Take the 2-minute tour ×
History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. It's 100% free, no registration required.

How many legislature members there were who were not members of any party in the USA compared to the USSR during the Cold War and now?

share|improve this question
1  
Isn't the answer for the USSR by definition "0"? The legislature was elected by non-competitive elections. I can't find any evidence that membership in the communist party was a requirement to stand for election, but everything I know about the USSR indicates that there was no need to clarify that because it was obvious to all concerned. –  Mark C. Wallace Feb 19 '13 at 18:36
2  
@Mark C. Wallace Russian Wikipedia claims that in the Supreme Council of the USSR of 1937 below 1/5 of the members were non-partisan, in the Supreme Council of 1970 54% of the members were independent. –  Anixx Feb 19 '13 at 18:38
1  
I'm not aware of ANY member "of no party" in US Congress in practice (all the "independent" BS aside, since all of the putatively "independent" members are ex-members of some party and caucus and vote with one party majority of the time, making their "independence" a mere technicality). –  DVK Feb 19 '13 at 18:51
1  
@Anixx - being "not a partisan" != "not being a member of KPSS". Not every citizen of USSR was required (nor was) a KPSS member. But no citizen - never mind elected member of Sovet - would think/act/talk contrary to KPSS party line if they knew what was good for them. A more interesting historical question would be a simpler "were you allowed to be elected to Supreme Soviet if not a member of KPSS", IMHO. –  DVK Feb 19 '13 at 18:56
1  
show 15 more comments

1 Answer 1

For the USA, I guess the information is reasonably googlable. But as for the USSR, I wish to point out that the answer is: 0, both substantively and formally.

(1) Substantively: Clearly, no one who was really opposed to the CPSU was allowed to come within a shout of any political office.

(2) Formally: The "independent" candidates were actually running as part of a "Communist and Party-less Bloc" (which pretty much covers all bases). So even if they were not card-carrying members of the CPSU they were elected to the Supreme Soviet on behalf of the CPSU. I couldn't find an English reference to the bloc, but here is a Russian one from the Big Soviet Encyclopedia itself.

EDIT: Here is a contemporary reference to the bloc: http://ufn.ru/ru/articles/1937/8/b/.

EDIT: The second source I gave is a contemporary, 1937, official propaganda press release about the elections. Curiously, it was published in a physics journal (and presumably, in other journals as well). The following passage is telling:

Быть депутатом Верховного Совета первого в мире социалистического государства , состоять в железной когорте партийных и непартийных большевиков , коим доверено руководство могучей , непобедимой социалистической державой , — почетное и ответственное дело . Величайшую ответственность перед народом , перед своими избирателями должен всегда чувствовать каждый депутат.

In English (my translation):

To be a member of the Supreme Council of the world's first socialist state, to be part of the iron cohort of Party and non-Party Bolsheviks, to whom entrusted the leadership of a powerful and invincible socialist power - is a matter of honor and responsibility. Every deputy should always feel a great responsibility to his electors.

So, the deputies formed an "iron cohort of Party and non-Party Bolsheviks". I think it proves beyond any doubt that the "independents" were just as beholden to the party as the formally party men.

UPDATE: I found a 1947 election poster for the "bloc".

UPDATE: More evidence: a booklet, published in 1954, titled "The Indestructible Bloc of the Communists and the Party-less". Published by the State Press for Political Literature.

share|improve this answer
1  
I'd like to see more outside evidence also for this answer. I have no sympathies for the former USSR, but could still imagine that they reserved some (token) seats for representatives of certain minorities or certain sports celebrities, say. Also, the question seems to define "independence" merely as "not member of any party", which is (much) weaker than "really opposed to the CPSU". "Formally" independent candidates would also count by that definition (or "definition" :) BTW, I recently came across this deserving USSR biography. –  Drux Feb 20 '13 at 23:03
    
If the USA information is googlable, I see no reason why not to include it here for comparison. I also interested to know why do you assert that the US independent candidates were independent substantively. Also my question was about party members, not members of particular blocks (because party members are subjects to party discipline). –  Anixx Feb 20 '13 at 23:10
1  
@Anixx - if you want USA info, I linked to relevant Google article in the comment to your question. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_(politician)#Congress –  DVK Feb 21 '13 at 16:23
1  
@Anixx - the block wasn't formal. It didn't make it less real. –  DVK Feb 21 '13 at 16:24
1  
@Anixx: Actually, come to think of it, I think my claim is valid with no qualification or modification. I claimed the existence of an electoral bloc and, imho, have proved its existence beyond any trace of doubt. The non-existence of a popular front doesn't matter in this regard. –  Felix Goldberg Feb 22 '13 at 14:20
show 11 more comments

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.