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Composition of the Supreme Soviet[1]
Year 1967 1971 1975 1980
Number of deputies 290 300 320 350
Members of CPSU 67% 68% 67% 67%
Factory workers 51% 50% 50 % 50%
Women 32% 32% 34% 35%
Youth representatives 11% 17% 20 % 20%
With higher education 42% 45% 48% 51%
Re-elected deputies 31% 31% 33% 30%

The Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR (Lithuanian: Lietuvos TSR Aukščiausioji Taryba) was the supreme soviet (main legislative institution) of the Lithuanian SSR, one of the republics compromising the Soviet Union. According to the constitution it was very similar to modern democratic parliaments: it had the power to create, amend and ratify the constitution, laws, and treaties and appoint officials in the Council of Ministers (the executive branch). However, in reality the Soviet had very little actual power and carried out orders given by the Communist Party of Lithuania (CPL).[2] The Supreme Soviet was established in August 1940 when the People's Seimas declared itself the provisional Supreme Soviet.

Contents

Organization

The structure and functions of the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian SSR were copied from the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union. The sessions of the Supreme Soviet lasted only several days twice a year and decisions were made unanimously and without much discussion. In between the session the Presidium acted on behalf of the Supreme Soviet. The representatives (180 in 1947 and increasing every election) were elected in general elections every four (since 1975 – every five) years,[3] but all candidates had to be pre-approved by the CPL, which did not allow any members of the opposition to run. The first elections were held in 1947 and, according to official results, voter turnout reached 97.91%.[4] Other elections, except for the one in February 1990, were similarly staged.

Presidium of the Supreme Soviet

Presidium was the permanent body of the Supreme Soviet. Its chairman was the de jure head of state. The presidium (chairman, two vice-chairmen, secretary, and 13 other members) was elected during the first session of the Soviet.[5] Formally it had great power while the Supreme Soviet was not in session. For example, it could ratify international treaties or amend laws.[5] However, in reality it was a rubber stamp institution for the CPL and de facto head of state was the First Secretary of the CPL.[2]

The chairmen of the Presidium were:[4]

  • Justas Paleckis from August 25, 1940 to April 14, 1967 (in exile 1941–1944)
  • Motiejus Šumauskas from April 14, 1967 to December 24, 1975
  • Antanas Barkauskas from December 24, 1975 to November 18, 1985
  • Ringaudas Songaila from November 18, 1985 to December 7, 1987
  • Vytautas Astrauskas from December 7, 1987 to January 15, 1990
  • Algirdas Brazauskas from January 15, 1990 to March 11, 1990

Declaration of independence

The Soviet became important political battleground when in late 1980s Lithuanians sought independence or at least autonomy from the Soviet Union. In February 1990 elections, when for the first time candidates from the opposition were allowed to run, candidates, endorsed by pro-independence Sąjūdis, won 96 seats out of 141.[6] During its first session on March 11, 1990 the Soviet elected Vytautas Landsbergis as the chairman and adopted the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania. The same day the Soviet changed its name to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Lithuania. It is also known as Supreme Council – Reconstituent Seimas (Aukščiausioji Taryba – Atkuriamasis Seimas). The council held it last session on November 11, 1992. It was succeeded by democratically elected Seimas.

References

  1. ^ (Lithuanian) Arvydas Anušauskas, et al., ed (2005). Lietuva, 1940–1990. Vilnius: Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimo centras. p. 450. ISBN 9986-757-65-7.  
  2. ^ a b (Lithuanian) Kamuntavičius, Rūstis; Vaida Kamuntavičienė, Remigijus Civinskas, Kastytis Antanaitis (2001). Lietuvos istorija 11–12 klasėms. Vilnius: Vaga. p. 438. ISBN 5-415-01502-7.  
  3. ^ (Lithuanian) Jonas Zinkus, et al., ed (1985). "Aukščiausioji Taryba". Tarybų Lietuvos enciklopedija. I. Vilnius, Lithuania: Vyriausioji enciklopedijų redakcija. pp. 132–133.  
  4. ^ a b (Lithuanian) Skirius, Juozas (2002). "Sovietinės Lietuvos valdžios aparato kūrimas". Gimtoji istorija. Nuo 7 iki 12 klasės. Vilnius: Elektroninės leidybos namai. ISBN 9986-9216-9-4. http://mkp.emokykla.lt/gimtoji/?id=1051. Retrieved 2008-02-23.  
  5. ^ a b (Lithuanian) Jonas Zinkus, et al., ed (1985). "Aukščiausiosios Tarybos Presidiumas". Tarybų Lietuvos enciklopedija. I. Vilnius, Lithuania: Vyriausioji enciklopedijų redakcija. p. 133.  
  6. ^ "Supreme Council (Reconstituent Seimas) 1990-1992". Seimas. 1999-12-07. http://www3.lrs.lt/pls/inter/w5_show?p_r=281&p_d=3248&p_k=2. Retrieved 2008-02-23.  
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