Soviet Union

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Союз Советских Социалистических Республик
Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik

1922–1991
Flag of the Soviet Union
Flag
(1924–91)
State Emblem
(1956–91)
Motto: 
"Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!"
Proletarii vsekh stran, soyedinyaytes'!
("Workers of the world, unite!", literally: "Proletarians
of all countries, unite!")
Anthem: 
"The Internationale"
(1922–1944)
"State Anthem of the Soviet Union"[a]
(1944–1991)
The Soviet Union after World War II
The Soviet Union after World War II
Republics of the Soviet Union *  1 Russia *  2 Ukraine *  3 Belarus *  4 Uzbekistan *  5 Kazakhstan *  6 Georgia *  7 Azerbaijan *  8 Lithuania *  9 Moldavia *  10 Latvia *  11 Kirghizia *  12 Tajikistan *  13 Armenia *  14 Turkmenia *  15 Estonia
Capital
and largest city
Moscow
55°45′N 37°37′E / 55°45′N 37°37′E / 55.750; 37.617
Official languagesRussian[1][1]
Recognised regional languages
Minority languages
Ethnic groups (1989)70% East Slavs
12% Turkic
18% other ethnic groups
Religion State atheism
see Religion in the Soviet Union
DemonymSoviet
Government1922–1990:
Federal Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic[2][3][4][5]
1990–91:
Federal semi-presidential republic[6]
President 
• 1990–1991
Mikhail Gorbachev
General Secretary 
• 1922–1952
Joseph Stalin (first)
• 1991
Vladimir Ivashko (last)
Prime Minister 
• 1922–1924
Vladimir Lenin (first)
• 1991
Ivan Silayev (last)
LegislatureSupreme Soviet
Soviet of Nationalities
Soviet of the Union
Historical era20th century
• Treaty of Creation
30 December 1922
22 June 1941
• Victory
in WWII
9 May 1945
• Admitted
to the UN
24 October 1945
• Constitution
adopted
9 October 1977
• Warsaw Pact
dissolved
1 July 1991
19–22 August 1991
• Union
dissolved
26 December 1991
Area
• Total
22,402,200 km2 (8,649,500 sq mi)
Population
• 1991 estimate
293 million
• Density
8.4/km2 (21.8/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)1990 estimate
• Total
$2.7 trillion [7] (2nd)
• Per capita
$9,200
GDP (nominal)1990 estimate
• Total
$2.7 trillion[8] (2nd)
• Per capita
$9,200
CurrencySoviet ruble (руб) (SUR)
Time zone(UTC+2 to +12)
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+7
ISO 3166 codeSU
Internet TLD[2]
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Russian SFSR
Ukrainian SSR
Byelorussian SSR
Bukharan PSR
Khorezm PSR
Estonia
Latvia
Lithuania
Kingdom of Romania
Tuvan PR
Russia
Ukraine
Belarus
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Estonia
Georgia
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Lithuania
Moldova
Tajikistan
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Notes
  1. ^ Declaration № 142-Н of the Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, formally establishing the dissolution of the Soviet Union as a state and subject of international law. (in Russian)
  2. ^ Original lyrics used from 1944 to 1956. No lyrics from 1956 to 1977. Revised lyrics from 1977 to 1991.
  3. ^ All-union official since 1990, constituent republics had the right to declare their own official languages.
  4. ^ Assigned on 19 September 1990, existing onwards.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics[b] (USSR),[c] commonly known as the Soviet Union[d] or Russia, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991.[9] Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics,[e] its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR). Russians dominated the Soviet regime.[10][11] Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk.

Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union had spanned eleven time zones and incorporated a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, the Soviet Union shared land borders with Norway, Finland, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea. It shared its maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the US state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. With an area of 22,402,200 square kilometres (8,649,500 sq mi), the Soviet Union was the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area,[12][13][14] and the third most populous, with over 288 million people as of 1989, with 80% of the population living in the western, European part of the country.

The Soviet Union had its roots in the October Revolution of 1917, when the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s. Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism (which he created) and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During this period of totalitarian rule, political paranoia fermented and the late-1930s Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in over 600,000 deaths.[15] Suppression of political critics and forced labor were carried out by Stalin's government. In 1933, a major famine that became known as the Holodomor in Soviet Ukraine struck multiple Soviet grain-growing regions, causing the deaths of some 3 to 7 million people.[16]

In August 1939, days before the start of World War II, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact agreeing to non-aggression with Germany, after which the two countries invaded Poland in September 1939. In June 1941, the pact collapsed as Germany turned to attack the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk. The territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union and the postwar division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the West, led by the United States of America.

