Soviet Union

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For the specific Russian Socialist Republic in the Soviet Union sometimes referred to as Soviet Russia, see Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Soviet Union_sentence_0

"USSR", "CCCP", and "Soviet" redirect here. Soviet Union_sentence_1

For other uses, see USSR (disambiguation), CCCP (disambiguation), and Soviet (disambiguation). Soviet Union_sentence_2

Soviet Union_table_infobox_0

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Союз Советских Социалистических Республик Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh RespublikSoviet Union_header_cell_0_0_0

Capital

and largest citySoviet Union_header_cell_0_1_0

MoscowSoviet Union_cell_0_1_1
Official languagesSoviet Union_header_cell_0_2_0 RussianSoviet Union_cell_0_2_1
Recognised regional languagesSoviet Union_header_cell_0_3_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_3_1
Minority languagesSoviet Union_header_cell_0_4_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_4_1
Ethnic groups (1989)Soviet Union_header_cell_0_5_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_5_1
ReligionSoviet Union_header_cell_0_6_0 Secular state

State atheismSoviet Union_cell_0_6_1

Demonym(s)Soviet Union_header_cell_0_7_0 SovietSoviet Union_cell_0_7_1
GovernmentSoviet Union_header_cell_0_8_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_8_1
LeaderSoviet Union_header_cell_0_9_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_9_1
1922–1924Soviet Union_header_cell_0_10_0 Vladimir LeninSoviet Union_cell_0_10_1
1924–1953Soviet Union_header_cell_0_11_0 Joseph StalinSoviet Union_cell_0_11_1
1953Soviet Union_header_cell_0_12_0 Georgy MalenkovSoviet Union_cell_0_12_1
1953–1964Soviet Union_header_cell_0_13_0 Nikita KhrushchevSoviet Union_cell_0_13_1
1964–1982Soviet Union_header_cell_0_14_0 Leonid BrezhnevSoviet Union_cell_0_14_1
1982–1984Soviet Union_header_cell_0_15_0 Yuri AndropovSoviet Union_cell_0_15_1
1984–1985Soviet Union_header_cell_0_16_0 Konstantin ChernenkoSoviet Union_cell_0_16_1
1985–1991Soviet Union_header_cell_0_17_0 Mikhail GorbachevSoviet Union_cell_0_17_1
Head of stateSoviet Union_header_cell_0_18_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_18_1
1922–1946 (first)Soviet Union_header_cell_0_19_0 Mikhail KalininSoviet Union_cell_0_19_1
1988–1991 (last)Soviet Union_header_cell_0_20_0 Mikhail GorbachevSoviet Union_cell_0_20_1
Head of governmentSoviet Union_header_cell_0_21_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_21_1
1922–1924 (first)Soviet Union_header_cell_0_22_0 Vladimir LeninSoviet Union_cell_0_22_1
1991 (last)Soviet Union_header_cell_0_23_0 Ivan SilayevSoviet Union_cell_0_23_1
LegislatureSoviet Union_header_cell_0_24_0 Congress of Soviets

(1922–1936) Supreme Soviet (1936–1991)Soviet Union_cell_0_24_1

Upper houseSoviet Union_header_cell_0_25_0 Soviet of NationalitiesSoviet Union_cell_0_25_1
Lower houseSoviet Union_header_cell_0_26_0 Soviet of the UnionSoviet Union_cell_0_26_1
Historical eraSoviet Union_header_cell_0_27_0 20th centurySoviet Union_cell_0_27_1
Bolshevik CoupSoviet Union_header_cell_0_28_0 7 November 1917Soviet Union_cell_0_28_1
EstablishedSoviet Union_header_cell_0_29_0 30 December 1922Soviet Union_cell_0_29_1
Civil War endedSoviet Union_header_cell_0_30_0 16 June 1923Soviet Union_cell_0_30_1
First constitutionSoviet Union_header_cell_0_31_0 31 January 1924Soviet Union_cell_0_31_1
Second constitutionSoviet Union_header_cell_0_32_0 5 December 1936Soviet Union_cell_0_32_1
Operation BarbarossaSoviet Union_header_cell_0_33_0 22 June 1941Soviet Union_cell_0_33_1
Victory in World War IISoviet Union_header_cell_0_34_0 9 May 1945Soviet Union_cell_0_34_1
De-StalinizationSoviet Union_header_cell_0_35_0 25 February 1956Soviet Union_cell_0_35_1
Last constitutionSoviet Union_header_cell_0_36_0 9 October 1977Soviet Union_cell_0_36_1
First republic secedesSoviet Union_header_cell_0_37_0 11 March 1990Soviet Union_cell_0_37_1
Multi-party systemSoviet Union_header_cell_0_38_0 14 March 1990Soviet Union_cell_0_38_1
August CoupSoviet Union_header_cell_0_39_0 19–22 August 1991Soviet Union_cell_0_39_1
Belovezha AccordsSoviet Union_header_cell_0_40_0 8 December 1991Soviet Union_cell_0_40_1
Proclaimed dissolvedSoviet Union_header_cell_0_41_0 26 December 1991Soviet Union_cell_0_41_1
Area Soviet Union_header_cell_0_42_0
TotalSoviet Union_header_cell_0_43_0 22,402,200 km (8,649,500 sq mi)Soviet Union_cell_0_43_1
PopulationSoviet Union_header_cell_0_44_0
1989 censusSoviet Union_header_cell_0_45_0 286,730,819 (3rd)Soviet Union_cell_0_45_1
DensitySoviet Union_header_cell_0_46_0 12.7/km (32.9/sq mi)Soviet Union_cell_0_46_1
GDP (PPP)Soviet Union_header_cell_0_47_0 1990 estimateSoviet Union_cell_0_47_1
TotalSoviet Union_header_cell_0_48_0 $2.7 trillion (2nd)Soviet Union_cell_0_48_1
Per capitaSoviet Union_header_cell_0_49_0 $9,000Soviet Union_cell_0_49_1
GDP (nominal)Soviet Union_header_cell_0_50_0 1990 estimateSoviet Union_cell_0_50_1
TotalSoviet Union_header_cell_0_51_0 $2.7 trillion (2nd)Soviet Union_cell_0_51_1
Per capitaSoviet Union_header_cell_0_52_0 $9,000 (28th)Soviet Union_cell_0_52_1
Gini (1989)Soviet Union_header_cell_0_53_0 0.275

lowSoviet Union_cell_0_53_1

HDI (1990)Soviet Union_header_cell_0_54_0 0.920

very highSoviet Union_cell_0_54_1

CurrencySoviet Union_header_cell_0_55_0 Soviet ruble (руб) (SUR)Soviet Union_cell_0_55_1
Time zoneSoviet Union_header_cell_0_56_0 (UTC+2 to +12)Soviet Union_cell_0_56_1
Date formatSoviet Union_header_cell_0_57_0 dd-mm-yyyySoviet Union_cell_0_57_1
Driving sideSoviet Union_header_cell_0_58_0 rightSoviet Union_cell_0_58_1
Calling codeSoviet Union_header_cell_0_59_0 +7Soviet Union_cell_0_59_1
ISO 3166 codeSoviet Union_header_cell_0_60_0 SUSoviet Union_cell_0_60_1
Internet TLDSoviet Union_header_cell_0_61_0 .suSoviet Union_cell_0_61_1
Preceded by

