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Constitution-making in the informal Soviet empire in Eastern Europe, East Asia, and Inner Asia, 1945–1955



This chapter provides an overview of dependent constitution-making under one-party regimes in Albania, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, North Korea, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia during the first decade after the Second World War. Employing and further developing the concept of the informal Soviet empire, it discusses the structural adjustments in law and governance in the Soviet dependencies. The chapter outlines the development of the concepts of “people's republic” and “people's democracy” and discusses the process of adoption and the authorship of the constitutions. It then compares their texts with attention to sovereignty and political subjectivity, supreme state institutions, and the mentions of the Soviet Union, socialism, and ruling parties. Finally, it surveys the role of nonconstitutional institutions in political practices and their reflection in propaganda. The process of constitution-making followed the imperial logic of hierarchical yet heterogeneous governance, with multiple vernacular and Soviet actors partaking in drafting and adopting the constitutions. The texts ascribed sovereignty and political subjectivity to the people, the toilers, classes, nationalities, and regions, often in different combinations. Most of the constitutions established a parliamentary body as the supreme institution, disregarding separation of powers, and introduced a standing body to perform the supreme functions, including legislation, between parliamentary sessions, which became a key element in the legal adjustment. Some constitutions mentioned socialism, the Soviet Union, and the ruling parties. The standardization of governance in the informal Soviet empire manifested itself in the constitutional documents only partially. Propaganda and archival documents revealed the prominence of nonconstitutional institutions, parties and leaders, as well the involvement of Soviet representatives in state-building. Domestic parties and leaders in the Soviet dependencies were also presented as subordinate to their Soviet counterparts in propaganda.
7 Constitution-making in the
informal Soviet empire in Eastern
Europe, East Asia, and Inner Asia,
Ivan Sablin
During the rst decade after the Second World War, all Soviet dependencies
in Europe and Asia adopted new constitutions or introduced substantial
amendments to the existing ones. The Soviet Constitution of 1936 was the
main reference for most of the constitutions, while Iosif Vissarionovich
Stalin personally edited some of the drafts. Despite the similarities between
many provisions and direct borrowings from the Soviet Constitution, there
were major differences between the constitutions of Albania (1946), Bulgaria
(1947), China (1954), Czechoslovakia (1948), East Germany (1949),
Hungary (1949), North Korea (1948), Mongolia (1940), Poland (1947
1952), Romania (1948 and 1952), and Yugoslavia (1946). They varied in
terms of the sources of sovereignty and in their discussions of political
subjectivity, established different supreme state institutions, and did not
necessarily mention the ruling party, the Soviet Union, or socialism.
There were in fact no clear guidelines for constitution-making in Soviet
dependencies until 1957 (Hazard 1974, 988). Although their adoption was
often directed or supervised by Moscow, the authorship of the con-
stitutions was heterogeneous, with the participation of domestic and
Soviet leaders, jurists, and ofcials. Variable forms of dependence, from
military occupation to ideological and pragmatic allegiance, as well as the
ad hoc solutions in individual contexts contributed to the variety of
constitutional norms.
This lack of uniformity attested to the imperial character of Soviet gov-
ernance in Eurasia (Burbank and Cooper 2010, 11–12). In 1985, ahead of
the imperial turn in Russian and Soviet history (Sunderland 2016), the
economist Charles Wolf conceptualized the informal (external) Soviet em-
pire. It excluded the internal empire, that is the Soviet Union proper, and
had several distinguishing features: partial contiguity, the variety in the
forms of domination (satellites, allies, or cooperating regimes), and the
special role of the ruling parties, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union
as the primary agent of imperial power and the associated parties
DOI: 10.4324/9781003264972-8
in the dependent polities (Wolf 1985, 997–98). Although Wolf wrote about
the 1980s, the main characteristics of the informal Soviet empire con-
solidated already in 1945–1955.
This chapter focuses on the constitutional and nonconstitutional gov-
ernment architectures, which together with the establishment of state so-
cialist economies became an important part of the structural adjustments
(Duara 2007) within the informal Soviet empire. Structural adjustments did
not necessarily occur through coercion. Allegiance was also ensured through
ideological commitment to building socialism, which made the informal
Soviet empire also a hegemonic formation (Morozov 2021), and pragmatic
interest in Soviet assistance (Li 2001, 29–31). The Soviet–Yugoslav split in
1948, as well as the later Albanian–Soviet and Sino–Soviet splits, demon-
strated that structural adjustments did not predetermine subordination and
were reversible.
Formal integration of different parties and states also took shape during
the rst decade after the Second World War but the respective multilateral
organizations did not cover the whole informal empire. Whereas the in-
tegration through the Communist International (Comintern, 1919–1943)
included parties from the whole world, postwar organizations were conned
to Europe. The Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers’ Parties
(Cominform, 1947–1956), the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance
(1949–1991), and the Warsaw Treaty Organization (1955–1991) only in-
cluded European members in the 1940s and the 1950s.
The analyses of the constitutions’ adoption and authorship was based on
secondary literature and archival documents, predominantly those published
by Tat’iana Viktorovna Volokitina and her colleagues (Volokitina, Islamov,
and Murashko 1997; 1998; Volokitina 1999; 2002). The provisions of the
constitutions, pertaining to sovereignty, political subjectivity, supreme state
institutions, and dependence, were compared in their Russian translations.
The survey of nonconstitutional institutions and their representation relied on
archival documents, secondary literature, and illustrated propaganda maga-
zines. These magazines were modeled after the journal SSSR na stroike
(“USSR in Construction”), renamed Sovetskii Soiuz (“Soviet Union”) in
1950, and were usually published in the respective states and in multiple
languages. No magazines were available for Mongolia and Yugoslavia.
Constitution-making was not a one-sided adoption of the supposed model
of people’s democracy
and followed the nuanced imperial logic. Multiple
actors, including domestic party leaders and legal scholars, Soviet advisors,
and the leaders and functionaries of the VKP(b)/CPSU, partook in drafting
the constitutions. The Yugoslav Constitution of 1946, for instance, was
drafted by Yugoslav Communists in contact with the Soviet Ambassador,
while the North Korean Constitution of 1948 was practically written at
Stalin’s dacha (country house). The heterogeneous authorship and ad hoc
political solutions contributed to the major differences in the texts.
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 179
In the constitutions, sovereignty and political subjectivity were ascribed to
the people, the toilers, classes, nationalities, and regions, often in combi-
nation. Most of the constitutions proclaimed parliaments supreme bodies of
state power, rejecting thereby separation of powers, and introduced standing
bodies with broad competence, acting between parliamentary sessions.
Several constitutions were more restrictive than their Soviet counterpart,
barring different groups from elections. The ruling parties were rarely
mentioned. The goal of building socialism and the special relations to the
Soviet Union were mentioned more frequently but were also not ubiquitous.
The standardization of governance in Soviet dependencies also pertained
to nonconstitutional (in most cases) institutions of parties and leaders. The
ruling parties were presented as the main agents of societal change and
the de facto governments in propaganda and archival documents and were
treated as such by Moscow. A special role was also ascribed to leaders, most
of whom formally headed the parties but not the states. Domestic parties
and leaders were presented as subordinate to the VKP(b)/CPSU and the
Soviet leader. The dominance of the Soviet Union as a state was also evident
both in propaganda and archival documents.
The Bolsheviks, whose Party was the center of the Soviet empire (Suny and
Martin 2001), had been involved in constitution-making in Soviet de-
pendencies since the 1920s. The concepts of “people’s republic” and “peo-
ple’s democracy” played an important role in describing pro-Soviet regimes
since the 1920s and the 1940s, respectively, but neither of them corresponded
to complete uniformity of the dependent regimes.
The concept of people’s republic was introduced by the non-Bolshevik
socialists of the Ukrainian Central Rada, who proclaimed such a republic
in November 1917 in response to the Bolshevik-led coup in Petrograd. The
1918 Constitution of the Ukrainian People’s Republic specied that so-
vereignty belonged to “the people, that is, to all citizens” and was ex-
ercised through the universally elected People’s Assembly, which was
called the “supreme body of power” and granted supreme legislative
power. The Council of Minister and the General Court were granted su-
preme executive and judicial power, respectively. The Constitution also
introduced autonomy for non-Ukrainian nationalities (Pryliuk and
Ianevs’kyi 1992).
Although the Ukrainian Central Rada opposed the Bolsheviks, the latter
appropriated the concept of people’s republic. Most of Soviet Russia’s de-
pendencies which later joined the unied state were called socialist soviet
republics, but the Far Eastern Republic (1920–1922), the Khorezm People’s
Soviet Republic (1920–1923), the Bukharan People’s Soviet Republic
(1920–1924), and the People’s Republic of Tannu-Tuva (1921–1944) did not
180 Ivan Sablin
have the word “socialist” in their names. Neither did the Mongolian
People’s Republic (1924–1991), which remained formally independent and
became a “prototype” for modern satellite states (Lattimore 1956, 39).
The 1921 Constitution of the Far Eastern Republic was an important
milestone in the legal development of the informal Soviet empire. Unlike the
1918 Soviet Constitution, which ascribed sovereignty and political sub-
jectivity to classes, to the toilers, and to nationalities, the Constitution of the
Far Eastern Republic stated that all power in the republic belonged to the
people, although it also established autonomies for non-Russian national-
ities, implying differentiated subjectivity. It also did not mention the goal of
building socialism, unlike the 1918 Soviet Constitution, but still transferred
natural resources to state property and granted the toilers special rights and
protection. The Constitution of the Far Eastern Republic introduced uni-
versal elections, unlike in the USSR. It granted the People’s Assembly leg-
islative power, but the Administration (a “collective president”) of seven
people also received broad competence, including the right to adopt pro-
visional laws between parliamentary sessions. This meant that the system of
the Far Eastern Republic had similarities to that of Soviet Russia, where
supreme authority between the All-Russian Congresses of Soviets belonged
to the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and its standing Presidium
(Far Eastern Republic 1921, 7, 10, 28–31; Vyshinskii 1938, 423–26). The
potent Administration facilitated the control of the Bolshevik Party over the
Far Eastern Republic, but the Party also relied on nonconstitutional mea-
sures (Sablin 2018, 182–85).
The Constitution of the Far Eastern Republic granted some preferences to
Soviet Russian citizens, but the 1921 Constitution of Tannu-Tuva was the rst
one to formally proclaim dependence on Soviet Russia in foreign relations
(Far Eastern Republic 1921, 32; Dubrovskii and Serdobov 1957, 295). The
ve constitutions of formally independent Tuva (1921, 1924, 1926, 1930, and
1941) are exemplary of constitutional variability. The 1926 Constitution of the
Tuvan People’s Republic gloried the October Revolution in its preamble but
still spoke of people’s power. The 1930 Constitution of the Tuvan Arats’
[Herders’] Republic declared adherence to a non-capitalist path to socialism
and “the dictatorship of the toiling arat masses.” The 1941 Constitution of the
Tuvan People’s Republic called it “a state of the toilers” and reafrmed the
non-capitalist path (Dubrovskii and Serdobov 1958, 281–82, 286–87, 293).
The 1924 Constitution of Mongolian People’s Republic did not mention the
USSR but stated that “because the toilers of the whole world” aspired to
destroy “capitalism and achieve socialism (communism),” the Republic had to
pursue a foreign policy corresponding “to the interests and the main objectives
of the oppressed small peoples and revolutionary toilers of the whole world”
(Vaksberg 1925, 44). Irrespective of their constitutions, Mongolia and Tuva,
the only Soviet dependencies between 1922 and the Second World War, were
run by the domestic “people’s” parties and, through them, by the Bolshevik
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 181
Party. Their populations experienced violence and mass purges similar to
those in the USSR (Kaplonski 2014; Rupen 1965, 612).
The Soviet Constitution of 1936, which was often called the “Stalin
Constitution” and was adopted following a “popular discussion” (Lomb
2017; Velikanova 2018), vested sovereignty with two classes (workers and
peasants), with the toilers, and with the constituent republics. It also re-
ferenced multiple political subjects. The Constitution declared the USSR a
“socialist state of workers and peasants,” stated that “all power in the
USSR” belonged “to the urban and rural toilers,” but also granted “all ci-
tizens,” with the exception of “insane persons” and those who were disen-
franchised by court, passive and active voting rights, eliminating the
previous restrictions. The Constitution also dened the USSR as a union
state, founded through the “voluntary unication” of republics which re-
tained partial sovereignty and had the right to secession. Finally, it called the
VKP(b) “the vanguard of the toilers” and “the leading core of all organi-
zations of toilers, both civic and state” (Trainin 1940, 179–81, 188–89).
