Apparently, there was an act of vandalism.

It so happened that I noticed this first. It is possible that I or someone else from our community will need to tell about this incident in the local student newspaper (the student population of the city is about 30,000 people).

Our rabbi wants to make this incident widely publicized in order to cause the greatest resonance. Use, so to speak, for advertising.

What is the best thing to do in this situation for us students, and what to focus on if you have to make any statement.

Your U.S. Reader

The best way is to tell the truth. Not exaggerating or understating. To do this in order to “advertise” and to arouse self-pity is unethical.

Talking about this, one should pay attention to the fact that our tradition and our worldview highly value the good neighborliness and peaceful relations between any ethnic groups. And to emphasize that only such an approach is moral.

Those who engage in incitement to racism against civilians commit acts of vandalism - in fact, enemies of everyone. And they deserve to be ostracized publicly. And in cases of hooliganism - not only to the public.

The essence of the crime

In the Criminal Law of Russia, vandalism as a crime was absent until 1997, as long as liability for damage to property in public places was introduced by amendments to the code. According to statistics, in Russia more than 4000 cases of committing crimes under art. 214 of the Criminal Code. It should be noted that such figures are given without taking into account unsolved and undeclared incidents, which are about the same. Some experts are of the opinion that a rather high percentage of latent crime in this area is associated with the difficulty of identifying the signs of a crime so similar to other acts.

Vandalism can be expressed in the following actions (alternatively):

  1. desecration of structures or buildings.
  2. damage to property in public places.

We will understand these two methods of committing a crime in more detail.

Desecration of buildings

In the criminal law sense, a building should be understood as any buildings designed to ensure the livelihoods of people: places of transport stops, underpasses, historical monuments, bridges, fences. Even advertising stands are considered a building, ruining which may result in criminal liability for vandalism.

A building is any building that is designed to accommodate people in connection with work (offices, manufacturing enterprises, firms), leisure (cinemas, libraries, museums), with the provision of medical services (clinics, hospitals, ambulances, etc.) .d.), with religion (church, chapel, places of worship).

What is desecration? Criminal law experts argue that defilement means disfiguring, giving indecent appearance, and such actions can affect the entire structure (building), as well as any part of it.

Turning to practice, it will be fair to note that there are still cases of recognition of the insignificance of the actions of vandals, that is, insufficiency for initiating a criminal case. So, the inscription, measured in several centimeters, almost never entails the initiation of a case under Art. 214 of the Criminal Code, if it is made on the outside of the building. But in the presence of certain circumstances, even such small inscriptions made inside the premises can be considered sufficient to bring to criminal liability (for example, if this was done in a church, library of world significance, etc.).

Typically, desecration does not entail consequences in the form of costly repairs, eliminating the danger of building collapse, etc. Here, the motive of the offender is not so much in causing serious damage, but in contrasting his behavior with the foundations of morality and public morality. It doesn’t matter if such actions caused material damage - from the moment the inscription is applied, the crime is already considered to be over.

Most often, inscriptions on walls, gates, fences are recognized as desecration. This can be not only obscene words, swearing, but also images, symbols indicating belonging to a particular social group (for example, swastika), or without meaning. Images are most often made using balloon paint, sometimes using a conventional emulsion, less often by excision (as in the previous example). In some cases, vandals, on the contrary, do not inscribe, but gloss over the existing one.

It does not matter for qualification how the building was desecrated, but the main sign must be confirmed - the object is in a public place, within sight of other people. To determine the aesthetic harm to the object, an examination may be required, which, as a rule, is carried out during the investigation. Most often, this is a comprehensive study involving several specialists, in which psychologists, linguists, specialists in aesthetic direction, religion, history, etc. can be involved.

Damage to property in a public place

The legislator separately clarifies that vandalism can manifest itself in the deterioration of not only real estate, but also public transport. So, a vivid example of vandalism can be the damage to seats in the subway, in trolleybuses, the intentional breakdown of handrails, racks in trams, buses, damage to windows in trains, etc.

