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Encyclopedia > 1977 Soviet Constitution

At the Seventh (Special) Session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR Ninth Convocation on October 7, 1977, the fourth and last Soviet Constitution, also known as the "Brezhnev" Constitution, was unanimously adopted. The official name of the Constitution was "Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" (Russian: Конститу́ция (Основно́й Зако́н) Сою́за Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик) The Supreme Soviet (Russian: , Verhovniy Sovet, literally the Supreme Council) comprised the highest legislative body in the Soviet Union in the interim of the sessions of the Congress of Soviets, and the only one with the power to pass constitutional amendments. ... October 7 is the 280th day of the year (281st in leap years). ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... The Soviet Union was governed by four versions of its Constitution: 1918 Soviet Constitution 1924 Soviet Constitution 1936 Soviet Constitution 1977 Soviet Constitution The political theory underlying the Soviet Constitution differed from the political theory underlying constitutions in the West. ... Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev  listen? ( Russian: Леони́д Ильи́ч Бре́жнев) ( December 19, 1906 – November 10, 1982) was effective ruler of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982, though at first in partnership with others. ...


The preamble stated that "the aims of the dictatorship of the proletariat having been fulfilled, the Soviet state has become the state of the whole people." Compared with previous constitutions, the Brezhnev Constitution extended the bounds of constitutional regulation of society. The first chapter defined the leading role of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and established principles for the management of the state and the government. Article 1 defined the USSR as a socialist state, as did all previous constitutions: The dictatorship of the proletariat is a term employed by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program that refers to a transition period between capitalist and communist society in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. The term refers to a... The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Russian: Коммунисти́ческая Па́ртия Сове́тского Сою́за = КПСС) was the name used by the successors of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party from 1952 to 1991, but the wording Communist Party was present in the partys name since 1918 when the Bolsheviks became the All...

"The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is a socialist state of the whole people, expressing the will and interests of the workers, peasants, and intelligentsia, the working people of all the nations and nationalities of the country".

The difference is that, according to the new Constitution, the government no longer represented the workers and peasants alone. Later chapters established principles for economic management and cultural relations. In classical economics and all micro-economics labour is one of three factors of production, the others being land and capital. ... In a detail of Brueghels Land of Cockaigne (1567) a soft-boiled egg has little feet to rush to the luxuriating peasant who catches drops of honey on his tongue, while roast pigs roam wild: the 16th century was a good time for European peasants A peasant, from 15th...


The 1977 Constitution was long and detailed. It included twenty-eight more articles than the 1936 Soviet Constitution. The Constitution explicitly defined the division of responsibilities between the central and republic governments. For example, the Constitution placed the regulation of boundaries and administrative divisions within the jurisdiction of the republics. However, provisions established the rules under which the republics could make such changes. Thus, the Constitution concentrated on the operation of the government system as a whole. The 1936 Soviet constitution, adopted on December 5, 1936, and also known as the Stalin constitution, redesigned the government of the Soviet Union. ...

Contents


Amendment Process

Adoption of the Constitution was a legislative act of the Supreme Soviet. Amendments to the Constitution were likewise adopted by legislative act of that body. Amendments required the approval of a two-thirds majority of the deputies of the Congress of People's Deputies and could be initiated by the congress itself; the Supreme Soviet, acting through its commissions and committees; the Presidium or chairman of the Supreme Soviet; the Constitutional Oversight Committee; the Council of Ministers; republic soviets; the Committee of People's Control; the Supreme Court; the Procuracy; and the chief state arbiter. In addition, the leading boards of official organizations and even the Academy of Sciences could initiate amendments and other legislation. The Congress of Soviets was the supreme governing body of the RSFSR and the USSR in two periods, from 1917 to 1936 and from 1989 to 1991. ... Russian Academy of Sciences (Росси́йская Акаде́мия Нау́к) is the national academy of Russia. ...


Soviet constitutions were frequently amended and had been changed more often than in the West. Nevertheless, the 1977 Constitution attempted to avoid frequent amendment by establishing regulations for government bodies in separate, but equally authoritative, enabling legislation, such as the Law on the Council of Ministers of July 5, 1978. Other enabling legislation has included a law on citizenship, a law on elections to the Supreme Soviet, a law on the status of Supreme Soviet deputies, regulations for the Supreme Soviet, a resolution on commissions, regulations on local government, and laws on the Supreme Court and the Procuracy. The enabling legislation provided the specific and changing operating rules for these government bodies. July 5 is the 186th day of the year (187th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 179 days remaining. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII in Roman) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1978 calendar). ...


Constitutional rights

A democratic constitution, the Soviet Constitution included a series of civic and political rights. Among these were the rights to freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of assembly and the right to religious belief and worship. In addition, the Constitution provided for freedom of artistic work, protection of the family, inviolability of the person and home, and the right to privacy. In line with the Marxist-Leninist ideology of the government, the Constitution also granted social and economic rights not provided by constitutions in capitalist bourgeois democracies. Among these were the rights to work, rest and leisure, health protection, care in old age and sickness, housing, education, and cultural benefits. The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view. ... Freedom of the press (or press freedom) is the guarantee by a government of free public speech often through a state constitution for its citizens, and associations of individuals extended to members of news gathering organizations, and their published reporting. ... Freedom of assembly is the freedom to associate with, or organize any groups, gatherings, clubs, or organizations that one wishes. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism is a political and economic theory which builds upon Marxism; it is a branch of Marxism (and it has been the dominant branch of Marxism in the world since the 1920s). ...


