All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets

All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets (Vseukrainskyi Zizd Rad). An assembly of workers', peasants', and Red Army deputies, which in 1917–37 was considered to be the highest governing body of the Ukrainian SSR (art 7 and 10 of the 1919 Constitution of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, art 22 of the 1929 constitution). The deputies were elected by gubernia (later okruha and oblast) and city congresses of soviets. The 1919 Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR did not specify the procedure for electing deputies, leaving this to the decision of the All-Ukrainian Central Executive Committee (VUTsVK) (art 9). The VUTsVK ruled on 7 April and 26 May 1920 that the gubernia and city congresses could send one deputy for every (1) 1,000 Red Army soldiers (who were usually Russians from outside Ukraine), (2) 10,000 urban workers, and (3) 50,000 peasants. All the powers of the congress, apart from the right to adopt, change, or amend the Constitution of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (art 10 of the 1919 constitution), to change the borders of the Ukrainian SSR, to elect the members of VUTsVK and the representatives of Ukraine to the Soviet of Nationalities of the All-Union Central Executive Committee, or to decide on Ukraine's secession from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (art 7 of the revised 1925 constitution), belonged in the intersessional period to the VUTsVK elected by the congress.

Of the 14 congresses held, the following were the most important: the first in December 1917, which set up the first Soviet government of Ukraine; the second in 1918, which tactically declared the ‘independence' of Soviet Ukraine; the third in 1919, which adopted the first Constitution of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic; the ninth in 1925, which changed the Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR to have it conform more closely to the USSR constitution of 1924; the eleventh in 1929, which adopted the second Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR; and the fourteenth in 1937, an extraordinary congress, which adopted the third Constitution of the Ukrainian SSR. In 1937 the functions of the All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets were taken over by the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR.

On the all-Union level the Congress of Soviets of the USSR from 1923 to 1936 had a role comparable to that of the All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets. It was the supreme governing body in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, elected indirectly and by unequal vote: one deputy for every 25,000 urban voters or for every 125,000 rural inhabitants. Until 1927 the All-Ukrainian Congress of Soviets and the All-Union Congress of Soviets convened every year; after 1927 they convened every two years.

T.B. Ciuciura




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