Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union

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The Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Russian: Верховный Совет Союза Советских Социалистических Республик, tr. Verkhovnyy Sovet Soyuza Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik, IPA: [vʲɪrˈxovnɨj sɐˈvʲet sɐvʲˈetskəvə sɐˈjuzə]) was the most authoritative legislative body of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) beginning 1936, and the only one with the power to approve constitutional amendments. (The Congress of Soviets was the supreme legislative body from 1917 to 1936.) During 1989–1991 a similar, but not identical structure was the supreme legislative body. The Supreme Soviet elected the USSR's collective head of state, the Presidium;[1] and appointed the Council of Ministers; the Supreme Court; and the Procurator General of the USSR.

Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Верховный Совет Союза Советских Социалистических Республик
Legislative body in the Soviet Union
Badge of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.svg
Type
Type
ChambersSoviet of Nationalities
Soviet of the Union
History
Established1938
Disbanded1991
Preceded byCongress of Soviets and the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union
Succeeded by
Seats542 (at dissolution)
Elections
Direct non-competitive elections (1937–1989)
Elected by Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union (1989–1991)
First election
12 December 1937
Last election
4 March 1984 (last direct election)
26 March 1989 (last—and only—indirect election)
Meeting place
Supreme Soviet 1982.jpg
Grand Kremlin Palace, Moscow Kremlin

StructureEdit

The Supreme Soviet was composed of two chambers, each with equal legislative powers, with members elected for four-year terms:[2]

  • The Soviet of the Union, elected on the basis of population with one deputy for every 300,000 people in the Soviet federation.
  • The Soviet of Nationalities, represented the ethnic populations as units, with members elected on the basis of 32 deputies from each union republic, 11 from each autonomous republic, five from each autonomous oblast (region), and one from each autonomous okrug (district). The administrative units of the same type would send the same number of members regardless of their size or population.

By the Soviet constitutions of 1936 and 1977, the Supreme Soviet was defined as the highest organ of state power in the Soviet Union, and was imbued with great lawmaking powers. In practice, however, it did little more than approve decisions made already by the USSR's executive organs and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).[3] This was in accordance with the Communist Party's principle of democratic centralism, and became the norm for other Communist legislatures.

The Supreme Soviet convened twice a year, usually for less than a week. For the rest of the year, the Presidium performed its ordinary functions. Often, the CPSU bypassed the Supreme Soviet altogether and had major laws enacted as Presidium decrees. Nominally, if such decrees were not ratified by the Supreme Soviet at its next session, they were considered revoked. In practice, however, the principle of democratic centralism rendered the process of ratifying Presidium decrees a mere formality. In some cases, even this formality was not observed.[3]

After 1989 it consisted of 542 deputies (decreased from previously 1,500). The meetings of the body were also more frequent, from six to eight months a year.[4]

Between 1938 and February 1990, more than 50 years, only 80 laws were passed by the Supreme Soviet, less than 1% of total legislative acts.[5]

LeadersEdit

Chairmen of the Presidium (1938–1989)Edit

No. Portrait Name
(Born-Died)
Term of office
Took office Left office Time in office
1Mikhail Kalinin
(1875–1946)
17 January 193819 March 19468 years, 61 days
2Nikolai Shvernik
(1888–1970)
19 March 194615 March 19536 years, 361 days
3Kliment Voroshilov
(1881–1969)
15 March 19537 May 19607 years, 53 days
4Leonid Brezhnev
(1906–1982)
7 May 196015 July 19644 years, 69 days
5Anastas Mikoyan
(1895–1978)
15 July 19649 December 19651 year, 147 days
6Nikolai Podgorny
(1903–1983)
9 December 196516 June 197711 years, 189 days
(4)Leonid Brezhnev
(1906–1982)
16 June 197710 November 1982 †5 years, 147 days
Vasili Kuznetsov
(1901–1990)
Acting
10 November 198216 June 1983218 days
7Yuri Andropov
(1914–1984)
16 June 19839 February 1984 †238 days
Vasili Kuznetsov
(1901–1990)
Acting
9 February 198411 April 198462 days
8Konstantin Chernenko
(1911–1985)
11 April 198410 March 1985 †333 days
Vasili Kuznetsov
(1901–1990)
Acting
10 March 198527 July 1985139 days
9Andrei Gromyko
(1909–1989)
27 July 19851 October 19883 years, 66 days
10Mikhail Gorbachev
(born 1931)
1 October 198825 May 1989236 days

Chairmen of the Supreme Soviet (1989–1991)Edit

No. Portrait Name
(Born-Died)
Term of office
Took office Left office Time in office
1Mikhail Gorbachev
(born 1931)
25 May 198915 March 1990294 days
2Anatoly Lukyanov
(1930–2019)
15 March 199022 August 19911 year, 160 days

ConvocationsEdit

  • 1st convocation session 1938–1946, World War II
  • 2nd convocation session 1946–1950
  • 3rd convocation session 1950–1954
  • 4th convocation session 1954–1958
  • 5th convocation session 1958–1962
  • 6th convocation session 1962–1966
  • 7th convocation session 1966–1970
  • 8th convocation session 1970–1974
  • 9th convocation session 1974–1979
  • 10th convocation session 1979–1984
  • 11th convocation session 1984–1989
  • 1st convocation 1989–1991[6] (unofficially 12th convocation), sessions were conducted in the form of Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union
  • New composition 1991,[7] (unofficially 13th convocation) unlike previous convocations, there were no elections for the new composition of the Supreme Council instead members of the council were delegated from the council of union republics that continued to be members of the Soviet Union.

Supreme councils of union and autonomous republicsEdit

Beside the Supreme Council, in the Soviet Union supreme councils also existed in each of the union and autonomous republics. The supreme councils of republican level also had presidiums, but all those councils consisted of one chamber. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, some councils of the succeeded independent republics simply changed their name to their more historic name or to emphasise the importance of the council as a national parliament, while others changed to double-chamber assemblies. All republics in the USSR were soviet (as soviet national), yet 15 were of union level, while the other, autonomous republics, were subordinated to the union republics.

Supreme councils of union republicsEdit

Supreme councils of autonomous republicEdit

List of known autonomous republics councils:

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Ideology, Politics, and Government in the Soviet Union: An Introduction– Google Knihy. January 1, 1978. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  2. ^ Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd edition, entry on "Верховный Совет СССР", available online here
  3. ^ a b John Alexander Armstrong (1986). Ideology, Politics, and Government in the Soviet Union: An Introduction. University Press of America. ISBN 0819154059.
  4. ^ Peter Lentini (1991) in: The Journal of Communist Studies, Vol. 7, No.1, pp. 69-94
  5. ^ «Avante!», newspaper of Portuguese Communist Party, February 22nd, 1990, section «Em Foco», page IX
  6. ^ Supreme Council of the Soviet Union. "Portal SSSR".
  7. ^ Supreme Council of the Soviet Union new composition. "Portal SSSR".

External linksEdit