in the USSR, mass associations of working people created at their own initiative.
Under the Statute on Voluntary Societies and Their Unions (Collected Statutes of the RSFSR, 1932, no. 74, p. 331), voluntary societies and their unions, as organizations of independent civic activity among the working masses in the city and countryside, set as their task active participation in the socialist construction of the USSR, as well as assistance in strengthening the country’s defense. Voluntary societies are established and function according to the principles of strictly voluntary membership, democratic centralism, and guidance by Soviet legislation and by their own statutes. They have the right to nominate candidates for elections to bodies of state authority.
The USSR has an extensive network of voluntary societies. Scientific and scientific-technical voluntary organizations hold lectures in order to deepen knowledge in various branches of science and help discover and utilize reserves in industry, construction, and agriculture. Educational societies, above all the Znanie (Knowledge) society, and the All-Russian Society for the Preservation of Cultural Monuments, do work to raise the political, scientific, and cultural level of the Soviet people. Voluntary societies are also created in order to develop and strengthen cultural ties, friendship, and cooperation between the Soviet people and peoples of other countries; such voluntary societies have been unified into the Union of Soviet Societies of Friendship and Cultural Relations With Foreign Countries. The USSR All-Union Voluntary Society to Aid the Army, Air Force, and Navy (DOSAAF) is a mass voluntary defense organization of working people that helps to strengthen the armed forces.
Red Cross and Red Crescent societies involve broad masses of working people in the task of strengthening health protection in the USSR, and they also provide assistance to persons who have suffered during war or as a result of natural disasters. Voluntary sports societies are very popular. Various voluntary societies of nature lovers and societies of hunters and fishermen have gained wide popularity. Voluntary fire-prevention societies have been organized to recruit the public to participate in fire-prevention measures and to protect socialist property and citizens’ property from fire.
REFERENCESLuk’ianov, A. I., and B. M. Lazarev. Sovetskoe gosudarstvo i obshchestvennye organizatsii. Moscow, 1961.
Kravchenko, V. V. Dobrovol’nye obshchestva v SSSR i ikh pravovoe polozhenie. Moscow, 1964.
lampol’skaia, Ts. A. Obshchestvennye organizatsii i razvitie sovetskoi sotsialisticheskoi gosudarstvennosti. Moscow, 1965.
V. V. KRAVCHENKO