Soviet Union Table of Contents
Adoption of the Constitution was a legislative act of the Supreme Soviet. Amendments to the Constitution were likewise adopted by legislative act of that body. Amendments required the approval of a two-thirds majority of the deputies of the Congress of People's Deputies and could be initiated by the congress itself; the Supreme Soviet, acting through its commissions and committees; the Presidium or chairman of the Supreme Soviet; the Constitutional Oversight Committee; the Council of Ministers; republic soviets; the Committee of People's Control; the Supreme Court; the Procuracy; and the chief state arbiter. In addition, the leading boards of official organizations and even the Academy of Sciences (see Glossary) could initiate amendments and other legislation.
Soviet constitutions have been frequently amended and have been changed more often than in the West. Nevertheless, the 1977 Constitution attempted to avoid frequent amendment by establishing regulations for government bodies in separate, but equally authoritative, enabling legislation, such as the Law on the Council of Ministers of July 5, 1978. Other enabling legislation has included a law on citizenship, a law on elections to the Supreme Soviet, a law on the status of Supreme Soviet deputies, regulations for the Supreme Soviet, a resolution on commissions, regulations on local government, and laws on the Supreme Court and the Procuracy. The enabling legislation provided the specific and changing operating rules for these government bodies.
Data as of May 1989