State Control

State Control

 

one of the forms of implementing state authority.

USSR. State control in the USSR in its various organizational forms is exercised by all state bodies. In a broad sense, state control means the control activity performed by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and its Presidium and standing committees, by the supreme soviets of the Union and autonomous republics and their presidiums and standing committees, and by the local soviets, the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the Union and autonomous republics, as well as the control exercised by the ministries and other state bodies. In addition. like other socialist states, the USSR has state bodies whose principal responsibility is control in the name of the state and its interests. The system of these bodies is usually referred to as state control.

The foundation of the entire organization and activity of the socialist state control bodies is the theoretical principles formulated by V. I. Lenin and enriched by the experience of building a socialist state. Lenin ascribed great importance to control, which is necessary and important at all stages of building a socialist state. It permits detailed study of conditions at enterprises and institutions, the disclosure and dissemination of positive experience, and the eradication of deficiencies. Control makes it possible to find employees who are skillful, zealous, and devoted to the cause of socialism, to reveal bureaucratic abuses, and to eliminate needless waste and improve the state mechanism. “Struggle against the mire of bureaucracy and red tape by checking up on people and on the actual work done, merciless expulsion of unnecessary officials, reduction of staff, replacement of Communists who don’t study the art of management seriously—such must be the line ...” declared Lenin (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 44, p. 370). State control makes it possible to check systematically on the execution of the decrees of the central power, to strengthen state discipline and legality, and to study the validity of motives and feasibility of resolutions made by the central state bodies and help improve the practice of devising and adopting them.

In the USSR during the first few days of the Soviet state’s existence—specifically, on Nov. 14 (27). 1917— workers’ control was established as an extremely important factor in promoting the consolidation of Soviet power. In the work Tasks of the Revolution (1917) Lenin demanded the immediate introduction of workers’ control on a national scale (ibid., vol. 34, pp. 229–38). Organizationally, workers’ control consisted of plant or factory committees and councils of senior workers. In major cities, provinces, and industrially well-developed regions local councils of workers’ control were established under the Soviets of Workers’, Soldiers’, and Peasants’ Deputies to coordinate and direct the activities of the workers’ councils at various enterprises. On a national scale the councils of workers’ control were directed by the All-Russian Council of Workers’ Control, which included commissions of inspectors who specialized in individual branches of production. The Central Control Collegium, an accounting control collegium, and local control commissions were established in January 1918. and in July 1918 the Central Control Collegium became the People’s Commissariat for State Control.

The Eighth Congress of the ACP (Bolshevik), which was held in March 1919 adopted a resolution reorganizing state control. In April 1919 the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR adopted the decree On State Control (Collected Statutes of the RSFSR, 1919, no. 12. art. 122). In 1919 the work of state control was complicated by the existence of three systems of control: the People’s Commissariat for State Control of the RSFSR, departmental control bodies, and workers’ control inspections. In February 1920 the People’s Commissariat for State Control was reorganized as the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection (RKI). whose tasks included controlling the activities of all state administrative bodies, agencies of economic administration, and public organizations, fighting against bureaucratic red tape and procrastination, and conducting inspections and investigations on short notice. The RKI also checked up on the implementation of decrees and resolutions of the Soviet government and supervised the observance of laws by administrative bodies. The RKI acted with the rights and status of a people’s commissariat, and it had its own local bodies. In its activity it relied on broadly based active groups of workers, peasants, and specialists.

Of great importance in improving the legal status of the RKI was the decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued on Jan. 9. 1922. under which the RKI was made responsible for control over the accounting and preservation of state property by means of regular examinations of financial estimates, plans for material supplies, contracts and other monetary documents. The RKI was also in charge of making proposals to reduce the state personnel and thus make the machinery of state less expensive, and it was responsible for controlling the receipt and examination of complaints.

State control was further improved by implementing the ideas developed by Lenin in the works Granting Legislative Functions to the State Planning Commission (1922), How We Should Reorganize the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection (1923), and Better Fewer, But Better (1923). In these works, Lenin outlined a plan to combine the two highest organs of control machinery—the party and the state. The tasks of a new control agency—the Central Control Commission-Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection—were outlined by the Twelfth Congress of the party (April 1923) in its resolutions On the Tasks of the RKI and the Central Control Commission and On the Question of Organization. On the basis of these resolutions the Central Control Commission and the People’s Commissariat for the RKI became associated without, however, completely merging. The people’s commissar of the RKI served simultaneously as chairman of the Central Control Commission, and the staff of the Collegium of the People’s Commissariat was drawn basically from the membership of the Presidium of the Central Control Commission.