The USSR’s new institutional design was also self-contradictory. Whereas
the Constitution vested “all power” of the toilers in the soviets (councils) of
toilers’ deputies, it also introduced the Supreme Soviet as “the supreme body
of state power,” while the soviets of toilers’ deputies were dened as local
bodies of state power. The Supreme Soviet had two equal chambers, the
Soviet of the Union and the Soviet of Nationalities, and was called the only
legislative authority. At the same time, the standing Presidium of the
Supreme Soviet had broad competence between the sessions of the assembly,
including the right to issue decrees. Several other institutions had the word
“supreme” in their description. The Council of People’s Commissars (the
Council of Ministers since 1946) was the “supreme executive and adminis-
trative body,” while the Supreme Court was the “supreme judicial body.”
The Prosecutor (the Prosecutor General since 1946) was responsible for
“supreme” legal oversight. The overall “supreme” status of the Supreme
Soviet and the subordination of all other bodies to it meant that there was
no formal separation of powers (Trainin 1940, 179, 182–87).
The Communist leadership appeared to have considered contested elec-
tions (Getty 1991, 18) but did not introduce them until 1988/1989. All
candidates were pre-appointed by the Party, and the so-called “bloc of
Communists and non-party members” always won all of the seats. All
major decisions were made in the Central Committee of the Party and
unanimously ratied either by the Supreme Soviet or its Presidium (Juviler
1960, 3). By the time the Constitution of 1936 was adopted, the initial oli-
garchic collective leadership of the Bolshevik Politbiuro (Political Bureau)
had already given way to Stalin’s dictatorship, which achieved its full power
with the onset of the Great Terror (1937–1938). The apparatuses of the
Bolshevik Central Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars, which
Stalin chaired since 1941, became the two main institutions of the state. They
drafted resolutions to be approved by Stalin as the de facto supreme institution
182 Ivan Sablin
(Oleg V. Khlevniuk 2008, xiv–xvi, xix–xxi). The Constitution of 1936 further
bolstered the personality cult of Stalin as the supreme leader (vozhd’) in all
areas of Soviet life (Gill 2011, 117–21, 138).
The adoption of the Soviet Constitution of 1936 was connected to do-
mestic and international developments. The Soviet leadership hoped for
social stability and reconciliation with at least some of the groups which had
been persecuted in the previous years. In July 1935, Nikolai Ivanovich
Bukharin, who participated in drafting the new constitution, published an
article celebrating the emergence of a unied Soviet people through the
cohesion of classes and nationalities. International considerations also
played a role, as a “democratic” Soviet Union was supposed to facilitate the
shift of politics in foreign states to the left and help the struggle against
fascism (O. V. Khlevniuk 1996, 156–57; Whittington 2019, 147).
By 1936, at least three different understandings of people’s democracy
consolidated in the international communist discourse. In the context
of anticolonialism, it was evoked already in 1926, when the Korean
Communist Party, under the auspices of the Comintern’s Executive
Committee, proclaimed the slogan of a “people’s democratic republic” as a
means of struggle against Japan. Such a republic would have a universally
elected parliament as its supreme body, would be allied to the USSR, and
protect workers’ and peasants’ interests (Vada et al. 2007, 386–88). In 1936,
Wang Ming of the Chinese Communist Party spoke of the need to create a
“people’s democratic republic” in China, reafrming the need for a uni-
versally elected parliament and a government of national defense against
In 1935–1936, the notion of “people’s democracy” was used in re-
lation to the regime of the new Soviet Constitution.
It also became strongly
associated with the tactics of a united or popular front and antifascism.
In 1935, the Seventh World Congress of the Comintern supported the
tactics of a united front “of the proletariat” and “of all toilers” against
capital, fascism, and war on national and the international level, but at the
same time reafrmed the need to win most of the working class over to
communism. It also resolved to turn the national communist parties into
mass parties.
Following the Congress, Nikos Zachariadis, the General
Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece, spoke of the “parties of
people’s democracy” when discussing an anti-fascist united front in
December 1935.
After the victory of the Popular Front in the Spanish
legislative election in February 1936, Jesús Hernández Tomás of the Spanish
Communist Party called for advancing the “people’s democratic” revolution
in Spain.
At the onset of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), in September
1936, Georgi Dimitrov, who then headed the Comintern’s Executive
Committee, argued that if the Republicans won, a republic of a new type
would be established, “a state with genuine people’s democracy.” Such a
state would not yet be “soviet,” but it would be an “antifascist, left state,
with the participation of the genuine left part of the bourgeoisie” (Dam’e
et al. 1999, 36).
In 1937, Spanish Communists reafrmed the understanding
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 183
of “people’s democracy” as “a democratic parliamentary republic of a new
type” (Pozharskaia and Saplin 2001, 299). After the Spanish Civil War, in
1941, émigré participants of the Popular Front highlighted the nationality
aspect of people’s democracy when discussing freedom for Catalonia and
the Basque Country.
Unlike in the USSR, universal elections were not introduced in the two
informal Soviet dependencies, Tuva and Mongolia. Although the 1940
Constitution of Mongolia and the 1941 Constitution of Tuva had signicant
borrowings from the Soviet Constitution of 1936, non-universal, unequal, and
indirect elections were retained in both countries. Their continued dependence
on the USSR also reected in the new constitutions. Both constitutions re-
afrmed the non-capitalist path to socialism and included provisions on the
special role of their respective ruling parties, the Mongolian People’s
Revolutionary Party and the Tuvan People’s Revolutionary Party. By ana-
logy with the “Stalin Constitution,” its Mongolian counterpart was called the
“Choibalsan Constitution” after Khorloogiin Choibalsan, Mongolia’s leader.
Tuva’s 1941 Constitution also granted Soviet citizens in the country active and
passive voting rights. (Dubrovskii and Serdobov 1958, 295, 300–301; Iaskina
2007, 112; Mongolian People’s Republic 1947, 36, 46–47).
Tuva was ultimately annexed to the USSR in 1944, like Western Belarus
and Western Ukraine (Eastern Poland), Bessarabia (Moldova), Estonia,
Latvia, and Lithuania a few years before it (Naimark 2017, 63–64). No other
immediate Sovietizations followed. In 1943, Moscow rejected the idea of the
Polish Workers’ Party, which took the place of the Communist Party of
Poland, disbanded in 1938, to establish workers’ and peasants’ power in the
country. Instead, it supported the slogans of national freedom and people’s
democratic power along with the united front tactics (Kemp-Welch 2008,
18–19). Immediately after the war, Stalin also urged German Communists
against a violent revolution, stressing the need to take the electoral path to
power, if necessary, in coalition with other parties in the context of broader
support for socialism across Europe (Slaveski 2013, 117).
Unlike in Yugoslavia and Albania, where the Axis powers were defeated
by own communist-led partisan forces, in the rest of Eastern Europe, in
North Korea, and in Manchuria, they were defeated by the Soviet Red
Army. The Red Army remained a major factor in most of Eastern Europe –
with the exception of Yugoslavia, Albania, and Czechoslovakia (from which
it withdrew in December 1945) as well as in North Korea and Mongolia.
The Soviet secret police detachments in the occupied territories and Soviet
advisors also played an important role in the postwar political developments
(Békés et al. 2015, 18; Volokitina, Murashko, and Noskova 1993, 5).
In Eastern Europe, the Soviet takeover of the economies and defense
establishments and the creation of new dependencies went on since the
closing stages of the war and was especially swift in the former Axis coun-
tries, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania. In Austria, the attempts to pene-
trate the economy failed due to Anglo–American pressure. Although
184 Ivan Sablin
Moscow’s guidelines were incomprehensive and despite the predominance of
coalitional arrangements, domestic communist parties took dominant po-
sitions of power in the police, foreign relations, local governments, the army,
and economic bodies across the region in 1945–1946. Non-communist
parties were pushed away through a variety of tactics, including arrests
and inltration by clandestine communists. When constitutional means did
not work, the communists turned to mass mobilization and political vio-
lence. All this allowed gradual establishment of communist monopolies in
all countries of the region, irrespective of the appearances of the regimes
(Békés et al. 2015, 9–15; Naimark 2017, 66–67).
Competitive elections were held in 1946–1947 in Czechoslovakia, Romania,
Poland, and Hungary, but in all four cases communists admitted to rigging
them (Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko 1997, 1: 12–13, 15, 379). During the
establishment of the Cominform in September 1947, Andrei Aleksandrovich
Zhdanov, a prominent Bolshevik, repeated Stalin’s earlier claim that the world
was divided and urged communist parties to assert control. Forcible in-
corporation of social democratic parties followed, major industries were
completely nationalized, and rst attempts at collectivization of agriculture
were made. Secret police operations, often overseen by Soviet representatives,
helped to nish off the opposition. The Cominform, like the Comintern in its
later stages, was used to ensure Soviet control of the Eastern European parties,
which was one of the reasons for the Soviet–Yugoslav split in 1948. Following
the split, the most direct Sovietization took place between 1949–1950 and
1953–1956 (Naimark 2017, 68–70).
Authorship and adoption
Multiple actors participated in drafting the constitutions of Soviet de-
pendencies. The involvement of domestic communist leaders and jurists was
signicant in most cases. In some cases, Soviet jurists and diplomats played
a role. Direct involvement of the VKP(b)/CPSU leadership in writing and
editing the texts was rare and was documented in the cases of North Korea,
Poland, and Romania. Yugoslav Communists contributed to the making of
the Albanian Constitution, while non-communist politicians initially parti-
cipated in drafting the Czechoslovak Constitution. Most of the constitutions
were adopted by assemblies after a “popular discussion,” like in the USSR.
In several cases, non-communists had the opportunity to expressed their
opposition to the texts.
The rst postwar people’s republics run by a single party were formed in
Yugoslavia and Albania, where the communists became dominant forces
without Soviet military involvement. Despite initial coalitional arrange-
ments in Yugoslavia, the Communist Party of Yugoslavia under Josip Broz
Tito quickly took control over the key spheres of the reestablished state.
Prominent non-communists left the government in October 1945, but could
not consolidate the opposition. The Communist-led People’s Front won all
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 185
seats in the Constituent Assembly on November 11, 1945. Western powers
recognized the election as legitimate (Volokitina, Murashko, and Noskova
1993, 13–16, 97–99, 103). The Constituent Assembly convened on
November 29, 1945, and the same day proclaimed the Federative People’s
Republic of Yugoslavia (Nikiforov 2011, 547). The rst draft of the con-
stitution was prepared by Yugoslav jurists under the Communist leaders
Edvard Kardelj and Moša Pijade and was very close to the Soviet
Constitution of 1936, but Tito introduced signicant changes to the draft.
Soviet Ambassador Ivan Vasil’evich Sadchikov provided some advice, but
the Yugoslav authors did not appear to have followed it strictly
(Chernilovskii 1947, 56; Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko 1997, 1: 328).
Like in the USSR, the draft was published for a “popular discussion.”
The similarities between the draft and the Soviet Constitution prompted
some non-communists to claim that it was dictated by Moscow and that it
would make Yugoslavia a simple vassal of the USSR, akin to Mongolia.
Other critics argued that even though the Yugoslav system was more de-
mocratic, it established a concealed one-party system, and rebuked the one-
sided pro-Soviet orientation. No major changes were introduced, and the
Constitution of the Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia was adopted
on January 31, 1946 (Volokitina, Murashko, and Noskova 1993, 106–7;
Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko 1997, 1: 325–26, 329, 333). In 1953, the
Constitution was subject to major amendments, supervised by the Central
Committee of the Party (which was renamed to the League of Communists
of Yugoslavia in 1952). Kardelj and Pijade were responsible for the
amendments (Nikiforov 2011, 607–8).
The Communist Party of Albania also adopted the tactics of a Democratic
Front in the context of local armed opposition. On December 2, 1945, the
Democratic Front won all seats in the Constituent Assembly. With the ex-
ception of several independents, there was no contest from organized oppo-
sition. In Northern Albania, the election featured numerous violations, but
Western observers concluded that it reected the broad support for the
Democratic Front. On January 11, 1946, the Constituent Assembly declared
Albania a people’s republic. The Provisional Democratic Government under
Enver Hoxha, the First Secretary of the Communist Party, presented draft
constitution, which was prepared with the assistance of Yugoslav Communist
advisors. After a “popular discussion,” the Constituent Assembly adopted the
Constitution of the People’s Republic of Albania on March 14, 1946
(Smirnova 2003, 265–68; Volokitina, Murashko, and Noskova 1993, 17,
111–13). Following the Soviet–Yugoslav split, the Communist Party of
Albania was reformed into the Party of Labor of Albania in 1948, and in 1950
substantial amendments were introduced to the Constitution, making it closer
to the Soviet counterpart (Kuprits 1951, x–xi; Smirnova 2003, 303).
