The Constitution of the USSR in 1936
In the area of Soviet state building and law in the period under review, the adoption in 1936 of a new Constitution of the USSR, which completed a large stage of state construction, should be noted above all. The main thing in drafting the project was to bring the Constitution into line with the new social and economic reality and to consolidate the principle of equal political rights for all citizens.In the fall of 1935, the CEC of the USSR established a Constitutional Commission chaired by IV Stalin, Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b), and 12 subcommissions. The Draft Constitution was published on June 12, 1936 and was discussed for six months at all levels - from meetings of workers at enterprises to republican congresses of Soviets. More than half of the adult population participated in the discussion, the commission received 154 thousand proposals, amendments, additions.
The extraordinary VIII Congress of Soviets of the USSR on November 25, 1936, began the consideration of the project. The Editorial Commission adopted 47 amendments and additions to more than 30 articles. Important additions concerned the Council of Nationalities and were related to direct elections and equal to the Council of the Union by the number of deputies. The draft Constitution of the USSR on December 5, 1936, by article-by-article voting, and then as a whole was unanimously approved by the congress.
The Constitution renamed the Soviets of Workers ', Peasants' and Red Army Deputies to the Soviets of Working People's Deputies and abolished the restrictions on electoral law for persons who exploited other people's labor in the past.
The Constitution of the USSR in 1936 did not contain program provisions. It consisted of 13 chapters, including 146 articles. In Ch. I affirmed the existence in the USSR of two friendly classes: workers and peasants. The political basis of the USSR was the Soviets of Working People's Deputies, and the economic system was the socialist system of economy and socialist ownership of the tools and means of production. The Constitution provided for two forms of socialist property - state (public property) and collective-farm cooperative. The earth, its subsoil, water, forests, factories, factories, mines, mines, rail, water and air transport, banks, communications, state-organized large agricultural enterprises (state farms, MTS, etc.), as well as utilities and The basic housing stock in cities was state property, i.e. public property. The property of collective farms and cooperative organizations comprised public enterprises in collective farms and cooperative organizations with their living and dead implements, collective farm products and cooperative organizations, public buildings. The land was assigned to collective farms for free and unlimited use, i.e. forever.
Each collective farm yard, except for the main income from the collective farming community, had a personal plot of land in personal use and personal property - subsidiary farming on a private plot, a dwelling house, productive livestock, a poultry and small farm implements. A small private farming of individual peasants and handicraftsmen was allowed, based on personal labor and excluding the exploitation of others' labor.
The Constitution guaranteed the legal protection of the personal property of citizens of the USSR, acquired for labor incomes and savings (a dwelling house and subsidiary household, household and household items, personal consumption), as well as the right to inherit personal property. The provision was approved that the economic life of the country is regulated by the national economic plan. The Constitution enshrined the principle of labor and distribution: "From each - according to ability, to each - according to work". Unemployment in the USSR was officially eliminated in the early 1930s. by the time the Constitution was drafted.
In Ch. II Constitution "Public institution" enshrined the principles of federalism, the voluntary association of equal union republics, delimited the competence of the Union and the Union republics. The Soviet Union was subject to international relations and foreign trade, issues of war and peace; adoption of new republics in the USSR; control over the implementation of the Constitution of the USSR; approval of changes in the borders between the union republics; approval of the formation of new territories, regions and autonomous republics within the Union republics; the organization of the defense of the USSR and the leadership of all the armed forces of the USSR; state security; economic planning of the USSR, approval of the unified state budget of the USSR, as well as taxes and revenues received for the education of all budgets: management of banks, monetary and credit system, institutions and enterprises of all-Union significance, transport and communications; establishment of the basic principles of land use, education and health; legislation on labor, judicial system and legal proceedings, union citizenship, marriage and family, Criminal and Civil Codes; the publication of all-Union acts on amnesty. Thus, there was a growing tendency to expand the rights of the Union.
The Union republics had their own constitution, corresponding to the Constitution of the USSR. Each republic retained the right to freely withdraw from the USSR, the territory of the Union republics could not be changed without their consent. The Constitution enshrined the priority of Union laws over the laws of the Union republics. A single union citizenship was established, every citizen of a union republic was a citizen of the USSR.
In Ch. III-VIII, the system of government and administration was considered. The principle of supremacy of representative bodies of state power, which formed accountable and controlled bodies of government, was affirmed. The supreme authority in the USSR was the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, exclusively exercising legislative power. Laws were considered accepted if received in both houses a simple majority of votes. The Council of the Union was elected by the norm - one deputy from 300 thousand of the population. The Council of Nationalities was elected at the rate of 25 deputies from each union republic, two from the autonomous republic, five from the autonomous region and one deputy from the national district. The Constitution established the sessional procedure for the work of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR: two sessions a year, not including extraordinary ones.
The highest authority in the period between the sessions of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR was the Presidium accountable to it, elected at a joint meeting of both chambers. The Presidium gave an interpretation of the laws of the USSR, issued decrees, conducted a referendum on its own initiative or at the request of one of the Union republics; abolished the decisions of the SI to the USSR and SNK of the Union republics in case of their inconsistency with the law; in the period between sessions of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, dismissed and appointed the People's Commissars of the USSR with subsequent approval by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR; awarded orders and appropriated honorary titles of the USSR; exercised the right of pardon; appointed and replaced by the high command of the Armed Forces of the USSR; in the period between sessions of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR declared the state of war, general and partial mobilization; ratified international treaties; appointed and withdrew authorized representatives of the USSR in foreign states.