In 1924 the Union-republic People’s Commissariat for Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection was created, and in 1930 an agency was established to check up on the execution of resolutions of the government of the USSR—the Executive Commission attached to the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR. Headed by the chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, the commission’s staff included the secretary of the Central Committee of the ACP (Bolshevik), the chairman of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, the people’s commissar of the RKI, and the chairman of the Central Board of Kolkhozes.

In 1934 the People’s Commissariat for the RKI was abolished, and its functions and those of the Executive Commission were transferred to the Commission of Soviet Control, which was established in 1934 under the jurisdiction of the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR. The principal duty of the Commission of Soviet Control involved checking up on the execution of the most important government decrees by all units of the state, including the central and local economic administrative bodies. In 1940 the Commission of Soviet Control was reorganized as the Union-republic People’s Commissariat for State Control. (Since 1946 it has been a ministry.) Later, the ministries of state control were reorganized as Commissions of State Control of the USSR and the Union republics.

Between 1962 and 1965 committees of party and state control functioned in the USSR, exercising control over the activities of party and state bodies. The December 1965 Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU decreed the abolition of the bodies of party-state control and the formation of the people’s control as the body of state control.

Foreign socialist countries. The structure of state control in foreign socialist countries has been influenced by the experience of the USSR and the characteristic development of the state system in the given country. However, there are certain differences in the organizational structure and legal status of state control in various countries. Thus, in Poland, state control is directed by the Supreme Control Board, which is subordinate to the Sejm. In the województwa (provinces) the local agencies of the board are called delegations. In Hungary the system of bodies of state control includes the Central Commission of People’s Control, which operates under the direction of the government, and municipal and regional commissions of people’s control.

In Bulgaria, state control is exercised by a separate system of bodies under the Committee on State Control. Bulgarian districts have state control inspection boards, and enterprises, organizations, cooperatives, and institutions have commissions of people’s control. In the German Democratic Republic the system of state control agencies under the Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection Committee is structured partly on the branch principle, with inspections in the leading branches of the national economy, and partly on the production principle, with commissions at enterprises, institutions, and institutes. In Czechoslovakia the Central Commission of People’s Control is elected by the National Assembly.

Prerevolutionary Russia. The first information about state control bodies dates to the second half of the 17th century (the Accounting Office and the Bureau of Secret Affairs). Some of the collegiums established by Peter I (for example, the Auditing Collegium) had more clearly defined jurisdiction in matters of control. State control was organized as an independent department in 1811 in the form of the Chief Administration for Auditing State Accounts, whose tasks included supervision of the correctness of the acquisition of state incomes and the legality of expenditures. In 1862 sequential documentary control was introduced, and the Department of State Control was granted the right to inspect the account books and make other audits. At the beginning of the 20th century and prior to World War I (1914–18) the system of state control in Russia, which was directed by a state controller with ministerial rank, included central auditing institutions and their local bodies—control boards in the provinces and special institutions of state control at the construction sites of fortifications, railroads, and other projects that were being financed by the state treasury. State control was established at the sites of privately financed construction projects when the state guaranteed the private capital investments. The state control system of tsarist Russia included field control, which functioned during wartime to verify that state funds allocated for military purposes were properly used. Provincial control boards audited monetary and property transactions that were carried out at the expense of the treasury by provincial, district, and volost (small rural district) administrative bodies.

Contemporary bourgeois states. The forms of implementing state control in present-day bourgeois states are varied. With the deepening crisis of parliamentarianism, there has been a universal decline in the importance of the traditional parliamentary methods of control, including the right of inquiry by deputies and parliamentary investigations. In addition, the role of the public courts has decreased in deciding conflicts connected with the activity of state bodies as well as in considering complaints against the actions of responsible persons in the administrative bodies. The growing complexity of administrative problems under state monopoly capitalism has been accompanied by a strengthening of the control functions of the central machinery of the ministries and departments as well as by the appearance of new, superdepartmental agencies of state control. Thus, extraparliamentary institutions that act in the name of parliament, such as the so-called omsbudsman, have become widespread in many countries. The number of bodies of administrative justice involved in control activity has increased, and they have come to play a more important role in control. The ministries of finance in all the bourgeois states have broad rights of control. However, each country has developed its own system of state control.

