Soviet Union legislative election, 1937
On 12 December 1937 elections
Elections in the Soviet Union
The electoral system of the Soviet Union was based upon Chapter XI of the Constitution of the Soviet Union and by the Electoral Laws enacted in conformity with it. The Constitution and laws applied to elections in all Soviets, from the Supreme Soviets of the USSR, the Union republics and ...

 were held to the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. It was the first election held under the 1936 Soviet Constitution
1936 Soviet Constitution
The 1936 Soviet constitution, adopted on December 5, 1936, and also known as the "Stalin" constitution, redesigned the government of the Soviet Union.- Basic provisions :...

, which had formed the Supreme Soviet to replace the old legislature, the Congress of Soviets of the Soviet Union
Congress of Soviets of the Soviet Union
The All-Union Congress of Soviets, officially known as Congress of Soviets of the Soviet Union was the supreme governing body in the Soviet Union since the formation of the USSR and until adoption of the 1936 Soviet Constitution....


The Supreme Soviet was made up of two chambers, each of 750 deputies
Deputy (legislator)
A deputy is a legislator in many countries, particularly those with legislatures styled as a 'Chamber of Deputies' or 'National Assembly'.-List of countries:This is an list of countries using the term 'deputy' or one of its cognates....

: the Soviet of the Union
Soviet of the Union
Soviet of the Union , was one of the two chambers of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, elected on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot in accordance with the principles of Soviet democracy, and with the rule that there be one deputy for...

 (one deputy per 300,000 citizens) and the Soviet of Nationalities
Soviet of Nationalities
The Soviet of Nationalities , was one of the two chambers of the Supreme Soviet of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, elected on the basis of universal, equal and direct suffrage by secret ballot in accordance with the principles of Soviet democracy...

 (32 deputies from each union republic
Republics of the Soviet Union
The Republics of the Soviet Union or the Union Republics of the Soviet Union were ethnically-based administrative units that were subordinated directly to the Government of the Soviet Union...

, 11 from each autonomous republic
Autonomous republics of the Soviet Union
Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union were administrative units created for certain nations. The ASSRs had a status lower than the union republics of the Soviet Union, but higher than the autonomous oblasts and the autonomous okrugs....

, 5 from each autonomous oblast, and 1 from each autonomous okrug
Autonomous okrugs of Russia
Autonomous okrug is a type of federal subject of Russia and simultaneously a type of administrative division of some federal subjects. As of 2008, the Russian Federation is divided into 83 federal subjects, of which four are avtonomnyye okruga Autonomous okrug (district, area, region) is a...


The elections were originally announced as being multicandidate elections; however, by halfway through the year the announcement was reversed due to the suspiciousness of the leadership during the Great Purge
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

. However during that early period a number of individuals attempted to make good on the multicandidate promise, including members of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
The Russian Orthodox Church or, alternatively, the Moscow Patriarchate The ROC is often said to be the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches in the world; including all the autocephalous churches under its umbrella, its adherents number over 150 million worldwide—about half of the 300 million...

 who attempted to field religious candidates as a result of Article 124 of the new constitution, which promised freedom of religion. Many of the early individuals attempting to run as alternate candidates were arrested after the decision for multiple candidates was reversed. Additionally, the NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

 conducted mass arrests just prior to the election. According to Soviet law, 3.5 million out of an eligible adult population of 94.138 million were disenfranchised for various reasons. Of the remaining eligible population, 3,025,006 did not vote.

However, even with the mass arrests and with the tone more subdued than with the previous elections
Soviet Union legislative election, 1929
In 1929, elections were held to the Congress of Soviets of the Soviet Union.The elections were noteworthy for their rowdiness and elements of political opposition...

, there were still minor waves of dissent and opposition to candidates, especially those of major political figures (including Mikhail Kalinin
Mikhail Kalinin
Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin , known familiarly by Soviet citizens as "Kalinych," was a Bolshevik revolutionary and the nominal head of state of Russia and later of the Soviet Union, from 1919 to 1946...

, Anastas Mikoyan
Anastas Mikoyan
Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan was an Armenian Old Bolshevik and Soviet statesman during the rules of Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev, and Leonid Brezhnev....

, and even Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 himself) as well as celebrities (such as Aleksei Tolstoy) and candidates opposed on basis of ethnicity (such as ethnic Russians running in the Ukrainian SSR). There was still a sense of excitement, however, at the fact that they were the first elections held with the new constitution and that it was a major event due to that fact.
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