Soviet Union Table of Contents
In 1989 three categories of deputies were selected to the Congress of People's Deputies: those representing the CPSU and officially recognized organizations; those representing the population as divided into residential electoral districts; and those representing the population as divided into national territories. In 1989 one-third (750) of the deputies were elected in each category. Quotas for deputies were assigned to the various official organizations, electoral districts, and nationalterritorial electoral districts. The largest organizational quotas were reserved for the CPSU, trade unions, collective farms (see Glossary), Komsomol (see Glossary), veterans, retired workers, and the Committee of Soviet Women. Minor but officially sanctioned groups such as stamp collectors, cinema fans, book lovers, and musicians were also represented. Because individual voters belonged to several different constituencies, they could vote in elections for several deputies.
In principle, voters in nationwide elections had the freedom to vote for the party-endorsed candidate or for other candidates on the ballot (if any), to write in the name of another candidate, or to refrain from voting. In the early 1989 elections, some of the candidates officially endorsed by the CPSU were rejected by the voters, including high-level party officials, such as Iurii Solov'ev, the party secretary of Leningrad.
The regime considered voting a duty rather than a right. Citizens age eighteen and older voted in soviet elections, and those age twenty-one and older were eligible to be elected to the Congress of People's Deputies. Persons holding governmental posts, however, could not be elected deputy to the soviet that appointed them. Citizens had the right to participate in election campaigns and the right to campaign for any candidate.
Data as of May 1989