Succeeded by




1922: Russian SFSR



Ukrainian SSR



Byelorussian SSR



Transcaucasian SFSR



1924: Bukharan SSR



Khorezm SSR



1939: Poland



1940: Finland



Romania



Estonia



Latvia



Lithuania



1944: Tuva



1945: Germany



1946: Czechoslovakia




1990: Lithuania



1991: Georgia



Estonia



Latvia



Ukraine



Belarus



Transnistria



Moldova



Kyrgyzstan



Uzbekistan



Tajikistan



Armenia



Azerbaijan



Turkmenistan



Chechnya



Russia



KazakhstanSoviet Union_cell_0_62_0

Preceded bySoviet Union_cell_0_63_0 Succeeded bySoviet Union_cell_0_63_1
1922: Russian SFSR



Ukrainian SSR



Byelorussian SSR



Transcaucasian SFSR



1924: Bukharan SSR



Khorezm SSR



1939: Poland



1940: Finland



Romania



Estonia



Latvia



Lithuania



1944: Tuva



1945: Germany



1946: CzechoslovakiaSoviet Union_cell_0_64_0

1990: Lithuania



1991: Georgia



Estonia



Latvia



Ukraine



Belarus



Transnistria



Moldova



Kyrgyzstan



Uzbekistan



Tajikistan



Armenia



Azerbaijan



Turkmenistan



Chechnya



Russia



KazakhstanSoviet Union_cell_0_64_1

Soviet Union_cell_0_65_0 1922: Russian SFSRSoviet Union_cell_0_65_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_66_0 Ukrainian SSRSoviet Union_cell_0_66_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_67_0 Byelorussian SSRSoviet Union_cell_0_67_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_68_0 Transcaucasian SFSRSoviet Union_cell_0_68_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_69_0 1924: Bukharan SSRSoviet Union_cell_0_69_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_70_0 Khorezm SSRSoviet Union_cell_0_70_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_71_0 1939: PolandSoviet Union_cell_0_71_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_72_0 1940: FinlandSoviet Union_cell_0_72_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_73_0 RomaniaSoviet Union_cell_0_73_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_74_0 EstoniaSoviet Union_cell_0_74_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_75_0 LatviaSoviet Union_cell_0_75_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_76_0 LithuaniaSoviet Union_cell_0_76_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_77_0 1944: TuvaSoviet Union_cell_0_77_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_78_0 1945: GermanySoviet Union_cell_0_78_1
Soviet Union_cell_0_79_0 1946: CzechoslovakiaSoviet Union_cell_0_79_1
1990: LithuaniaSoviet Union_cell_0_80_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_80_1
1991: GeorgiaSoviet Union_cell_0_81_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_81_1
EstoniaSoviet Union_cell_0_82_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_82_1
LatviaSoviet Union_cell_0_83_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_83_1
UkraineSoviet Union_cell_0_84_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_84_1
BelarusSoviet Union_cell_0_85_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_85_1
TransnistriaSoviet Union_cell_0_86_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_86_1
MoldovaSoviet Union_cell_0_87_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_87_1
KyrgyzstanSoviet Union_cell_0_88_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_88_1
UzbekistanSoviet Union_cell_0_89_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_89_1
TajikistanSoviet Union_cell_0_90_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_90_1
ArmeniaSoviet Union_cell_0_91_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_91_1
AzerbaijanSoviet Union_cell_0_92_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_92_1
TurkmenistanSoviet Union_cell_0_93_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_93_1
ChechnyaSoviet Union_cell_0_94_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_94_1
RussiaSoviet Union_cell_0_95_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_95_1
KazakhstanSoviet Union_cell_0_96_0 Soviet Union_cell_0_96_1

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Soviet Union_sentence_3

Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, it was a one-party state (until 1990) governed by the Communist Party, with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian SFSR. Soviet Union_sentence_4

Other major urban centers were Leningrad (Russian SFSR), Kiev (Ukrainian SSR), Minsk (Byelorussian SSR), Tashkent (Uzbek SSR), Alma-Ata (Kazakh SSR) and Novosibirsk (Russian SFSR). Soviet Union_sentence_5

It was the largest country in the world by surface area, spanning over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones and over 7,200 kilometers (4,500 mi) north to south. Soviet Union_sentence_6

Its territory included much of Eastern Europe, parts of Northern Europe, and all of Northern and Central Asia. Soviet Union_sentence_7

Its five climate zones were tundra, taiga, steppes, desert, and mountains. Soviet Union_sentence_8

Its diverse population was collectively known as Soviet people. Soviet Union_sentence_9

The Soviet Union had its roots in the October Revolution of 1917 when the Bolsheviks, headed by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government that had earlier replaced the monarchy of the Russian Empire. Soviet Union_sentence_10

They established the Russian Soviet Republic, beginning a civil war between the Bolshevik Red Army and many anti-Bolshevik forces across the former Empire, among whom the largest faction was the White Guard, which engaged in violent anti-communist repression against the Bolsheviks and their worker and peasant supporters known as the White Terror. Soviet Union_sentence_11

The Red Army expanded and helped local Bolsheviks take power, establishing soviets, repressing their political opponents and rebellious peasants through Red Terror. Soviet Union_sentence_12

By 1922, the Bolsheviks had emerged victorious, forming the Soviet Union with the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian republics. Soviet Union_sentence_13

The New Economic Policy (NEP), which was introduced by Lenin, led to a partial return of a free market and private property; this resulted in a period of economic recovery. Soviet Union_sentence_14

Following Lenin's death in 1924, Joseph Stalin came to power. Soviet Union_sentence_15

Stalin suppressed all political opposition to his rule inside the Communist Party and initiated a centrally planned economy. Soviet Union_sentence_16

As a result, the country underwent a period of rapid industrialization and forced collectivization, which led to significant economic growth, but also led to a man-made famine in 1932–1933 and expanded the Gulag labour camp system founded back in 1918. Soviet Union_sentence_17

Stalin also fomented political paranoia and conducted the Great Purge to remove his actual and perceived opponents from the Party through mass arrests of military leaders, Communist Party members, and ordinary citizens alike, who were then sent to correctional labor camps or sentenced to death. Soviet Union_sentence_18

On 23 August 1939, after unsuccessful efforts to form an anti-fascist alliance with Western powers, the Soviets signed the non-aggression agreement with Nazi Germany. Soviet Union_sentence_19

After the start of World War II, the formally neutral Soviets invaded and annexed territories of several Eastern European states, including eastern Poland and the Baltic states. Soviet Union_sentence_20

In June 1941 the Germans invaded, opening the largest and bloodiest theater of war in history. Soviet Union_sentence_21

Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the cost of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad. Soviet Union_sentence_22

Soviet forces eventually captured Berlin and won World War II in Europe on 9 May 1945. Soviet Union_sentence_23

The territory overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Eastern Bloc. Soviet Union_sentence_24

The Cold War emerged in 1947 as a result of a post-war Soviet dominance in Eastern Europe, where the Eastern Bloc confronted the Western Bloc that united in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. Soviet Union_sentence_25

Following Stalin's death in 1953, a period known as de-Stalinization and the Khrushchev Thaw occurred under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev. Soviet Union_sentence_26

The country developed rapidly, as millions of peasants were moved into industrialized cities. Soviet Union_sentence_27

