Soviet Union Table of Contents
The CPSU has exercised control over the activities of the Supreme Soviet in a variety of ways. Most important has been the extent of party membership among the delegates. In the first eleven convocations of the Supreme Soviet, party membership averaged about 75 percent. Another 15 percent of the delegates were members of the Komsomol. At the twelfth convocation beginning in 1989, party membership in the Congress of People's Deputies amounted to 87 percent, and Komsomol membership amounted to 5.9 percent. The party caucus, which received its instructions directly from the CPSU's central apparatus, was led by party members and controlled legislative procedures.
Leadership positions in the Supreme Soviet were under the nomenklatura of the Politburo. Thus, members of the Presidium, all but one of whom were usually party members, abided by the decisions of the party leadership or risked losing their positions. Members of the Presidium, as well as rank-and-file party members who were elected delegates, were subject to the norms of democratic centralism.
The party controlled the selection process for ordinary deputies as well. Local party organs supervised nominations and elections. Party officials carefully selected delegates either to ensure the selection of party leaders and party stalwarts in the arts, literature, the military, and the scientific and scholarly communities, or to reward rank-and-file members for long years of service to the party and government. In the event that delegates proved uncompliant, the Constitution granted the party the power to initiate a recall election. Recalls have been rare, however. Out of 7,500 deputies elected between 1960 and 1985, only 12 have been recalled, mainly for serious personal failings.
Data as of May 1989