Congress of Soviets

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Congress of Soviets

 

from 1917 (after the October Revolution) to 1936, a local or central organ of power of the Soviet state. Congresses of soviets met at all levels—from congresses in the raions (until 1930, uezdy), oblasts (until 1924–29, gubernii), krais, and autonomous and Union republics to the All-Union Congress of Soviets (see alsoALL-RUSSIAN CONGRESS OF SOVIETS).

The congresses of soviets were elected indirectly, in open balloting. Only the deputies to the city and village soviets were elected directly; here, the elections were held at meetings convened on the basis of territorial and production principles. The raion (uezd) congresses of soviets were made up of representatives of the city and village soviets within a given raion (uezd). Oblast, gubernia, and republic congresses and the All-Union Congress of Soviets were made up of representatives of the congresses of soviets at lower levels; specifically, oblast (gubernia), krai, and autonomous republic congresses of soviets were made up of delegates elected at congresses of raion soviets. Legislation also provided for the direct delegation of representatives from nonurban factories and plants to raion, oblast (gubernia), and krai congresses of soviets. Union republic congresses of soviets were made up of representatives from oblast (gubernia) and krai congresses of soviets; in republics not divided into oblasts or gubernii, the Union republic congresses of soviets were made up of representatives of the raion congresses of soviets.

The congresses of soviets reviewed and decided questions of governmental, economic, and cultural development. The all-Union and republic congresses of soviets made very important decisions on the reports of the government and on questions pertaining to constitution, economic and cultural development, defense, and foreign policy. Pursuant to the Constitution of the USSR of 1936, the congresses of soviets were replaced by a single system of soviets of working people’s deputies, elected directly by the people. These were replaced, according to the Constitution of the USSR of 1977, by soviets of people’s deputies.

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