Formation of the USSR

Declaration of Union and Treaty of Union. December 30, 1922

 

Declaration of Union

Since the formation of the Soviet Republics the world has been divided into two camps–the capitalist and the Socialist.

In the capitalist camp reigns national hostility and inequality, colonial slavery, chauvinism, national suppression, pogroms, and imperialist brutality.

Here, in the Socialist camp, is to be found mutual confidence and peace, national freedom and equality, and the tranquil community and fraternal co-operation of peoples. The attempt of the capitalist world through long decades to settle the problem of nationalities by the joint methods of the free development of peoples and the exploitation of man by man, has proved to be fruitless. On the contrary, the skein of nationalist contradictions is becoming more and more entangled, and threatens to overwhelm capitalism itself. The bourgeoisie have proved incapable of bringing about the co-operation of nations.

Only in the camp of the Soviets, and under the proletarian dictatorship round which is rallied the majority of the population. has it been found possible to root out national persecution, to create conditions for mutual trust, and to lay the foundations of fraternal cooperation. Thanks solely to this fact were the Soviet Republics able to beat off the internal and external attacks of world imperialism, to bring the civil war to a successful conclusion, to render their existence safe and sum, and to proceed to the work of peaceful economic construction.

But the years of war were not without their heritage. The ruined fields and idle factories, the breakdown of production and the exhaustion of economic resources which follow from the war, render the isolated efforts of the separate Republics towards economic reconstruction inadequate. The revival of the economic life of the country has proved impossible as long as the Republics lead a divided existence.

Furthermore, the unsettled state of international relations and the danger of new attacks render imperative the creation of a common front by the Soviet Republics against a capitalist encirclement.

Finally, the very structure of the Soviet power, which is international in its class character, urges the working masses of the Soviet Republics along the path of union into one Socialist family.

All these considerations imperatively demand the union of the Soviet Republics into a single State, powerful enough to ensure internal economic prosperity, security from foreign attacks, and the free development of her peoples according to their nationality.

The will of the peoples of the Soviet Republics, expressed in the recent Congresses of their Soviets, which unanimously adopted the decision to create a Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, is a reliable guarantee that the Union is a voluntary union of equal peoples, that entry into the Union is open to all Socialist Soviet Republics, either already in existence or to be formed in the future, that the new united State is a fitting consummation to the peaceful Communism and fraternal co-operation of peoples begun in October, 1917, that it will form a firm bulwark against world capitalism, and will be a decided step towards the union of the workers of all countries into a World Socialist Soviet Republic.

Declaring this to the whole world, and affirming the unshakable foundations of the Soviet power as expressed in the constitutions of the Socialist Soviet Republics in whose name we are empowered to act, we, the delegates of these Republics, acting within the scope of the powers conferred upon us, resolve to put our signatures to the Treaty for the creation of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics.

The Treaty of Union

The Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (RSFSR), the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic (USSR), the Belorussian Socialist Soviet Republic (BSSR) and the Transcaucasian Socialist Federal Soviet Republics (Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia), hereby conclude a treaty for their union into a single united State, the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, on the following basis:

1. The competence of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, exercised by its supreme organs, shall include:

  • Representation of the Union in international relations.
  • Alteration of the frontiers of the Union.
  • Conclusion of treaties for the acceptance of new republics into the Union.
  • Declaration of war and conclusion of peace.
  • Floating of foreign State loans.
  • Ratification of international treaties.
  • Establishment of regulations for internal and external trade.
  • Establishment of the general plan, and regulation, of the national economy of the Union, and the conclusion of concessionary agreements.
  • Regulation of transport and posts and telegraphs.
  • Organization of armed forces of the Union.
  • Ratification of the Union State budget; establishment of currency and credit systems, and of taxation systems for the Union, the Republics, and the localities.
  • Establishment of the general principles of land distribution and exploitation, and of the exploitation of the mineral wealth, forests, and waterways throughout the whole territory of the Union.
  • Union legislation on migration and settlement.
  • Establishment of the principles of court structure and procedure, and also civil and criminal legislation for the Union.
  • Fundamental labor legislation.
  • Establishment of general principles of national education.
  • Adoption of general measures of national health protection.
  • Establishment of systems of weights and measures.
  • Organization of Union statistics.
  • General legislation as to the civil rights of foreigners.
  • General amnesty regulations.
  • Veto of any decisions of Soviet Congresses, Central Executive Committees, and Councils of People’s Commissars of the republics of the Union, which infringe the Treaty of Union.

2. The supreme authority of the Union shall be the Congress of Soviets of the Union, and, between congresses, the Union Central Executive Committee.

3. The Union Congress of Soviets shall be composed of representatives of the town Soviets in the proportion of one delegate for every 25,000 electors, and of representatives of the provincial Congresses of Soviets on the basis of one delegate for every 125,000 inhabitants.

