Council that constituted the primary unit of government in the Soviet Union. The first soviet was formed in St. Petersburg during the Russian Revolution of 1905 to coordinate revolutionary activities, but it was suppressed. Socialist leaders formed the second soviet shortly before the abdication of Nicholas II, with one deputy for every 1,000 workers and every military company. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks gradually gained a dominant position in soviets across the land. In 1918 a new constitution established soviets as the formal unit of local and regional government. The 1936 constitution created a directly elected bicameral Supreme Soviet, but the single candidate per district was chosen by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.