PETER STOOTCHKA is one of those advisers and assistants of Lenin that the world has not yet discovered. He is a man of capacious mind and one of Lenin's closest friends. He is a lawyer by profession and for many years was the editor of a Lettish progressive paper in Riga. He was exiled to Siberia for some criticism of the Tsar's government. He was the first Commissioner of Justice under the Soviets and only resigned his post to accept one as President of Latvia. When Riga fell he went back to Moscow, took up quarters near Lenin in the Kremlin, and there he remains.
It was Stootchka who wrote the Soviet constitution, as well as most of the present laws. Evidently he did not always find writing laws an easy task. He often confessed his inability to judge just how the personal and family life would grow up around the great economic change which had taken place. Stootchka is nearly seventy and he felt that he might be a little old-fashioned in regard to some matters, especially concerning marriage and divorce. In the end he left it for those most concerned to decide.
One afternoon he called into his office five young Russian women, all typical revolutionists, and said to them: "For centuries women have been oppressed, they have been the victims of prejudice, superstition and the selfish desires of men. In writing the marriage laws I don't mind if women have even a slight advantage over men. What I am concerned with most is to see that they get full justice. So I have asked you here as representatives of the new order. Think these matters over and give me your conclusions."
Naturally, these conclusions had to be voteo on by the All-Russian Congress of Soviets, but since they were passed and written, it is now an historical fact that five young women are the real authors of the new and rather free marriage laws.