In Bulgaria, Soviet involvement was more prominent, and the process of
adoption was more contested. Initially, the Fatherland Front, which came to
power in 1944, was a broad coalition, but it became dominated by the
186 Ivan Sablin
Bulgarian Workers’ Party (Communists). The Front won 88 percent of votes
in the parliamentary election in November 1945. In September 1946, a re-
ferendum supported the proclamation of a people’s republic. The election to
the Sixth Grand National Assembly, which was to adopt a new constitution,
took place on October 27, 1946. Despite numerous violations, the
Fatherland Front won only about 70 percent of votes, and the parliament
included members of the opposition who were ready for political struggle
(Brunnbauer 2008, 52; Volokitina 1999, 1: 356; Znepolski et al. 2018, 77).
In September 1946, Stalin advised Dimitrov, who in November 1946
would become Bulgaria’s rst Communist Prime Minister, that the country
should adopt “a people’s constitution,” which would fall “more to the right
than the Yugoslav one” (Rieber 2009, 116). The Fatherland Front’s draft
was prepared by the Bulgarian Communists with the assistance of Soviet
advisors Il’ia Pavlovich Trainin (a legal scholar), Vsevolod Nikolaevich
Durdenevskii (a legal scholar), Konstantin Petrovich Gorshenin (Prosecutor
General of the USSR), Aleksandr Fedorovich Gorkin (Secretary of the
Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet), and Petr Nikolaevich Fedoseev (a
Marxist–Leninist philosopher). The opposition came up with their own
drafts, but the “popular discussion” of the Front’s draft began in May 1947.
In April–May 1947, all oppositional newspapers were shut down in
Bulgaria, and the anti-communists in the parliament decried the lack of
outlets to properly discuss the Front’s draft. Fearing a discussion of the
situation at the United Nations Security Council, the Communists allowed
some debates, which revolved around separation of powers, private prop-
erty, and political and civil liberties. The Front’s draft did not receive a two-
thirds majority in the Grand National Assembly but passed the rst reading
on June 20. On December 4, 1947, the Constitution of the People’s Republic
of Bulgaria, which became known as the “Dimitrov Constitution,” was
adopted (Lazarev 1952, 7; Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko 1997, 1:
630–31, 742; Znepolski et al. 2018, 78–79).
In Romania, King Michael I formally led the coup, which in 1944 es-
tablished the government of the National Democratic Bloc, including the
Romanian Communist Party. Under the pressure from Andrei Ianuar’evich
Vyshinskii, who was the Soviet negotiator in the peace talks, the King made
the Communist Petru Groza Prime Minister in 1945. Ahead of the election
to the Grand National Assembly on November 19, 1946, Gheorghe
Gheorghiu-Dej, the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the
Romanian Communist Party, informed a Soviet representative that his
party planned to ensure its own majority with the help of “special ‘technical’
means.” With numerous violations, the Communist-led Bloc of Democratic
Parties won around 70 percent of votes. Romanian Communists then used
the Soviet military presence to eliminate political opposition and prompt
Michael I to abdicate on December 30, 1947, with the proclamation of the
Romanian People’s Republic. In February 1948 Romania signed a treaty of
friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance with the Soviet Union,
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 187
becoming the rst Eastern European dependency to do so. The same month,
the Communists merged their party with the Social Democratic Party,
forming the Romanian Workers’ Party. In the new election to the Grand
National Assembly on March 28, 1948, the Communist-led Popular
Democratic Front won 405 out of 414 seats. On April 13, 1948, the Grand
National Assembly unanimously adopted the provisional Constitution of the
Romanian People’s Republic. No detailed information is available on
the drafting of this constitution,
but it was most certainly supervised by
the Party leadership, and the draft had been published before the discussion
in the parliament (Deletant 2018, 66; Focseneanu 1998, 116–17; Leustean
2007, 306–7; Tismaneanu 2003, 94; Van de Grift 2011, 49; Volokitina,
Murashko, and Noskova 1993, 28, 182–84; Volokitina 1999, 1: 370, 375–76).
The Soviet leadership was directly involved in drafting the second postwar
constitution. In 1951, Gheorghiu-Dej asked for Soviet assistance, to which
Stalin agreed. After the commission under Gheorghiu-Dej (Figure 7.1)
provided the draft, it was edited by Vyshinskii, Vagan Grigor’evich
Grigor’ian (who chaired the VKP(b) Central Committee’s Foreign Policy
Commission), and Gorshenin in 1952. On June 25, 1952, Viacheslav
Mikhailovich Molotov submitted draft recommendations on the text to
Figure 7.1 A meeting of the constitutional commission under the presidency of
Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej during the Thirteenth Session of the Grand
National Assembly, Bucharest, between September 22 and 24, 1952
(Fototeca online a comunismului românesc, Photograph #IA172, 172/1952).
188 Ivan Sablin
Stalin who apparently rejected them. On July 6, 1952, new recommendations
were submitted and approved two days later. In Romania, the amended
draft was put up for a “popular discussion.” On September 23, 1952,
Gheorghiu-Dej presented the draft to the Grand National Assembly, and on
September 27, 1952, it was adopted (Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko
1998, 2: 582, 771, 796, 804–5; Volokitina 2002, 2: 632–35).
In Czechoslovakia, the drafting of a new constitution was especially
contested. The government-in-exile under Edvard Beneš, the prewar
President, and the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia under Klement
Gottwald agreed to form the coalitional National (People’s) Front in 1943.
The Communists found themselves in a contested landscape, with Beneš
resuming his presidency in 1945 and the Soviet troops withdrawing later the
same year. Ahead of the election to the Constituent National Assembly, the
Czechoslovak Communist leaders Rudolf Slánský and Gottwald informed
the Soviet side that they intended to limit the participating parties to those in
the National Front and rush with the election date due to the disagreements
among the Front’s members. The election, which took place on May 26,
1946, did not result in a Communist plurality (Mar’ina 2005, 2:49;
Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko 1997, 1: 379, 575–76).
The parliament’s constitutional commission, chaired by the Social
Democrat Oldřich John included members of different parties and its work
entailed erce debates (Gronský 2006, 2:329). The VKP(b) Department of
Foreign Policy reported in September 1947 that the opposition attempted
to remove the foundations of the “people’s democratic system” from the
text, while Slovak politicians sought to “have their separatist proposals
passed.” It also criticized the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia for not
using “nonparliamentary forms of struggle” and rebuked the weakness of
the Communist Party of Slovakia. During the crisis of February 1948,
caused by the tensions between the Communists and non-communists in the
government, Valerian Aleksandrovich Zorin, the Soviet Deputy Minister of
Foreign Affairs, who was then in Prague, instructed Gottwald and the rest
of the Czechoslovak Communist leaders to take a rmer stance. According
to Zorin, Gottwald was afraid to go against Beneš, feared American in-
volvement, and asked the Soviets to move their troops in Germany and
Austria around Czechoslovakia, which Moscow rejected (Mar’ina 2005,
2:74; Volokitina 1999, 1: 498–99, 551–52).
The crisis ended with the Communist coup on February 21–25, 1948, and
the Communist Party established control over the Constituent National
On April 14, 1948, the National Front, then under Communist
control, approved the draft of the new constitution and it was put up for a
short “popular discussion.” Beneš refused to support the undemocratic
constitution and the undemocratic elections, which would include one
list of candidates. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of
Czechoslovakia nevertheless resolved to submit the draft to the parliament
on May 4. On May 9, 1948, the Constituent National Assembly adopted the
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 189
new Constitution of the Czechoslovak Republic. Edward Taborsky, a former
secretary of Beneš, called the text a “hybrid” of Western parliamentarism and
the Soviet system. Beneš resigned after the adoption of the Constitution and
the new election, which gave the absolute majority to the National Front. On
June 9, 1948, Gottwald signed the Constitution into force as Prime Minister
and acting President, and on June 14, he was elected President (Abrams 2009,
358; Dobeš 2010, 357–68; Mar’ina 2005, 2:80–81; Volokitina, Islamov, and
Murashko 1997, 1: 868–70; Volokitina 1999, 1: 612).
The constitution-making in North Korea was fully controlled by the
Soviet side. According to Nobuo Shimotomai, all important political
documents were most likely written by Soviet advisors under the supervision
of the Soviet generals in charge of North Korea, Terentii Fomich Shtykov,
Nikolai Georgievich Lebedev, and Andrei Alekseevich Romanenko. In
February 1947, the Communist-dominated congress of people’s committees
formed the People’s Assembly and approved Kim Il-sung’s government,
which was active since February 1946. In November 1947, at the third
session of the People’s Assembly, Kim Tu-bong, the rst Chairman of the
Workers’ Party of Korea, reported on the plan to draft a provisional con-
stitution. The session created a commission of the members of the
Communist-led Democratic Front for the Reunication of Korea, which
prepared a draft with the assistance of Boris Vasil’evich Shchetinin, a Soviet
jurist. Following the recommendation of the Bolshevik Politbiuro, the draft
was put up for a “popular discussion” in February–April 1948 (Simotomai
2009, 73, 78, 82; Vanin 2016, 131).
According to Shtykov, however, the proper discussion of the draft took
place at Stalin’s dacha on April 24, 1948. This meeting, which apart from
Stalin and Shtykov included Molotov and Zhdanov, amended the draft and
decided to make the constitution permanent. It was to be enacted in South
Korea as well, while the new government was to include its representatives.
On April 28–29, 1948, the extraordinary session of the People’s Assembly in
Pyongyang pre-approved the draft to be adopted by the future all-Korean
legislature. On July 9–10, 1948, the People’s Assembly enacted the
Constitution and set the election to the Supreme People’s Assembly, the new
legislature. The election was held on August 25, 1948, in the North and,
illegally in two stages, in the South. The new assembly included 360 deputies
from the South and 212 from the North. On September 8, 1948, the rst
session of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the Democratic People’s
Republic of Korea approved the Constitution. The next day it declared the
country’s independence. Moscow withdrew its troops in 1949. According to
Nobuo Shimotomai, Lebedev was the one who proposed the name of the
country, although it also repeated the abovementioned 1926 slogan of the
Korean Communists (Simotomai 2009, 82–87; Vanin 2016, 132, 138–40).
In Hungary, the Soviet occupation did not prevent competitive parlia-
mentary election in November 1945, in which the Hungarian Communist
Party won only 17 percent. Mátyás Rákosi, its leader, nevertheless noted
190 Ivan Sablin
that elections did not matter much, given the domination of the Communists
in the army, the police, the secret police, local government, and the judiciary.
The parliament did not play a signicant role, as the Communists also
passed laws through the Supreme National Council, for instance, on the
Soviet–Hungarian Economic Agreement of 1945. In May 1946, after
meeting Stalin, Rákosi revealed to the Party’s top functionaries that pro-
letarian dictatorship was on the agenda as soon as peace treaties were signed
and the elections in Western Europe were over (Békés et al. 2015, 10, 19).
Ahead of the second postwar parliamentary election, the leaders of the
Communists and the Social Democrats agreed to disenfranchise some 300,000
“reactionaries” and omit some people from voters’ lists. Despite the use of
intimidation and fraud, the Communists won only 22 percent of the votes on
August 31, 1947, which displeased the Bolshevik Foreign Policy Department.
Ahead of the third election, the Communists forced the Social Democrats to
merge the two parties into the Hungarian Working People’s Party in 1948.
The new Party joined the Hungarian Popular Front of Independence, which
ran uncontested in the election on May 15, 1949, and won the absolute ma-
jority of seats, effectively nalizing the establishment of a one-party regime
(Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko 1997, 1: 571; Volokitina 1999, 1: 593;
2002, 2: 279; Fekete 2019, 196–97).
Before the election, Rákosi informed Mikhail Andreevich Suslov, who
then headed the Bolshevik Foreign Policy Commission, that his party
planned to adopt a new constitution after the election (Volokitina, Islamov,
and Murashko 1998, 2: 71). The draft of the new constitution was prepared
by a commission, formed by the Council of Ministers and chaired by
Rákosi. Two Hungarian jurists, Imre Szabó and János Beér, played an
important role in drafting the text. Beér maintained that the presence of the
Soviet troops was a revolutionary factor, that the teachings of Stalin were
the main inspiration, and that the Soviet Constitution of 1936 was the ex-
ample for the new Hungarian constitution. The draft was put up for a brief
“popular discussion” on August 5–10, 1949, which resulted in some revi-
sions. On August 17, 1949, the revised draft was submitted to the parlia-
ment, where it was unanimously adopted as Act XX on August 20, 1949
(Fekete 2019, 198, 201–2).
