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Presidium of the Supreme Soviet
The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was elected by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR at a joint session of both chambers at the first session of each following convocation. The deputies of the Presidium were appointed for the duration of the term of office of the Supreme Soviet. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR consisted of a chairman, his 15 deputies (one from each republic of the Soviet Union), a secretary, and 20 members. The Presidium was accountable to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR for all its activities.
According to the Constitution of the USSR, the basic powers of Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR were:
- dissolution of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on the basis of Article №47 of the Constitution of the USSR and setting new elections: carrying out a national referendum on its own initiative or at the request of one of the republics of the Union;
- abrogation of decrees, issued by the Council of Ministers of the USSR and Council of Ministers of the republics of the Union in case there is a discrepancy with the law;
- relieving Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR of his post and appointing Ministers of the USSR (between sessions of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR) with the subsequent submittal for the Supreme Sovietís approval;
- establishment of honorary titles of the USSR and their assignment;
- realization of the right to pardon;
- appointment and dismissal of the highest command of the Soviet Armed Forces;
- declaration of war in case of an attack on the USSR or in case when it was necessary to implement obligations of international mutual defense treaties;
- ratification and denouncement of international treaties, signed by the USSR;
- representation of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (between its sessions) in its relations with parliaments of foreign countries;
- appointment and dismissal of Soviet plenipotentiaries in foreign countries;
- receiving of letters of credence and letters of recall from foreign diplomatic representatives, accredited in the USSR;
- declaration of the martial law in a given region or across the USSR in the interest of defending the USSR or preserving public order and state security.
There were also presidiums of the Supreme Soviets in the republics of the Union and autonomous republics; their functions were defined by constitutions of corresponding republics.
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