Soviet Union Table of Contents
The Supreme Soviet served as the highest organ of state power between sittings of the Congress of People's Deputies. The Supreme Soviet formally appointed the chairman of the Council of Ministers, ratified or rejected his candidates for ministerial posts and supervised their work, and adopted economic plans and budgets and reported on their implementation. Through its chairman, the Supreme Soviet represented the country in formal diplomacy. It also had the authority to appoint the Defense Council, confer military and diplomatic ranks, declare war, ratify treaties, and repeal acts of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, the chairman of the Supreme Soviet, and the Council of Ministers.
The Supreme Soviet has traditionally delegated its powers to the government bodies it has elected and nominally supervised. The Supreme Soviet reserved the right to review and formally approve their actions, and in the past it always gave this approval. Actions of other government bodies elected by the Supreme Soviet became law with force equal to the Supreme Soviet's own decisions (see Administrative Organs , this ch.). The commissions and committees have played a minor role in ensuring that the language of legislation was uniform. In 1989 they took an active role in judging the qualifications of candidates for ministerial bodies and in questioning governmental operations.
Data as of May 1989