The USSR took an early lead in the Space Race with the first ever satellite and the first human spaceflight. Soviet Union_sentence_28

In the 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed when the Soviet Union deployed troops in Afghanistan in 1979. Soviet Union_sentence_29

The war drained economic resources and was matched by an escalation of American military aid to Mujahideen fighters. Soviet Union_sentence_30

In the mid-1980s, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to further reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika. Soviet Union_sentence_31

The goal was to preserve the Communist Party while reversing economic stagnation. Soviet Union_sentence_32

The Cold War ended during his tenure and in 1989, Warsaw Pact countries in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective Marxist-Leninist regimes. Soviet Union_sentence_33

This led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements inside the USSR as well. Soviet Union_sentence_34

Central authorities initiated a referendum—boycotted by the Baltic republics, Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova—which resulted in the majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the Union as a renewed federation. Soviet Union_sentence_35

In August 1991, a coup d'état was attempted by Communist Party hardliners. Soviet Union_sentence_36

It failed, with Russian President Boris Yeltsin playing a high-profile role in facing down the coup, resulting in the banning of the Communist Party. Soviet Union_sentence_37

On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the remaining twelve constituent republics emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union as independent post-Soviet states. Soviet Union_sentence_38

The Russian Federation (formerly the Russian SFSR) assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and is recognized as its continued legal personality. Soviet Union_sentence_39

The USSR produced many significant social and technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first ministry of health, first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus. Soviet Union_sentence_40

The country had the world's second-largest economy and the largest standing military in the world. Soviet Union_sentence_41

The USSR was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states. Soviet Union_sentence_42

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, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact. Soviet Union_sentence_43

Before the dissolution, the country had maintained its status as one of the world's two superpowers for four decades after World War II through its hegemony in Eastern Europe, military strength, economic strength, aid to developing countries, and scientific research, especially in space technology and weaponry. Soviet Union_sentence_44

Etymology Soviet Union_section_0

Main article: Official names of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_45

See also: Names of Russia Soviet Union_sentence_46

The word soviet is derived from the Russian word sovet (Russian: совет), meaning "council", "assembly", "advice", "harmony", "concord", 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. Soviet Union_sentence_47

wetenschap meaning "science"). Soviet Union_sentence_48

The word sovietnik means "councillor". Soviet Union_sentence_49

Some organizations in Russian history were called council (Russian: совет). Soviet Union_sentence_50

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. Soviet Union_sentence_51

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: Союз Советских Республик Европы и Азии, tr. Soviet Union_sentence_52

Soyuz Sovetskikh Respublik Evropy i Azii). Soviet Union_sentence_53

Stalin initially resisted the proposal but ultimately accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), albeit all the republics began as socialist soviet and did not change to the other order until 1936. Soviet Union_sentence_54

In addition, in the national languages of several republics, the word council or conciliar in the respective language was only quite late changed to an adaptation of the Russian soviet and never in others, e.g. Ukraine. Soviet Union_sentence_55

СССР (in Latin alphabet: SSSR) is the abbreviation of USSR in Russian. Soviet Union_sentence_56

It is written in Cyrillic alphabets. Soviet Union_sentence_57

The Soviets used the Cyrillic abbreviation so frequently that audiences worldwide became familiar with its meaning. Soviet Union_sentence_58

Notably, both Cyrillic letters used have orthographically-similar (but transliterally distinct) letters in Latin alphabets. Soviet Union_sentence_59

Because of widespread familiarity with the Cyrillic abbreviation, Latin alphabet users in particular almost always use the orthographically-similar Latin letters C and P (as opposed to the transliteral Latin letters S and R) when rendering the USSR's native abbreviation. Soviet Union_sentence_60

After СССР, the most common short form names for the Soviet state in Russian were Советский Союз (transliteration: Sovetskiy Soyuz) which literally means Soviet Union, and also Союз ССР (transliteration: Soyuz SSR) which, after compensating for grammatical differences, essentially translates to Union of SSR's in English. Soviet Union_sentence_61

In the English language media, the state was referred to as the Soviet Union or the USSR. Soviet Union_sentence_62

In other European languages, the locally translated short forms and abbreviations are usually used such as Union soviétique and URSS in French, or Sowjetunion and UdSSR in German. Soviet Union_sentence_63

In the English-speaking world, the Soviet Union was also informally called Russia and its citizens Russians, although that was technically incorrect since Russia was only one of the republics. Soviet Union_sentence_64

Such misapplications of the linguistic equivalents to the term Russia and its derivatives were frequent in other languages as well. Soviet Union_sentence_65

Geography Soviet Union_section_1

Main article: Geography of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_66

With an area of 22,402,200 square kilometres (8,649,500 sq mi), the Soviet Union was the world's largest country, a status that is retained by the Russian Federation. Soviet Union_sentence_67

Covering a sixth of Earth's land surface, its size was comparable to that of North America. Soviet Union_sentence_68

Two other successor states, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, rank among the top 10 countries by land area, and the largest country entirely in Europe, respectively. Soviet Union_sentence_69

The European portion accounted for a quarter of the country's area and was the cultural and economic center. Soviet Union_sentence_70

The eastern part in Asia extended to the Pacific Ocean to the east and Afghanistan to the south, and, except some areas in Central Asia, was much less populous. Soviet Union_sentence_71

It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. Soviet Union_sentence_72

It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains. Soviet Union_sentence_73

The USSR, like Russia, had the world's longest border, measuring over 60,000 kilometres (37,000 mi), or ​1 ⁄2 circumferences of Earth. Soviet Union_sentence_74

Two-thirds of it was a coastline. Soviet Union_sentence_75

The country bordered Afghanistan, China, Czechoslovakia, Finland, Hungary, Iran, Mongolia, North Korea, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Turkey from 1945 to 1991. Soviet Union_sentence_76

The Bering Strait separated the USSR from the United States. Soviet Union_sentence_77

The country's highest mountain was Communism Peak (now Ismoil Somoni Peak) in Tajikistan, at 7,495 metres (24,590 ft). Soviet Union_sentence_78

The USSR also included most of the world's largest lakes; the Caspian Sea (shared with Iran), and Lake Baikal, the world's largest (by volume) and deepest freshwater lake that is also an internal body of water in Russia. Soviet Union_sentence_79

History Soviet Union_section_2

Main article: History of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_80

Revolution and foundation (1917–1927) Soviet Union_section_3

Main articles: Russian Revolution and History of Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union (1917–1927) Soviet Union_sentence_81

Modern revolutionary activity in the Russian Empire began with the 1825 Decembrist revolt. Soviet Union_sentence_82

Although serfdom was abolished in 1861, it was done on terms unfavorable to the peasants and served to encourage revolutionaries. Soviet Union_sentence_83

A parliament—the State Duma—was established in 1906 after the Russian Revolution of 1905, but Tsar Nicholas II resisted attempts to move from absolute to a constitutional monarchy. Soviet Union_sentence_84

Social unrest continued and was aggravated during World War I by military defeat and food shortages in major cities. Soviet Union_sentence_85

A spontaneous popular uprising in Petrograd, in response to the wartime decay of Russia's economy and morale, culminated in the February Revolution and the toppling of Nicholas II and the imperial government in March 1917. Soviet Union_sentence_86

