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Vice President of the Soviet Union

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Vice President of the Soviet Union

Heads of state of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Former political post
State Emblem
Predecessor None
Successor President of the Russian Federation
First officeholder Mikhail Kalinin
Last officeholder Mikhail Gorbachev
Official residence Moscow Kremlin
Office began 30 December 1922
Office ended 25 December 1991
Current pretender Position abolished

The Constitution of the Soviet Union recognised the highest organ of state authority in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) as the head of state. The Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, and the earlier office of Chairman of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the Congress of Soviets which was reorganised in 1938, had primarily only ceremonial powers.[1] While the head of state had many de jure powers, he had very few de facto ones.

The Soviet Union was established in 1922. However, the country's first constitution was adopted in 1924. Before that time, the 1918 Constitution of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic was adopted as the de facto constitution of the USSR. According to the 1918 Constitution, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (CEC), chaired by the head of state, had the power to determine what matters of income and taxation would go to the state budget and what would go to the local Soviets. The CEC could also limit taxes.[2] In periods between convocations of the Congress of Soviets the CEC held supreme power.[3] In between sessions of the Congress of Soviets the CEC was responsible for all the affairs of the Congress of Soviets.[4] The CEC and the Congress of Soviets was replaced by the Presidium and the Supreme Soviet by several amendments to the 1936 constitution in 1938.[5]

The Supreme Soviet was the highest organ of state power, and was the sole organ to hold legislative power in the Soviet Union.[5] Sessions of the Supreme Soviet were convened by the Presidium twice a year; however, special sessions could be convened on the orders of a Union Republic.[5] In the event of a disagreement between the Soviet of the Union and the Soviet of Nationalities the Presidium could form a conciliation commission. If this commission failed the Presidium could dissolve the Supreme Soviet and order new elections.[5] The Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, along with first and fifteen other vice chairmen, were, according to the 1977 Soviet Constitution, elected by the deputies of the Supreme Soviet.[6] Just as with the CEC under Joseph Stalin's rule, the Chairman of the Presidium had very little de facto power after Stalin's death because supreme power was given to the leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU).[7]

The Presidency was established in 1990 and the President would, according to the altered constitution, be elected by the Soviet people by direct and secret ballot. However, the first and only Soviet President, Mikhail Gorbachev, was elected by the democratically-elected Congress of People's Deputies.[8] In connection with the dissolution of the Soviet Union national elections for the office of President never took place. To be elected to the office a person must have been a Soviet citizen and older than thirty-five but younger than sixty-five years. The same person could not be elected president for more than two terms.[9] The Presidency was highest state office, and was the most important office in the Soviet Union by influence and recognition, eclipsing that of Premier and General Secretary. With the establishment of the Presidency executive power was shared between the President and the Prime Minister. The Presidency was given broad powers, such as being responsible for negotiating the membership of the Cabinet of Ministers with the Supreme Soviet;[10] the Prime Minister, however, was responsible for managing the nomenklatura and economic matters.[11]

List of heads of state

Of the eleven individuals appointed head of state, three died in office of natural causes (Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko), two held the position in a temporary role (Vasili Kuznetsov and Gennady Yanayev), and four held posts of party leader and head of state simultaneously (Brezhnev, Andropov, Chernenko and Mikhail Gorbachev). The first head of state was Mikhail Kalinin, who was inaugurated in 1922 after the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR. At over twenty years, Kalinin spent the longest time in office; he died shortly after his resignation in 1946. Andropov spent the shortest time in office.

#
[note 1]
Name
(birth–death)
Portrait Term of office Convocations
[note 2]
1
Chairman of the Central Executive Committee of the Congress of Soviets (1922–1938)
Mikhail Kalinin
(1875–1946)[12]
30 December 1922 – 12 January 1938 1st8th Convocation
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (1938–1989)
Mikhail Kalinin
(1875–1946)[12]
17 January 1938 – 19 March 1946 1st Convocation
2 Nikolay Shvernik
(1888–1970)[13]
19 March 1946 – 6 March 1953 2nd3rd Convocation
3 Kliment Voroshilov
(1881–1969)[14]
15 March 1953 – 7 May 1960 3rd5th Convocation
4 Leonid Brezhnev
(1906–1982)[15]
7 May 1960 – 15 July 1964 5th6th Convocation
5 Anastas Mikoyan
(1895–1978)[16]
15 July 1964 – 9 December 1965 6th Convocation
6 Nikolai Podgorny
(1903–1983)[17]
9 December 1965 – 16 June 1977 6th9th Convocation
4 Leonid Brezhnev
(1906–1982)[15]
16 June 1977 – 10 November 1982 9th10th Convocation
Vasili Kuznetsov
(1901–1990)[18]
10 November 1982 – 16 June 1983 10th Convocation
7 Yuri Andropov
(1914–1984)[19]
16 June 1983 – 9 February 1984
Vasili Kuznetsov
(1901–1990)[18]
9 February 1984 – 11 April 1984 11th Convocation
8 Konstantin Chernenko
(1911–1985)[19]
11 April 1984 – 10 March 1985
Vasili Kuznetsov
(1901–1990)[18]
10 March 1985 – 27 July 1985
9 Andrei Gromyko
(1909–1989)[20]
27 July 1985 – 1 October 1988
10 Mikhail Gorbachev
(born 1931)[21]
1 October 1988 – 25 May 1989 11th12th Convocation
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (1989–1990)[note 3]
Mikhail Gorbachev
(born 1931)[21]
25 May 1989 – 15 March 1990 12th Convocation
President (1990–1991)
Mikhail Gorbachev
(born 1931)[21]
15 March 1990 – 25 December 1991 12th Convocation

List of vice heads of state

There have been five individuals appointed vice head of state. The first vice head of state was Nikolay Shvernik. At over eight years, Vasily Kuznetsov spent the longest time in office. Gennady Yanayev spent the shortest time in office.

#
[note 1]
Name
(birth–death)
Portrait Term of office Convocations
[note 2]
1 First Vice Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (1944–1946/1977–1989)
Nikolay Shvernik
(1888–1970)[23]
1 February 1944 – 19 March 1946 1st Convocation
2 Vasili Kuznetsov
(1901–1990)[18]
7 October 1977 – 27 July 1985 9th11th Convocation
3 Pyotr Demichev
(1917–2010)[24]
18 June 1986 – 1 October 1988 11th Convocation
4 Anatoly Lukyanov
(born 1930)[25]
1 October 1988 – 25 May 1989 11th12th Convocation
Vice Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (1989–1990)
Anatoly Lukyanov
(born 1930)[25]
25 May 1989 – 15 March 1990 12th Convocation
Vice President (1990–1991)
Vacant 15 March 1990 – 27 December 1990 12th Convocation
5 Gennady Yanayev
(1937–2010)[26]
27 December 1990 – 21 August 1991[note 4]
Office abolished[28] 21 August 1991 – 26 December 1991[note 5]

See also

 
Soviet Union-related

Russia-related

References

Notes


Specific
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