Who decides youth questions in the USSR?

Grigori Reznichenko ::: Young people in the USSR. Answers to questions

First and foremost, the young people themselves through their public organisations. Some questions they decide independently; on others they have an opportunity to state their views. No issue affecting the young is considered, let alone decided, without the participation of representatives of the Komsomol and other youth organisations. That applies to prob­lems of national importance and those that arise in individual factories or offices.

Soviets at all levels-from the local Soviet to the USSR Supreme Soviet-have standing committees on youth matters. In the country as a whole there are more than 12,000 such committees with some

deputies working in them.

The questions that come under their competence range from education, professional training, living conditions and recreation facilities of the young, health protection, and job placement, to participa­tion in running state and social affairs, and control­ling the observance of youth labour legislation.

In 1977, for instance, the committee on youth matters of the USSR Supreme Soviet reviewed the question of the organization of the leisure time of working youth. A joint group of 12 deputies was set up to prepare the material for consideration. It spent nearly two years in making a study of the problem in collaboration with the government de­partments concerned and with the help of sociolo­gists and statisticians. They made a survey of the situation in 14 republics, areas and regions, and considered reports submitted by a number of min­istries and public organisations. The committee's recommendations were discussed at a meeting of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet and at the USSR Council of Ministers. At present practical steps are being taken to ensure the implementation of their decisions. At another meeting the commit­tee reviewed how youth labour laws were observed at enterprises and organisations of the Ministry of I he oil refining and petrochemical industry. They drafted a programme of concrete measures to im­prove matters in this field.

Under Soviet law, the recommendations of parlia­mentary standing committees are binding on the officials and organisations concerned. They have to report within one month on what has been done.

The standing committees encourage the initiative of their members. All issues are decided by open discussion. They collaborate closely with the trade unions, the Komsomol and other public organisa­tions, helping to coordinate the efforts of public organisations and government bodies whose work is concerned in one degree or another with the younger generation.

The Komsomol and other public organisations decide concrete issues that do not require interven­tion by the state: the organisation of sports activi­ties at places of work and on a district or city scale; scientific, technical and artistic activities; vocational guidance and improvement of skills, etc.