Although it is often discussed as a special case, the Soviet Occupation
Zone in East Germany also underwent a comparable transformation into a
one-party state (Connelly 2009, 170–71). The Communist Party of Germany
and the Social Democratic Party of Germany were forced to merge into a
new party, the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, already in April 1946. Like
in the case of Korea, Moscow envisioned a constitution for the whole
country and encouraged the convocation of the First People’s Congress for
Unity and a Just Peace, which included nominees from parties and other
organizations, in December 1947. Members of the Socialist Unity Party and
the West German Communists had around 72 percent of seats. The Second
People’s Congress convened in March 1948 and elected the People’s Council
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 191
of 300 members from the East and 100 members from the West. The
People’s Council formed a commission to draft a constitution for Germany.
Although it included members from West Germany, their participation was
deemed illegal by the West German authorities in the context of the rising
tensions, which culminated in the start of the Berlin Blockade in June 1948
(Markovits 2008, 1314–15).
The constitution was drafted under the supervision of the Socialist Unity
Party leadership. Otto Grotewohl, a Social Democrat before the merger,
chaired the commission. The Party’s First Secretary Walter Ulbricht and the
jurist Karl Polak, both of whom had returned from the Soviet Union, played a
key role in the process. Moscow supported a draft which would be suitable for
the whole country, and until the adoption of the Basic Law in West Germany
on May 8, 1949, Grotewohl had apparently hoped that a compromise was
possible. Although the Socialist Unity Party had a majority, there were de-
bates in the commission. After the formal creation of the Federal Republic of
Germany in the West, the East German leadership proceeded with con-
stituting a separate state. On October 7, 1949, the People’s Council approved
the Constitution of the German Democratic Republic (Markovits 2008, 1314,
1316–17; for a detailed account, see Amos 2005).
In Poland, the Democratic Bloc, led by the Polish Workers’ Party and the
Polish Socialist Party, won the election to the Legislative Sejm in January
1947, in the context of violence against the opposition. Although the oppo-
sition had the opportunity to voice their concerns in the Sejm and declared the
election fraudulent, rejecting therefore the parliament’s constituent status,
the Sejm adopted the provisional Small Constitution on February 19, 1947.
The document, which amended the Constitution of 1921, pertained to the
competence of the main government bodies and introduced the State Council,
a new institution, and national councils. The opposition interpreted the Small
Constitution as a step toward the Soviet system. The Sejm also elected the
Communist Bolesław Bierut President. After the practical elimination of the
Polish People’s Party, the Communist-led Democratic Bloc remained the only
organized political force, although the Catholic Church continued to be an
important independent actor in a broader sense (Kemp-Welch 2008, 47;
Kersten 1991, 346–48, 350, 352; Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko 1997, 1:
554–55). In December 1948, the Polish Workers’ Party and the Polish Socialist
Party were merged into the Polish United Workers’ Party. The parties, which
were formally “allied” to it, had little independence. Furthermore, the
Communists controlled the secret police, which had Soviet advisors.
In November 1949, the Soviet Marshal Konstantin Konstantinovich
Rokossovskii took over the command of the Polish Army. The Communist
leadership under Bierut was in constant contact with the VKP(b) leadership
and Soviet diplomatic representatives (Noskova 2012, 565–69).
In May 1951, the Sejm created a commission for drafting a new con-
stitution. The Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party
192 Ivan Sablin
prepared the draft, which was then edited by Stalin. The draft was put up for
a “popular discussion” in January 1952. The opponents of the draft claimed
that it was the same as the Soviet Constitution of 1936 and demanded, for
instance, that the provision on liquidating “exploiter” classes was removed.
The separation of church and state was also heavily contested. Catholic
activists opposed it, arguing that the Polish people needed a Polish
Constitution and not a Stalinist one. The Communist leadership, however,
did not actively suppress them. They informed Moscow that in view of
adopting the constitution, the new election, and general religiosity of the
population, they did not want to strain relations with the Episcopate.
The Episcopate, in its turn, did not obstruct the promulgation of the
Constitution by the Sejm on July 22, 1952, and the subsequent parliamen-
tary election (Kemp-Welch 2008, 47; Noskova 2012, 579; Volokitina,
Islamov, and Murashko 1998, 2: 691, 730; Volokitina 2002, 2: 627).
There was no Soviet military presence in China after their withdrawal
from Manchuria in 1946. Stalin nevertheless advised Mao Zedong, the
Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, on the design of the Chinese
political system since April 1948. Mao initially planned to exclude all other
parties from politics, but Stalin urged the Chinese Communist Party to
cooperate with them, and Mao conceded. In 1949, Stalin supported the
formation of “a people’s democratic dictatorship” instead of “a proletarian
dictatorship” after the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War
(1927–1937, 1945–1949). Shortly before the proclamation of the People’s
Republic of China on October 1, 1949, the rst Chinese People’s Political
Consultative Conference, representing the Communist-dominated United
Front, approved the Common Program, which laid out the basics of the
state system. It relied on the concept of “democratic dictatorship of
the people,” which was dened as the power of the United Front of the
“working class, peasants, petty bourgeoisie, and national bourgeoisie, led by
the working class.” The Common Program envisioned the convocation of a
parliamentary body, the National People’s Congress (Li 2001, 32–35, 38–39;
Tikhvinskii and Galenovich 2017, 8: 21–23, 25).
In 1949, Stalin argued that the Chinese constitution, to be adopted by 1954,
was supposed to reect the pre-socialist stage. Mao by contrast wanted to
postpone the constitution until after socialism was built. In the fall of 1952,
Stalin reafrmed his previous position, and Mao conceded (Li 2001, 39–41). In
February 1953, the Chinese government introduced the law for unequal, in-
direct, and non-universal elections to the National People’s Congress, similar
to the Soviet elections before 1936. The entire process was controlled by the
Chinese Communist Party. The elections continued for over a year between
May 1953 and July 1954. In January 1954, the government formed a con-
stitutional commission under Mao, who proceeded with the plan despite
Stalin’s death in March 1953. Among other Party leaders only Liu Shaoqi
worked on the text. The initial draft was prepared by Mao and his aides Chen
Boda, Hu Qiaomu, and Tian Jiaying. It was then revised by members of the
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 193
Politbiuro of the Communist Party and by senior members of the constitu-
tional commission. In April 1954, the draft was put to a “popular discussion”
(Figure 7.2), which resulted in a few minor revisions. The Government
Administration Council pre-approved the draft on September 9, 1954, and the
rst session of the National People’s Congress unanimously adopted the
Constitution on September 20, 1954 (Diamant and Feng 2015, 22–24; Li 2001,
29, 42–45; Sudarikov 1955, 82–90; Tikhvinskii and Galenovich 2017, 8:55–57).
The Mongolian Constitution of 1940 was amended several times, in 1944,
1949, and 1952. In 1946, Mongolia’s independence was recognized by the
Guomindang’s government of China, and in October 1949 the Mongolian and
Chinese People’s Republics established relations (Iaskina 2007, 177–78, 186).
Sovereignty and political subjectivity
The most common sources of sovereignty and collective bearers of political
subjectivity in the constitutions of Soviet dependencies were the “people,”
Figure 7.2 “Housewives of Shanghai joyfully welcomed the publication of the draft
constitution of the PRC,” 1954 (Kitai, No. 7, 1954, p. 3).
194 Ivan Sablin
the “toilers,” and the classes of workers and toiling peasants, which were at
times mentioned simultaneously. Several constitutions mentioned multiple
peoples or nationalities, while the East German Constitution also referred to
regions (lands).
The “people,” which could mean the whole population (nation) or imply
the social category of the working people (toilers), was the most common
source of sovereignty and political subject. All Soviet dependencies, except
East Germany and Czechoslovakia, had the words “people’s republic” in
their ofcial names. “People’s democracy” was explicitly mentioned in the
constitutions of China, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania (1952), and
Poland (1952). Only the 1952 Romanian Constitution dened “people’s
democracy,” specifying that it was the power of the toilers (Durdenevskii
1948a, 50; Israelian 1954, 27; Karev 1953, 6–7; Kotok 1954, 36; Sudarikov
1955, 29). With the exception of the Small Constitution of Poland, universal
were mentioned in all constitutions, although several population
groups were disenfranchised in China,
and Romania,
making the legislation there more restrictive than in the USSR. Like in the
Soviet text, the expression “all citizens” was mentioned in most of the
constitutions, even if the “people” was not discussed as the source of so-
vereignty (Chernilovskii 1947, 37; Demidov 1952, 52; Durdenevskii 1948a,
51; 1948c, 88; Israelian 1954, 46; Karev 1953, 26; Kuprits 1951, 13;
Mongolian People’s Republic 1947, 50; Lazarev 1952, 25; People’s Republic
of Albania 1947, 56; Sobinov 1953, 39; Sudarikov 1955, 82; Tavrov 1952, 55;
Trainin 1940, 189).
The people as the source of sovereignty was explicitly mentioned in the
constitutions of Albania, Bulgaria, China, Czechoslovakia, East Germany,
Hungary, North Korea, Poland (1947 and 1952), Romania (1948 and 1952),
and Yugoslavia. The Constitution of Albania initially stated that “all power
originated in the people and belonged to the people.” The 1950 amendments
changed this provision, but the constitution still mentioned “sovereignty of
the people and the state” and the universally elected representatives of the
people (Kuprits 1951, 3, 7, 13; People’s Republic of Albania 1947, 51, 56).
The Bulgarian Constitution claimed that the People’s Republic emerged
from the heroic struggle of the “Bulgarian people” and stated that all power
originated in the people and belonged to the people (Lazarev 1952, 25). The
Czechoslovak Constitution stated that the people were “the only source of
power in the state” (Durdenevskii 1948a, 51). The Hungarian Constitution
mentioned “the sovereignty of the people” but excluded the “enemies of the
toiling people” from the franchise (Israelian 1954, 30, 46). The East German
Constitution spoke of the German people (Sobinov 1953, 27). The North
Korean Constitution vested the power in the people (Tavrov 1952, 55). In
Romania, the Constitution of 1948 stated that “all state power originates in
the people and belongs to the people” (Durdenevskii 1948c, 87). The
Constitution of 1952 did not include such a provision but still mentioned
national independence, sovereignty of the Romanian people, and the
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 195
interests of the “popular masses” (Kotok 1954, 31–32). Yugoslavia was
dened as a people’s state, in which “all power originates in the people and
belongs to the people” (Chernilovskii 1947, 35–36). According to Sadchikov,
Tito removed the statement that all power belonged to “urban and rural
toilers,” like in the Soviet Union, from the original draft (Volokitina,
Islamov, and Murashko 1997, 1: 328).
The national understanding of the people was especially strong in the
Chinese and Polish cases, even though the social aspect was also there. The
Chinese Constitution located all power with the people and, by including
the overseas Chinese into the franchise, made the national understanding
prominent. At the same time, it mentioned ethnic heterogeneity and implied
the social understanding of the people, stating that there were enemies of the
people inside each nationality (Sudarikov 1955, 29–31, 35). The Small
Constitution of 1947 spoke of the Polish people or nation as the main col-
lective subject (Republic of Poland 1947). The Polish Constitution of 1952
mentioned the progressive “traditions of the Polish people,” the struggle
against “national slavery” against Prussian, Austrian, and Russian coloni-
zers, and national revival in its preamble; the Sejm ofcially embodied the
sovereign rights of the people (Karev 1953, 5, 11). Stalin made the national
aspect of the draft more prominent, removing, for instance, a direct mention
of Soviet leadership from the preamble (Noskova 2012, 579).
The toilers as a source of sovereignty and a bearer of political sub-
jectivity were mentioned in the constitutions of Albania (after the
amendments of 1950), Hungary, Mongolia, Poland (1952), and Romania
(1952). Similar to the Soviet Constitution of 1936, in most cases this made
the texts self-contradictory, with both the inclusionary people and the
exclusionary toilers serving as sources of sovereignty. The statement that
all power belonged to the “urban and rural toilers” was copied from the
respective article of the Soviet Constitution, while “the socialist state of
workers and peasants” transformed into the state of toilers. The con-
stitutions of Albania (before the amendments of 1950), East Germany,
Romania (1948), and Yugoslavia granted the toilers or the toiling people
assistance or special care (Chernilovskii 1947, 40; Demidov 1952, 37;
Durdenevskii 1948c, 87; Israelian 1954, 28; Karev 1953, 5, 7; Kotok 1954,
31–33; Kuprits 1951, 3; Mongolian People’s Republic 1947, 36; People’s
Republic of Albania 1947, 52; Sobinov 1953, 31; Trainin 1940, 179). Only
the Mongolian Constitution provided an exhaustive denition of the toi-
lers as the “arat herders, workers, and intelligentsia” (Demidov 1952, 37;
Mongolian People’s Republic 1947, 36).
