Soviet Union (TheodoresTomfooleries)

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Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Name in languages of
the Union Republicsa.
  • Russian:Союз Советских Социалистических Республик
    Soyuz Sovyetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik
    Ukrainian:Союз Радянських Соціалістичних Республік
    Soyuz Radyans'kykh Sotsialistychnykh Respublik
    Byelorussian:Саюз Савецкіх Сацыялістычных Рэспублік
    Sayuz Savyetskikh Satsyyalistychnykh Respublik
    Uzbek:Совет Социалистик Республикалари Иттифоқи
    Sovet Sotsialistik Respublikalari Ittifoqi
    Kazakh:Советтік Социалистік Республикалар Одағы
    Sovettik Sotsialistik Respublikalar Odaghy
    Kartulic:საბჭოთა სოციალისტური რესპუბლიკების კავშირი
    sabch’ota sotsialist’uri resp’ublik’ebis k’avshiri
    Azerbaijani:Совет Сосиалист Республикалары Иттифагы
    Sovet Sosialist Respublikaları Ittifagı
    Lithuanian:Tarybų Socialistinių Respublikų Sąjunga
    Moldavianb.:Униуня Републичилор Советиче Сочиалисте
    Uniunea Republicilor Sovetice Socialiste
    Latvian:Padomju Sociālistisko Republiku Savienība
    Kirghiz:Советтик Социалисттик Республикалар Союзу
    Sovettik Sotsialisttik Respublikalar Soyuzu
    Tadzhik:Иттиҳоди Ҷумҳуриҳои Шӯравии Сосиалистӣ
    Ittihodi Jumhurihoi Shŭravii Sosialistí
    Armenian:Խորհրդային Սոցիալիստական Հանրապետությունների Միություն
    Khorhrdayin Sots’ialistakan Hanrapyetvowt’yvownnyeri Miowt’yvown
    Turkmen:Совет Социалистик Республикалары Союзы
    Sovet Sosialistik Respublikalary Soýuzy
    Estonian:Nõukogude Sotsialistlike Vabariikide Liit
Motto: "Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!"
Location of Soviet Union
Capital
and largest city
Moscow
Official languagesNone (de-jure)
Russian (As a Lingua franca; de-facto)
Recognised national languages
Ethnic groups
(2022 est.)
Religion
Secularism (de-jure)
State atheism (de-facto)
Demonym(s)Soviet
GovernmentFederal Marxist-Leninist one-party directorial parliamentary socialist republic
Sabrican Garayev
• Premier
Aleksander Keskula
LegislatureSupreme Soviet
Soviet of Nationalities
Soviet of the Union
Establishment
7 November 1917
30 December 1922
• End of the Russian Civil War
16 June 1923
1941-1945
25 February 1956
10 August 2002
Area
• Total
22,402,200 km2 (8,649,500 sq mi) (1st)
• Water (%)
12.3
Population
• 2022 estimate
395.670 million
• 2019[1] census
385,387,725
• Density
17.2/km2 (44.5/sq mi) (214)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
$15.56 trillion (3rd)
• Per capita
$39,329 (27th)
Gini (2023)Positive decrease 0.230
low
HDI (2022)Increase 0.921
very high · 24th
CurrencySoviet Ruble (SUR)
Time zoneUTC+2-12
Date formatCE, mm/dd/yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+7
Internet TLD.su

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), is a transcontinental country spanning across Eurasia. It is the largest country in the world by area at 22.4 million km2 (8.64 million mi2); it stretches over 15% of the Earth's surface area, extends across eleven time zones and borders eleven countries. It is the 3rd most populous country in the world and the most populous in Europe, with a population of 385.38 million in 2019. The country's largest city and capital is Moscow with a metropolitan population of 21.272 million, other major cities include Leningrad, Kiev, Tashkent and Baku.

As a federation of 15 co-equal soviet socialist republics, the Soviet Union is a multi-ethnic and diverse nation, with over 128 registered ethnicities. The East Slavs, consisting of the Russians, Byelorussians and Ukrainians, make up the majority of the population at 66% of the population, while Turks make up an additional 24%.

The Soviet Union can ultimately trace its routes back to the Kievan Rus', a medieval East Slavic state that in the 13th century collapsed and was succeeded by the Grand Duchy of Moscow, which in 1547 proclaimed itself the Tsardom of Russia. Through expansion in Siberia and through wars over territory in the Caucasus and the Eastern Europe, Russia came to be the largest country in the world by the mid 18th century. Peter the Great turned Russia into a great power and proclaimed the Russian Empire in 1721, which by the 1850s became the third largest empire in human history.

