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Law School Hears Defense of Soviet Constitution Hour After Its Adoption

Oumansky Asserts It Provides For Universal Suffrage In Russian Union


A defense of Russia's new constitution, alleged to provide for the suffrage of 98.2 per cent of the population over 18 years of age, came to Harvard on Saturday less than an hour after the document had been adopted by the U.S.S.R., in the person of Constantin A. Oumansky, counsellor of the Soviet Embassy in Washington, speaking before Law School Students in Langdell Hall.

One short hour after the new constitution had been formally accepted by the moguls of Moscow, the Soviet diplomat was introduced by Sidney P. Simpson, professor of Law, and ardently defended his country's latest rules and regulations against attacks from "mutually contradictory critics who interpret it only as they should like it to be."

"It conserves, protects and defends all personal property, income from savings, household goods, and other objects of private use and comfort," he stated, adding that "in this respect we are hard-bolled Tories."

According to Counsellor Oumansky, the new document provides for universal suffrage, regardless of race, sex, color, creed or previous political affiliations, so that more than 98.2 per cent of all Russians over the age of 18 will now take an active part in the affairs of their government.

"Our original pledge," the diplomat continued, "was to transform a backward agrarian country into an advanced, industrial nation, completely capable of protecting its firmly established socialist economy. Today this is a reality."

Oumansky denied that a dictatorship of the proletariat exists in Russia, stating that "proletariat" implies a dispossessed class, and that such a thing could not obtain in a Socialist country. He added that the factor of coercion was subordinate to the factor of education in the Soviet form of government.

In an open forum following his address, Oumansky would not answer directly the common accusation that a one-party system such as that in his country, could not bring the fundamental issues of the day before the people and was thus incompatible with the principles of true democracy.

"You see," he parried, "I did not come here to point out to you the very evident superiority of our system: for in a Socialist state there can exist no class antagonism and this is the very basis for your political parties."

With a shrug, he concluded. "If any one disagrees with our fundamental assumption . . ."

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