First Congress of Soviets of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

First Congress of Soviets of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

 

a congress of soviets of workers’, peasants’, and Red Army deputies that proclaimed the formation of the world’s first multinational socialist state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The congress was held in Moscow on Dec. 30, 1922, and numbered 2,215 delegates, including 1,727 from the RSFSR, 364 from the Ukrainian SSR, 91 from the Transcaucasian SFSR, and 33 from the Byelorussian SSR. In terms of social composition, 44.4 percent of the delegates were workers; 26.8 percent, peasants; and 28.8 percent, intellectuals and clerical and professional employees. Members and candidate members of the RCP (Bolshevik) constituted 94.1 percent of the delegates; 0.2 percent were members of other parties, such as the Jewish Social Democrat party, federalists of the Caucasus (left socialists), or anarchists; and 5.7 percent had no party affiliation. The agenda included (1) consideration of the Declaration on the Establishment of the USSR; (2) consideration of the Treaty on the Establishment of the USSR, with J. V. Stalin as speaker; and (3) elections to the Central Executive Committee of the USSR.

Closer unification of the Soviet national republics was dictated by objective economic and political considerations and conditioned by the tasks of reorganizing society along socialist lines and protecting revolutionary gains. The political, military, economic, and diplomatic alliance of Soviet republics that had developed in the first few years after the October Revolution needed to be reinforced through unification on the state level.

The Communist Party took the lead in creating the USSR. V. I. Lenin drafted a plan to create a single state in the form of a voluntary union of republics having equal rights. The basis for such a union was Soviet power. On Oct. 6, 1922, in support of Lenin’s initiative, the plenum of the Central Committee of the RCP (Bolshevik) acknowledged the necessity of “concluding an agreement between the Ukraine, Byelorussia, the federation of Transcaucasian republics, and the RSFSR concerning their unification into a single ‘Union of Socialist Soviet Republics’” (KPSS v rezoliutsiakh, 8th ed., vol. 2, 1970, p. 401). A commission with representatives from the republics was established to lay the constitutional foundations for the USSR. The Central Committee plenums of the Communist parties of the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia, held between October and December 1922, approved Lenin’s idea of unifying the Soviet republics into a single state. The Seventh All-Ukrainian, Fourth All-Byelorussian, First Transcaucasian, and Tenth All-Russian Congresses of Soviets, held in December of that year, supported unification of the Soviet republics and elected authorized delegations to the First All-Union Congress of Soviets. On December 29 a conference of the authorized delegations discussed the agenda for the congress and approved a draft declaration and draft treaty on the establishment of the USSR.

The delegates elected Lenin honorary chairman and sent him greetings; Lenin, the leader of the Communist Party, was unable to attend the congress because of illness. M. I. Kalinin was elected chairman. The congress unanimously approved the essence of the declaration and treaty on the establishment of the USSR, and Moscow was declared the capital of the Soviet Union. The newly elected Central Executive Committee of the USSR consisted of 371 members and 138 candidate members from all the constituent republics. It was instructed to draw up the final texts of the declaration and treaty of union and to submit them to the Second Congress of Soviets of the USSR for ratification.

On Dec. 30, 1922, the first session of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR elected a presidium consisting of 19 full members and 13 candidate members. Kalinin was elected chairman of the Central Executive Committee for the RSFSR; G. I. Petrovskii, chairman for the Ukrainian SSR; N. N. Narimanov, chairman for the Transcaucasian SFSR; and A. G. Cherviakov, chairman for the Byelorussian SSR. A. S. Enukidze was elected secretary of the Central Executive Committee.

REFERENCES

Lenin, V. I. “K voprosu o natsional’nostiakh ili ob ‘avtonomizatsii.’” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 45.
Is”ezd Sovetov SSSR: Stenografich. otchet. Moscow, 1922.
S”ezdy Sovetov Soiuza SSR, soiuznykh i avtonomnykh Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik: Sb. dokumentov, vol. 3. Moscow, 1960.
Istoriia KPSS, vol. 4, book 1. Moscow, 1970. Pages 196–210.
Iakubovskaia, S. I. Razvitie SSSR kak soiuznogo gosudarstva: 1922–1936 gg. Moscow, 1972.
50 let obrazovaniia Soiuza Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik: Sovmestnoe torzhestvennoe zasedanie TsK KPSS, Verkhovnogo Soveta SSSR, Verkhovnogo Soveta RSFSR, 21–22 dekabria 1972: Stenografich. otchet. Moscow, 1973.

G. D. KOMKOV

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