The Procuracy was the most powerful institution in the Soviet system of justice relating to nonpolitical matters. It was a hierarchical organization representing all public prosecutors, all the way down to the city or village level. As specified in the Soviet Constitution, the procurator general of the Soviet Union was appointed by the Supreme Soviet and controlled Procuracy officials throughout the system. Employees of the Procuracy were not subject to the authority of their local soviets, but they were subject to the authority of the party. The Procuracy had a wide range of functions, involving itself at all stages in the criminal process. Procurators carried out investigations of the majority of cases; supervised investigations carried out by the MVD, the MVD, and the Procuracy's own employees; authorized arrests; prosecuted offenders; and supervised prisons. In addition, procurators supervised parole and the release of prisoners and referred judicial decisions to higher courts for review. Procurators also oversaw the operation of all government bodies, enterprises, officials, and social organizations to ensure that they were observing the law. Although the Procuracy possessed the formal authority to supervise the MVD in carrying out arrests and investigations in political cases, there was little evidence that the Procuracy actually exercised this function.
Data as of May 1989