Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик Soyúz Sovétskikh Sotsialistícheskikh Respúblik 1922–1991 Capital
and largest city
Moscow 55°45′N 37°37′E / 55°45′N 37°37′E / 55.750; 37.617 Official languages Russian   Recognised regional languages Minority languages Ethnic groups
Religion (de jure) Secular state   (de facto) State atheism Demonym(s) Soviet Government Leader
Mikhail Gorbachev Premier
(first) Vladimir Lenin
(last) Ivan Silayev Legislature Central Executive Committee (1922–38) Supreme Soviet (1938–91) Soviet of Nationalities Soviet of the Union Historical era 20th century 30 December 1922 22 June 1941 9 May 1945 24 October 1945 9 October 1977 1 July 1991 19–22 August 1991 8 December 1991 26 December 1991 Area
22,402,200 km 2 (8,649,500 sq mi) Population
• 1991 estimate
293 million ( ) 3rd
8.4/km 2 (21.8/sq mi) GDP ( ) PPP 1990 estimate
$2.7 trillion (  ) 2nd
• Per capita
$9,200 GDP (nominal) 1990 estimate
$2.7 trillion (  ) 2nd
• Per capita
$9,200 ( ) 28th Gini (1989) 0.275 low Currency (руб) ( Soviet ruble ) SUR Time zone ( +2 to +12) UTC Date format dd-mm-yyyy Driving side right Calling code +7 ISO 3166 code SU Internet TLD 
^ Declaration № 142-Н of the , formally establishing the dissolution of the Soviet Union as a state and subject of international law. Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union ‹See Tfd› (in Russian) Original lyrics used from 1944 to 1956. No lyrics from 1956 to 1977. Revised lyrics from 1977 to 1991. ^ All-union official since 1990, constituent republics had the right to declare their own official languages. ^ Assigned on 19 September 1990, existing onwards. ^
Soviet Union, officially the [a] Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ( [b] USSR), was a [c] in socialist state that existed from 1922 to 1991. Eurasia Nominally a  of multiple national union , Soviet republics its [d] and government were highly economy . The country was a centralized , governed by the one-party state with Communist Party as its capital in its largest republic, the Moscow (Russian SFSR). Other major urban centres were Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic , Leningrad , Kiev , Minsk , Tashkent , and Alma-Ata . It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 Novosibirsk , and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: time zones , tundra , taiga , steppes and desert . mountains
The Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917
, when the October Revolution , led by Bolsheviks , overthrew the Vladimir Lenin which had replaced Russian Provisional Government during Tsar Nicholas II . In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a World War I which legalized the unification of the treaty , Russian , Transcaucasian and Ukrainian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Byelorussian came to power in the mid-1920s. Stalin committed the state's ideology to Joseph Stalin (which he created) and constructed a Marxism–Leninism which led to a period of command economy and rapid industrialization . During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the collectivization removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. Great Purge In 1933, a  struck the country, causing the deaths of 3 to 7 million people. major famine
Before the start of
in 1939, the Soviets signed the World War II , a non-aggression agreement with Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact , after which the USSR Nazi Germany . In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded Poland on 17 September 1939 , opening invaded the Soviet Union in history. the largest and bloodiest theatre of war accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Soviet war casualties at intense battles such as Axis forces and Stalingrad . The territories overtaken by the Red Army became Kursk of the Soviet Union. The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the satellite states -led United States , known as the Western Bloc . Stalin Cold War and was eventually succeeded by died in 1953 , who in 1956 Nikita Khrushchev and began the denounced Stalin . The de-Stalinization occurred during Khrushchev's rule, which was among the many factors that led to his Cuban Missile Crisis . In the early 1970s, there was a brief downfall in 1964 of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the détente in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Soviet–Afghan War , sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of Mikhail Gorbachev (openness) and glasnost (restructuring), which caused political instability. In 1989, perestroika in Soviet satellite states Eastern Europe . overthrew their respective communist governments
As part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a
, boycotted by 3 Soviet republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a referendum was held in March 1991 . Gorbachev's power was greatly diminished after Russian President renewed federation 's high-profile role in facing down a Boris Yeltsin attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the coup d'état met and formally Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union . The remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent dissolved the Soviet Union , with the post-Soviet states —formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the Russian Federation . successor state   
The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of
of the 20th century, including the world's many significant technological achievements and innovations , the first human-made satellite and the first probe to land on another planet, first humans in space . The country had the world's second largest economy and the largest standing military in the world. Venus   The Soviet Union was  as one of the five recognized and possessed the nuclear weapons states . largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction It was a founding  of the permanent member as well as a member of the United Nations Security Council (OSCE), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (WFTU) and the leading member of the World Federation of Trade Unions (CMEA) and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance . Warsaw Pact
The word "
" is derived from a Soviet word сове́т (sovét) meaning council, assembly, advice, harmony, concord Russian and all ultimately deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of [note 1] 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".
A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council" (
: Russian сове́т). For example, in the the Russian Empire , which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. State Council
, Georgian Affair envisioned an expression of Vladimir Lenin ethnic chauvinism by Great Russian 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 ( Joseph Stalin : Russian Сою́з Сове́тских Респу́блик Евро́пы и А́зии, tr. Soyúz Sovétskikh Respúblik Evrópy i Ázii). 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 . 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. 1936 .
СССР (in Latin alphabet: SSSR), is the abbreviation of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in Russian language ( Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик). It is written in , but Latin alphabets users sometimes borrow the word orthographicly as "CCCP".
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
media. It was also informally called Russia (and its citizens Russians), Western though that was technically incorrect since Russia was only one of the republics.