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Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union

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Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union

Soviet of Nationalities Soviet of the Union

Preceded by
Congress of Soviets and the Central Executive Committee of the Soviet Union

Succeeded by
Congress of People's Deputies Several post-Soviet Supreme Councils: list  Supreme Soviet of Russia Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Supreme Soviet of Belarus Parliament of the Republic of Moldova Supreme Council of Estonia Supreme Soviet of Latvia Supreme Council of Lithuania Supreme Soviet of Kazakhstan Supreme Soviet of Armenia Supreme Soviet of Azerbaijan Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan Supreme Assembly of Uzbekistan Supreme Assembly of Tajikistan Assembly of Turkmenistan

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



The Supreme Soviet was made up of two chambers, each with equal legislative powers, with members elected for four-year terms:

  • 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.

    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. 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)

    1. Mikhail Kalinin 1938–1946
    2. Nikolay Shvernik 1946–1953
    3. Kliment Voroshilov 1953–1960
    4. Leonid Brezhnev 1960–1964
    5. Anastas Mikoyan 1964–1965
    6. Nikolai Podgorny 1965–1977
    7. Leonid Brezhnev (second term) 1977–1982
    8. Yuri Andropov 1982–1984
    9. Konstantin Chernenko 1984–1985
    10. Andrey Gromyko 1985–1988
    11. Mikhail Gorbachev 1 October 1988 – 25 May 1989

    Chairmen of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (1989–1991)

  • Mikhail Gorbachev 25 May 1989 – 15 March 1990
  • Anatoly Lukyanov 15 March 1990 – 22 August 1991
  • Convocations

  • 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 (unofficially 12th convocation), sessions were conducted in the form of Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union
  • New composition 1991, (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 republics

    Beside the Supreme Council, in the Soviet Union supreme councils also existed in each of union and autonomous republics. The supreme councils of republican level also were headed by their 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 historic or to emphasise the importance of the council as a national parliament, while others went through some major restructuring by changing to double-chamber assemblies. All republics in the Soviet Union 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 republics

  • Supreme Council of Georgia, in 1992 changed its name to State Council of Georgia
  • Supreme Council of Russia, until 4 October 1993 when it was dissolved as part of the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis (replaced with the Federal Assembly)
  • Supreme Council of Kazakhstan, until 1995 (replaced with the Parliament of Kazakhstan)
  • Supreme Council of the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic, in 1940–1956
  • Supreme Council of Belarus, until 1996 (replaced with the National Assembly of Belarus)
  • Supreme Council of Lithuania, in 1991 changed its name to the Seimas
  • Supreme Council of Moldavia, in 1991 changed its name to the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova
  • Supreme Council of Azerbaijan, in 1991 changed its name to National Assembly of Azerbaijan (Mill Mejlis Azerbaijan)
  • Supreme Council of Ukraine, in 1991 adopted Ukrainian transliterated name Verkhovna Rada (repeating the way previous parliament was named in 1917–1918, Tsentralna Rada)
  • Supreme councils of autonomous republic

    List of known autonomous republics councils

  • Supreme Council of the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, existed in 1938–1994, except for the 1940–1956 when Karelian ASSR was a union republic the Karelo-Finnish SSR
  • Supreme Council of Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, in 1938–1946 and 1991, transitioned to Verkhovna Rada of Autonomous Republic of Crimea (in Ukraine)
  • References

    Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union Wikipedia

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