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Article is devoted to formation of local bodies of the state vpasta - volost executive committees and village councils in the 1920th. Legal basics, forms and methods of their activity are covered, shortcomings of their organizational and practical work come to light. The research is conducted on the example of Lower Volga area.

The article is devoted to forming local bodies of the state power, i.e. district executive committees and Soviets in villages in 1920s. Some directions, forms and methods of their functioning are analyzed; lacks in organizational and practical work are examined.

The researching is based on example of Lower Volga region.

local public authorities, volost executive committees, village councils, Lower Volga area, local government; local administrative bodies, district executive committees, Soviets in villages, Lover Volga region, local self-government.

An important component of process of construction of new Russian statehood is development of institute of local government. The federal law "About the General Principles of the Organization of Local Government in the Russian Federation" of 06.10.2003 No. 131-F3 defined a legal basis, the principles of the territorial organization of local governments, an order of their investment with separate state powers and forms of participation of the population in local samoupravlenii1. Activity of local governments is to some extent reflected in a large number of other regulations. The questions connected with the municipal property, formation of local budgets, the off-budget relations, local economy and the social sphere, municipal service are insufficiently adjusted nevertheless today. The system of local governments continues to be in process of formation.

In this situation the research of historical experience of formation and functioning of local authorities in the first years of existence of the Soviet republic when the new forms and methods of public administration directed to the organization of work of government at demolition or reorganization of old state machinery were developed is represented relevant.

In the present article questions of formation of organizational structure, forms and methods of activity of the so-called "local Soviet device" — volost executive committees and village councils are considered.

The constitution of 1918 established that the supreme authorities in the territory of the volost are volost congresses of Councils of working, country and Red Army deputies. The constitution entered the general order of convocation of local congresses, having established certain rates of representation. Representatives of village councils of the volost (1 deputy from each 10 members of council) participated in volost congresses.

Executive bodies of all congresses were the executive committees elected by them. The constitution established the extreme number of members of volost executive committee — no more 10th persons. Executive committees yav-


Vladimirovna —

to. and. N, associate professor








1 SZ Russian Federation, 2003, No. 40, Article 1-2.

lyalis not only governing bodies, but also authorities. Article 61 of the Constitution unites congresses of councils and their executive committees in one concept of "bodies of the Soviet power". Article 62 grants the right of control over activity of subordinate councils not only to congresses of councils, but also their executive committees, up to cancellation of decisions of councils.

In 1920 — 1922 the Soviet government adopted special regulations on volost, district and provincial congresses of councils and them ispolkomakh1. In them the legal status of these bodies, their tasks and functions, an education order were defined. Subsequently these legal acts were revised. New regulations on district and volost councils were adopted in 1924 2

Congresses were not permanent bodies therefore they could not react quickly to the changing situation demanding decision-making and to control execution of decisions. In it there was one of the reasons of concentration of the real power in hands of executive bodies.

Executive committees of volost congresses of councils (volispolkoma, VIKi) were a basis of the power and management on places. According to publication of People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs "Power of Councils", in November, 1918 in 32 provinces of RSFSR was 6,083 volost ispolkomov3.

According to resolution VTSIKA on an order of re-elections of volost and village councils of December 2, 1918 at VIKAKH departments of the general management, the military and zemelnyy4 were created. On March 20, 1920 the Provision on volost executive committees under which as a part of VIKOV the existing department of national education is formed actually everywhere, and at the beginning of 1921 — department of work was issued, and the right in case of need to create department municipal hozyaystva5 is granted. However under resolution VTSIKA of January 26, 1922 the departments in VIKAKH were uprazdne-ny6.

1 SU RSFSR, 1920, 20, Article 108; 1922, No. 10, Article 91, 92; No. 72-73, Article 907.
2 In the same place, 1924, No. 82, Article 825.
3 Power of Councils, 1919, No. 1, page 4.
4 SU RSFSR, 1918, 86, Article 901.
5 In the same place, 1920, No. 20, Article 108.
6 In the same place, 1922, No. 10, Article 92.

The provision on volost congresses of councils and volost executive committees of October 16, 1924 confirmed that VIKi of departments do not form, and will organize office and financial and tax chast7. As mass bodies at VIKAKH sections (commission) on single questions were formed: agriculture, cultural and educational work, local economy and improvement, trade and cooperative activity, etc.