The Cold War emerged by 1947 as the Eastern Bloc, united under the Warsaw Pact in 1955, confronted the Western Bloc, united under NATO in 1949. On 5 March 1953, Stalin died and was eventually succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization of Soviet society through the Khrushchev Thaw. The Soviet Union took an early lead in the Space Race, with the first artificial satellite and the first human spaceflight. Dissatisfied with Khrushchev's policies, the Communist Party's conservative wing led a coup d'état against Khrushchev in 1964, quietly ousting him without any bloodshed. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In the mid-1980s, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). Under Gorbachev, the role of the Communist Party in governing the state was removed from the constitution, causing a surge of severe political instability to set in. The Cold War ended during his tenure; in 1989 Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments.

With the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements inside the union republics, Gorbachev tried to avert a dissolution of the Soviet Union in the post-Cold War era. A March 1991 referendum, boycotted by some republics, resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation. Gorbachev's power was greatly diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin played a high-profile role in facing down an abortive August 1991 coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the remaining twelve constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states. The Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and is recognized as the successor state of the Soviet Union.[17][18][19] In summing up the international ramifications of these events, Vladislav Zubok stated: "The collapse of the Soviet empire was an event of epochal geopolitical, military, ideological and economic significance".[20]

Throughout its existence, the Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. The country had the world's second largest economy and the largest standing military in the world.[21][22][23]. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.[24] It was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) and the Warsaw Pact.

Name

The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word meaning council, assembly, advice, harmony, concord[note 1] and all ultimately deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti ("to inform"), related to Slavic věst ("news"), English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or" (which came to English through French), or the Dutch weten ("to know"; cf. wetenschap meaning "science"). The word sovietnik means "councillor".[25]

A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council" (Russian: сове́т). For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905.[25]

During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he initially named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia (Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Респу́блик Евро́пы и А́зии, tr. Soyúz Sovétskikh Respúblik Evrópy i Ázii).[26] Stalin initially resisted the proposal, but ultimately accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed state to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, albeit all the republics began as "Socialist Soviet" and did not change to the other order until 1936. In addition, in the national languages of several republics the word "Council/Conciliar" in the respective language was only quite late changed to an adaptation of the Russian "Soviet" and never in others, e.g. Ukraine

In some cases, due to the length of its name the state was referred to as the Soviet Union or the USSR, especially when used in the Western media. It was also informally called Russia (and its citizens Russians),[27] though that was technically incorrect since Russia was only one of the republics.[28]

Other Languages
Acèh: Uni Soviet
Afrikaans: Sowjetunie
Alemannisch: Sowjetunion
অসমীয়া: ছ'ভিয়েট সংঘ
авар: СССР
تۆرکجه: شوروی
Bân-lâm-gú: So͘-liân
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Саюз Савецкіх Сацыялістычных Рэспублік
Boarisch: Sowjetunion
bosanski: Sovjetski Savez
Cebuano: Unyong Sobyet
čeština: Sovětský svaz
davvisámegiella: Sovjetlihttu
Deutsch: Sowjetunion
dolnoserbski: Sowjetski zwězk
Esperanto: Sovetunio
estremeñu: Unión Soviética
føroyskt: Sovjetsamveldið
Frysk: Sovjet-Uny
贛語: 蘇聯
گیلکی: شؤروي
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌲𐌲𐌲𐌸
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Sû-lièn
한국어: 소련
हिन्दी: सोवियत संघ
hornjoserbsce: Sowjetski zwjazk
hrvatski: Sovjetski Savez
Bahasa Indonesia: Uni Soviet
interlingua: Union Sovietic
Interlingue: Soviet-Union
íslenska: Sovétríkin
Basa Jawa: Uni Sovyèt
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: صؤوِت اِتِفاق
kernowek: URSS
Lëtzebuergesch: Sowjetunioun
lietuvių: Tarybų Sąjunga
Limburgs: Sovjet-Unie
la .lojban.: sofygu'e
magyar: Szovjetunió
مازِرونی: شوروی
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Sŭ-lièng
Nederlands: Sovjet-Unie
Nedersaksies: Sovjet-Unie
Napulitano: Aunione Sovieteca
Nordfriisk: Sowjetunion
norsk nynorsk: Sovjetunionen
پنجابی: سویت یونین
Papiamentu: Union Sovietiko
ភាសាខ្មែរ: សហភាពសូវៀត
Picard: URSS
Plattdüütsch: Sowjetunion
português: União Soviética
rumantsch: Uniun sovietica
русиньскый: СССР
Seeltersk: Sowjetunion
Simple English: Soviet Union
slovenčina: Sovietsky zväz
slovenščina: Sovjetska zveza
Soomaaliga: Midowga Sofiyet
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Sovjetski Savez
Basa Sunda: Uni Soviét
svenska: Sovjetunionen
Tagalog: Unyong Sobyet
тыва дыл: ССРЭ
Vahcuengh: Suhlienz
Tiếng Việt: Liên Xô
walon: URSS
文言: 蘇聯
West-Vlams: Sovjet-Unie
吴语: 苏联
粵語: 蘇聯
žemaitėška: Tarību Sājonga
中文: 苏联