The tsarist autocracy was replaced by the Russian Provisional Government, which intended to conduct elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly and to continue fighting on the side of the Entente in World War I. Soviet Union_sentence_87

At the same time, workers' councils, known in Russian as "Soviets", sprang up across the country. Soviet Union_sentence_88

The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, pushed for socialist revolution in the Soviets and on the streets. Soviet Union_sentence_89

On 7 November 1917, the Red Guards stormed the Winter Palace in Petrograd, ending the rule of the Provisional Government and leaving all political power to the Soviets. Soviet Union_sentence_90

This event would later be officially known in Soviet bibliographies as the Great October Socialist Revolution. Soviet Union_sentence_91

In December, the Bolsheviks signed an armistice with the Central Powers, though by February 1918, fighting had resumed. Soviet Union_sentence_92

In March, the Soviets ended involvement in the war and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Soviet Union_sentence_93

A long and bloody Civil War ensued between the Reds and the Whites, starting in 1917 and ending in 1923 with the Reds' victory. Soviet Union_sentence_94

It included foreign intervention, the execution of the former tsar and his family, and the famine of 1921, which killed about five million people. Soviet Union_sentence_95

In March 1921, during a related conflict with Poland, the Peace of Riga was signed, splitting disputed territories in Belarus and Ukraine between the Republic of Poland and Soviet Russia. Soviet Union_sentence_96

Soviet Russia had to resolve similar conflicts with the newly established republics of Estonia, Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Soviet Union_sentence_97

On 28 December 1922, a conference of plenipotentiary delegations from the Russian SFSR, the Transcaucasian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the Byelorussian SSR approved the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR and the Declaration of the Creation of the USSR, forming the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Soviet Union_sentence_98

These two documents were confirmed by the first Congress of Soviets of the USSR and signed by the heads of the delegations, Mikhail Kalinin, Mikhail Tskhakaya, Mikhail Frunze, Grigory Petrovsky, and Alexander Chervyakov, on 30 December 1922. Soviet Union_sentence_99

The formal proclamation was made from the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre. Soviet Union_sentence_100

An intensive restructuring of the economy, industry and politics of the country began in the early days of Soviet power in 1917. Soviet Union_sentence_101

A large part of this was done according to the Bolshevik Initial Decrees, government documents signed by Vladimir Lenin. Soviet Union_sentence_102

One of the most prominent breakthroughs was the GOELRO plan, which envisioned a major restructuring of the Soviet economy based on total electrification of the country. Soviet Union_sentence_103

The plan became the prototype for subsequent Five-Year Plans and was fulfilled by 1931. Soviet Union_sentence_104

After the economic policy of "War communism" during the Russian Civil War, as a prelude to fully developing socialism in the country, the Soviet government permitted some private enterprise to coexist alongside nationalized industry in the 1920s, and total food requisition in the countryside was replaced by a food tax. Soviet Union_sentence_105

From its creation, the government in the Soviet Union was based on the one-party rule of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks). Soviet Union_sentence_106

The stated purpose was to prevent the return of capitalist exploitation, and that the principles of democratic centralism would be the most effective in representing the people's will in a practical manner. Soviet Union_sentence_107

The debate over the future of the economy provided the background for a power struggle in the years after Lenin's death in 1924. Soviet Union_sentence_108

Initially, Lenin was to be replaced by a "troika" consisting of Grigory Zinoviev of the Ukrainian SSR, Lev Kamenev of the Russian SFSR, and Joseph Stalin of the Transcaucasian SFSR. Soviet Union_sentence_109

On 1 February 1924, the USSR was recognized by the United Kingdom. Soviet Union_sentence_110

The same year, a Soviet Constitution was approved, legitimizing the December 1922 union. Soviet Union_sentence_111

Despite the foundation of the Soviet state as a federative entity of many constituent republics, each with its own political and administrative entities, the term "Soviet Russia" – strictly applicable only to the Russian Federative Socialist Republic – was often applied to the entire country by non-Soviet writers and politicians. Soviet Union_sentence_112

Stalin era (1927–1953) Soviet Union_section_4

Main article: History of the Soviet Union (1927–1953) Soviet Union_sentence_113

See also: Excess mortality in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin Soviet Union_sentence_114

On 3 April 1922, Stalin was named the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Soviet Union_sentence_115

Lenin had appointed Stalin the head of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate, which gave Stalin considerable power. Soviet Union_sentence_116

By gradually consolidating his influence and isolating and outmanoeuvring his rivals within the party, Stalin became the undisputed leader of the country and, by the end of the 1920s, established a totalitarian rule. Soviet Union_sentence_117

In October 1927, Zinoviev and Leon Trotsky were expelled from the Central Committee and forced into exile. Soviet Union_sentence_118

In 1928, Stalin introduced the first five-year plan for building a socialist economy. Soviet Union_sentence_119

In place of the internationalism expressed by Lenin throughout the Revolution, it aimed to build Socialism in One Country. Soviet Union_sentence_120

In industry, the state assumed control over all existing enterprises and undertook an intensive program of industrialization. Soviet Union_sentence_121

In agriculture, rather than adhering to the "lead by example" policy advocated by Lenin, forced collectivization of farms was implemented all over the country. Soviet Union_sentence_122

Famines ensued as a result, causing deaths estimated at three to seven million; surviving kulaks were persecuted, and many were sent to Gulags to do forced labor. Soviet Union_sentence_123

Social upheaval continued in the mid-1930s. Soviet Union_sentence_124

Despite the turmoil of the mid-to-late 1930s, the country developed a robust industrial economy in the years preceding World War II. Soviet Union_sentence_125

Closer cooperation between the USSR and the West developed in the early 1930s. Soviet Union_sentence_126

From 1932 to 1934, the country participated in the World Disarmament Conference. Soviet Union_sentence_127

In 1933, diplomatic relations between the United States and the USSR were established when in November, the newly elected President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, chose to recognize Stalin's Communist government formally and negotiated a new trade agreement between the two countries. Soviet Union_sentence_128

In September 1934, the country joined the League of Nations. Soviet Union_sentence_129

After the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, the USSR actively supported the Republican forces against the Nationalists, who were supported by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Soviet Union_sentence_130

In December 1936, Stalin unveiled a new constitution that was praised by supporters around the world as the most democratic constitution imaginable, though there was some skepticism. Soviet Union_sentence_131

Stalin's Great Purge resulted in the detainment or execution of many "Old Bolsheviks" who had participated in the October Revolution with Lenin. Soviet Union_sentence_132

According to declassified Soviet archives, the NKVD arrested more than one and a half million people in 1937 and 1938, of whom 681,692 were shot. Soviet Union_sentence_133

Over those two years, there were an average of over one thousand executions a day. Soviet Union_sentence_134

In 1939, after attempts to form a military alliance with Britain and France against Germany failed, the Soviet Union made a dramatic shift towards Nazi Germany. Soviet Union_sentence_135

Almost a year after Britain and France had concluded the Munich Agreement with Germany, the Soviet Union made agreements with Germany as well, both militarily and economically during extensive talks. Soviet Union_sentence_136

The two countries concluded the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and the German–Soviet Commercial Agreement in August 1939. Soviet Union_sentence_137

The former made possible the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and eastern Poland, while the Soviets remained formally neutral. Soviet Union_sentence_138

