Soviet Union Table of Contents
Article 128 of the Constitution named the Council of Ministers as the "highest executive and administrative body of state authority" in the Soviet Union. Although the members of the council were subject to ratification and change by the Supreme Soviet and the Congress of People's Deputies, in 1989 they were actually appointed by the party. However, the council was too large to act as an effective decision-making body. The Council of Ministers Presidium, made up of the most influential economic administrators in the government, had the power to act in the name of the full council when it was not in session. The chairman of the full Council of Ministers, the equivalent of a prime minister, acted as head of government and chief economic administrator. In 1989 the chairman of the Council of Ministers, Nikolai I. Ryzhkov, sat on the Politburo.
Below the central institutions stood the ministries, state committees, and other governmental organs, which carried out regime policies in their respective fields subject to strict party control. The ministries managed the economic, social, and political systems.
Data as of May 1989