Soviet Union (TheodoresTomfooleries)
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Motto: "Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!"
Anthem: State Anthem of the Soviet Union
and largest city
|Official languages||None (De-jure)|
Russian (As a Lingua franca; De-facto)
|Recognised regional languages|
|Ethnic groups |
State atheism (de-facto)
|Government||Federal Marxist-Leninist one-party directorial parliamentary socialist republic|
|Soviet of Nationalities|
|Soviet of the Union|
|7 November 1917|
|30 December 1922|
• End of the Russian Civil War
|16 June 1923|
|25 February 1956|
|10 August 2002|
|22,402,200 km2 (8,649,500 sq mi) (1st)|
• Water (%)
• 2019 census
|17.2/km2 (44.5/sq mi) (214)|
|GDP (nominal)||2019 estimate|
|$10.48 trillion (2nd)|
• Per capita
|HDI (2019)|| 0.948|
very high · 6th
|Currency||Soviet Ruble (SUR)|
|Date format||CE, mm/dd/yyyy|
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, is a transcontinental country situated in Eurasia. It is the largest country in the world by area, covering 22.4 million square kilometres (8.64 million sq mi) and encompassing 15% of the Earth's land area. The Soviet Union extends across eleven time zones and borders eleven countries. It is the 3rd most populous country in the world and the most populous country in Europe, with a population of 385.38 million. The country's largest city and capital is Moscow, which co-serves as the capital of the country's largest republic, Russia. Other major cities include Leningrad, Kiev, Tashkent, and Baku. A multi-ethnic and diverse nation, the Soviet Union contain over 100 distinct ethnic groups. The East Slavs, which include the Russians, Byelorussians, and the Ukrainians are the largest ethnic grouping, Turkic peoples are the second largest and form a majority throughout most of Central Asia.
The Soviet Union originates from the Russian Revolution which resulted in a 5 year long civil war and the establishment of the first socialist state in history. Vladimir Lenin formally led the Russian SFSR and subsequently the newly created Soviet Union in 1922 until his death in early 1924. Joseph Stalin took reign of power after Lenin's death using his position as General Secretary and established an authoritarian regime which lasted 25 years until his death. The Soviet Union was a significant player in the Second World War, fighting against the Axis powers in the Eastern Front, with Stalin heading the country throughout the war. Following his passing in 1953, Nikita Kruschchev enacted a policy of de-stalinization which saw the dismantling of the cult of personality of Stalin. The Soviet Union saw a brief stagnation under Leonid Brezhnev before the economy experienced a general economic boom throughout the later 1980s and 90s. In the present day, the Soviet Union is recognised as one of the two superpowers of the world, competing with the United States in economy, politics, and technology. It is recognized as both a military and economic power with the world's largest standing military and its second largest economy, behind the United States.
Outside observers have noted that the Soviet government has a tendency to violate human rights in regards to freedom of speech. The Soviet Union ranks low for press freedom globally, and is also ranked lowly regarding political freedoms.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Geography
- 3 History
- 4 Foreign Policy
- 5 Politics
- 6 Military
- 7 Space Program
- 8 Economy
- 9 Demographics
- 10 Culture
- 11 Sports
The word soviet is derived from the Russian term sovet (Russian: совет), meaning 'council', 'assembly', 'advice', related to English wise.
The Soviet Union was originally to be titled "Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia" (Russian: Союз Советских Республик Европы и Азии; Soyuz Sovetskikh Respublik Evropy i Azii), however after an agreement by Stalin and Lenin it was later changed to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
"СССР" (Or SSSR in Latin Alphabets) is the official Russian abbreviation of "USSR". Other common cognates include "Союз ССР" (Soyuz SSR) which roughly translates to "Union of SSRs" in English, as well as "Советский Союз" (Sovetskiy Soyuz) which literally translates to "Soviet Union". This term is never used unabbreviated as it is seen as offensive, since following the Great Patriotic War "СС" or "SS" has become affiliated with the Schutzstaffel.
The Soviet Union is frequently (and incorrectly) referred to as "Russia"; which is incorrect since Russia is only one of the Republics. Efforts to correct this have largely been fruitless, however the Soviet Union officially insists on "Soviet Union" rather than Russia to stress its multi-ethnic nature.
The Soviet Union is the world's largest country with an area of 22,402,200 square kilometres (8,649,500 sq mi). It covers 1/6th of Earth's land surface and is larger than the continents of Australia, Europe, and South America, with a size comparable to North America. The country spans 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across eleven time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. The country is also widely diverse climate wise- with five climate zones (Tundra, Taiga, Steppes, Desert and mountains)
The Soviet Union possesses the world's largest border at over 60,000 kilometres (37,000 mi), 2/3rds of which is coastline. The Soviet Union borders Norway and Finland to the Northwest, the Baltic Sea, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Romania in the west, the Black Sea, Turkiye and Iran in the south, (as well as the Caspian Sea and Afghanistan), and Mongolia, China, and North Korea to the east. It is seperated from the United States by the Beiring Strait, while the La Pérouse Strait separates it from the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
The country's highest mountain is Communism Peak in the Tajik SSR at 7,495 metres (24,590 ft) high. It also contains most of the world's largest lakes, including the Caspian Sea (shared with Iran) and Lake Baikal, the world's largest and deepest freshwater lake.