In late November, unable to coerce the Republic of Finland by diplomatic means into moving its border 25 kilometres (16 mi) back from Leningrad, Stalin ordered the invasion of Finland. Soviet Union_sentence_139

In the east, the Soviet military won several decisive victories during border clashes with the Empire of Japan in 1938 and 1939. Soviet Union_sentence_140

However, in April 1941, the USSR signed the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact with Japan, recognizing the territorial integrity of Manchukuo, a Japanese puppet state. Soviet Union_sentence_141

World War II Soviet Union_section_5

Main articles: Eastern Front (World War II), World War II casualties of the Soviet Union, German mistreatment of Soviet prisoners of war, and Soviet war crimes Soviet Union_sentence_142

Germany broke the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 starting what was known in the USSR as the Great Patriotic War. Soviet Union_sentence_143

The Red Army stopped the seemingly invincible German Army at the Battle of Moscow. Soviet Union_sentence_144

The Battle of Stalingrad, which lasted from late 1942 to early 1943, dealt a severe blow to Germany from which they never fully recovered and became a turning point in the war. Soviet Union_sentence_145

After Stalingrad, Soviet forces drove through Eastern Europe to Berlin before Germany surrendered in 1945. Soviet Union_sentence_146

The German Army suffered 80% of its military deaths in the Eastern Front. Soviet Union_sentence_147

Harry Hopkins, a close foreign policy advisor to Franklin D. Roosevelt, spoke on 10 August 1943 of the USSR's decisive role in the war. Soviet Union_sentence_148

In the same year, the USSR, in fulfilment of its agreement with the Allies at the Yalta Conference, denounced the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1945 and invaded Manchukuo and other Japan-controlled territories on 9 August 1945. Soviet Union_sentence_149

This conflict ended with a decisive Soviet victory, contributing to the unconditional surrender of Japan and the end of World War II. Soviet Union_sentence_150

The USSR suffered greatly in the war, losing around 27 million people. Soviet Union_sentence_151

Approximately 2.8 million Soviet POWs died of starvation, mistreatment, or executions in just eight months of 1941–42. Soviet Union_sentence_152

During the war, the country together with the United States, the United Kingdom and China were considered the Big Four Allied powers, and later became the Four Policemen that formed the basis of the United Nations Security Council. Soviet Union_sentence_153

It emerged as a superpower in the post-war period. Soviet Union_sentence_154

Once denied diplomatic recognition by the Western world, the USSR had official relations with practically every country by the late 1940s. Soviet Union_sentence_155

A member of the United Nations at its foundation in 1945, the country became one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which gave it the right to veto any of its resolutions. Soviet Union_sentence_156

Cold War Soviet Union_section_6

Main article: Cold War Soviet Union_sentence_157

During the immediate post-war period, the Soviet Union rebuilt and expanded its economy, while maintaining its strictly centralized control. Soviet Union_sentence_158

It took effective control over most of the countries of Eastern Europe (except Yugoslavia and later Albania), turning them into satellite states. Soviet Union_sentence_159

The USSR bound its satellite states in a military alliance, the Warsaw Pact, in 1955, and an economic organization, Council for Mutual Economic Assistance or Comecon, a counterpart to the European Economic Community (EEC), from 1949 to 1991. Soviet Union_sentence_160

The USSR concentrated on its own recovery, seizing and transferring most of Germany's industrial plants, and it exacted war reparations from East Germany, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria using Soviet-dominated joint enterprises. Soviet Union_sentence_161

It also instituted trading arrangements deliberately designed to favor the country. Soviet Union_sentence_162

Moscow controlled the Communist parties that ruled the satellite states, and they followed orders from the Kremlin. Soviet Union_sentence_163

Later, the Comecon supplied aid to the eventually victorious Communist Party of China, and its influence grew elsewhere in the world. Soviet Union_sentence_164

Fearing its ambitions, the Soviet Union's wartime allies, the United Kingdom and the United States, became its enemies. Soviet Union_sentence_165

In the ensuing Cold War, the two sides clashed indirectly in proxy wars. Soviet Union_sentence_166

De-Stalinization and Khrushchev Thaw (1953–1964) Soviet Union_section_7

Main article: History of the Soviet Union (1953–1964) Soviet Union_sentence_167

Stalin died on 5 March 1953. Soviet Union_sentence_168

Without a mutually agreeable successor, the highest Communist Party officials initially opted to rule the Soviet Union jointly through a troika headed by Georgy Malenkov. Soviet Union_sentence_169

This did not last, however, and Nikita Khrushchev eventually won the ensuing power struggle by the mid-1950s. Soviet Union_sentence_170

In 1956, he denounced Joseph Stalin and proceeded to ease controls over the party and society. Soviet Union_sentence_171

This was known as de-Stalinization. Soviet Union_sentence_172

Moscow considered Eastern Europe to be a critically vital buffer zone for the forward defence of its western borders, in case of another major invasion such as the German invasion of 1941. Soviet Union_sentence_173

For this reason, the USSR sought to cement its control of the region by transforming the Eastern European countries into satellite states, dependent upon and subservient to its leadership. Soviet Union_sentence_174

As a result, Soviet military forces were used to suppress an anti-communist uprising in Hungary in 1956. Soviet Union_sentence_175

In the late 1950s, a confrontation with China regarding the Soviet rapprochement with the West, and what Mao Zedong perceived as Khrushchev's revisionism, led to the Sino–Soviet split. Soviet Union_sentence_176

This resulted in a break throughout the global Marxist–Leninist movement, with the governments in Albania, Cambodia and Somalia choosing to ally with China. Soviet Union_sentence_177

During this period of the late 1950s and early 1960s, the USSR continued to realize scientific and technological exploits in the Space Race, rivaling the United States: launching the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1 in 1957; a living dog named Laika in 1957; the first human being, Yuri Gagarin in 1961; the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova in 1963; Alexei Leonov, the first person to walk in space in 1965; the first soft landing on the Moon by spacecraft Luna 9 in 1966; and the first Moon rovers, Lunokhod 1 and Lunokhod 2. Soviet Union_sentence_178

Khrushchev initiated "The Thaw", a complex shift in political, cultural and economic life in the country. Soviet Union_sentence_179

This included some openness and contact with other nations and new social and economic policies with more emphasis on commodity goods, allowing a dramatic rise in living standards while maintaining high levels of economic growth. Soviet Union_sentence_180

Censorship was relaxed as well. Soviet Union_sentence_181

Khrushchev's reforms in agriculture and administration, however, were generally unproductive. Soviet Union_sentence_182

In 1962, he precipitated a crisis with the United States over the Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba. Soviet Union_sentence_183

An agreement was made with the United States to remove nuclear missiles from both Cuba and Turkey, concluding the crisis. Soviet Union_sentence_184

This event caused Khrushchev much embarrassment and loss of prestige, resulting in his removal from power in 1964. Soviet Union_sentence_185

Era of Stagnation (1964–1985) Soviet Union_section_8

Main articles: History of the Soviet Union (1964–1982) and Era of Stagnation Soviet Union_sentence_186

Following the ousting of Khrushchev, another period of collective leadership ensued, consisting of Leonid Brezhnev as General Secretary, Alexei Kosygin as Premier and Nikolai Podgorny as Chairman of the Presidium, lasting until Brezhnev established himself in the early 1970s as the preeminent Soviet leader. Soviet Union_sentence_187

