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Supreme Soviet

The Supreme Soviet (Verhovniy Sovet, literally the "Supreme Council") comprised the highest legislative body in the Soviet Union and the only one with the power to pass constitutional amendments. It elected the Presidium, formed the Supreme Court, and appointed the Procurator General of the USSR.

It was made up of two chambers, each with equal legislative powers, with members elected for five-year terms:

  • the Soviet of the Union, elected on the basis of population with one deputy for every 300,000 people in the Soviet federation
  • the Soviet of Nationalities, supposed to represent the ethnic populations, with members elected on the basis of 25 deputies from each union republic, 11 from each autonomous republic, five from each autonomous region, and one from each autonomous area.

In 1989 there were 750 members. The Supreme Soviet met regularly twice a year but it could be called into extraordinary session. The Central Committee carried out the day-to-day operations of the Supreme Soviet when it was not in session.

In practice, the Supreme Soviet functioned as a rubber stamp to legislation originating from less representative but more powerful bodies, like the Politburo.

The Supreme Soviet officially dissolved the USSR on December 26, 1991. The Supreme Soviet itself, along with the Congress of People's Deputies, dissolved in September 1993.

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