4. The delegates to the Union Congress of Soviets shall be elected at the provincial Congresses of Soviets.

5. Ordinary Union Soviet Congresses shall be summoned by the Union Central Executive Committee once a year, extraordinary Congresses shall be summoned by the Union Central Executive Committee either upon its own initiative or on the demand of at least two of the constituent Republics.

The Union Central Executive Committee

6. The Union Congress of Soviets elects the Central Executive Committee, consisting of representatives of the united Republics, in proportion to the population of each, to the total number of 371 members.

7. Ordinary sessions of the Union Central Executive Committee shall be held three times a year; extraordinary sessions shall be summoned by resolution of the Presidium of the Union Central Executive Committee or upon the demand of the Union Council of People’s Commissars or of the Central Executive Committee of one of the constituent Republics.

8. The Union Congresses of Soviets and sessions of the Central Executive Committee shall meet in the capitals of the constituent Republics in turn, in an order to be established by the Presidium of the Union Central Executive Committee.

9. The Union Central Executive Committee shall elect a Presidium, which shall be the supreme authority in the Union in the intervals between the sessions of the Union Central Executive Committee.

10. The Presidium of the Union Central Executive Committee shall consist of 19 members, four of whom, one for each of the Republics, shall be appointed by the Union Central Executive Committee as its chairmen.

The Union Council of Peoples Commissars

11. The executive organ of the Union Central Executive Committee shall be the Union Council of People’s Commissars, consisting of:

  • The Chairman of the Union Council of People’s Commissars
  • The Vice-Chairmen of the Union Council of People’s Commissars
  • The People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs
  • ” ” ” ” War (and Marine)
  • ” ” ” ” Foreign Trade
  • Transport
  • Posts and Telegraphs
  • Workers’ and Peasants Inspection
  • Labor
  • Food
  • Finance
  • The Chairman of the Supreme Economic Council
  • General Provisions

12. For the purposes of ratifying revolutionary legislation an the territory of the Union, and for coordinating the activities of the united Republics in the struggle against counterrevolution, there shall be established in the Union Central Executive Committee a Supreme Court, with the functions of a supreme body for court control, and in the Council of People’s Commissars a section of the State Political Department, the chairman of which shall participate in the Union Council of People’s Commissars in an advisory capacity.

13. The decrees and orders of the Union Council of People’s Commissars shall be binding upon all the united Republics and shall be carried out throughout the territory of the Union.

14. The decrees and orders of the Union Central Executive Committee and Council of People’s Commissars shall be printed in the languages of the united Republics (Russian, Ukrainian, White Russian, Georgian, Armenian and Turkish).

15. The Central Executive Committees of the united Republics may lodge protests against the decrees and orders of the Union Council of People’s Commissars with the Presidium of the Union Central Executive Committee, but must not suspend their execution.

16. The decrees and orders of the Union Council of People’s Commissars may be set aside only by the Union Central Executive Committee and its Presidium. The acts of the Councils of People’s Commissars of the individual republics may be set aside by the Union Central Executive Committee, its Presidium, and the Union Council of People’s Commissars.

17. The execution of Orders issued by the People’s Commissars of the Union may be suspended by the Central Executive Committees of the united Republics, or their presidia, only when they do not correspond with the decisions of the Union Council of People’s Commissars or Central Executive Committee. In such cases the Central Executive Committee of the united Republic, or its Presidium, shall immediately inform the Union Council of People’s Commissars and the appropriate Union People’s Commissar.

18. The Council of People’s Commissars of each of the united republics shall consist of:

The Chairman.
The Vice-Chairman.
The Chairman of the Supreme Economic Council.
The People’s Commissar for Agriculture. Food.
Finance.
Labor.
Home Affairs.
Justice.
Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection.
Education.
Health.
Social Welfare.
Nationalities.

and, in a consultative capacity, the representatives of the Union Commissariats for Foreign Affairs, War, Foreign Trade, Transport, and Post and Telegraphs.

19. The Supreme Economic Council and the People’s Commissariats for Food, Finance, Labor, and Workers’ and Peasants’ Inspection of the united Republics shall be immediately subordinated to the Central Executive Committees and the Councils of People’s Commissars of the united Republics, but shall be guided by the instructions of the appropriate Union People’s Commissars.

20. The republics entering into the Union shall have their own budgets, which shall form an integral part of the general Union budget, and shall be approved by the Union Central Executive Committee. The revenue and expenditure sides of the budgets of the Republics shall be drawn up by the Union Central Executive Committee. The list of revenues, and the amount of each, forming part of the budgets of the united Republics, shall be determined by the Union Central Executive Committee.

21. A uniform civilian status shall apply to all citizens of the united Republics.

22. The Union shall have its own flag, coat of arms, and State seal.

23. The capital of the Union shall be Moscow.

24. The united Republics shall modify their constitutions as required by the present treaty.

25. The Union Congress of Soviets is the only competent body for the ratification of, alteration or addition to, the Treaty of Union.

26. Each of the united Republics retains its full liberty to leave the Union if it so desires.

Moscow, December 30,1922

Source: Russian Information and Review. Vol. II, No. 16 (20 January 1923).

 

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