In 1968, the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact allies invaded Czechoslovakia to halt the Prague Spring reforms. Soviet Union_sentence_188

In the aftermath, Brezhnev justified the invasion and previous military interventions as well as any potential military interventions in the future by introducing the Brezhnev Doctrine, which proclaimed any threat to socialist rule in a Warsaw Pact state as a threat to all Warsaw Pact states, therefore justifying military intervention. Soviet Union_sentence_189

Brezhnev presided throughout détente with the West that resulted in treaties on armament control (SALT I, SALT II, Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty) while at the same time building up Soviet military might. Soviet Union_sentence_190

In October 1977, the third Soviet Constitution was unanimously adopted. Soviet Union_sentence_191

The prevailing mood of the Soviet leadership at the time of Brezhnev's death in 1982 was one of aversion to change. Soviet Union_sentence_192

The long period of Brezhnev's rule had come to be dubbed one of "standstill", with an ageing and ossified top political leadership. Soviet Union_sentence_193

This period is also known as the Era of Stagnation, a period of adverse economic, political, and social effects in the country, which began during the rule of Brezhnev and continued under his successors Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko. Soviet Union_sentence_194

In late 1979, the Soviet Union's military intervened in the ongoing civil war in neighboring Afghanistan, effectively ending a détente with the West. Soviet Union_sentence_195

Perestroika and Glasnost reforms (1985–1991) Soviet Union_section_9

Main articles: Cold War (1985–1991), History of the Soviet Union (1982–1991), and 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt Soviet Union_sentence_196

Two developments dominated the decade that followed: the increasingly apparent crumbling of the Soviet Union's economic and political structures, and the patchwork attempts at reforms to reverse that process. Soviet Union_sentence_197

Kenneth S. Deffeyes argued in Beyond Oil that the Reagan administration encouraged Saudi Arabia to lower the price of oil to the point where the Soviets could not make a profit selling their oil, and resulted in the depletion of the country's hard currency reserves. Soviet Union_sentence_198

Brezhnev's next two successors, transitional figures with deep roots in his tradition, did not last long. Soviet Union_sentence_199

Yuri Andropov was 68 years old and Konstantin Chernenko 72 when they assumed power; both died in less than two years. Soviet Union_sentence_200

In an attempt to avoid a third short-lived leader, in 1985, the Soviets turned to the next generation and selected Mikhail Gorbachev. Soviet Union_sentence_201

He made significant changes in the economy and party leadership, called perestroika. Soviet Union_sentence_202

His policy of glasnost freed public access to information after decades of heavy government censorship. Soviet Union_sentence_203

Gorbachev also moved to end the Cold War. Soviet Union_sentence_204

In 1988, the USSR abandoned its war in Afghanistan and began to withdraw its forces. Soviet Union_sentence_205

In the following year, Gorbachev refused to interfere in the internal affairs of the Soviet satellite states, which paved the way for the Revolutions of 1989. Soviet Union_sentence_206

With the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and with East and West Germany pursuing unification, the Iron Curtain between the West and Soviet-controlled regions came down. Soviet Union_sentence_207

At the same time, the Soviet republics started legal moves towards potentially declaring sovereignty over their territories, citing the freedom to secede in Article 72 of the USSR constitution. Soviet Union_sentence_208

On 7 April 1990, a law was passed allowing a republic to secede if more than two-thirds of its residents voted for it in a referendum. Soviet Union_sentence_209

Many held their first free elections in the Soviet era for their own national legislatures in 1990. Soviet Union_sentence_210

Many of these legislatures proceeded to produce legislation contradicting the Union laws in what was known as the "War of Laws". Soviet Union_sentence_211

In 1989, the Russian SFSR convened a newly elected Congress of People's Deputies. Soviet Union_sentence_212

Boris Yeltsin was elected its chairman. Soviet Union_sentence_213

On 12 June 1990, the Congress declared Russia's sovereignty over its territory and proceeded to pass laws that attempted to supersede some of the Soviet laws. Soviet Union_sentence_214

After a landslide victory of Sąjūdis in Lithuania, that country declared its independence restored on 11 March 1990. Soviet Union_sentence_215

A referendum for the preservation of the USSR was held on 17 March 1991 in nine republics (the remainder having boycotted the vote), with the majority of the population in those republics voting for preservation of the Union. Soviet Union_sentence_216

The referendum gave Gorbachev a minor boost. Soviet Union_sentence_217

In the summer of 1991, the New Union Treaty, which would have turned the country into a much looser Union, was agreed upon by eight republics. Soviet Union_sentence_218

The signing of the treaty, however, was interrupted by the August Coup—an attempted coup d'état by hardline members of the government and the KGB who sought to reverse Gorbachev's reforms and reassert the central government's control over the republics. Soviet Union_sentence_219

After the coup collapsed, Yeltsin was seen as a hero for his decisive actions, while Gorbachev's power was effectively ended. Soviet Union_sentence_220

The balance of power tipped significantly towards the republics. Soviet Union_sentence_221

In August 1991, Latvia and Estonia immediately declared the restoration of their full independence (following Lithuania's 1990 example). Soviet Union_sentence_222

Gorbachev resigned as general secretary in late August, and soon afterwards, the party's activities were indefinitely suspended—effectively ending its rule. Soviet Union_sentence_223

By the fall, Gorbachev could no longer influence events outside Moscow, and he was being challenged even there by Yeltsin, who had been elected President of Russia in July 1991. Soviet Union_sentence_224

Dissolution and aftermath Soviet Union_section_10

Main articles: Commonwealth of Independent States and Dissolution of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_225

The remaining 12 republics continued discussing new, increasingly looser, models of the Union. Soviet Union_sentence_226

However, by December all except Russia and Kazakhstan had formally declared independence. Soviet Union_sentence_227

During this time, Yeltsin took over what remained of the Soviet government, including the Moscow Kremlin. Soviet Union_sentence_228

The final blow was struck on 1 December when Ukraine, the second-most powerful republic, voted overwhelmingly for independence. Soviet Union_sentence_229

Ukraine's secession ended any realistic chance of the country staying together even on a limited scale. Soviet Union_sentence_230

On 8 December 1991, the presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (formerly Byelorussia), signed the Belavezha Accords, which declared the Soviet Union dissolved and established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in its place. Soviet Union_sentence_231

While doubts remained over the authority of the accords to do this, on 21 December 1991, the representatives of all Soviet republics except Georgia signed the Alma-Ata Protocol, which confirmed the accords. Soviet Union_sentence_232

On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned as the President of the USSR, declaring the office extinct. Soviet Union_sentence_233

He turned the powers that had been vested in the presidency over to Yeltsin. Soviet Union_sentence_234

That night, the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time, and the Russian tricolor was raised in its place. Soviet Union_sentence_235

The following day, the Supreme Soviet, the highest governmental body, voted both itself and the country out of existence. Soviet Union_sentence_236

This is generally recognized as marking the official, final dissolution of the Soviet Union as a functioning state, and the end of the Cold War. Soviet Union_sentence_237

The Soviet Army initially remained under overall CIS command but was soon absorbed into the different military forces of the newly independent states. Soviet Union_sentence_238

The few remaining Soviet institutions that had not been taken over by Russia ceased to function by the end of 1991. Soviet Union_sentence_239

