chapter  6
19 Pages

Secession as a constitutional right in the USSR

In both American and Soviet cases, constitutional texts are incomplete, and one has to examine writings pertaining to the founding to discover limiting or enabling elements. Just as the exegesis of the American Constitution with respect of the states’ sovereignty necessitated turning to the proceedings of the constitutional and ratifying conventions, as well as the relevant writings of the founding generation, one has to read Lenin and Stalin to understand the secession article in the Soviet Constitution and its circumscribed scope. The constitutional wording (‘freely to secede’) seems permissive, but the whole ideology heavily hedged it. This does not make it a deliberate lie nonetheless, as I shall argue.