In practice, they distinguish between modes of transport in order to clearly define the sign of “public”. It is generally accepted that such is passenger transport available to the general public. School buses, vehicles for the transportation of employees in a certain organization, limos for weddings, etc. do not fall into this category.

Property may be damaged partially or completely destroyed - to qualify a crime under Art. 214 of the Criminal Code, this does not play a role, the act is considered completed from the moment of causing at least any harm. The way the attackers took advantage is also not important. So, destructive actions can be as follows:

  • breaking (for example, windows in a trolley bus, train),
  • deformation (dent on the metal coating of the bus),
  • cutting (cuts with a sharp object of seats in the theater),
  • arson (ignition of garbage in public bins),
  • demolition (overturning of telephone booths, street dry closets).

The amount of damage to such actions can be different, all this is taken into account in the claims that the administration can bring to the perpetrator, but does not affect the qualification. In other words, if Petrov cut 25 seats in the cabin of the regular bus and thereby caused damage to the municipality in the amount of more than 100,000 rubles, or if Ivanov cut one such seat, both will have the same crime - vandalism.

However, in some cases, damage to property is recognized as a minor act and does not entail criminal liability. Most often it can be with insignificant damage to an item of little value.

Both desecration and damage to property in public places are always committed with intent. A citizen who accidentally suffered damage cannot be found guilty of vandalism.

Often, types of vandalism, such as desecration of buildings and property damage in public places, are committed simultaneously. In such situations, the actions of the perpetrator are qualified as one crime under Art. 214 of the Criminal Code, and the volume of criminal acts already affects the severity of punishment.

Responsibility for this crime can come from the age of 14. The punishment for vandalism may be:

  • a fine of up to 40,000 rubles,
  • obligatory work up to 360 hours,
  • correctional work up to 1 year,
  • restriction or imprisonment of up to 3 years (if the crime is committed by a group of persons or on a national basis).

Most often, vandals who break the law for the first time can get off with a suspended sentence or community service. Those who constantly commit such crimes can be imprisoned and sent to a penal colony.

Difference from Hooliganism

Hooliganism is a flagrant, flagrant violation of public order, while vandals usually act at night, not in front of the public. In both crimes, criminals oppose themselves to society, make a certain challenge to society, its traditions, and habitual way of life. Moreover, if hooliganism is an open opposition to society, then vandalism is often committed in disguise, without attracting the attention of people, with the obligatory infliction of damage to property, albeit sometimes insignificant (while damage is not an obligatory sign of hooliganism).

On the same day, a criminal case was opened on the fact of vandalism, because on the monument to Lenin on the same square, police officers found inscriptions expressing disagreement with the policies in Russia. As was established later, an act of vandalism was committed by two young people who are fond of politics, and they acted at a later time, when the processions were over and there was no one on the square. The perpetrators were punished under Art. 214 Code of Criminal Procedure.

Difference from property damage

Damage to property (Art. 167 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) - the perpetrator of damage to the personal property of a particular citizen is liable for this crime, while vandals damage property in public places (or in transport). Damage under Art. 167 of the Criminal Code must necessarily exceed 5,000 rubles, that is, be significant for the victim. Such a requirement for the existence of a crime under art. 214 of the Criminal Code is not required; pecuniary damage may even be minor.

Since damage to property under Art. 167 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation can be committed on hooligan grounds, sometimes it is not easy to distinguish this corpus delicti from the act under Art. 214 of the Criminal Code.

Other differences

  1. The deterioration of vehicles (or means of communication) is a separate offense (Article 267 of the Criminal Code), which is rarely used in practice. Its difference from vandalism in the absence of a goal to disrupt public order, since the perpetrator has the intent to make the transport unusable. The consequences arising from such a crime are more widespread than the actions of vandals (in some cases, disasters can occur, resulting in casualties among people).
  2. Damage to cultural monuments (Article 243 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) is a very similar corpus delicti with an act under Art. 214 of the Criminal Code. Recall that the object of attention of vandals can be buildings or structures, while objects under art. 243 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation there can only be sculptures, paintings, inventions that are included in the special register of registration in accordance with the Federal Law “On Objects of Cultural Heritage”. If experts determine the status of an object as a cultural monument, that is, its high national value is confirmed, the actions of the perpetrator will be regarded as a crime under Art. 243 of the Criminal Code.
  3. Violation of the bodies of the dead and places of burial - in such crimes the guilty person, desecrating graves or other places of burial, violates the moral principles, traditions of the people, but not public order.