Following the dissolution, Russia was internationally recognized as its legal successor on the international stage. Soviet Union_sentence_240

To that end, Russia voluntarily accepted all Soviet foreign debt and claimed Soviet overseas properties as its own. Soviet Union_sentence_241

Under the 1992 Lisbon Protocol, Russia also agreed to receive all nuclear weapons remaining in the territory of other former Soviet republics. Soviet Union_sentence_242

Since then, the Russian Federation has assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations. Soviet Union_sentence_243

Ukraine has refused to recognize exclusive Russian claims to succession of the USSR and claimed such status for Ukraine as well, which was codified in Articles 7 and 8 of its 1991 law On Legal Succession of Ukraine. Soviet Union_sentence_244

Since its independence in 1991, Ukraine has continued to pursue claims against Russia in foreign courts, seeking to recover its share of the foreign property that was owned by the USSR. Soviet Union_sentence_245

The dissolution was followed by a severe drop in economic and social conditions in post-Soviet states, including a rapid increase in poverty, crime, corruption, unemployment, homelessness, rates of disease, infant mortality and domestic violence, as well as demographic losses and income inequality and the rise of an oligarchical class, along with decreases in calorie intake, life expectancy, adult literacy, and income. Soviet Union_sentence_246

Between 1988/1989 and 1993/1995, the Gini ratio increased by an average of 9 points for all former socialist countries. Soviet Union_sentence_247

The economic shocks that accompanied wholesale privatization were associated with sharp increases in mortality. Soviet Union_sentence_248

Data shows Russia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia saw a tripling of unemployment and a 42% increase in male death rates between 1991 and 1994. Soviet Union_sentence_249

In the following decades, only five or six of the post-communist states are on a path to joining the wealthy capitalist West while most are falling behind, some to such an extent that it will take over fifty years to catch up to where they were before the fall of the Soviet Bloc. Soviet Union_sentence_250

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." Soviet Union_sentence_251

Before the dissolution, the country had maintained its status as one of the world's two superpowers for four decades after World War II through its hegemony in Eastern Europe, military strength, economic strength, aid to developing countries, and scientific research, especially in space technology and weaponry. Soviet Union_sentence_252

Post-Soviet states Soviet Union_section_11

Main article: Post-Soviet states Soviet Union_sentence_253

The analysis of the succession of states for the 15 post-Soviet states is complex. Soviet Union_sentence_254

The Russian Federation is seen as the legal continuator state and is for most purposes the heir to the Soviet Union. Soviet Union_sentence_255

It retained ownership of all former Soviet embassy properties, as well as the old Soviet UN membership and permanent membership on the Security Council. Soviet Union_sentence_256

Of the two other co-founding states of the USSR at the time of the dissolution, Ukraine was the only one that had passed laws, similar to Russia, that it is a state-successor of both the Ukrainian SSR and the USSR. Soviet Union_sentence_257

Soviet treaties laid groundwork for Ukraine's future foreign agreements as well as they led to Ukraine agreeing to undertake 16.37% of debts of the Soviet Union for which it was going to receive its share of USSR's foreign property. Soviet Union_sentence_258

Although it had a tough position at the time, due to Russia's position as a "single continuation of the USSR" that became widely accepted in the West as well as a constant pressure from the Western countries, allowed Russia to dispose state property of USSR abroad and conceal information about it. Soviet Union_sentence_259

Due to that Ukraine never ratified "zero option" agreement that Russian Federation had signed with other former Soviet republics, as it denied disclosing of information about Soviet Gold Reserves and its Diamond Fund. Soviet Union_sentence_260

The dispute over former Soviet property and assets between the two former republics is still ongoing: Soviet Union_sentence_261

Similar situation occurred with restitution of cultural property. Soviet Union_sentence_262

Although on 14 February 1992 Russia and other former Soviet republics signed agreement "On the return of cultural and historic property to the origin states" in Minsk, it was halted by Russian State Duma that had eventually passed "Federal Law on Cultural Valuables Displaced to the USSR as a Result of the Second World War and Located on the Territory of the Russian Federation" which made restitution currently impossible. Soviet Union_sentence_263

There are additionally four states that claim independence from the other internationally recognised post-Soviet states but possess limited international recognition: Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and Transnistria. Soviet Union_sentence_264

The Chechen separatist movement of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria lacks any international recognition. Soviet Union_sentence_265

Foreign relations Soviet Union_section_12

Main article: Foreign relations of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_266

During his rule, Stalin always made the final policy decisions. Soviet Union_sentence_267

Otherwise, Soviet foreign policy was set by the commission on the Foreign Policy of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, or by the party's highest body the Politburo. Soviet Union_sentence_268

Operations were handled by the separate Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Soviet Union_sentence_269

It was known as the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs (or Narkomindel), until 1946. Soviet Union_sentence_270

The most influential spokesmen were Georgy Chicherin (1872–1936), Maxim Litvinov (1876–1951), Vyacheslav Molotov (1890–1986), Andrey Vyshinsky (1883–1954) and Andrei Gromyko (1909–1989). Soviet Union_sentence_271

Intellectuals were based in the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Soviet Union_sentence_272

Soviet Union_unordered_list_0

  • Comintern (1919–1943), or Communist International, was an international communist organization based in the Kremlin that advocated world communism. The Comintern intended to "struggle by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of the international bourgeoisie and the creation of an international Soviet republic as a transition stage to the complete abolition of the state". It was abolished as a conciliatory measure toward Britain and the United States.Soviet Union_item_0_0
  • Comecon, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Russian: Совет Экономической Взаимопомощи, Sovet Ekonomicheskoy Vzaimopomoshchi, СЭВ, SEV) was an economic organization from 1949 to 1991 under Soviet control that comprised the countries of the Eastern Bloc along with several communist states elsewhere in the world. Moscow was concerned about the Marshall Plan, and Comecon was meant to prevent countries in the Soviets' sphere of influence from moving towards that of the Americans and Southeast Asia. Comecon was the Eastern Bloc's reply to the formation in Western Europe of the Organization for European Economic Co-Operation (OEEC),Soviet Union_item_0_1
  • The Warsaw Pact was a collective defence alliance formed in 1955 among the USSR and its satellite states in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. The Warsaw Pact was the military complement to the Comecon, the regional economic organization for the socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe. The Warsaw Pact was created in reaction to the integration of West Germany into NATO.Soviet Union_item_0_2
  • The Cominform (1947–1956), informally the Communist Information Bureau and officially the Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers' Parties, was the first official agency of the international Marxist-Leninist movement since the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943. Its role was to coordinate actions between Marxist-Leninist parties under Soviet direction. Stalin used it to order Western European communist parties to abandon their exclusively parliamentarian line and instead concentrate on politically impeding the operations of the Marshall Plan. It also coordinated international aid to Marxist-Leninist insurgents during the Greek Civil War in 1947–1949. It expelled Yugoslavia in 1948 after Josip Broz Tito insisted on an independent program. Its newspaper, For a Lasting Peace, for a People's Democracy!, promoted Stalin's positions. The Cominform's concentration on Europe meant a deemphasis on world revolution in Soviet foreign policy. By enunciating a uniform ideology, it allowed the constituent parties to focus on personalities rather than issues.Soviet Union_item_0_3