In the first years of the Soviet power the volost executive committees were formed in a large number, practically on each 200-300 persons. Subsequently, at integration of volosts, a number of volosts was reduced, and volispolkoma in them are liquidated.

The staff of volispolkom was determined by the provision of 1924 in 5 people, if necessary with the permission of a gubispolko-m the persons could be increased to the 10th. According to the Central Electoral Commission, the average number of volispolkom in RSFSR in 1926 was 7 people, in 1927 — 8 people 8 at the same time numerous duties were assigned to volispolkoma. They had to take part in work on land management, agricultural campaigns, the structure of the enterprises of public use, the organization of pest control of agriculture; to take measures to improvement of a condition of agriculture and livestock production; to conduct supervision of use of the state property, performance of laws on work, the correct forest management, implementation of rules

about trade, the structure of the markets, markets and fairs of local value, observance of construction rules, sanitary inspection; to render assistance to the organization of meliorative associations, medical and sanitary institutions, protection of motherhood and the childhood, etc. It is obvious that small volispolkoma could not cope with the tasks assigned to them. When holding various campaigns — tax, procuring, etc. — district executive committees threw in the volost of the workers who had to "sit there until work does not move a little", and had no

7 In the same place, No. 82, Article 826.
8 A. Luzhin, M. Rezunov. Local Soviet device (Village Councils and volispolkoma). — M.: Comm publishing house. academies, 1929, page 166 — 167.

the rights to come back without the permission of an uispolkom.

Identical forms of the management and control in relation to subordinate executive committees were characteristic of executive committees of all levels: hearing of reports of subordinate executive committees at the meetings, audits and instructor inspections, periodic calls of chairmen of executive committees for informing, the requirement to provide minutes of meetings of executive committees for the analysis, attachment of members of higher executive committee to the Soviet bodies defined administrativn about - territorial go - face downwards, enlarged meetings with participation of chairmen or secretaries of subordinate executive committees.

In 1925 the RKI Oil Company carried out selective survey of executive committees and noted that in the management of subordinate executive committees there are numerous shortcomings: audits and surveys of subordinate bodies are carried out without any coherence of auditing instances among themselves, inspectors have low qualification, the heard reports are superficial and irregular, the resolutions adopted according to these reports, trafaretna, do not contain concrete instructions. Protocols in higher executive committees were provided, but were not analyzed, and simply "were filed in business" or mechanically approved. Guidelines of gubispolkom and the central bodies were sent by district, volost executive committees to the Village Councils no comments and instructions. Circulars UIKOV and VIKOV were not concrete and "are too big". At abundance of circulars in the Village Councils there were no most necessary standard akty1.

These shortcomings were specified also at meetings on the Soviet construction. The resolution of the Central Election Commission of the USSR of December 19, 1924 formed the Meeting at Presidium of the CEC on the Soviet construction and improvement of work of councils to which development of actions for "revival" of councils was assigned. Similar meetings were formed at gubispolkoma. Developments of meetings formed the basis of the regulations adopted in 1925 — 1926 about financial and economic activity in -

1 A. Luzhin, M. Rezunov. Decree. soch., page 192 — 196.

lispolkom and Village Councils. But questions of the organization of work of local executive committees were still insufficiently settled. Especially it belonged to an issue of formation of sections (constant commissions) at volispolkoma. According to the provision of 1924, representatives of public organizations and an asset of workers had to enter sections of executive committees, except members of council. Sections had to consider previously questions in the corresponding direction, survey institutions and the enterprises, to hear their reports, to develop actions for improvement of work and to submit them for meetings of executive committee. Sections had to be means of involvement of workers and peasants in work of councils.

In practice in 1925 in the majority of volosts of section either were not created at all, or existed only on paper. In the same place, where they were, their work had formal character. According to the chairman of a volis-half-lump, sections represented "not the live help of VIKu and to the Village Council, and the excess protocol in office economy" 2.

Volost executive committees remained before transition to new administrative-territorial division. In the Astrakhan province the division into districts was carried out earlier, than in other regions of Lower Volga area — in August, 1925. Instead of 3 counties and 29 volosts 13 areas were created. In areas, district executive committees were formed. At the time of formation of the Lower Volga region in the territory of the Saratov, Stalingrad and Astrakhan province was 13 regional and 194 volost ispolkoma3.