The legislator separately provides liability for desecration of objects in the cemetery. So, there will be no vandalism in the actions of the guilty if the subject of desecration is tombstones, sculptural structures in the burial places of relatives, as well as architectural compositions dedicated to the fight against fascism. In these cases, liability is provided for in individual articles 243 or 244 of the Criminal Code.

What is vandalism?

Vandalism is a meaningless desecration of buildings and structures, monuments of architecture and art, as well as damage to state property in public places (for example, in a bus or tram).

For destroyers it does not matter who owns the property - the state, municipality or private person. The important thing is to spoil it.

To attract criminals to criminal liability, damaged objects should be located in crowded places.

Vandalism is the damage to objects of art, architecture or other property located in a public place.

Characteristics of the crime

Vandalism is manifested in actions that are defiling. They can be expressed in mockery of the feelings of believers, mockery of the moral values ​​of society or historical events.

Vandalism includes:

  • sticking up posters of immoral content,
  • obscene inscriptions or drawings in crowded places,
  • partial or complete destruction of monuments of architecture, culture and art.

One vivid example of vandalism is the desecration of monuments in a cemetery. Hooligans do not stop the fact that this is the last refuge of the dead. They leave their "footprints" wherever possible - they dig out graves for profit, destroy tombstones, trample the earth, spoil wreaths, leave obscene inscriptions.

If you ruined the monument in the cemetery, then you will be attracted for vandalism.

Such an act is criminally punishable. For him, liability is provided for under Art. 214 of the Criminal Code.

A crime is considered to be completed from the moment the attackers finish their illegal actions (applying a provocative inscription or drawing, damage to the monument, etc.).

An act is always committed with direct intent. Motives can be different - hooliganism, self-interest, as well as religious, racial or ideological hatred.

There is criminal liability for vandalism in a public place.

Administrative Responsibility for Vandalism

If immoral inscriptions are placed on buildings or structures in poorly populated places (for example, in a garage cooperative), then such actions are not considered vandalism. Attackers will be held administratively liable under Art. 7.17 Administrative Code of the Russian Federation.

At the same time, the owner of the damaged property may recover damages from the “artists” in civil proceedings.

For damage to another's property, an administrative fine of 300 to 500 rubles is threatened.

Criminal sanctions for vandalism

Any legally capable person from the age of 14 can be prosecuted for vandalism.

According to statistics, the largest number of such crimes are people under the age of 20 years. Young is green. Teenagers in a similar way try to assert themselves in the eyes of their peers, show their courage and earn respect.

“Simple” vandalism (without aggravating signs) falls under Part 1 of Art. 214 of the Criminal Code. The violator faces a fine of up to 40 thousand rubles, community service from 360 hours to 1 year, or arrest up to 3 months.

The fine for the minor “vandal” will be paid by the parents.

If there were several vandals, and the act itself was motivated by hatred or enmity (religious, racial, ideological, political), then the crime is qualified under part 2 of article 214 of the Criminal Code.

Guilty in this case faces a more severe punishment, up to a real prison term. They may be restricted their freedom, sent to forced labor or to a colony for 3 years.

This severity is due to the fact that such a crime entails a whole range of negative consequences:

  • damage to other people's property,
  • public outrage
  • public concern for their safety,
  • undermining confidence in law enforcement.

For aggravated vandalism, you can go to jail for 3 years.

News reports eloquently indicate that in our country vandalism is a fairly common crime. However, the number of instituted criminal cases and court sentences imposed under Art. 214 of the Criminal Code is still low.

This is due to the fact that attackers are very difficult to catch. Vandals usually act at night and hide their faces under masks, hoods or shawls.

If you witnessed an act of vandalism, do not pass by. Try to remember the signs of the criminals and report the crime to the police.