Law of Spikelets

Law of Spikelets (Закон о колосках) was a common name of the law based on the decree of Central Executive Committee and Sovnarkom of the USSR "About protection of the property of state enterprises, kolkhozes and cooperatives, and strengthening of the public (socialist) property" (Об охране имущества государственных предприятий, колхозов и кооперативов и укреплении общественной (социалистической) собственности) dated August 7, 1932.

The common name came into use because peasants (including children) caught gleaning (hand-collecting the leftovers of grains or 'spikelets') in the collective fields after the harvest were arrested for "damaging the state grain production".

The law was also known as the "Seven Eighths" Law (Закон 'семь восьмых'), because the date in Russian is written as 7/8/1932.


The primary punishment for theft according to this law was the death sentence via execution by shooting. Under extenuating circumstances the punishment was at least 10 years of imprisonment. In all cases convict's personal property was to be confiscated.

Convicts for crimes covered by this law were not subject to amnesty.

The law was undersigned by Mikhail Kalinin, Vyacheslav Molotov (Skryabin), and Avel Enukidze.

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