Soviet Union

[written 1991]

From inception Proposition One has recognized the USSR as essential to the process of global Nuclear Disarmament and Economic Conversion. As in the U.S., Proposition One Committee is currently working with official (government, legislative, press) and unofficial contacts in the USSR (trust groups, independent, environmental/political, individuals not affiliated with the government or the communist party). We are constantly expanding our USSR contact lists in order to upgrade our capabilities there. Proposition One has an ongoing need for like-minded Russian speakers.

Proposition One and the Soviet Government

In January l990, the Proposition One Committee mailed out to newly elected members of the SSUSSR (Supreme Soviet of the USSR) its program, aims, and intention to send representatives in March l990. Two representatives of Proposition One visited Moscow 3/90- 6/90 to hand-deliver the original petition form of Proposition One to the SSUSSR. Choosing the most rational and sympathetic deputies, the Proposition One representatives managed to meet with and secure the support of seven of the most influential deputies of the Supreme Soviet:

The official position of the USSR government is stated in the general Disarmament Amendment, Ch. 4, Art. 26, Constitution of the USSR.

Proposition One and the Soviet People

As in the U.S., Proposition One-USSR strives to involve the people in the process of amending the constitution through petitions, initiatives, and referenda. Proposition One is an idea which is readily accepted in the USSR. The time is ripe in the USSR, making Proposition One's job there much easier.

Next year the Soviet Union will rewrite their constitution. The general topic of disarmament already is addressed; Proposition One insists that the general language be replaced by Proposition One's more specific language. The idea of democratization of the Soviet society was taken seriously. At the present time, the people are still looking for issues to become democratically involved in.

In the Soviet Union, there is a functioning and flourishing underground press allowing a freer exchange of ideas. There are functioning east-west trust groups working with independent environmental and peace groups in Western Europe; the official peace committee didn't know of them and even denied their existence in general; the Soviet people take politics much more seriously than Americans.

Proposition One's plan for the future in the USSR is to have committee members cultivate and work with People's Deputies who have already given us their support, and to compile dossiers and forge relationships with newly elected Deputies who seem to be open to Proposition One. The new Union Treaty (or Constitution) will be rewritten in l992. The strategy for the USSR differs from the U.S. strategy in that in the U.S., Proposition One is a voter initiative; in the USSR, given that rewriting their Constitution is a legislative effort, public outreach will still be in the form of petitioning, group presentations and direct action. However, in the USSR, in the interest of expediency, Proposition One will concentrate much more on the delegates to their form of a constitutional convention.

[This report was prepared by Robert Dorrough, Proposition One liaison to the USSR.]