Russia fought on the side of the Triple Entente in World War One. Failures on their front and popular discontent with the monarchy resulted in a February revolution that overthrew the monarchy and replaced it with a republican system. The unpopularity of the succeeding republic led to a socialist revolution by the Bolsheviks, a communist faction led by Vladimir Lenin which fought a civil war in the territory of the Russian Empire and eventually emerged victorious. In 1922, the soviet republics of Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia and Transcaucasia merged to create the Soviet Union. Vladimir Lenin died in 1924 and was eventually succeeded by Joseph Stalin, the General Secretary of the Communist Party who out-maneuvered his political opponents to become dictator by the 1930s. Under Stalin's rule, the Soviet Union rapidly industrialized and collectivized its land at the cost of millions of lives in famines. World War Two saw the Soviets initially cooperate with Nazi Germany for the division of eastern Europe, with the Soviets occupying the Baltic States and annexing territory from Poland, Finland and Romania. The 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany had an enormous human and economic cost on the country, but by 1945 the country's Red Army had defeated the Axis as part of the Allies. The Soviet Union emerged out of World War II as one of the two superpowers of the world alongside the United States. The Soviet Union would help fund and put into power communist parties and movements throughout Eurasia, most notably in the Eastern Bloc.

Ideological tensions between the United States, a capitalist nation, and the Soviet Union, a communist nation, would result in the start of the Cold War, which continues to this day through proxy conflicts and an arms race. Stalin's death in 1953 would see his eventual condemnation by his successor Nikita Khrushchev, who dismantled his cult of personality and the dictatorship he created. 1962 saw the Cuban Missile Crisis and a period of intense tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1964 Khrushchev was forced to resign and was succeeded by Leonid Brezhnev, who simultaneously led the Soviet Union during a period of relative stability and peace but also its increasing corruption and stagnation. Yuri Andropov briefly succeeded Brezhnev upon his death in 1982 before being succeeded by Grigory Romanov in 1984, who presided over a period of moderate reform. Yegor Ligachev's rule was marked initially by reform before sliding into a more conservative position by the late 2000s. Ligachev resigned in 2010 in favor of his deputy, Sabrican Garayev, who has led the country since then.

The Soviet Union today stands as one of the world's two superpowers along with the United States. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and is also a member of the European Cooperative Community, SCO, CSCE along with other organisations. The Soviet Union ranks high in literacy, human development, possesses the world's second-largest military, and is the world's largest producer of petroleum and natural gas. Globally, the Soviet Union ranks low for human rights, owing to its suppression of free speech and press. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) holds an absolute monopoly on political and state power, with opposition candidates and groups banned.

Etymology

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.

Geography

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 inTadzhikistan 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.

History

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

Cold War

De-Stalinization and Khrushchev Thaw (1953–1964)

Brezhnev Era (1964 - 1984)

Romanov Era (1984 - 2001)

Gurenko Era (2001 - 2010)

Present Day

Foreign Policy

Politics

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.

Communist Party

Government

Judicial System

Administrative Divisions

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. In practice however, there is no legal ability for the Soviet republics to secede.

Military

Space Program

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.

Economy

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.

Energy

Science and technology

Transport

Demographics

Fertility

Education

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 Tadzhikistan, 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.

Health

Languages

At the national level, the Soviet Union has no official language. In practice however, Russian acts as a lingua franca, with every Soviet republic having adopted Russian as a co-official language alongside the national language of the republic.

The Soviet Union recognizes the national languages of the individual republics, but they are not considered official. The languages of certain Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics or even Autonomous Oblasts/Krais may be recognized at a per-republic level.

Religion

The religious policy of the Soviet Union has varied throughout its existence. The Soviet Union officially describes itself as a secular state with freedom of religion. In practice however, the Soviet Union is state atheist and suppresses religious activities and organizations. The extent of this suppression is varied both throughout the Soviet Union's history and per a religious basis.

From 1917 to 1941, the Soviet Union (and its predecessor states) engaged in an anti-religious campaign which variously targetted Orthodox, Catholics, Jews and Muslims. The League of Militant Atheists was founded to assist with Soviet plans of disenfranchising and attacking clergy, churches and mosques. Churches and mosques were closed en masse.

In 1941, due to the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Stalin and the Communist Party enlisted the support of the Orthodox Church to gain the support of the Russian population and to arouse patriotism. By the time of Stalin's death in 1953, the 500 churches which had remained in the Soviet Union in 1941 had grown to 22,000. After World War II, the cooperation with the Orthodox Church turned back to hostility, and Khrushchev reversed Stalin's policies of collaboration back in favor of state atheism. Brezhnev and Romanov continued Khrushchev's policies, although with a lighter hand. The Soviet Union has seen minor concessions to organized religions under the leadership of Yegor Ligachev and Sabrican Garayev, such as easing restrictions on the ability to open up new churches, but the policy of state atheism has remained in place.

Culture

Sports