Revolution and Foundation
Most of the territory of the Soviet Union before the 1917 revolutions was led by the Emperor of All Russia and the Russian Empire: an autocratic and authoritarian state with the Emperor (often called the Tsar) as its absolute monarch. The monarchy had largely failed to constitutionalize and reform due to the actions of Alexander III and Nicholas II. A State Duma, equivalent to a parliament- was established after the 1905 Russian Revolution but its powers were largely nonexistent as Nicholas continued to rule in all but name as an autocrat. The monarchy itself was particularly embarassed after its disastrous defeat in the Russo-Japanese War which saw the near-annihilation of the Russian Baltic Fleet. Further controversies with the Tsar and rising unpopularity after the events of Bloody Sunday in Saint Petersburg only further exacerbated the likelihood of revolution.
In 1914 Russia entered into World War I, largely to failure: it is estimated that over 2.25 million men died with an additional 3.749 and 3.343 million wounded or captured. The war not only devastated the population of Russia with famine but also crashed the economy as the Germans managed to capture the industry-rich Kingdom of Poland and pushed into modern day Lithuania. In March, 1917 a revolution broke out in Saint Petersburg which resulted in the Abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and the end of the Russian Empire. In its place came the Russian Provisional Government and subsequently the Russian Republic. The country was largely unstable and the government unpopular, it mainly shared power with the Petrograd Soviets which de-facto acted as its own rival government to Alexander Kerensky's government. Further tensions between the Provisional government and the Petrograd Soviet led to a largely bloodless revolution in Petrograd where the Petrograd Soviet declared itself the ruling government of Russia. A resulting civil war broke out which saw millions of casualties. On 25 January 1918, the third All-Russian Congress of Soviets officially named the state the Russian Soviet Republic, which later signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk which ceded a significant portion of Russia's most valuable industrial and agricultural land to the Central Powers. The name was changed later in the year to the "Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic". Vladimir Lenin was the political leader of the Bolsheviks for the war. Leon Trotsky largely led the war effort as Minister of Defence (then called "People's Commissar of Military and Naval Affairs"). Other notable commanders include Yakov Sverdlov; the namesake of Sverdlovsk, and Joseph Stalin. During most of the period of the civil war, the Bolsheviks enacted the policy of war communism from 1918-1921.
Treaty on the Creation of the USSR
Stalin Era (1927-1953)
World War II
De-Stalinization and Khrushchev Thaw (1953–1964)
Brezhnev Era (1964 - 1985)
Ligachev Era (1985 - 1994)
Gurenko Era (1994 - 2004)
The Soviet Union is a one-party state dominated by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which is constitutionally guaranteed a monopoly over politics. Non-partisan politicians are allowed to hold or run for office, however they must accept the CPSU's platform. Political opposition of any kind is forbidden, and political freedoms in the Soviet Union are hence considered to be heavily limited. The Supreme Soviet is the supreme authoritative legislative body of the central government, however the Central Committee of the CPSU is regarded as the ultimate decision-making body, owing to it being the director of all party and government activities.
The Soviet Union is a federation of Union Republics, based on national delimination. Constitutionally, the Union Republics are considered equal to one-another, although de-facto the Russian SFSR dominates, owing to its large size, population and economy. Autonomous okrugs, autonomous oblasts, and ASSRs are often common when there is a significant ethnic minority in a particular region of a Union Republic, such as in the case of the Komi ASSR in the Russian SFSR. ASSRs are subordinate to their respective Union Republics and cannot secede from the Union, unlike Union Republics who are constitutionally guaranteed the right to secede.
The Soviet space program was the world's first space program, founded in 1955. Its notable accomplishments include the first satellite, the first animal in orbit, the first Spacecraft to escape Earth's gravity, the first man in space, the first woman in space, the first soft-landing on the moon, the first exchange of crews in space, the first space rover, the first space station, the first permanently crewed space station and the first fully automated flight of a spaceplane.
Originally, the Soviet space program was de-centralized and was split among numerous competing design bureaus. After 1996, however, the NSKA became the Soviet Union's centralized space agency, under the jurisdiction of the Soviet Space Forces. The country competes with the United States' NASA and the United States Space Force.
The Soviet Union organizes its economy using a system of command economy, being directed by central planning by Gosplan, itself organized into 5 year plans. The Soviet economy has noticeably avoided the economic liberalization of other communist countries whilst remaining relatively economically strong. The Soviet economy is noted for its high economic security as well as its high employment rate and moderate GDP per capita but is also strained by its lack of quality in its consumer products.
Science and technology
Nationalities and ethnic groups
The Soviet Union's geographic size has led it to become one of the world's most ethnically diverse countries. Russia alone is home to 193 different ethnic groups. East Slavs make up the largest percent of the Soviet population, with 58% of the population claiming ethnicity/nationality from an East Slavic nation. Turks are the second largest group of people with 27% of the population. The Central Asian republics, notably Uzbekistan, Kirghizia and Tajikistan, are the fastest growing republics by population. Russians are the largest group by population and have a significant diaspora across the nation, with a combined population of over 25 million. Central Asia is home to a significant Russian population of 10.2 million, 7 million of who live in Kazakhstan.