in socialist states one of the manifestations of direct democracy; in particular, a form of participation by citizens in creating laws.
As distinct from a national referendum, a national discussion is not a form of ratifying a law or deciding a problem, but rather has a consultative character. The remarks, desires, and suggestions concerning a published legislative bill, as expressed by citizens during the course of a national discussion, are taken into consideration by the legislative organs for the purpose of improving the legislation. In the USSR the practice of conducting national discussions is being developed more and more as one of the ways of improving socialist democracy and of drawing Soviet citizens into the law-making activity of the state.
A widespread national discussion was carried out in the USSR, for example, in 1956 over bills on the state pension, in 1968 on the draft of the Principles of Land Legislation, and in 1970 on the draft of the Principles of Water Legislation.
REFERENCEKotok, V. F. Referendum v sisteme sotsialisticheskoi demokratii. Moscow, 1964.
V. V. KRAVCHENKO