The role of law in autonomization of the USSR economy
Questions are asked whether law can play an initiating role in the transformation of the Soviet economy from a state-owned centrally planned structure to a structure featuring self-employment and entrepreneurship. An answer could have been given quickly and with little detail prior to Gorbachev’s elevation to the Secretary Generalship of the Communist Party. Under Stalin’s leadership, law was an instrument of politics, as Lenin had said it was before the Russian Revolution. Lawyers were not part of the policy making establishment; they were implementers of policy made by the leadership of the Communist Party as the ‘vanguard party’, and no more. Stalin’s legislature, the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, accepted the drafts brought in to it by the Central Committee of the Communist Party, and in a three day session twice a year listened to reports, confirmed decrees issued between sessions by its Presidium under Communist Party guidance, and went home. Little changed after Stalin’s death in 1953, although his heirs tended to permit broader use of Supreme Soviet committees to review, with specialists from the professions, those drafts of laws concerning legal procedures, education, administrative structures, health matters, and the economy.
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