Unlike bourgeois democratic constitutions, the Soviet Constitution placed limitations on political rights, whereas in bourgeois democratic countries these limitations are usually left up to the federal legislative or judicial systems, or state constitutions and their corresponding executive, legislative and judicial systems. Article 6 effectively eliminated organized opposition to the government by granting to the CPSU the power to lead and guide society. Article 39 enabled the government to prohibit any activities it considered detrimental by stating that "Enjoyment of the rights and freedoms of citizens must not be to the detriment of the interests of society or the state." Article 59 obligated citizens to obey the laws and comply with the standards of socialist society as determined by the party. The government did not treat as inalienable those political and socioeconomic rights the Constitution granted to the people. Citizens enjoyed rights only when the exercise of those rights did not interfere with the interests of socialism, and the CPSU alone had the power and authority to determine policies for the government and society. For example, the right to freedom of expression contained in Article 52 could be suspended if the exercise of that freedom failed to be in accord with party policies. Until the era of glasnost, freedom of expression did not entail the right to criticize the government. The government had the power to ban meetings by unsanctioned religious groups, and violations of the laws limiting the right to freedom of religious expression were severely punished under the republics' criminal codes. Bourgeois at the end of the thirteenth century. ... Article 6. ... The Communist Party of the Soviet Union ( Russian: Коммунисти́ческая Па́ртия Сове́тского Сою́за = КПСС) was the name used by the successors of the Bolshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party from 1952 to 1991, but the wording Communist Party was present in the partys name since 1918 when... Socialism is an ideology of a social and economic system in which the means of production are collectively owned and administered by all of society. ... Glasnost (Russian: гла́сность, â–¶(?)) was one of Mikhail Gorbachevs policies introduced to the Soviet Union in 1985. ...


The Constitution also failed to provide political and judicial mechanisms for the protection of rights. Thus, the Constitution lacked explicit guarantees protecting the rights of the people, such as those contained in the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. In fact, the Supreme Soviet has never introduced amendments specifically designed to protect individual rights. Neither did the people have a higher authority within the government to which to appeal when they believed their rights had been violated. The Supreme Court had no power to ensure that constitutional rights were observed by legislation or were respected by the rest of the government. Although the Soviet Union signed the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Accords), which mandated that internationally recognized human rights be respected in the signatory countries, no authority outside the Soviet Union could ensure citizen rights and freedoms, the government generally has failed to observe the provisions of this act. In the late 1980s, however, realigning constitutional and domestic law with international commitments on human rights was publicly debated. United States Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights is the name given to the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. ... The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ... The Helsinki Accords is the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe held in Helsinki in 1975 between the United States and Canada, the Soviet Union and the countries of Europe, including Turkey but not Albania and Andorra. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ...


Role of the citizen

Article 59 of the Constitution stated that citizens' exercise of their rights was inseparable from performance of their duties. Articles 60 through 69 defined these duties. Citizens were obligated to work and to observe labor discipline. The legal code labeled evasion of work as "parasitism" and provided punishment for this crime. The Constitution also obligated citizens to protect socialist property and oppose corruption. All citizens performed military service as a duty to safeguard and "enhance the power and prestige of the Soviet state." Violation of this duty was a betrayal of the motherland and the gravest of crimes. Finally, the Constitution obligated parents to train their children for socially useful work and to raise them as worthy members of socialist society. The Nazi propaganda poster titled New People reads: This person suffering from hereditary defects costs the people 60,000 Reichmarks during his lifetime. ...


The Constitution and other legislation protected and enforced Soviet citizenship. Legislation on citizenship granted equal rights of citizenship to naturalized citizens as well as to the native born. Laws also specified that citizens could not freely renounce their citizenship. Citizens were required to apply for permission to do so from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, which could reject the application if the applicant had not completed military service, had judicial duties, or was responsible for family dependents. In addition, the Presidium could refuse the application to protect national security. However, the Presidium could revoke citizenship for defamation of the Soviet Union or for acts damaging to national prestige or security. This article is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (Президиум Верховного Совета СССР in Russian, or Prezidium Verkhovnogo Soveta) was a Soviet governmental body. ...


References

The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ... The Country Studies are works published by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress ( USA), freely available for use by researchers. ...

External links

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
1977 Soviet Constitution
  • Russian text of the 1977 Constitution of the USSR
  • English text of the 1977 Constitution of the USSR

  Results from FactBites:
 
1977 Soviet Constitution at AllExperts (1408 words)
Nevertheless, the 1977 Constitution attempted to avoid frequent amendment by establishing regulations for government bodies in separate, but equally authoritative, enabling legislation, such as the Law on the Council of Ministers of July 5, 1978.
The Constitutional Oversight Committee, composed of people who were not in the Congress of People's Deputies, was established and given formal power to review the constitutionality of laws and normative acts of the central and republic governments and to suggest their suspension and repeal.
Unlike bourgeois democratic constitutions, the Soviet Constitution placed limitations on political rights, whereas in bourgeois democratic countries these limitations are usually left up to the federal legislative or judicial systems, or state constitutions and their corresponding executive, legislative and judicial systems.
ICL - Soviet Union (Former~) - Constitution (10400 words)
A Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR may not be prosecuted, or arrested, or incur a court-imposed penalty, without the sanction of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR or, between its sessions, of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR promulgates decrees and adopts decisions.
The Procurator-General of the USSR is appointed by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and is responsible and accountable to it and, between sessions of the Supreme Soviet, to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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