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nearly a third are workers at the bench and the plow, which helps to give the Supreme Soviet the appearance of a truly representative assembly.

CHART K

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Although the Constitution specifies that it convene twice a year, the Supreme Soviet has not usually been called into session that often. (See chart L.) The infrequency of its meetings and the restricted length of its sessions is clear indication of its limited role. Membership in the Supreme Soviet, however, does confer prestige on the deputy and, through the periodic trips to Moscow and shoulderrubbing with the important leaders of the state, expands the number of persons feeling a close identification with the regime. The Supreme Soviet is also a useful forum for explaining and promulgating some of

the more formal legalistic decisions of the regime and generating enthusiasm for their implementation.

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Patterned on the Western system of legislative committees, each house of the Supreme Soviet has permanent commissions for preliminary preparation of legislation. (See chart K.) Until 1957 these commissions rarely met. Since then, however, th

Since then, however, their meetings have been more frequent and of longer duration, and there is some evidence that they may now be playing the useful though limited role of searching out and resolving conflicts between proposed and existing legislation and putting the proposals into legal form. It has increasingly become the practice to draw more of the Soviet citizenry into the legislative process by publishing draft legislation and calling for “nationwide" discussion. The standing commissions of the two houses of the Supreme Soviet, according to one Soviet law professor, make a thorough study” of the critical remarks and suggestions made in the course of the public discussion and tailor the legislation accordingly. This is about the closest Soviet public opinion comes to influencing legislation, and the changes that result in the proposed laws are invariably so minor as to rule out any real public opinion influence

Since important decisions on foreign policy are not channeled through the Supreme Soviet, the Foreign Affairs Commissions play an even more perfunctory role than do the other standing commissions.

* This is never done, however, with matters of direct strategic importance or of foreign policy.

Between sessions of the Supreme Soviet, formal legislative power is vested in the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, a 33-man body elected by the two houses in joint session to serve as collegial president. This body officially represents the Soviet state and is granted broad powers by the Constitution, including declaring war, mobilization, and martial law, naming and relieving ministers and military commanders, and concluding international agreements. The Supreme Soviet Presidium, however, is little more than a formal instrument for promulgating some of the decisions of the top party leaders--decisions which in most states are made by organs of government.

The official acts of the Supreme Soviet Presidium are known as ukases. The great majority of published ukases involve state awards to outstanding workers, peasants, and officials, or to mothers with many children. Others announce changes in the heads of ministries or ambassadors to foreign countries. Ükases other than awards are confirmed as a matter of course at the next session of the Supreme Soviet. The bulk of what in Western democracies is generally considered the business of legislation, however, is promulgated in the Soviet Union with the full force of law by the executive rather than legislative organ.

The Supreme Soviet in theory “elects” the executive organ of the state-the Council of Ministers as well as the judicial organs-the Supreme Court and the Procurator General (public prosecutor). In practice, however, the Supreme Soviet without discussion gives automatic, unanimous approval to a list decided on by the top party leaders and presented by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

The judicial organs play no discernible role in the decisionmaking process. The concept of precedent as a source of law is expressly rejected, as is the idea of the superiority of constitutional provisions over ordinary legislation. Moreover, the all-pervasive influence of the monolithic party precludes any "independent” court interpretations.

The Council of Ministers, on the other hand, is the most important agency in the governmental structure for highlighting problems and planning policy, and it is the body primarily responsible for the implementation of the law. According to the Constitution, the Council of Ministers directs the work of ministries and other governmental bodies, executes the national economic plan and the State budget, strengthens the monetary system, conducts foreign affairs, and supervises the general structure of the armed forces.

The Council is composed of a Chairman (Premier), First Deputy Chairmen, Deputy Chairmen, heads of various ministries, state committees and other agencies, and certain other individuals included on the Council because of either their position or their responsibilities. As of October 1, 1959, there were 65 members of the Council. (See chart M.) According to one Soviet author:

All important problems within the competence of the
Council of Ministers) are discussed and resolved at regularly

held sessions by a simple majority vote. The commissions probably average about 2 weeks a year in session. The longest any commission has been reported in session during any 1 year was 8 weeks, and it may be presumed that only a portion of the

commission was functioning for the full period.

The extreme bulk of the full Council makes it seem more likely, however, that the actual decisions are made by the much smaller Presidium of the Council of Ministers, with the full Council, if it does meet, giving pro forma approval.

CHAPTER 6. PRESIDIUM OF THE COUNCIL OF MINISTERS The Presidium of the Council of Ministers consists of the Premier, First Deputy Premiers, and Deputy Premiers, and "individuals personally designated by the Council of Ministers.” As of mid-1958 the Minister of Agriculture, V. V. Matskevich, and the Minister of Finance, A. G. Zverev, were the additional members of the Council of Ministers Presidium. (See Chart M.)

