Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Supreme Soviet (Верховный Совет, Verhovniy Sovet, literally the "Supreme Council") comprised the highest legislative body in the Soviet Union in the interim of the sessions of the Congress of Soviets, and the only one with the power to pass constitutional amendments. It elected the Presidium, formed the Supreme Court , and appointed the Procurator General of the USSR. Before the 1936 Soviet Constitution it was known as the Congress of Soviets (Центральный Исполнительный Комитет, or ЦИК). Its prototype (before the creation of the Soviet Union) was All-Russian Central Executive Committee (Всероссийский Центральный Исполнительный Комитет or ВЦИК), whose full name at a certain time was All-Russian Central Executive Committee of Workers', Peasants', Red Army, and Cossack Deputies (Всероссийский Центральный Исполнительный Комитет Советов рабочих, крестьянских, красноармейских и казачьих депутатов).
The Supreme Soviet was made up of two chambers, each with equal legislative powers, with members elected for five-year terms:
- the Soviet of the Union, elected on the basis of population with one deputy for every 300,000 people in the Soviet federation
- the Soviet of Nationalities, supposed to represent the ethnic populations, with members elected on the basis of 25 deputies from each union republic, 11 from each autonomous republic, five from each autonomous region, and one from each autonomous oblast.
In 1989 there were 750 members in each chamber. The Supreme Soviet met regularly twice a year but it could be called into extraordinary session. The Presidium carried out the day-to-day operations of the Supreme Soviet when it was not in session.
Each republic of the Soviet Union also had its own Supreme Soviet, a one-chamber legislature functioning along similar lines.
The Supreme Soviet officially dissolved the USSR and itself on December 26, 1991. After the dissolution of USSR, the Supreme Soviets of republics of the Soviet Union became the legislatures of independent countries. The Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR and the Congress of People's Deputies of the Russian SFSR were the legislature of Russia until being dissolved during the 1993 constitutional crisis.
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