State Service

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

State Service


a type of work consisting in the practical execution of state functions by workers in the state apparatus who hold posts in state institutions as a result of elections or competitive examinations or by appointment and whose work is remunerated by the state. As an administrative and legal institution the state service is based on a complex of legal norms that determine the legal position of the employees, the conditions and procedures governing their service, their responsibilities as state employees, and the forms of their remuneration.

In the USSR, where the old state machinery was abolished as a result of the Great October Socialist Revolution, there are no privileged officials or state bureaucrats forming a special caste placed above the people and ruling over them. By a decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VTsIK) of Nov. 10 (23), 1917, the various estates and civil ranks were abolished. In 1918 an annual leave of equal duration was established for state employees and workers alike; state employees were placed on the same level as all other workers with regard to social-security benefits and the length of the workday; and all were subject to the same labor legislation. The Soviet state confirmed by legislation the right of every citizen to lodge a complaint against the irregular conduct of any state employee.

The basic function of the Soviet state service is to organize the implementation of Soviet laws and decisions of the Soviets of workers’ deputies and the carrying out of the tasks and functions of the Soviet state, as well as the creative and scientific working out of problems of state administration. Soviet state employees carry out their work on behalf of the state, which in certain cases confers on some of them certain powers, for example, the right of hiring and dismissal. Their actions give rise to legal consequences or to the conditions necessary for such consequences. The state service (including the procedure and conditions for assuming a post, payment for work, and dismissal) is governed by a single set of labor regulations for all workers and employees. These regulations consist of the Principles of Labor Legislation, the codes of labor laws (KZoT) of the Union republics, and administrative enactments, that is, specific regulations concerning state administrative organs, official instructions, and other legal acts defining the official duties and rights of state employees as well as certain aspects of their legal position, such as the requirement that they must in certain cases receive special training and the ineligibility of close relatives to serve in a post of equal or subordinate rank.

According to their functions, workers in the state apparatus are divided into those state employees who are vested with full authority, such as the right to issue orders, to hire, and to manage state property, and those state employees who perform auxiliary and special services necessary for accomplishing the tasks of a given state organ. Accordingly, a distinction is made between, on the one hand, officials and representatives of the authorities and, on the other hand, specialists or functionaries, such as engineers, economists, and physicians, and auxiliary personnel.

The program of the CPSU for 1961 provides for the further democratization of the state service, obliging all workers in leadership positions to submit to election and to be accountable to representative bodies and electors. The program also envisages the periodic replacement and systematic renewal of the staffs of directing bodies.

In bourgeois states, the state service is one of the oldest social institutions, in which strict classifications, hierarchic rules, and traditions have developed. Instead of “state service” the term “civil service” is used in Great Britain and the USA and “public service” in France, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Japan. Each country has its established classification of state employees, laid down by regulations. As a result there is always a sharp distinction between the higher and the lower ranks of employees in such matters as salaries and privileges. Usually there are three or four groups (classes) of employees; thus in Great Britain there is the administrative class, the executive class, the clerical class and the service personnel, and in France there is the upper, the first, and the second class, each of which is subdivided into seven or eight grades. Educational qualifications for each group have been established.


Manokhin, V. M. Sovetskaia gosudarstvennaia sluzhba. Moscow, 1966.
Administrativnoe pravo. Moscow, 1970. Pages 85–95, 148–59.


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