The Presidium is the administrative head of the Council of Ministers and, in theory, exists to take care of current operational problems so the full council can concentrate on the "big questions.” In practice, however, as noted above, the Presidium probably makes the important policy decisions as well. Its position and role in the Government structure are thus somewhat akin to that of the party Secretariat in the party hierarchy.

The Government Presidium is hierarchically organized with Khrushchev at its head. The two First Deputies, Mikoyan and Kozlov, divide the major responsibilities between them and substitute for Khrushchev when he is absent. Mikoyan concentrates on foreign affairs—including foreign economic relations—while Kozlov is primarily concerned with domestic matters. The Deputy Premiers are assigned special responsibility for certain key fields (Kosygineconomic planning; Ustinov-defense production; and Zasyadkobasic raw materials and fuel). The two added members, Matskevich and Zverev, are responsible for the fields represented by their respective Ministries, Agriculture and Finance.

As a body the Government Presidium does not carry political weight equal to that of the party Secretariat. Only the Premier, Khrushchev, and his two First Deputies, Mikoyan and Kozlov, are full members of the party presidium and one Deputy, Kosygin, is a candidate member. Moreover, Khrushchev, who is above all party first secretary, is probably too busy with other matters to participate regularly in the work of the Council of Ministers Presidium. He has been somewhat distrustful of the economic managerial group and impatient with the narrow bureaucratic interests they tend to develop. He has based his regime primarily on the professional party machine and is probably strongly influenced by suggestions and advice emanating from that source. Mikoyan and Kozlov, however, have considerable personal influence with Khrushchev, probably sufficient to insure that any point of view developed in the Government Presidium on major policy issues is given a respectable hearing in the party presidium. Their influence is probably also strong enough to protect against the encroachment of professional party officials in the managerial functions of the Government.

The Presidium of the Council of Ministers oversees the preparation of plans and information reports by the Ministries, state committees, and other agencies of the Government; it reviews them, and, where necessary, it merges partial plans into a coordinated whole. generate ideas and probably develops guidelines for more detailed

It may

an even more perfunctory role than do the other standing commissions.'

Between sessions of the Supreme Soviet, formal legislative power is vested in the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, a 33-man body elected by the two houses in joint session to serve as collegial president. This body officially represents the Soviet state and is granted broad powers by the Constitution, including declaring war, mobilization, and martial law, naming and relieving ministers and military commanders, and concluding international agreements. The Supreme Soviet Presidium, however, is little more than a formal instrument for promulgating some of the decisions of the top party leaders--decisions which in most states are made by organs of government.

The official acts of the Supreme Soviet Presidium are known as ukases. The great majority of published ukases involve state awards to outstanding workers, peasants, and officials, or to mothers with many children. Others announce changes in the heads of ministries or ambassadors to foreign countries. Ükases other than awards are confirmed as a matter of course at the next session of the Supreme Soviet. The bulk of what in Western democracies is generally considered the business of legislation, however, is promulgated in the Soviet Union with the full force of law by the executive rather than legislative organ.

The Supreme Soviet in theory “elects” the executive organ of the state-the Council of Ministers—as well as the judicial organs—the Supreme Court and the Procurator General (public prosecutor). In practice, however, the Supreme Soviet without discussion gives automatic, unanimous approval to a list decided on by the top party leaders and presented by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers.

The judicial organs play no discernible role in the decisionmaking process. The concept of precedent as a source of law is expressly rejected, as is the idea of the superiority of constitutional provisions over ordinary legislation. Moreover, the all-pervasive influence of the monolithic party precludes any “independent” court interpretations.

The Council of Ministers, on the other hand, is the most important agency in the governmental structure for highlighting problems and planning policy, and it is the body primarily responsible for the implementation of the law. According to the Constitution, the Council of Ministers directs the work of ministries and other governmental bodies, executes the national economic plan and the State budget, strengthens the monetary system, conducts foreign affairs, and supervises the general structure of the armed forces.

The Council is composed of a Chairman (Premier), First Deputy Chairmen, Deputy Chairmen, heads of various ministries, state committees and other agencies, and certain other individuals included on the Council because of either their position or their responsibilities. As of October 1, 1959, there were 65 members of the Council. (See chart M.) According to one Soviet author:

All important problems within the competence of [the
Council of Ministers) are discussed and resolved at regularly

held sessions by a simple majority vote. • The commissions probably average about 2 weeks a year in session. The longest any commission has been reported in session during any l vear was 8 weeks, and it may be presumed that only a portion of the commission was functioning for the full period.

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