one of the sources of law. The normative act is issued by a competent body and establishes, amends, or abolishes rules of law. The precepts of the normative act are usually general and are aimed at regulating particular types of social relations. The Constitution of the USSR gives the right to issue normative acts to a strictly defined group of bodies and also establishes the form in which the various normative acts are to be issued.
The Supreme Soviet of the USSR and the supreme soviets of the Union and autonomous republics adopt normative acts in the form of laws. The acts of all other bodies are subordinate, that is, they must fully conform to the laws. The presidiums of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and of the supreme soviets of the Union and autonomous republics issue edicts (ukazy); the councils of ministers of the USSR and of the Union and autonomous republics issue decrees (postanovleniia) and regulations (rasporiazheniia); the ministers of the USSR and of the Union and autonomous republics and the chairmen of state committees issue orders (prikazy) and instructions (instruktsii); and local soviets and their executive committees issue decisions (resheniia) and regulations (rasporiazheniia). The normative acts of the USSR constitute a single system based on the principle of mandatory conformity between the acts of lower-ranking bodies and those of higher-ranking bodies.