Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union

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Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union
Верховный Совет СССР
Legislative body in the Soviet Union
Coat of arms or logo
Type
Type
Chambers Soviet of Nationalities
Soviet of the Union
History
Established 1938
Disbanded 1991
Preceded by Congress of Soviets and the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union
Succeeded by
Seats 542 (at dissolution)
1500 (at peak)
Elections
Direct non-competitive elections (1936—1989)
Elected by Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union (1989—1991)
Last election
4 March 1984 (last direct election)
25 May 1990 (last - and only - indirect election)
Meeting place
Supreme Soviet 1982.jpg
Grand Kremlin Palace, Moscow Kremlin
Coat of arms of the Soviet Union.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Soviet Union
 

The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union (Russian: Верхо́вный Сове́т СССР, Verkhóvnyj Sovét SSSR) was the highest legislative body in the Soviet Union[1] and the only one with the power to pass constitutional amendments. It elected the Presidium, formed the Council of Ministers, the Supreme Court, and appointed the Procurator General of the USSR.

Structure[edit]

The Supreme Soviet was made up 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, supposed to represent the ethnic populations, 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 in the same number of members regardless of their size or population.

Under the Soviet constitutions of 1936 and 1977, the Supreme Soviet was imbued with great lawmaking powers. In practice, however, it functioned as a rubber stamp for decisions already made by the CPSU. This later became common practice in all Communist countries. However, with the advent of Perestroika and the partially free elections in 1989, the Supreme Soviet acquired a greater role in the government.

After 1989 it consisted of 542 deputies (down from previously 1,500). The meetings of the body were also more frequent, from six to eight months a year.[3] The Presidium carried out the day-to-day operations of the Supreme Soviet when it was not in session.

Chairmen of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (1938–1989)[edit]

Chairmen of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (1989–1991)[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Congress of Soviets was the supreme legislative body from 1917 to 1936. In 1989-1991 a smillar. but not identical (elected directly by the people instead of local Soviets) structure (Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union) was the supreme legislative body.
  2. ^ Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd edition, entry on "Верховный Совет СССР", available online here
  3. ^ Peter Lentini (1991) in: The Journal of Communist Studies, Vol. 7, No.1, pp. 69-94

External links[edit]