Public and Social Organizations

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Public and Social Organizations


in the USSR and other socialist countries, associations of citizens, organized according to the principles of self-administration, organizational independence, and democratic centralism. Their goals correspond to the legitimate interests and rights of their members, and their activities are aimed at realizing these goals and resolving problems confronting society as a whole. Membership in public and social organizations is voluntary.

Public and social organizations are an integral part of the political organization of society, which also includes the system of representative bodies and the state administrative agencies subordinate to them; various community organizations, such as house committees, parents’ committees, and library councils; and the organs of mass social movements, for example, peace committees. In the course of their work public and social organizations interact with all these other agencies and organizations.

The constitutions of all the socialist states grant citizens the right to unite in public and social organizations. In accordance with the goals of communist construction, the Constitution of the USSR (art. 51) grants citizens the right to unite in public and social organizations that help develop their political activity and initiative and that serve to satisfy their various interests. The social organization of the most active and aware citizens of the USSR—the Communist Party of the Soviet Union—is the guiding and directing force of Soviet society, the core of its political system, state, and public and social organizations (art. 6 of the Constitution). Public and social organizations include trade unions, cooperative societies, youth organizations, sports and defense organizations, and technical and scientific societies. In accordance with their statutes, trade unions, the Komsomol, cooperative and other social organizations participate in the administration of state and public affairs and in the resolution of political, economic, social, and cultural problems. Favorable conditions for social organizations to carry out their proclaimed tasks are guaranteed by law. In the USSR social organizations have the right to nominate candidates for the soviets of people’s deputies, to participate in forming election commissions for elections to soviets, to take part in the law-making activities of state agencies, and to have their own representatives in a number of collegiate state administrative agencies. They may also carry out certain functions of state agencies, either jointly with the agencies or independently if such functions have been delegated to them by the agencies. Through social organizations the broad masses of workers are brought into the administration of the affairs of society and the state.

The growing role of public and social organizations is an important aspect of the present development of the Soviet socialist system. It manifests itself in the broader range and growing complexity of the problems confronting social organizations, in the development and improvement of the system of social organizations (the founding of new organizations and the expansion of existing organizations), in the growing membership of social organizations, in the improvements in the forms and methods of their operation, and in the strengthening of their material base.


Iampol’skaia, Ts. A. Obshchestvennye organizatsii i razvitie sovetskoi sotsialisticheskoi gosudarstvennosti. Moscow, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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