The XX Congress of the Communist Party (14-25 February, 1956) became a turning point in the history of the country. The Congress and especially the historical Khrushev's report "About the cult of individual and its aftermath" gave a powerful impulse to the process of renovation of the society, to the Stalinism myths dethronement, to liberation of men's mind from ideological stereotypes. The period in the country's life, connected with the Congress, was named "the Ottepel" ("Thaw").
Exposure of Stalin's crimes was fulfilled with men who were guilty themselves, including Nikita Khrushev, the rapporteur. The evils of the command system were narrowed down to Stalin and his closest encirclement. The political administration being at power at the moment, didn't share the responsibility and escaped punishment and critics.
Some unimportant changes that took place in 1956-1964 in federal system, were of make-up sort. Soviet power bodies of all levels, as before, functioned under the party ruling and control. The ultimate power body was formally the Supreme Soviet, as before. On the Supreme Soviet sessions preliminary prepared documents were affirmed with a single heart.
A characteristic feature of the time: part of central power bodies' legitimate functions were given to provincial ones. In May 1956 functions on control over local courts and forensic foundations were granted to local administrative bodies.
By decision of the USSR Supreme Soviet Sixth Session national autonomy was restored for Chechnya, Ingush, Kalmick and Karatshayev peoples, that had been abolished in connection with Stalin's persecution in the years of the Second World War.
Not only representatives of party and administrative bureaucracy, but common workers began to be involved for the work in Soviets. In 1957 March 1500 000 deputies were elected to the local Soviets, 60% of whom were workers and farmers.
The second part of the 50-s and first part of the 60-s were a period of noticeable rise in social activity in many regions of the country. A great many social organisations appeared, that began to solve various local problems.
From the very beginning of Khrushev's activity the party and administrative bureaucracy were his subterranean adversaries. Nikita Khrushev couldn't do without them, but simultaneously didn't want to be a puppet in their hands. He constantly tried to put the bureaucracy in inconvenient borders.
More serious attempts of modernisation were undertaken by Khrushev in the sphere of executive power. The ultimate executive body was still Council of Ministers. In 1955 N. Bulganin became its chairman. In 1958 Khrushev replaced him, A.Kosygin, A.Mikoyan, D.Ustinov became his assistants. One of the first steps of the new government was transfer of some rights to the province. In 1956 percentage of contributions into republican budgets on different types of taxes were raised. A number of all-union ministries were reorganised into republican ones (communication, education etc.). The number of all-union ministries was reduced. But a deeper administrative reform began later.