More than 40 years have passed since the introduction of the former Constitution of 1936, and the approaching sixtieth anniversary of the Soviet government prompted the leadership of the USSR to intensify the work of the constitutional commission chaired by L. I. Brezhnev. The new Constitution was supposed to consolidate the changes in the social, economic and national sphere, to a greater extent correspond to the norms of international law and signify the achievements of the Soviet government over the past decades.
On June 4, 1977, a draft Constitution was published, in the discussion of which 140 million people took part in various forms (including formally). Amendments were made to 118 articles out of 173 and one more new article on the mandates of voters was added. On October 7, 1977, the text of the Constitution was approved at an extraordinary session of the USSR Supreme Council.
The Constitution proclaimed the construction of developed socialism in the USSR, the formation of a new historical community of people - the Soviet people and the transition from the dictatorship of the working people to the nation-state workers, peasants and intellectuals, whose law of life is to take care of everyone’s good and care for everyone’s good. Article 6 legally established the role of the CPSU, proclaimed "the leading and guiding force of Soviet society, the core of its political system." Further in this article it was stated that, "armed with Marxist-Leninist doctrine, the Communist Party determines the general outlook for the development of society, domestic and foreign policy of the USSR, guides the great creative activities of the Soviet people, gives a systematic, scientifically based nature of his struggle for the victory of communism ".
The Constitution approved, in addition to the previous rights, provisions on universal secondary education, on the right to choose a profession and on housing. In addition to listing rights, the Constitution defined guarantees for their implementation. Just as in the previous Constitution, fundamental democratic freedoms were proclaimed: speech, meetings, processions and demonstrations, conscience, etc. The Basic Law included ten provisions of the Helsinki Act on the principles of interstate relations. The constitutionally held criminal liability for the propaganda of war.
The main direction of the development of the political system of the Soviet society in Article 9 of the Constitution proclaimed "the further development of socialist democracy: the increasing participation of citizens in managing the affairs of the state and society, improving the state apparatus, increasing the activity of public organizations, strengthening popular control, strengthening the legal framework state and public life, expansion of publicity, constant consideration of public opinion ".
Article 5 of the Constitution introduced the institute of referendum. The number of public organizations in the 70s. increased significantly, as did their role in Soviet society. In the Councils of all levels in the early 80s. 2 million 270 thousand deputies worked. There were about 250 thousand people's control committees. For all the formalization of the activities of these organizations, this was, albeit limited, but the experience of local self-government, the concession of the ruling circles to increased social activity in the early 1970s.
At the same time, the proclamation of the Constitution of developed socialism marked a certain self-sufficient stagnation in the public life of the USSR. Under these conditions, political rights were often fiction and were not respected. Political changes did not affect the upper circles, where numerous examples of corruption were recorded during this period.
The activity of the Minister of Internal Affairs Shelokov subsequently became common. For the period from 1975 to 1982, he received free of charge 80 thousand rubles (including 30 thousand rubles for the repair of an apartment). Under the guise of service from the funds of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, payment was made for the maintenance of 9 Shchelokov apartments, his relatives and friends. In addition, he had 3 personal dachas (one of them worth 200 thousand rubles), several free Mercedes-Benz, supposedly allocated for security during the Olympics-80, antiquarian values for 248.8 thousand rubles, decorating the apartment of the minister and his relatives, the special shop of the Ministry of Internal Affairs exclusively for members of his family, as well as the opportunity to receive free live flowers worth up to 15 thousand rubles a year, allegedly assigned to Lenin's Mausoleum and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.