The government of the USSR (SNK), formed by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, was the highest executive and administrative body of state power. It united and directed the work of eight All-Union People's Commissariats (defense, foreign affairs, foreign trade, communications, communications, water transport, heavy and defense industries) and 10 union-republican People's Commissariats (food, light, forestry, agriculture, grain and livestock sovkhozes , finance, internal affairs, internal commerce, justice and health).
Similarly to the highest bodies of power and government of the USSR, a system of higher bodies of power and government of the Union and autonomous republics was built. The local organs of state power were the Soviets of Working People's Deputies, elected for a period of two years. The executive and administrative bodies of the Soviets were the executive committees elected by them, accountable both to the Council that elected them and to the executive body of the higher Council.
In Ch. IX Constitution "Court and Prosecutor's Office"; it was determined that justice in the USSR is exercised by the Supreme Court of the USSR, the supreme courts of the Union republics, regional and regional courts, courts of autonomous republics and autonomous regions, district courts, special courts of the USSR created by the decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, people's courts.
People's courts were elected by citizens of the district for a period of three years. All other parts of the judicial system were elected by the relevant Soviets for a period of five years. The Constitution enshrined important principles: the independence of judges and their subordination only to the law, the consideration of cases in all courts with the participation of lay judges (except cases specifically provided for by law), open proceedings, because there are no exceptions to the law, securing the defendant's right to defense, language of a union or autonomous republic or autonomous region, with the provision for persons who do not know this language, full familiarization with the case materials through an interpreter, as well as the right to to step into the court in their native language.
The Constitution imposed on the Supreme Prosecutor of the USSR the supreme supervision over the exact implementation of laws by the people's commissariats and institutions, officials and citizens. The republican, regional, regional prosecutors, as well as prosecutors of the autonomous republics and autonomous regions, were appointed by the Prosecutor of the USSR for a period of five years. District, district and city prosecutors were appointed prosecutors of union republics with the approval of the Prosecutor of the USSR for a period of five years. The prosecutor's offices were independent of any local bodies and were subordinate only to the Prosecutor of the USSR. In practice, during the period under review, the organs of the NKVD were virtually removed from the control of the prosecutor's offices.
In Ch. X fixed the basic rights and freedoms of citizens of the USSR. In particular, for the first time at the all-Union level, the rights of Soviet citizens to work, rest, material security in old age, the right to education, and the provision of equal rights to men in all spheres of economic, state, cultural and socio-political life were enshrined in the USSR. The Constitution of the USSR for the first time enshrined the principle of equal rights of citizens regardless of their race and nationality and established responsibility for direct or indirect restriction of rights or, conversely, the establishment of direct or indirect advantages for citizens, depending on their race or nationality, for any preaching of racial or national exclusiveness.
The range of political rights of the citizens of the USSR was also very wide. The Constitution resolutely broke with the previous practice of holding non-general, indirect and unequal elections of representative bodies. Simultaneously, "in accordance with the interests of the working people and in order to strengthen the socialist system" citizens were guaranteed freedom of speech, press, meetings and rallies, street processions and demonstrations, the right to unite in public organizations.Under the influence of the USSR Constitution, the United Nations in 1948 adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reflected most of the constitutional rights and freedoms granted to citizens of the USSR.
In Art. 126 of the Constitution of the USSR in 1936 established the leading role of the CPSU (b), representing the "leading core of all workers' organizations, both public and state."
The Constitution defined socio-economic conditions that served as a guarantee for the implementation of the main character of the working people. The Constitution proceeded from the equality of nations and races: the direct or indirect restriction of rights or the establishment of the advantages of citizens depending on race or nationality, any preaching of racial or national exclusivity or hatred and neglect was punishable by law.
The Constitution regarded the Constitution of the USSR as an honorable duty, a sacred duty of every citizen of the USSR.
Chapter XI of the Constitution was devoted to the electoral system of the USSR. The principle "one person - one vote" was first approved; did not participate in elections, the insane and the persons convicted with deprivation of electoral rights. The suffrage was granted to citizens of the USSR from the age of 18. The right to nominate candidates for deputies was given to public organizations. Each deputy was obliged to report on his work and could be withdrawn at any time by decision of the majority of voters.
Changes to the Constitution of the USSR could be made only by decision of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, adopted by a majority of at least/ 3 votes in each chamber.
During 1937 on the basis of the Constitution of the USSR in 1936 the constitutions of the union republics were adopted.
The Constitution of the RSFSR, approved by the 17th All-United States Congress of Soviets on January 21, 1937, established the administrative-territorial division of the republic. Each autonomous republic had its own constitution, taking into account its features and corresponding to the constitutions of the RSFSR and the USSR.
For its time, the 1936 Constitution of the USSR was the most democratic constitution in the world. How much its provisions have been implemented in political practice is another matter. Constitutions always serve, in varying degrees, a declared ideal, a guideline, and it is, of course, important to adopt precisely those, and not other declarations. In general, the political development of the USSR after the emergency period of the Great Patriotic War and the restoration of the national economy corresponded to the guidelines set by the Constitution of 1936 within the framework of the very same type of society that existed in the USSR.
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