Nikolai Vasilyevich Krylenko was an Old Bolshevik and Soviet politician. Krylenko served in a variety of posts in the Soviet legal system, rising to become People's Commissar for Justice and Prosecutor General of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic.
Krylenko was an exponent of socialist legality and the theory that political considerations, rather than criminal guilt or innocence, should guide the application of punishment. Although a participant in the Show Trials and political repression of the late 1920s and early 1930s, Krylenko was ultimately arrested himself during the Great Purge. Following interrogation and torture by the NKVD, Krylenko confessed to extensive involvement in wrecking and anti-Soviet agitation. He was sentenced to death by the Military Collegium of the Soviet Supreme Court, in a trial lasting 20 minutes, and executed immediately afterwards.