Apart from restricting the voting rights, the Chinese, Hungarian, and
Romanian (1952) constitutions granted some other rights only to the “toi-
lers” or the “toiling citizens” rather than simply the “citizens” (Fekete 2019,
202; Israelian 1954, 42–46; Kotok 1954, 52; Sudarikov 1955, 51; Trainin
1940, 187–89). The Polish Constitution of 1952 claimed that the People’s
Republic defended the toilers from the forces which were “hostile to the
196 Ivan Sablin
people” and contained a self-contradictory paragraph, claiming that the
Sejm represented the will of the toilers and manifested the sovereign rights of
the people (Karev 1953, 7, 11). When there was no explicit tension between
the people and the toilers, it was implied. The Yugoslav Constitution spe-
cied, “Every citizen is obliged to work according to his abilities: whoever
does not give to society cannot receive from it” (Chernilovskii 1947, 44).
During the discussion of the draft, Sadchikov claimed that “popular so-
vereignty” made Yugoslavia akin to “bourgeois democratic republics” but
also mentioned that a base for future class differentiation was present, citing
the assistance to the toilers and the abovementioned clause. According to
Sadchikov, Kardelj informed him that the clause would be used to crush the
bourgeoisie (Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko 1997, 1: 326–27).
Class sovereignty and subjectivity was articulated in the Albanian,
Chinese, Hungarian, Polish (1952), and Romanian (1948 and 1952) con-
stitutions. After the amendments of 1950, Albania was dened as “a state of
workers and toiling peasants” (Kuprits 1951, 3). The Chinese Constitution
specied that the state was “led by the working class and based on the union
of workers and peasants” (Sudarikov 1955, 31). The Romanian Constitution
of 1948 maintained that the state emerged as a result of the people’s struggle
under the leadership of the working class (Durdenevskii 1948c, 87), while the
Constitution of 1952 referred to the “toilers” led by the “working class” and
mentioned its union with toiling peasants, again specifying the leading role
of the working class (Kotok 1954, 31–32). In the Hungarian Constitution,
the state of “workers and toiling peasants” was also based on the union
of the two classes under the leadership of the former (Israelian 1954, 27–28).
The Polish Constitution of 1952 ascribed state-building to the “heroic
working class” and the union of workers and peasants under the former as
the most “advanced class” of the society. It also mentioned the liquidation
of the exploiter classes as the objective of the People’s Republic (Karev
1953, 5–7).
Nationalities as sources of sovereignty, political subjects, or bearers of
special rights were mentioned in the constitutions of China, Czechoslovakia,
North Korea, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was constituted as a
federation, like the USSR, but unlike a union of equal republics (Trainin
1940, 180), Yugoslavia was a union of equal peoples based on self-
determination. Like the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia also included territorial
autonomies within union republics (Chernilovskii 1947, 35). The biggest
difference between the two federations was the lack of the right to secession
in Yugoslavia. According to Sadchikov, Tito and Kardelj argued that, un-
like in the USSR, there were no deep “national differences” in Yugoslavia
since all peoples were Slavic. They also argued that the peoples were not
numerous enough to function as sovereign (Volokitina, Islamov, and
Murashko 1997, 1: 326). In the 1940s, there were discussions of larger
Eastern European federations among the Yugoslav and Soviet leaders, in-
cluding the possible merger of Bulgaria and Albania with Yugoslavia
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 197
(Perović 2007). Besides, the Yugoslav Communists criticized the Bulgarian
draft constitution for hampering the self-determination of the Macedonians
(Volokitina 1999, 1: 393).
In 1945–1955, no Soviet dependency other than Yugoslavia was constituted
as a federation. The Czechoslovak Constitution established a state “of two
equal Slavic peoples, the Czechs and the Slovaks,” with the latter getting their
own national bodies (Durdenevskii 1948a, 51). This political community was
exclusionary in the ethnic sense. Already the electoral law of April 1948 dis-
enfranchised the Hungarians and the Germans. In May 1948, the exclusion of
the Hungarians from the Constitution led to a conict between the Hungarian
Communist Party and the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. The
Bolsheviks criticized the absence of national minority rights from the
Czechoslovak Constitution but also rebuked the existence of separate bodies
for the Slovaks, which ostensibly made the Czechs unequal to them. In June
1948, after the Constitution was enacted, the Czechoslovak leadership assured
Molotov that ensuring the legal equality of the Hungarians with the Czechs
and the Slovaks was a priority for the cabinet (Volokitina, Islamov, and
Murashko 1997, 1: 874, 912; Volokitina 1999, 1: 615–16, 620).
The Constitution of China stated that different nationalities untied into
“one great family of free and equal peoples” and established a “unitary
multinational state” with autonomy for territories where particular national
minorities predominated (Sudarikov 1955, 30–31). Both Romanian con-
stitutions included the rights of national minorities, while the 1952 one es-
tablished a territorial autonomy for the Hungarians, the Magyar (Hungarian)
Autonomous Region (Durdenevskii 1948c, 88; Kotok 1954, 32, 37–38).
During the “popular discussion,” the Hungarian Autonomous Region
evoked many questions pertaining to possible travel restrictions between it
and other regions, to the ofcial language, and to the voting rights of the
Romanians there (Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko 1998, 2: 804). The
North Korean Constitution specied that national minorities had the right to
use their language and develop national culture (Tavrov 1952, 61). The
Constitution of East Germany was the only one to include the subjectivity of
regions (lands) (Sobinov 1953, 44, 51).
Supreme state institutions
The constitutions of Soviet dependencies established different structures of
government, although there were some shared aspects. Most of them did not
introduce separation of powers, declaring parliaments the supreme bodies of
state power, similar to the Soviet Constitution of 1936. Furthermore, with
the exception of East Germany, standing bodies with legislative authority
between parliamentary sessions had been established in all Soviet de-
pendencies by 1955. Several constitutions also borrowed the contradiction
between the locally organized councils, which ostensibly had all power, and
the parliaments, as the supreme bodies, from the Soviet system.
198 Ivan Sablin
Following the Soviet example, most of the constitutions proclaimed a
universally elected parliament the supreme body of state power, which
meant that there was no separation of powers. The only exceptions were the
Small Constitution of Poland and the Constitution of Czechoslovakia,
which called the Legislative Sejm and the National Assembly, respectively,
the supreme legislative bodies. In the case of Czechoslovakia, there was also
a separate legislative body in Slovakia, the Slovak National Council. Most
of the constitutions, with the exception of the East German, Hungarian,
Polish, and Yugoslav ones, specied that the parliament was the sole leg-
islative authority. In the case of East Germany, the universally elected
People’s Chamber was declared the “supreme state body,” but there was
also the second chamber, the Chamber of Lands, which was formed by the
parliaments of the lands. The Hungarian Constitution stated that the State
Assembly had legislative rights. In East Germany, parliamentary elections
were direct to the People’s Chamber and indirect to the Chamber of Lands.
In Mongolia (before 1949) and China, they were indirect. The Chinese
Constitution did not introduce a universal franchise and made urban votes
more important than rural ones, which made it similar to the Soviet
Constitution of 1918, although there were fewer voting restrictions in the
Chinese case. The Chinese Constitution also established a xed number of
seats for national minorities and for the overseas Chinese in the National
People’s Congress (Chernilovskii 1947, 50–51, 62; Demidov 1952, 41, 52;
Durdenevskii 1948a, 51; 1948b, 64; 1948c, 89; Iaskina 2007, 186; Israelian
1954, 30–31; Karev 1953, 7, 10; Kotok 1954, 33, 38; Kuprits 1951, 13;
Lazarev 1952, 28; Mongolian People’s Republic 1947, 39, 42–43, 45–46;
People’s Republic of Albania 1947, 56; Sobinov 1953, 44; Sudarikov 1955,
35, 82, 86–87; Tavrov 1952, 55, 62; Trainin 1940, 182; Republic of Poland
1947; Vyshinskii 1938, 427, 431–32, 436).
In Yugoslavia, the Federal Council and the Council of Nationalities, the
two chambers whose names and design were adapted from the Supreme
Soviet, were established as directly elected and equal. The whole People’s
Assembly was proclaimed the supreme body of state power at the federal
level, while the individual republics had their own people’s assemblies. The
departure from the Soviet model in 1953 included the absorption of the
Council of Nationalities into the Federal Council and the creation of a new
chamber, the Council of Producers, consisting of delegates from workers’
councils and other economic organizations. Direct universal elections were
partially kept only for the Federal Council (Chernilovskii 1947, 50–51, 62;
Nikiforov 2011, 608–10).
All constitutions (except the Small Constitution of Poland) established
standing bodies which were active between parliamentary sessions. In most
cases, they were the presidiums of the parliaments, modeled after the
Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. According to the Small Constitution of
Poland, the Sejm could grant legislative authority to the Cabinet between
the parliamentary sessions. The Polish Constitution of 1952 made the State
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 199
Council, which the Small Constitution established as an executive body
separate from the Sejm, similar to the standing bodies of parliaments in
other Soviet dependencies. The State Council, the Standing Committee of
the National People’s Congress in China, and the presidiums
had broad competence, including the right to issue decrees, and in most
cases were the collective heads of state. In Czechoslovakia, the Presidium of
the National Assembly had limited competence, and the provisional legis-
lation, adopted between parliamentary sessions, had to be supported by the
President and the Prime Minister and approved by the National Assembly
upon its convocation. East Germany remained the only Soviet dependency
where a potent standing body had not been created by 1955, but the People’s
Chamber still formed three standing commissions, on general matters, on
economic and nancial matters, and on foreign affairs. In Yugoslavia, the
competence of the Presidium of the People’s Assembly was narrower than
that of its Soviet counterpart, and in 1953 it was abolished completely.
Instead, the President and the Federal Executive Council, led by the former,
were to be elected by the People’s Assembly (Chernilovskii 1947, 55–57;
Demidov 1952, 43–44; Durdenevskii 1948a, 58; 1948c, 89; Iaskina 2007, 186;
Israelian 1954, 33–34; Karev 1953, 12–14; Kotok 1954, 41–42; Kuprits 1951,
16–17; Lazarev 1952, 31–32; Neal 1954, 233–34; People’s Republic of
Albania 1947, 57; Sobinov 1953, 40; Sudarikov 1955, 37–39; Tavrov 1952,
65–66; Trainin 1940, 182–83; Republic of Poland 1947; Volokitina, Islamov,
and Murashko 1997, 1: 327–28).
Soviet ofcials rebuked the amendments to the Yugoslav Constitution,
known as the Yugoslav Constitutional Act of 1953. In particular, they decried
the introduction of the ofce of the President, claiming that it gave one man the
“supreme legislative, executive, and military power” and negated the demo-
cratic achievements of the Yugoslav people (Volokitina, Islamov, and
Murashko 1998, 2: 907). There were, however, presidents in Czechoslovakia,
East Germany, and Poland (until 1952) as well. In Czechoslovakia, the
President, also elected by the parliament, had broad competence (Durdenevskii
1948a, 51, 59). In East Germany, the President, elected by the two chambers,
had mostly representative functions but could also issue orders, which needed
to be approved by the Prime Minister or the responsible minister (Sobinov
1953, 41, 50). The Small Constitution of Poland retained the President, elected
by the Sejm, as part of the executive branch, but the 1952 Constitution abol-
ished the ofce and made the State Council the collective head of state
(Republic of Poland 1921; Karev 1953, 13; Republic of Poland 1947). The
Chinese Constitution gave broad executive and military competence to the
Chairman of the Chinese People’s Republic, elected by the National People’s
Congress (Sudarikov 1955, 40–42).
Most of the constitutions established locally formed bodies, most fre-
quently called “councils,” which followed the example of the soviets in the
USSR. Two of them also borrowed the key contradiction between the clause
which made parliament the supreme body of state power and the clause
200 Ivan Sablin
which gave all power to the soviets (Trainin 1940, 179, 182, 186). In 1950,
the statement that “All power in the People’s Republic of Albania belongs to
the urban and rural toilers as represented by the people’s councils” was
added to the Albanian Constitution (Kuprits 1951, 3; People’s Republic of
Albania 1947, 51). In a similar manner, the Mongolian Constitution stated
that “All power in the Mongolian People’s Republic belongs to the urban
and khudon toilers as represented by the khurals [assemblies]” of the toilers.
Like in the Soviet case, the Great People’s Khural and the territorial khurals
of toiler’s deputies were different institutions, since the latter were explicitly
called “local bodies of state power” (Demidov 1952, 37, 41, 46; Mongolian
People’s Republic 1947, 36).