City and village councils, unlike the executive committees formed by congresses of councils were chosen by direct vote inhabitants.

Rural (in the territory of accommodation of Cossacks — farm) councils appeared in Lower Volga area generally at the end of 1917 — January — March, 1918. This period is characteristic a peculiar existence of old and new authorities: rural territorial managements and village councils. In a number of places rural managements

2 In the same place, page 219.
3 Materials for the first regional party conference of the Lower Volga region / N. - Volzh. All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) Central Committee regional bureau. — Saratov: Kraypartizdat, 1928, page 7.

were simply renamed into the Village Councils and continued to perform functions inherent in them. The constitution of RSFSR legislatively fixed 1918 the organization of new local authorities.

Under the Constitution the Village Councils were local bodies of a uniform system of councils. The Village Councils were elected by villagers on norm — one deputy to each 100 people, but so that the total number of deputies was not less than three and no more than fifty people; more rare — were appointed volost executive committees. As a rule, on structure the Village Councils were not numerous: chairman, secretary, 3 — 5 people of members. The Village Councils conducted administrative and political work in the village, put into practice resolutions of the supreme bodies of the Soviet power, resolved issues of local economic and cultural construction.

Nearly two years in the territory of Lower Volga area the civil war continued. In these conditions the Village Councils together with rural communistic cells formed groups of the Red Army, held a surplus-appropriation system. After release of the territory of the majority of counties and districts from White Guards the Village Councils were restored or recreated.

Fall of 1920 food position of Lower Volga area sharply worsened, hunger began. For fight against hunger the state strengthened food preparations. Provinces were covered with network of food outposts. Prodotryada requisitioned bread, fought against the armed performances of the peasantry dissatisfied with surplus-appropriation systems. The Village Councils closely cooperated with prodorgana, put into practice state policy on agriculture. The recovery period set the new tasks for the Village Councils. They were engaged in creation of agricultural communes and artels, restoration of the destroyed household and cultural objects, improvement of settlements, overcoming food crisis.

Under the Constitution of 1918 the Village Councils had a three-months term of office. Under the provision of 1922 the term of their powers was prolonged up to 1 goda1. At the end of 1922

1 SU RSFSR, 1922, 10, Article 93.

for the first time elections to the Village Councils were held at the same time in the territory of all republic. Only 22.3% of the citizens who had the right to vote took part in them. As a part of the elected deputies there were 11.6% of absolutely illiterate, 86.6% semiliterate, having primary education, 1.8% — with an average obrazovaniyem2. It is no wonder that the low cultural level of members of the Village Council led to substitution of council by its chairman and secretary. In 1926 on elections to the Village Councils 47.5% of number which had selective pravo3 voted. were p>

according to the Lower Volga regional organizing committee, for January 1, 1928 in the territory of the Astrakhan province

1 270, the Stalingrad province — 1,136 selsovetov4.

Both volispolkoma, and the Village Councils — this, by definition, "the most public authority" — had fully no powers of authority. All fundamental issues of work of volispolkom and the Village Councils, including elections of the chairman and secretary, the approval of the agenda of a volost congress of councils, were solved volost party committee. A wolf performed party management of a volispolkom through fraction of a volispolkom and the chairman of a volispolkom who, as a rule, was at the same time a member of a volkom of party and its bureau.

Thus — volispolkom and the Village Councils throughout all considered period serious shortcomings were inherent in organizational and practical work of local bodies of the Soviet power: kantselyarsko - byur okratiches - which management from higher bodies, insufficient communication with the population, substitution of collective work as administrative activity of the chairman and secretary, lack of control of execution of decisions. It is thought, these defects of management are extremely hardy and do not belong only to the concrete historical period.

2 An election campaign in RSFSR in 1923 — M.: CSU RSFSR, 1924, page 8-10.
3 Results of decade of the Soviet power in figures. 1917-1927. - M.: CSU RSFSR, 1927, page 8-9.
4 Bulletin of the Lower Volga regional organizing committee: weekly official publication, No. 1. - Saratov, 1928, page 9 — 15.
Kalb Matthias
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