In Great Britain, control over the distribution of state budget funds among various departments and the use of these funds is exercised by the department of the comptroller and the auditor-general and by the Ministry of Finance. The comptroller and auditor-general is appointed by the government (formally by the king or queen) and may be replaced only on the basis of a joint resolution of both houses of Parliament. In 1967 the office of parliamentary commissioner was established especially to reveal instances of “poor administration.” This office has full power to examine complaints about the activities of most of the central administrative bodies, and the results of its investigations are reported to Parliament. With certain exceptions, control over the activity of municipal administrative bodies is exercised by the Ministry of Local Government and Development. A special department headed by the prime minister controls the work of civil servants in all ministries and departments. A number of ministries exercise specialized, interdepartmental control. For example, the Home Office controls interdepartmental measures for civil defense and inspects fire-fighting measures, and the Ministry of State, Department of Health and Social Security conducts inspections of facilities related to public health and sanitation.

In the USA state control is exercised by bodies in the executive branch of government under the president, including White House agencies, the Office of Management and the Budget (established in 1970 on the basis of the Bureau of the Budget), the Office of Special Programs, and the Office of Science and Technology. The US Supreme Court exercises constitutional control, and congressional committees also have control functions. Operating as a special body of financial control is the General Accounting Office, headed by a comptroller-general, who is appointed by the president to a 15-year term and may be replaced only by a resolution of both houses of Congress. Many branch departments are responsible for exercising interdepartmental control, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the Office of Internal Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Civil Service Commission, and the Department of Labor.

In France a number of bodies exercise state control. The Accounting Office controls the execution of its own functions and supervises the financial discipline of all central and local state administrative bodies. The reports of the Accounting Office are sent to the president of France, and its decisions may be appealed only to the State Council. By means of financial inspectors, the Ministry of Finance controls the implementation of the budget by state agencies, as well as their accounts. In the prefectures, prefects exercise control over the legality and efficacy or administrative activities related to health care, social insurance, and road construction and maintenance. Control over state industrial enterprises is exercised by the State Board for Checking Property Holdings of Enterprises, which is subordinate to the Accounting Office. The annual accounts of the State Board are submitted to the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers, and the Accounting Office. State enterprises have permanent state commissioners, and large-scale enterprises have one or two comptrollers who keep track of the management’s proper use of property and funds. There are also specialized state control bodies in France, including boards of inspection of social insurance, education, bridges and roads, forests and bodies of water, and mines, which exercise control over the state and private sectors.

In the Scandinavian countries and Finland so-called procurators exercise state control. For example, in Sweden, procurators who are elected by parliament to four-year terms exercise control over the execution of laws by executive and judicial bodies. The procurators carry out their responsibilities by examining citizens’ complaints against the administration and by regular investigations of the execution of laws and other parliamentary resolutions by administrative bodies. Finland, Denmark, and Norway have analogous state control machinery. Their parliaments elect commissioners who exercise control in the name of parliament over the execution of laws by state bodies. These states also have other state control bodies. In addition, the Swedish parliament has finance and tax commissions that control implementation of the budget and supervise tax laws and customs collections.

REFERENCES

Lenin. V. I. Poln. sobr. soch. 5th ed., vol. 45, pp. 349–54, 383–406.
KPSS v rezoliulsiiakh i resheniiakh s”ezdov, konferentsii i plenumov TsK. 8th ed. Moscow. 1970. Vol. 2. pp. 444–49; vol. 3. pp. 253–60.
Dorokhova. G. A. Raboche-kresl’ianskaia inspektsiia v 1920–1923 gg. Moscow, 1959.
Ikonnikov. S. N. Organizatsiia i deiatel’nost’ RKI v 1920–1925 gg. Moscow, I960.
Lunev. A. F,. Gosudarstvennyi kontrol’ v SSSR. Moscow. 1951.
Morozov. L. F.. and V. P. Portnov. Organy TsKK-NK RKI v bor be za sovershenstvovanie sovetskogo gosudarstvennogo apparata (1923–1934 gg.). Moscow. 1964.
Narodnyi kontrol’ v SSSR. Moscow. 1967.
Narodnyi kontroler: Spravochnik. Edited by S. P. Mezentsev. Moscow, 1970.
Istoriia sovetskogo gosudarstva i prava, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1968.

A. E. LUNEV

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