Other constitutions, however, managed to avoid this contradiction. In
Romania, the Constitution of 1948 simply dened the people’s councils as the
local bodies of state power (Durdenevskii 1948c, 92), as did the constitutions
of Bulgaria and Hungary (Israelian 1954, 38; Lazarev 1952, 35). The Albanian
(before the amendments of 1950), Chinese, North Korean, Romanian (1952),
Polish (1952), and Yugoslav constitutions also dened such bodies as local
bodies of state power but connected them to the larger system. The Yugoslav
Constitution stated that the people realized their power through the “re-
presentative bodies,” which included both the people’s committees and the
parliaments at the republican and federal levels (Chernilovskii 1947, 36, 66).
The same approach was used in the Albanian Constitution before the
amendments (People’s Republic of Albania 1947, 51, 60). The Romanian
Constitution of 1952 stated that the power belonging to the “urban and rural
toilers” was realized through the Great National Assembly and people’s
councils (Kotok 1954, 33, 46). In a similar manner, the Polish Constitution of
1952 stated that the toilers acted through their representatives in the Sejm and
in the “people’s councils,” which were already mentioned in the Small
Constitution (Karev 1953, 7, 14, 16; Republic of Poland 1947). The Chinese
Constitution stated that “All power in the Chinese People’s Republic belongs
to the people as represented by the National People’s Congress and local
people’s congresses” (Sudarikov 1955, 31, 44). The North Korean
Constitution stated that the people’s committees assisted the Supreme
National Assembly (Tavrov 1952, 55, 71). The Czechoslovak and East
German constitutions did not use the concept of local bodies of state power.
The former still described the territorial people’s (national) committees as part
of the unied public administration (Durdenevskii 1948b, 67). The latter es-
tablished a system of local self-government (Sobinov 1953, 57–58).
Most of the constitutions used the word “supreme” in relation to the
cabinets, courts, and prosecutors, but only the Small Constitution of Poland
clearly established the separation of legislative (the Legislative Sejm), ex-
ecutive (the President, the State Council, and the Cabinet), and judicial
(independent courts) powers (Republic of Poland 1947). The constitutions
of Albania, Bulgaria, China, Mongolia, Poland (1952), Romania, and
Yugoslavia followed the Soviet Constitution of 1936, which made the
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 201
Council of People’s Commissars the “supreme executive and administrative
body” (Trainin 1940, 184), when discussing the cabinets (Chernilovskii 1947,
58; Demidov 1952, 44; Durdenevskii 1948c, 91; Karev 1953, 14; Kotok 1954,
43; Kuprits 1951, 17; Lazarev 1952, 32; Mongolian People’s Republic 1947, 41;
People’s Republic of Albania 1947, 58; Sudarikov 1955, 42). The North Korean
Constitution stated that the Cabinet of Ministers had “supreme executive”
power (Tavrov 1952, 66). The Hungarian Constitution dened the Council of
Ministers as the “supreme body of state administration” (Israelian 1954, 35). In
the cases of Czechoslovakia and East Germany, supreme executive authority as
a concept was not mentioned. The Czechoslovak Constitution divided the
central executive authority between the President and the Cabinet, while
Slovakia also had its own cabinet (Durdenevskii 1948a, 60; 1948b, 62–63).
The East German Constitution did not include the word executive at all when
discussing the Cabinet (Sobinov 1953, 47).
Following the Soviet example (Trainin 1940, 187), supreme courts as
supreme judicial bodies were introduced in Albania (after the 1950
amendments), China (as the Supreme People’s Court), Mongolia, North
Korea, and Poland (1952) (Demidov 1952, 50; Karev 1953, 19; Kuprits
1951, 23; Mongolian People’s Republic 1947, 44; Sudarikov 1955, 49;
Tavrov 1952, 75). Supreme courts were also established by the constitution
of Albania (prior to the amendments), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East
Germany, Hungary, Romania (1948), and Yugoslavia but the notion of
supreme judicial authority was not articulated (Chernilovskii 1947, 68;
Durdenevskii 1948b, 68; 1948c, 92; Israelian 1954, 40; Kotok 1954, 49;
Lazarev 1952, 37; People’s Republic of Albania 1947, 61; Sobinov 1953, 55).
With the exception of Czechoslovakia, the ofce of prosecutor general
and the respective agency were established in all Soviet dependencies. The
Soviet notion of “supreme” legal oversight was used in relation to such an
ofce in the constitutions of Bulgaria (where it was called the Chief
Prosecutor), Mongolia, and Romania (1952) (Demidov 1952, 50–51; Kotok
1954, 50; Lazarev 1952, 376; Mongolian People’s Republic 1947, 44; Trainin
1940, 187). The Chinese Constitution established the Supreme People’s
Prosecutor’s Ofce and the position of the Prosecutor General (Sudarikov
1955, 50). The ofce of the Supreme Prosecutor was also established in
Hungary (Israelian 1954, 41). The constitutions of North Korea and Poland
(1952) did not use the word “supreme” when discussing the competence of
the Prosecutor General (Karev 1953, 19; Tavrov 1952, 75–76). The
Romanian Constitution of 1948 limited the Prosecutor General’s oversight
functions to criminal law (Durdenevskii 1948c, 93). In the constitutions of
Yugoslavia and Albania, the prosecutor’s ofce was dened as a body of the
parliament (Chernilovskii 1947, 70–71; Kuprits 1951, 23; People’s Republic
of Albania 1947, 61–62). The East German Constitution mentioned the
Prosecutor General but did not specify the competence of the ofce
(Sobinov 1953, 55).
202 Ivan Sablin
Some of the constitutions made the dependence on the USSR, the socialist
ideology, and the special role of the ruling parties explicit. The USSR was
presented as the liberator, as a model, and as an ally in several texts. Some
constitutions also mentioned or implied the goal of building socialism. The
ruling parties were mentioned only in several cases.
The constitutions of China, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and
Romania (1952) mentioned the Soviet Union. The Czechoslovak Constitution
cited the Great October Revolution as the inspiration and the “Russian
workers and peasants” as the example for the Czechs and the Slovaks. It also
mentioned the country’s liberation with the help of the Allies, the USSR in the
rst place. The USSR was called “the great Slavic power,” which strengthened
the nationalist aspect of the Constitution (Durdenevskii 1948a, 50–51). The
Hungarian Constitution mentioned the liberation by the “great Soviet Union”
and its “seless support” for rebuilding the country (Israelian 1954, 27). The
Polish Constitution of 1952 referenced the liberation through the Soviet vic-
tory and claimed that the Polish working class relied on the Soviet experience
of socialist construction (Karev 1953, 5–6). The 1952 Constitution of Romania
claimed that the formation of the People’s Republic resulted from the Soviet
victory over German fascism and Romania’s liberation by the Soviet Army.
The Constitution also mentioned the friendship and alliance with the USSR
and its “seless brotherly support and aid.” The friendship and union with the
countries of people’s democracy were also included into the formulation of the
state’s foreign policy in the Constitution (Kotok 1954, 31–33). The Chinese
Constitution also referred to the “unbreakable friendship” with the “great”
USSR and the “countries of people’s democracy” (Sudarikov 1955, 30–31).
Socialism was mentioned in the constitutions of Albania (after the
amendments of 1950), China, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Mongolia, Poland,
and Romania. The Mongolian Constitution stated that the country was
following the “non-capitalist path of development” for the eventual “tran-
sition to socialism” (Demidov 1952, 37; Mongolian People’s Republic 1947,
36). The amended Albanian Constitution stated that the foundations of
socialism had already been built in the country (Kuprits 1951, 3; People’s
Republic of Albania 1947, 51). The Czechoslovak Constitution mentioned
the peaceful way to socialism (Durdenevskii 1948a, 50). The Hungarian
Constitution stated that the country was on its way to socialism and cited
Soviet assistance in building its foundations (Israelian 1954, 27–28). The
1952 constitutions of Poland and Romania included the goal of building
socialism (Karev 1953, 6; Kotok 1954, 32). The Chinese Constitution also
set the goal of building “prosperous and happy socialist society” (Sudarikov
1955, 29). The East German Constitution did not mention socialism but
referred to social justice and state economic plans (Sobinov 1953, 27, 32–33).
Parties were mentioned only in the cases of Albania, China, and
Romania. The reference to the special role of the Party of Labor of Albania
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 203
was included in the Constitution in 1950. Like in the Soviet case, it was
mentioned in the clause on the right to association: “conscientious citizens
from the ranks of the working class and other strata of the toiling people are
united in the Party of Labor of Albania” (Kuprits 1951, 8; Smirnova 2003,
303; Trainin 1940, 188). A similar passage on the Romanian Workers’ Party
was included in the Romanian Constitution of 1952. The text also referenced
the leadership of the Romanian Communist Party in the creation of the state
twice (Kotok 1954, 31, 33, 54). The Chinese Constitution stated that the
Chinese Communist Party led the Chinese people to its victory (Sudarikov
1955, 29–30).
Nonconstitutional institutions
Similar to the USSR, the parties, which were at best only briey mentioned in
the constitutions, and the leaders, whose authority derived from their positions
in the parties, played pivotal roles in the political systems of Soviet de-
pendencies. The central bodies of the ruling parties became the de facto su-
preme government agencies. The leaders performed as the heads of state
irrespective of their government ofces. The VKP(b)/CPSU, the Soviet gov-
ernment, and the Soviet leader were often presented as external sources of
authority, even when there was no Soviet military presence.
The monopolization of control over political and social life by the com-
munist parties, irrespective of their ofcial names and nominal popular front
arrangements, happened before the adoption of the constitutions in most
cases. The Yugoslav Communist Boris Ziherl acknowledged the formation
of a one-party regime in January 1946. “The word ‘party’ in Yugoslavia has
the same meaning as in the USSR: the people mean exclusively the
Communist Party by it” (Volokitina 1999, 1: 271). Each of the domestic
communist parties in Soviet dependencies became known as the “Party” in
the respective context, and their control of the government was not con-
cealed. This was an intentional policy. When the Soviet–Yugoslav conict
developed in 1948, Stalin rebuked the lack of public presence from the
Communist Party of Yugoslavia and its semi-legal status, claiming that
“according to the theory of Marxism, the party has to control all state
bodies of the country.”
Within the parties themselves, small ruling circles
became the main governing bodies, with one or several persons having the
nal say. The nominal character of popular fronts was also not concealed
(Mar’ina 2005, 2:91–92; Noskova 2012, 576–77). The coverage of the Third
Congress of the Bulgarian Fatherland Front in 1952, for instance, claimed
that the program and the main goals of the Communist Party and the
Fatherland Front were the same.
The leadership of the ruling parties in people’s democratic state-building,
building socialism, and developing the country was afrmed in propa-
East Germany, for instance, ostensibly owed all of its achievements
to the Party.
The “correct policy of the Workers’ Party of Korea” was
204 Ivan Sablin
deemed the source of inspiration for the “Korean people” in the Korean
War (1950–1953).
The people and the toilers were occasionally said to
“love” their respective party.
Propaganda outlets presented party con-
gresses (Figure 7.3) and conferences (Figure 7.4) as events of great im-
portance. The plenums of central committees were treated as the main
decision-making bodies.
Even though the decisions were made in small circles, it was indeed at the
large party gatherings, and not, for instance, in the parliaments, where the
most important policies were announced. Ulbricht, for instance, proclaimed
the objective of building socialism in East Germany at the Second Party
Conference of the Socialist Unity Party in 1952 (Figure 7.4), and “thou-
sands” of people ostensibly promised the Conference to engage in “socialist
competition” in order to achieve it.
A report on the Tenth Congress of the
Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in 1954 presented the Party as the
inspiration for “all honest citizens of Czechoslovakia” and as their educator.
“Faith in the Party, in the truth of its teachings, in the correctness of its
path, kindled a ame in the hearts and minds of the people.” The report
attached features of a parliament to the Congress, arguing that it brought
together representatives of all “spheres of our national life and all regions
of our republic,” the “genuine representatives of the Party and the
Czechoslovak people.”
Figure 7.3 The Second National Congress of the Party of Labor of Albania, Tirana,
April 10–14, 1950 (Novaia Albaniia, No. 32–33, April–May 1950, front
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 205
Although the achievements of the people were mentioned, especially
prominently in Poland,
propaganda outlets tended to present the people
not as the political subjects but as the followers of the ruling party and the
implementers of its tasks. The election results, which usually reported vic-
tories of the respective fronts with over 99 percent of votes, were presented
as the unity of the whole people and its afrmation of the tasks, set by the
party, the cabinet, or the leader. The support for the party was often pre-
sented as unanimous.
The notion of “the moral-political unity” of the
people under the party’s leadership as, for instance, articulated in North
Korean propaganda,
was borrowed directly from the Soviet discourse
(Gill 2011, 105).
