A presidium or praesidium (Russian "Президиум") is "that which aids, defends, or protects" (from Latin praesidēre "to superintend", "preside"), and according to the Lewis and Short's A Latin Dictionary has explicit connotation of 'protection' or 'guardianship'); English plural presidiums or pr(a)esidia).
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In Communist states the presidium is the permanent committee of the legislative body, such as the Supreme Soviet in the USSR. The Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR existed from 1936, when the Supreme Soviet of the USSR replaced the Congress of Soviets with its Central Executive Committee that administered in between sessions, headed by "the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee." In 1936, this was replaced with the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet alone, no Central Executive Committee, and from this year to 1989, the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet was the formal title of the head of state of the USSR until the office of Chairman of the Supreme Soviet was introduced in 1990, later to be replaced by the President of the Soviet Union.
From 1952 to 1966, the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was known as the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, but despite the similarity in name with the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, the two Presidia were very different in power and function.
The term presidium is currently used in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (Supreme People's Assembly Presidium) and in the People's Republic of China (Presidium of the National People's Congress, Standing Committee of the National People's Congress; the Chinese word for presidium is 主席团 while standing committee is 常务委员会).
In Flemish and Scandinavian student organisations, "presidium" is an umbrella term for all the chairmen in the organisations' administration.
In Germany, the presidium of the national legislature (Bundestag, formerly Reichstag), is responsible for the legislature's routine administration, nowadays including its clerical and research activities. The current presidium consists of the president and vice presidents of the Bundestag.
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