Extraordinary Eighth Congress of Soviets of the USSR

Extraordinary Eighth Congress of Soviets of the USSR

 

a congress held in Moscow from Nov. 25 to Dec. 5, 1936. The congress was attended by 2,016 voting delegates, 42 percent of whom were industrial workers, 40 percent, peasants, and 18 percent, nonindustrial workers. Communist Party members made up 72 percent of the delegates, and 63 nationalities were represented.

The congress was convened to consider and ratify a draft of the new constitution of the USSR. The draft was submitted by the Constitutional Commission of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR, which had been elected on Feb. 6,1935, on the basis of a resolution of the Seventh Congress of Soviets of the USSR. After being approved by the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR on June 11, 1936, the draft had been published for national discussion, which had lasted five months.

In a report given at the congress, J. V. Stalin presented an analysis of the radical changes that had occurred in the sociopolitical life of the country between 1924, when the first constitution of the USSR was adopted, and 1936. He declared that the complete dominance of the socialist economic system had been established (by 1937 the instruments and means of production under socialist ownership constituted 98 percent of the country’s production assets). The exploitation of man by man had been eliminated, he asserted, since massive collectivization had done away with the kulaks, the last remaining exploiting class. Thus, the class structure of society had changed. Moreover, the social nature of the working class, of the peasantry, and of the intelligentsia had taken a new form, and sociopolitical and ideological unity of the Soviet people had been achieved. Stalin asserted that the strengthened friendship among the peoples of the USSR signified the unquestionable victory of the Leninist nationalities policy. All of these changes were reflected in the draft of the new constitution.

After approving and adopting the draft as the basis for a final text, the congress set up the Editorial Commission, which consisted of 220 members and was chaired by Stalin. The Commission was formed to study the corrections and additions that had been introduced both in the course of the national discussion and at the congress itself. On Dec. 5,1936, the congress unanimously ratified the final text submitted by the Editorial Commission. The constitution remained in effect until a new one was adopted in 1977.

REFERENCES

Chrezvychainyi VIII Vsesoiuznyi s”ezd Sovetov: Stenografich. otchet. Moscow, 1936.
S”ezdy Sovetov Soiuza SSR, soiuznykh i avtonomnykh Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik: Sb. dokumentov, vol. 3. Moscow, 1960.
Voskhodov, I. S”ezdpobedivshego sotsializma. Moscow, 1937.
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