In the parliaments, the hierarchy did not change, as there was no delib-
eration on the presented goals and plans. The coverage of parliamentary
sessions included references to the “objectives” and “directives,” set by party
and the leader, which the people were striving to fulll, and often stressed
the unanimity of decisions.
A report on the session of the Grand National
Assembly of Romania, for instance, stressed the commitment to ght for the
implementation of the rst Five-Year Plan, which rank-and-le deputies
Figure 7.4 The Second Party Conference of the Socialist Unity Party, Berlin, July 10,
1952. Front row, left to right: Walter Ulbricht, Wilhelm Pieck, and Otto
Grotewohl (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183–15410-0097/ CC-BY-SA 3.0).
206 Ivan Sablin
made “on behalf of the workers, engineers, and technicians.”
In North
Korea, the Supreme People’s Assembly was said to have adopted the budget
in order to implement the policies of the Workers’ Party of Korea and the
The linkage between the party authorities and the populace,
political and ideological education and socialization, and the integration of
diverse social groups within one state were in fact the primary tasks of the
state socialist parliaments, given that they did not engage in deliberative
legislation (Nelson 1982, 4, 7–9, 11; for a discussion of the Czechoslovak
case, see Gjuricǒ2019).
In Albania, the complete subordination of the People’s Assembly to the
Party was openly acknowledged.
The strength of the Albanian state, of the people’s democratic system
lies in the strength of the Party and the full provision of its leading and
controlling role in the entire work of the state apparatus. Therefore, the
rst session of the Third People’s Assembly, unanimously expressing the
will of the people, revealed love and unbreakable loyalty to the Party
and its Central Committee, unanimously approving the program of the
new Cabinet, which in turn undertook, like all previous people’s
Cabinets, to unswervingly implement the Party line.
The exact status of individual leaders differed across the informal Soviet
empire, but there was always one or several persons who were treated as the
de facto head(s) of the respective state. Within their states, the power of
some of the leaders was comparable to that of Stalin in the Soviet Union,
and many of them modeled their behavior and images on Stalin (Naimark
2017, 70). This applied in particular to Hoxha in Albania, Valko
Chervenkov in Bulgaria, Mao in China, Rákosi in Hungary, Choibalsan in
Mongolia, Kim in North Korea, and Gheorghiu-Dej in Romania (after the
purges of other leaders in 1952). They usually were prime ministers and rst
or general secretaries
of the respective ruling parties. With the exception of
the presidents Gottwald and Beirut, most of the leaders were not formally
heads of state, but they were nevertheless presented as the leaders (often
“great” and “beloved”) of the people or the toiling people in propaganda
outlets. Hoxha was, for instance, called “the organizer of our victories,” the
“leader of the Albanian people,” the “founder and organizer” of the
Albanian state. The leaders of the people in Soviet dependencies were mu-
tually recognized as such.
Domestic personality cults involved broad cir-
culation of the leaders’ images and statements, public celebrations of their
birthdays, and publication of their works.
There were also cults of the
deceased leaders, which were modeled after that of Lenin in the USSR, and
included those of Dimitrov in Bulgaria, Sun Yat-sen in China, Gottwald in
Czechoslovakia, and Damdiny Sükhbaatar and Choibalsan in Mongolia
(Apor et al. 2004; Iaskina 2007, 187; Mar’ina 2005, 2:92; Myadar 2019, 60).
Several regimes had collective leadership. In East Germany, where the
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 207
recent history of Nazism made a single leader problematic, Wilhelm Pieck
(President), Grotewohl (Prime Minister), and Ulbricht (First Secretary of
the Party) were all celebrated in propaganda outlets (Figure 7.4), while the
Party was dened as the “Leader of the Nation.”
The notion of the Party
as the “genuine leader, inspirator, and teacher of the people” was also used
in Czechoslovakia. Although Antonín Zápotocký succeeded Gottwald, who
died, as the President and was prominently featured in propaganda,
Antonín Novotný headed the Party. The German and Czechoslovak (since
1953) cases were, however, an exception. In Poland, where Bolesław Bierut,
Jakub Berman, and Hilary Minc ruled as a group, Moscow still considered
Bierut as the leader of the Party and hence its primary contact in Poland,
and he was celebrated as such in propaganda outlets.
Individuals also
consolidated their positions through the purges, which were initiated or
sanctioned by Moscow, as was the case in Romania. With the exception of
Ana Pauker,
who was purged by Gheorghiu-Dej in 1952, all leaders were
men (Hodos 1987, 94; Mar’ina 2005, 2:107, 136; Noskova 2012, 569).
Although only the “Choibalsan Constitution” in Mongolia and the
“Dimitrov Constitution” followed the example of the “Stalin Constitution”
of the USSR, propaganda outlets still presented some of the leaders as the
key actors in drafting the constitutions (Figure 7.1), presenting the drafts,
and getting them adopted
(Figure 7.5).
Figure 7.5 Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (center) and Petru Groza (left) voting for the
Constitution of Romania at the Thirteenth Session of the Grand
National Assembly, September 24, 1952 (Fototeca online a comunismului
românesc, Photograph #IA174, 174/1952).
208 Ivan Sablin
The leaders were also featured during the implementation of the constitu-
tions. There were numerous reports and photographs of the leaders cam-
paigning, voting in elections (Figure 7.6), being nominated and elected as
deputies to local and central bodies, speaking in parliaments and other as-
semblies, or being appointed to ofces by them.
Gheorghiu-Dej was, for
instance, called “the best son of the Romanian people” and “the rst candi-
while Chervenkov was celebrated as the “rst deputy of the toilers.”
Gheorghiu-Dej was often shown voting in the parliament.
In a similar
manner, the leaders were featured during the coverage of party assemblies.
Soviet representatives participated in state-building across the informal
empire, often at the formal request of the respective leaders. In 1949, for in-
stance, Gottwald asked Stalin to send advisors to assist in establishing bodies
of state security and border control. Although initially these advisors were
considered temporary, in 1950 they were already treated as permanent both in
Moscow and in Prague (Volokitina, Islamov, and Murashko 1998, 2: 382). In
1951–1952, numerous Soviet advisors came to Czechoslovakia, and there was
even a request to send a “chief advisor” to work in the government, which
Moscow denied (Mar’ina 2005, 2:102). Whereas terror, coercion, anti-religious
campaigns, and mass purges were perpetuated by domestic authorities most of
Figure 7.6 Mátyás Rákosi and his wife Fenia Fedorovna Kornilova voting in the
local council election, Budapest, October 22, 1950 (Fortepan #126963/
Bauer Sándor, CC BY-SA 3.0).
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 209
the time, the Soviets also occasionally intervened directly, as was the case when
they suppressed the East German uprising in 1953 (Naimark 2017, 72–76).
Soviet representatives often criticized the policies of the dependent re-
gimes, sometimes citing the constitutions. In 1948, for instance, Zorin cri-
ticized the restrictive religious law in Bulgaria, fearing that it could stimulate
opposition among the clergy and believers in the country and cause a re-
action abroad. Moscow then advised the Bulgarian Communists to change
the law so that it would follow the Constitution (Volokitina 1999, 1: 643,
645–46). In 1950, a Soviet secret police advisor informed Rákosi that the
existing police courts were unconstitutional, and Rákosi agreed to form
people’s courts instead (Volokitina 2002, 2: 271). In 1953, Soviet re-
presentatives described the state subventions to the Catholic Church and
religious education in Poland as unconstitutional (Volokitina 2002, 2: 861).
Propaganda outlets often cited the supremacy of the VKP(b)/CPSU, the
Soviet Union, and their leaders. The cult of Stalin spread across the whole in-
formal empire (Naimark 2017, 70). Portraits of Stalin were displayed in do-
mestic and public settings (Figure 7.2), including polling stations (Figure 7.7).
Almost 13 million copies of the works of Stalin and Lenin had been, for in-
stance, printed in Romanian by the end of 1954 (Deletant 2018, 67). Numerous
places were named after Stalin and Lenin. Domestic events were often accom-
panied by the portraits of Soviet leaders (Figure 7.3 and Figure 7.4). The
Figure 7.7 Elections to the People’s Assembly and district people’s councils of the
People’s Republic of Bulgaria, December 18, 1949 (State Central
Museum of Contemporary History of Russia (GTsMSIR) 27126/163).
210 Ivan Sablin
respective peoples and parties were said to “love” the USSR, its people, and
Stalin, who was often called a “genius.” Domestic communist parties were said
to learn and get inspiration from the VKP(b) and the USSR. The XIX Congress
of the VKP(b)/CPSU and the anniversaries of the October Revolution were
widely celebrated.
Bulgarian propaganda, for instance, referred to the Soviet
Union as the “double liberator and seless patron,”
while Romanian propa-
ganda deemed Stalin “the genius teacher of the toilers of the whole world.”
a similar manner, the report on the Second Party Congress in Albania stated,
that “The Congress clearly revealed the boundless love and loyalty of the Party
of Labor and the entire Albanian people to the Bolshevik Party, the Soviet
Union, and the genius leader of all humanity, Comrade Stalin.”
Bilateral meetings and events, including the visits of ensembles and circus
troupes, within the informal Soviet empire were accompanied by the por-
traits of the leaders of the two sides and those of Soviet leaders, even if the
Soviet side was not involved (Figure 7.8). After Stalin’s death, the portraits
of Georgii Maksimilianovich Malenkov and then Nikolai Aleksandrovich
Bulganin were displayed as those of the current leaders. Given that the in-
uence of the two within the USSR was far from that of Stalin, this meant
that the Soviet leader as an institution, rather than Stalin personally, had
symbolic importance.
Figure 7.8 Czechoslovak Ambassador to China František Komzala giving a speech
before the performance of the Czechoslovak circus troupe, Beijing,
December 1953. Portraits, left to right: Georgii Maksimilianovich Malenkov,
Antonín Zápotocký, and Mao Zedong (Kitai, No. 1, 1954, p. 39).
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 211
The visits of Soviet specialists, the signing of treaties with the Soviet
Union, Soviet aid, and the events knowns as the “Month of Friendship”
with the Soviet Union contributed to the cohesion of the Soviet informal
empire and were extensively covered in propaganda outlets.
and its dependencies also regularly exchanged parliamentary delegations
(Figure 7.9). Soviet dependencies supported the USSR’s international in-
itiatives, including its “struggle for peace” campaign
(Johnston 2008).
In 1955, the signing of the Warsaw Treaty was a major step toward the
formal integration of the informal empire, although it was still conned to
Europe. Hoxha, for instance, stressed the honor of joining the treaty and
promised that the Albanian people would protect the interests of the “camp
of socialism.”
Apart from the further integration of the informal empire,
the regimes in the USSR and its dependencies strengthened their interna-
tional legitimacy in 1955. The Supreme Soviet joined the Inter-
Parliamentary Union (IPU), which meant that it became recognized as a
parliament by the organization (Juviler 1961, 25). The same year, Albania,
Figure 7.9 Delegation of the USSR Supreme Soviet at the session of the State
Assembly of the Hungarian People’s Republic, November 1955. Mátyás
Rákosi is in the front on the right (GTsMSIR 31111/15).
212 Ivan Sablin
Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania were admitted to the United Nations,
joining Czechoslovakia and Poland, its original members (“Member States”
n.d.), which boosted the USSR’s position within the organization.
The constitution-making in the informal Soviet empire in 1945–1955 con-
tinued the Bolshevik practice which started in the 1920s. The concepts of
“people’s republic,” borrowed from the Ukrainian socialists, and “people’s
democracy,” developed in the Comintern, contributed to the idea of a Soviet
satellite in the general sense. At the same time, there was no coherent
blueprint on how a “people’s republic” was to be constituted. Multiple ac-
tors joined the practical implementation of the idea in each particular
context and, having adopted different elements from the Soviet Constitution
of 1936, came up with different legal architectures. The sources of sover-
eignty, political subjectivity, supreme state institutions, and the indications
of dependence on the USSR and the domestic communist party varied
across the constitutions of Soviet dependencies. Whereas there were con-
siderable similarities between some of the texts or their parts, only the es-
tablishment of a standing legislative body became the most prominent albeit
also not ubiquitous feature of the dependent regimes in this period.
The nonconstitutional structural adjustments in governance were, how-
ever, much more profound. Similar to the VKP(b)/CPSU and Stalin in the
USSR, the domestic communist parties and leaders came to dominate the
political systems of Soviet dependencies. The fusion of parties and govern-
ments was openly admitted and in fact celebrated in propaganda outlets. So
were the leaders, few of whom were the constitutional heads of state.
