- Constitution of the Soviet Union
There were three versions of the constitution of the Soviet Union, modeled after the 1918 Constitution established by the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (RSFSR), the immediate predecessor of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Chronology of Soviet constitutions
These three constitutions were:
These constitutions had most provisions in common. These provisions declared the leadership of the working class and, in the latter two, the leading role of the CPSU in government and society. All the constitutions upheld the forms of social property. Each of the constitutions called for a system of soviets, or councils, to exercise governmental authority.
The differences between Soviet and Western constitutions
On the surface, the constitutions resembled many constitutions adopted in the West. The differences between Soviet and Western constitutions, however, overshadow the similarities. Soviet constitutions declared certain political rights, such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. They also identified a series of economic and social rights, as well as a set of duties of all citizens. The legislature was to be elected at periodical elections.
However, there was no mechanism for enforcing the rights provided by the constitutions - there was no constitutional court, the citizens could not sue the government, there were no guarantees for independent judiciary.
The special leading role of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was mentioned in the constitutions. In fact, it was the leadership of the Party which made all the political decisions in the country. The elections were a sham at which there was only one candidate for each constituency (proposed by the Party leadership) who was invariably elected.
Only during Perestroyka in the late 1980s did the constitution provide a framework for the emergence of real democracy.
According to Communist ideologists, the Soviet political system was a true democracy, where workers' councils called "soviets" represented the will of the working class. In particular, the Soviet Constitution of 1936 guaranteed direct universal suffrage with the secret ballot. However all candidates had been selected by Communist party, at least before the June 1987 elections. Historian Robert Conquest described this system as
"a set of phantom institutions and arrangements which put a human face on the hideous realities: a model constitution adopted in a worst period of terror and guaranteeing human rights, elections in which there was only one candidate, and in which 99 percent voted; a parliament at which no hand was ever raised in opposition or abstention."
Soviet Union topics History PoliticsCabinets · Central Committee · Collective leadership · Communist Party · Congress · Constitution · Deputy Premier · Elections · First Deputy Premier · Foreign relations · General Secretary · Government · Law · Leaders · Politburo · Premier · President · Presidential Council · Party organisation · State Council · State Ideology · Supreme Court Geography Economy Demographics Culture Symbols Constitutions of Russia and the Soviet Union Constitutions of Russia Constitutions of the Soviet Union
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Government of the Soviet Union — Soviet Union This article is part of the series: Politics and government of the Soviet Union … Wikipedia
Republics of the Soviet Union — The Republics of the Soviet Union were, according to the Article 76 of the 1977 Soviet Constitution, Sovereign Soviet Socialist states that had united with other Soviet Republics to become the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Soviet Union,… … Wikipedia
Religion in the Soviet Union — The Soviet Union was an atheist state, in which religion was largely discouraged and heavily persecuted. According to various Soviet and Western sources, however, over one third of the country s people professed religious belief. Christianity and … Wikipedia
Politics of the Soviet Union — The political system of the Soviet Union was characterized by the superior role of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), the only party permitted by Constitution. As authorized by Constitution, the Soviet government, called the Council… … Wikipedia
Law of the Soviet Union — The Law of the Soviet Union mdash;also known as Socialist Law mdash;was the law developed in the Soviet Union following the October Revolution of 1917. Modified versions of the Soviet legal system were adopted by many Communist states following… … Wikipedia
Demography of the Soviet Union — Soviet Union This article is part of the series: Politics and government of the Soviet Union … Wikipedia
Dissolution of the Soviet Union — Tanks at Red Square during the 1991 Soviet coup d état attempt Participants People of the Soviet Union Federal government … Wikipedia
Premier of the Soviet Union — Former political post Coat of arms Predecessor … Wikipedia
Flag of the Soviet Union — Flag of the USSR redirects here. For other uses, see Flag of the USSR (disambiguation). Flag of the Soviet Union Name The Red Banner … Wikipedia
History of the Soviet Union — See also: Soviet historiography Soviet Union This article is part of the series: Politics and government of the Soviet Union … Wikipedia