Rights, Freedoms, and Duties of the Citizens of the USSR

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rights, Freedoms, and Duties of the Citizens of the USSR


rights, freedoms, and duties proclaimed and guaranteed by the Constitution of the USSR and by Soviet laws.

The fundamental rights, freedoms, and duties of the citizens of the USSR, which define the legal position of the individual in Soviet society, are secured by the constitution. The fundamental socioeconomic rights are the right to work, to rest, and to health care, as well as to maintenance in old age and in the event of illness, complete or partial disability, or loss of the breadwinner. Other fundamental rights are the right to housing, education, and the enjoyment of cultural benefits; freedom of scientific, technical, and artistic work; and the right to personal property and inheritance of such property. In accordance with the interests of the people and in the service of strengthening and developing the socialist system, the citizens of the USSR are guaranteed political freedoms—freedom of speech, the press, assembly, meetings, street processions, and demonstrations. They are granted political rights—the right to participate in the administration of state and public affairs, to make proposals to state and public organizations concerning ways to improve their activity, to criticize shortcomings on the job, to associate in public organizations, and to vote.

Personal rights and freedoms include the inviolability of the individual and of the home, freedom of conscience, the right to legal defense, and the right to lodge complaints concerning the actions of officials and state and public organs (complaints must be reviewed under the procedures and in the time span established by law). The personal lives of citizens and privacy of correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraph communications are protected by law. The family is under the protection of the state. These rights are granted to all citizens regardless of origin, social or property status, race or nationality, sex, education, language, attitude to religion, type and nature of occupation, domicile, or other status. Women and men have equal rights.

Under the Constitution of the USSR, the realization of rights and freedoms is inseparable from the citizen’s performance of his duties. The constitution lays upon Soviet citizens the duty to abide by the constitution and to observe Soviet laws, to respect the rules of socialist society, to bear with dignity the lofty title of citizen of the USSR, to work conscientiously in a chosen area of socially useful activity, to observe work discipline, and to care about the upbringing of their children. The citizens of the USSR are obligated to safeguard and fortify socialist property, to protect nature and conserve its riches, to work for the preservation of historical monuments and cultural values, to respect the rights and lawful interests of other persons, to be uncompromising toward antisocial behavior, to contribute to the maintenance of public order in every way possible, to respect the national dignity of other citizens, and to strengthen the friendship of the nations and nationalities of the Soviet multinational state.

The citizens of the USSR are also obligated to safeguard the interests of the Soviet state and to enhance its power and authority. The defense of the socialist fatherland is the sacred duty of every Soviet citizen; treason to the homeland is the gravest of crimes against the people. Military service in the ranks of the armed forces of the USSR is the honorable duty of Soviet citizens. Under the Law of Universal Military Obligation of the USSR, all male citizens of the USSR are obligated to perform active military service in the ranks of the armed forces of the USSR.

It is the internationalist duty of the citizen of the USSR to promote friendship and cooperation with the peoples of other countries and to help maintain and strengthen world peace.

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