Legal Regulation of Fighting against Alcoholism in 1920s in the USSR and in Modern Ukraine: Comparative Analysis

  • O. M. Holovko V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University
  • V. A. Grechenko Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs
  • S. M. Martselyak V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University
Keywords: Ukraine, history of law, drunkenness, alcoholism, militia, police


The author has accomplished a comparative analysis of the legal regulation of alcoholism prevention in 1920s in the Ukrainian SSR and 100 years later in independent Ukraine. The main aspects of this activity, common and special in it during each of the considered historical periods have been outlined.

To achieve the goals of the article, the author has used a significant documentary base, historical sources, materials of sociological surveys conducted in 1928–1929 and 2019–2020, as well as documents of two archives of Ukraine (central and local), media publications, collections of documents, data for 2018–2019 on crime in Kharkiv oblast (crimes committed in a state of intoxication), provided to the authors by the Main Directorate of the National Police of Ukraine in Kharkiv oblast, publications of individual authors (domestic and foreign). The main method used by the author is comparative and historical, which made it possible to establish similarities and differences between the studied historical phenomena.

The author of the study has revealed the causes of the spread of alcoholism in 1920s, related to the introduction of new economic policies and the partial permission of private enterprise. Private entrepreneurs sought to achieve significant profits, including through the sale of alcoholic beverages. Beer pubs became the centers of alcoholism in those years. The government tried to regulate the spread of alcoholism through the “dry law”, but the lack of funds for industrialization forced it, first of all, to weaken those measures, and then cancel them altogether. Police were tasked with preventing alcohol consumption in public places, detaining drunks and fighting home brewing. Alcohol consumption in modern Ukraine, is gradually increasing; nowadays preventive measures are mostly used to counteract it within the general activities of the police.

Legal regulation of alcoholism prevention in 1920s was carried out by restricting the production and sale of alcohol (until 1925), combating home brewing, and engaging the police to detain drunks and those who committed crimes while being intoxicated. Decisions to intensify educational work and to demonstrate the harmfulness of alcohol consumption were of some importance. At the present stage, administrative and preventive measures are used to prevent alcoholism, the implementation of which is entrusted to the police.


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Author Biographies

O. M. Holovko, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

Department of state and legal disciplines;
Doctor of Juridical Sciences, Full Professor, Honored Lawyer of Ukraine.

V. A. Grechenko, Kharkiv National University of Internal Affairs

Department of social sciences and humanities;
Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Honored Worker of Education of Ukraine.

S. M. Martselyak, V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University

Department of constitutional and international law;
Candidate (Ph.D.) of Juridical Sciences.


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How to Cite
Holovko, O. M., Grechenko, V. A. and Martselyak, S. M. (2020) “Legal Regulation of Fighting against Alcoholism in 1920s in the USSR and in Modern Ukraine: Comparative Analysis”, Law and Safety, 78(3), pp. 114-120. doi: 10.32631/pb.2020.3.15.