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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union


The union republics and the autonomous republics shared the same basic principles of government. As in the central government, in theory the republic congresses of people's deputies exercised authority. In practice, the congresses delegated their power to the presidiums of their supreme soviets and to the republic councils of ministers, and the first secretary of the republic party organization set policy for the republic as a whole (see Republic Party Organization , ch. 7). Between supreme soviet sessions, the presidium and its chairman exercised the legislative powers of the republic. By custom, the chairman was a member of the republic's dominant nationality, a practice that highlighted the theoretical sovereignty of the republics and the influence of their dominant nationality on policy making.

The council of ministers administered the government of the republic. The chairman of the council headed the republic but deferred in all matters to the first secretary of the republic's party organization. The council of ministers included unionrepublic ministries and republic ministries (see Administrative Organs , this ch.). The latter, which had no counterpart in the central government, administered local public services and light industry. Both kinds of ministries functioned under dual subordination: they were responsible to the central party organization and government and to the republic's party organization and government.

Data as of May 1989