The Main Features of the Soviet Constitution of Ninteteen-Thirty Six

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The Main Features of the Soviet Constitution of Ninteteen-Thirty Six

In 1936, Stalin judged the time ripe for drafting a new constitution which would preserve his autocratic power in the country. It was adopted by popular vote the following year and went into effect on January 1st 1938.

Main features of the Constitution =================================

According to the Constitution, Communist Russia called itself the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. There were 11 republics, representing the different racial groups and possessing limited powers over their own affairs. Of these the Russian Socialist Federated Soviet Republic was the largest and the dominant one.

On paper, the
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The President of the Presidium is usually known as the President of the Soviet Union, but he is only the symbolic head of the State.

3. The Supreme Soviet also elected a 'Council of People`s Commissors' (the Council of Ministers) to act as a kind of cabinet. Each Minister was head of a department such as War, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Heavy Industry etc. The administrative and executive work of the country was carried on by this Council of Ministers.

Finally, the 1936 Constitution also had a Bill of Rights. The citizens were guaranteed the freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and of religion. They were guaranteed the right of employment and holidays with pay.

N.B. One feature however of the Constitution marked the Russian Constitution off from the Constitutions of the Western nations. The Constitution left unimpaired the dominant position of the Communist Party. The Constitution mentioned the Communist Party was the only legal party in Russia. The Party controlled the machinery of government, the economic system and the apparatus of culture, alone capable of leading the workers towards communism.

Qst. (11) To what extent was Stalin`s cult of personality the key factor in his control of the Soviet Union between 1929 and 1941 ? (22 mks).

Ans. Much debate has surrounded the so-called 'cult of personality'

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