Propaganda and political practice also demonstrated that the VKP(b)/
CPSU, the Soviet government, and the Soviet leader played an explicit role
of external sources of authority. The launch of de-Stalinization in 1956
threatened this nonconstitutional architecture, which is one of the reasons
for its mixed reception in Soviet dependencies (A. R. 1956, 492–93) and the
eventual splits with Albania and China. The same year, however, the sup-
pression of the Hungarian Revolution demonstrated that Moscow was
ready to use military measures for preserving its informal empire if ideolo-
gical and pragmatic allegiance was insufcient (Borhi 2004, 3).
Bolgariia [Bulgaria]
Chekhoslovakiia [Czechoslovakia]
Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia Respublika na stroike [German Democratic
Republic in Construction]
Kitai [China]
Kommunisticheskii internatsional [Communist International]
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 213
Narodnaia Pol’sha [People’s Poland]
Narodnaia Rumyniia [People’s Romania]
Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia [People’s Democratic Romania]
Novaia Albaniia [New Albania]
Novaia Koreia [New Korea]
Vengerskii biulleten’ [Hungarian Bulletin]
* This study was completed as part of the project “ENTPAR: Entangled
Parliamentarisms: Constitutional Practices in Russia, Ukraine, China and
Mongolia, 1905–2005,” which received funding from the European Research
Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation
program (grant agreement no. 755504).
1 Major amendments to the 1921 Polish Constitution, which became known as the
Small Constitution of 1947, predated the adoption of the Constitution of the
People’s Republic of Poland in 1952.
2 The party was called the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) or the VKP(b)
in 1925–1952.
3 Propaganda usually presented the community of Soviet dependencies in a dif-
ferentiated manner, as the countries of people’s democracy, the People’s Republic
of China, and the German Democratic Republic (Bolgariia, No. 7, 1951, p. 3),
but the notion of the “countries of people’s democracy in Europe and Asia” was
also present (Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia Respublika na stroike, No. 3,
1954, p. 1).
4 Kommunisticheskii internatsional, No. 14, 1936, p. 93.
5 Kommunisticheskii internatsional, No. 23–24, 1935, p. 90; No. 16, 1936, p. 9.
6 Kommunisticheskii internatsional, No. 22, 1935, pp. 3, 5.
7 Kommunisticheskii internatsional, No. 18, 1936, p. 104; No. 5–6, 1936, p. 74.
8 Kommunisticheskii internatsional, No. 11–12, 1936, p. 52–53.
9 The author is grateful to Aleksandr Shubin for his comment on the matter.
10 Kommunisticheskii internatsional, No. 5, 1941, p. 98.
11 The author is grateful to Cristian Vasile for his clarication on the matter.
12 The author is grateful to Adéla Gjuričová for her advice on the subject.
13 In 1944, universal elections were introduced in Mongolia (Mongolian People’s
Republic 1947, 50).
14 In China, the Constitution claimed that the elections were universal, with the
exception of insane persons and those who were disenfranchised by law. The
election law of 1953 specied that landowners who had not yet “changed their
class afliation according to law,” “counterrevolutionary” elements, and other
individuals who were disenfranchised by court did not have active or passive
voting rights (Sudarikov 1955, 51, 83).
15 In Hungary, the “enemies of the toiling people” were disenfranchised (Israelian
1954, 46).
16 In Romania, voting rights to people’s councils were limited in 1950, with former
industrialists, bankers, and other “representatives of large bourgeoisie,” as well as
kulaks (prosperous peasants) being disenfranchised (Narodno-demokraticheskaia
Rumyniia, No. 5, 1950, p. 6; No. 6, 1950, p. 9). The Constitution of 1952 stated
that only “toiling citizens” had voting rights. The elections were still called
“universal” in the election law of 1952, but it reafrmed the disenfranchised
categories: “former landowners, former industrialists, former bankers, former
large businessmen, kulaks, owners of private trade companies and small non-
214 Ivan Sablin
nationalized companies based on the exploitation of hired labor,” and those who
were sentenced for war crimes and crimes against peace and humanity, in addi-
tion to the standard exclusion of insane persons and those disenfranchised by
court (Kotok 1954, 56, 65).
17 In Mongolia, its functions were performed by the Small Khural and its Presidium
(Mongolian People’s Republic 1947, 39–40). In 1949, the Small Khural was
abolished, with the Presidium of the Great People’s Khural taking over its
functions (Iaskina 2007, 186).
18 RGASPI (Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History), f. 558, op. 11, d.
398, l. 29 (To Comrade Tito and other members of the Central Committee of the
Communist Party of Yugoslavia from Molotov and Stalin on behalf of the VKP
(b) Central Committee, March 27, 1948).
19 Bolgariia, No. 5, 1952, p. 31.
20 Kitai, No. 5, 1954, p. 3; Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No. 4, 1951, p. 2;
Novaia Albaniia, No. 11, 1951; Novaia Koreia, No. 6, 1954, p. 8; Vengerskii
biulleten’, No. 52, 1952, cover, p. 5.
21 Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia Respublika na stroike, No. 3, 1954, p. 1.
22 Novaia Koreia, No. 2, 1955, p. 3.
23 Chekhoslovakiia, No. 7, 1954, p. 1; Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No.
4–5, 1952, p. 4; Novaia Albaniia, No. 32–33, 1950.
24 Bolgariia, No. 2, 1954, p. 1; Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia Respublika na
stroike, No. 1, 1951; Novaia Albaniia, No. 7, 1954; Novaia Koreia, No. 2, 1955,
p. 4; Vengerskii biulleten’, No. 29, 1951, p. 1.
25 Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia Respublika na stroike, No. 5, 1952, p. 1.
26 Chekhoslovakiia, No. 7, 1954, p. 1.
27 Narodnaia Pol’sha, July 1953.
28 Bolgariia, No. 1, 1954, p. 2–3; Narodnaia Rumyniia, No. 12, 1955, p. 2; Novaia Albaniia,
No. 5, 1954; No. 6, 1954; No. 8, 1954; Vengerskii biulleten’, No. 141, 1953, p. 6.
29 Novaia Koreia, No. 9, 1954, p. 5.
30 Bolgariia, No. 3, 1955, p. 31; No. 5, 1955, p. 5; Vengerskii biulleten’, No. 52, 1952,
cover, p. 5.
31 Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No. 8, 1950, p. 4.
32 Novaia Koreia, No. 6, 1954, p. 5; No. 4, 1955, p. 8.
33 Novaia Albaniia, No. 8, 1954.
34 In the VKP(b)/CPSU, there was no formal leader in 1934–1953.
35 Kitai, No. 1, 1952, p. 2; No. 1, 1954, p. 2; No. 7, 1955, pp. 8–9; Narodnaia
Pol’sha, December 1953; Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No. 5, 1950, p. 6;
No. 10–11, 1951, p. 8; No. 6, 1952, p. 2; Novaia Albaniia, No. 11, 1951; Novaia
Koreia, No. 6, 1954, p. 8; Vengerskii biulleten’, No. 52, 1952, cover, p. 1.
36 Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia Respublika na stroike, No. 1, 1951; Kitai,
No. 11, 1951; No. 1, 1952, pp. 2–3; Narodnaia Pol’sha, July 1953; Narodno-
demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No. 3, 1950, p. 1; No. 5, 1951, p. 1; No. 10–11,
1951, pp. 8, 26; Vengerskii biulleten’, No. 52, 1952, cover.
37 Bolgariia, No. 1, 1951, pp. 37–39; No. 2, 1951, p. 1; Chekhoslovakiia, No. 4, 1954,
p. 2; No. 7, 1954, p. 2; Kitai, No. 11, 1951; No. 4, 1955, p. 3.
38 Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia Respublika na stroike, No. 3–4, 1953, p. 2;
No. 3, 1954, pp. 1–2.
39 Chekhoslovakiia, No. 4, 1954, p. 1–2; No. 7, 1954, p. 1.
40 Narodnaia Pol’sha, December 1955.
41 Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No. 2, 1950, p. 24; No. 4, 1951, p. 7.
42 Kitai, No. 4, 1954, p. 1; No. 7, 1954, p. 1; Vengerskii biulleten’, No. 52, 1952,
front matter.
Constitution-making in the Soviet empire 215
43 Bolgariia, No. 1, 1954, p. 1; No. 4, 1951, p. 1; No. 2, 1953, p. 30; Germanskaia
Demokraticheskaia Respublika na stroike, No. 2, 1951; No. 3, 1952, p. 4; No. 1, 1954,
p. 1; No. 5, 1955, p. 5; Kitai, No. 9, 1954, p. 1; No. 10, 1954, p. 6; Narodno-
demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No. 5, 1950, p. 6; No. 6, 1950, pp. 12–13; No. 11, 1952,
p. 15; No. 12, 1952, p. 15; No. 1, 1953, p. 7; Narodnaia Pol’sha, March–April 1953;
Narodnaia Rumyniia, No. 3, 1955, p. 4; Novaia Albaniia, No. 21–22, 1949, p. 8; No. 6,
1955; Vengerskii biulleten’, No. 142, 1953, cover; No. 143, 1953, front matter.
44 Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No. 6, 1950, p. 13; No. 4, 1951, p. 2; No.
12, 1952, p. 15.
45 Bolgariia, No. 1, 1953, 1.
46 Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No. 8, 1950, p. 5; No. 4, 1951, p. 3; No. 3,
1952, p. 3.
47 Bolgariia, No. 2, 1954, p. 1; Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia Respublika na
stroike, No. 3, 1954, front matter; Kitai, No. 4, 1955, p. 1; Kitai, No. 11, 1955,
p. 2; Narodnaia Pol’sha, December 1953; Novaia Albaniia, No. 17, 1949, pp. 2–11,
18; Novaia Albaniia, No. 32–33, 1950; Novaia Albaniia, No. 4–5, 1952; Vengerskii
biulleten’, No. 69, 1952, front matter.
48 Bolgariia, No. 7, 1951, p. 3; No. 1, 1952, front matter; No. 2, 1952, p. 32; No. 5,
1952, p. 30; No. 2, 1953, p. 30; Chekhoslovakiia, No. 2, 1953, p. 3; No. 4, 1954,
p. 2; No. 6, 1954, p. 24; No. 7, 1954, p. 1; Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia
Respublika na stroike, No. 3, 1951; No. 6, 1952, p. 3; No. 1, 1953, pp. 3, 29; Kitai,
No. 11, 1952, pp. 2–3; No. 12, 1954, p. 3; No. 12, 1955, p. 3; Narodnaia Pol’sha,
July 1953; Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No. 2, 1950, p. 24; No. 3, 1950,
p. 24; No. 6, 1950, p. 25; No. 8, 1950, p. 4; No. 5, 1951, p. 7; No. 10–11, 1951,
p. 1; No. 12, 1951, p. 18; No. 4–5, 1952, p. 4; No. 10, 1952, p. 2; No. 11, 1952,
p. 1; No. 2, 1953, p. 10; No. 11, 1953, pp. 1–2; Novaia Albaniia, No. 17, 1949,
p. 18; No. 25–26, 1949, p. 14; No. 34, 1950; No. 11, 1951; No. 4, 1954; No. 6,
1954; Vengerskii biulleten’, No. 18, 1950, p. 9; No. 11, 1951; No. 29, 1951, cover.
49 Bolgariia, No. 6, 1951, p. 6.
50 Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No. 7, 1950, p. 6.
51 Novaia Albaniia, No. 32–33, April–May 1950.
52 Bolgariia, No. 8, 1954, p. 31; Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia Respublika na stroike,
No. 3, 1952, p. 20; Kitai, No. 4, 1954, p. 2; No. 9, 1954, p. 39; No. 3, 1955, p. 2; No. 5,
1955, p. 37; Novaia Albaniia, No. 12, 1954; Vengerskii biulleten’, No. 73, 1953, cover.
53 Bolgariia, No. 6, 1951, p. 10; Chekhoslovakiia, No. 3, 1954, p. 25; No. 7, 1954,
p. 3; Germanskaia Demokraticheskaia Respublika na stroike, No. 1, 1952, p. 18;
No. 1, 1953, p. 3; Kitai, No. 12, 1951; No. 1, 1952, p. 20; No. 3, 1952, p. 1;
Narodnaia Pol’sha, December 1953; Narodno-demokraticheskaia Rumyniia, No.
7, 1950, p. 6; No. 10, 1952, pp. 1, 8; Narodnaia Rumyniia, No. 6, 1954, p. 8;
Novaia Albaniia, No. 11, 1951; No. 11, 1954; Novaia Koreia, No. 6, 1954, p. 8;
Vengerskii biulleten’, No. 137, 1953, cover.
54 Chekhoslovakiia, No. 11, 1955, p. 24; Narodnaia Rumyniia, No. 3, 1955, p. 5;
Novaia Albaniia, No. 4, 1955; Novaia Koreia, No. 4, 1955, p. 1.
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