Early policies (1919–1939) Soviet Union_section_13

Further information: International relations (1919–1939) § Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_273

The Marxist-Leninist leadership of the Soviet Union intensely debated foreign policy issues and change directions several times. Soviet Union_sentence_274

Even after Stalin assumed dictatorial control in the late 1920s, there were debates, and he frequently changed positions. Soviet Union_sentence_275

During the country's early period, it was assumed that Communist revolutions would break out soon in every major industrial country, and it was the Soviet responsibility to assist them. Soviet Union_sentence_276

The Comintern was the weapon of choice. Soviet Union_sentence_277

A few revolutions did break out, but they were quickly suppressed (the longest lasting one was in Hungary)—the Hungarian Soviet Republic—lasted only from 21 March 1919 to 1 August 1919. Soviet Union_sentence_278

The Russian Bolsheviks were in no position to give any help. Soviet Union_sentence_279

By 1921, Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin realized that capitalism had stabilized itself in Europe and there would not be any widespread revolutions anytime soon. Soviet Union_sentence_280

It became the duty of the Russian Bolsheviks to protect what they had in Russia, and avoid military confrontations that might destroy their bridgehead. Soviet Union_sentence_281

Russia was now a pariah state, along with Germany. Soviet Union_sentence_282

The two came to terms in 1922 with the Treaty of Rapallo that settled long-standing grievances. Soviet Union_sentence_283

At the same time, the two countries secretly set up training programs for the illegal German army and air force operations at hidden camps in the USSR. Soviet Union_sentence_284

Moscow eventually stopped threatening other states, and instead worked to open peaceful relationships in terms of trade, and diplomatic recognition. Soviet Union_sentence_285

The United Kingdom dismissed the warnings of Winston Churchill and a few others about a continuing Marxist-Leninist threat, and opened trade relations and de facto diplomatic recognition in 1922. Soviet Union_sentence_286

There was hope for a settlement of the pre-war Tsarist debts, but it was repeatedly postponed. Soviet Union_sentence_287

Formal recognition came when the new Labour Party came to power in 1924. Soviet Union_sentence_288

All the other countries followed suit in opening trade relations. Soviet Union_sentence_289

Henry Ford opened large-scale business relations with the Soviets in the late 1920s, hoping that it would lead to long-term peace. Soviet Union_sentence_290

Finally, in 1933, the United States officially recognized the USSR, a decision backed by the public opinion and especially by US business interests that expected an opening of a new profitable market. Soviet Union_sentence_291

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Stalin ordered Marxist-Leninist parties across the world to strongly oppose non-Marxist political parties, labor unions or other organizations on the left. Soviet Union_sentence_292

Stalin reversed himself in 1934 with the Popular Front program that called on all Marxist parties to join together with all anti-Fascist political, labor, and organizational forces that were opposed to fascism, especially of the Nazi variety. Soviet Union_sentence_293

In 1939, half a year after the Munich Agreement, the USSR attempted to form an anti-Nazi alliance with France and Britain. Soviet Union_sentence_294

Adolf Hitler proposed a better deal, which would give the USSR control over much of Eastern Europe through the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Soviet Union_sentence_295

In September, Germany invaded Poland, and the USSR also invaded later that month, resulting in the partition of Poland. Soviet Union_sentence_296

In response, Britain and France declared war on Germany, marking the beginning of World War II. Soviet Union_sentence_297

World War II (1939–1945) Soviet Union_section_14

Main articles: Causes of World War II and Diplomatic history of World War II § Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_298

Cold War (1945–1991) Soviet Union_section_15

Main articles: Origins of the Cold War and Cold War Soviet Union_sentence_299

Politics Soviet Union_section_16

Main articles: Politics of the Soviet Union and Ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_300

There were three power hierarchies in the Soviet Union: the legislature represented by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, the government represented by the Council of Ministers, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), the only legal party and the final policymaker in the country. Soviet Union_sentence_301

Communist Party Soviet Union_section_17

Main article: Communist Party of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_302

At the top of the Communist Party was the Central Committee, elected at Party Congresses and Conferences. Soviet Union_sentence_303

In turn, the Central Committee voted for a Politburo (called the Presidium between 1952 and 1966), Secretariat and the General Secretary (First Secretary from 1953 to 1966), the de facto highest office in the Soviet Union. Soviet Union_sentence_304

Depending on the degree of power consolidation, it was either the Politburo as a collective body or the General Secretary, who always was one of the Politburo members, that effectively led the party and the country (except for the period of the highly personalized authority of Stalin, exercised directly through his position in the Council of Ministers rather than the Politburo after 1941). Soviet Union_sentence_305

They were not controlled by the general party membership, as the key principle of the party organization was democratic centralism, demanding strict subordination to higher bodies, and elections went uncontested, endorsing the candidates proposed from above. Soviet Union_sentence_306

The Communist Party maintained its dominance over the state mainly through its control over the system of appointments. Soviet Union_sentence_307

All senior government officials and most deputies of the Supreme Soviet were members of the CPSU. Soviet Union_sentence_308

Of the party heads themselves, Stalin (1941–1953) and Khrushchev (1958–1964) were Premiers. Soviet Union_sentence_309

Upon the forced retirement of Khrushchev, the party leader was prohibited from this kind of double membership, but the later General Secretaries for at least some part of their tenure occupied the mostly ceremonial position of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, the nominal head of state. Soviet Union_sentence_310

The institutions at lower levels were overseen and at times supplanted by primary party organizations. Soviet Union_sentence_311

However, in practice the degree of control the party was able to exercise over the state bureaucracy, particularly after the death of Stalin, was far from total, with the bureaucracy pursuing different interests that were at times in conflict with the party. Soviet Union_sentence_312

Nor was the party itself monolithic from top to bottom, although factions were officially banned. Soviet Union_sentence_313

Government Soviet Union_section_18

Main article: Government of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_314

The Supreme Soviet (successor of the Congress of Soviets) was nominally the highest state body for most of the Soviet history, at first acting as a rubber stamp institution, approving and implementing all decisions made by the party. Soviet Union_sentence_315

However, its powers and functions were extended in the late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, including the creation of new state commissions and committees. Soviet Union_sentence_316

It gained additional powers relating to the approval of the Five-Year Plans and the government budget. Soviet Union_sentence_317

The Supreme Soviet elected a Presidium (successor of the Central Executive Committee) to wield its power between plenary sessions, ordinarily held twice a year, and appointed the Supreme Court, the Procurator General and the Council of Ministers (known before 1946 as the Council of People's Commissars), headed by the Chairman (Premier) and managing an enormous bureaucracy responsible for the administration of the economy and society. Soviet Union_sentence_318

State and party structures of the constituent republics largely emulated the structure of the central institutions, although the Russian SFSR, unlike the other constituent republics, for most of its history had no republican branch of the CPSU, being ruled directly by the union-wide party until 1990. Soviet Union_sentence_319

Local authorities were organized likewise into party committees, local Soviets and executive committees. Soviet Union_sentence_320

While the state system was nominally federal, the party was unitary. Soviet Union_sentence_321

The state security police (the KGB and its predecessor agencies) played an important role in Soviet politics. Soviet Union_sentence_322

It was instrumental in the Great Purge, but was brought under strict party control after Stalin's death. Soviet Union_sentence_323

Under Yuri Andropov, the KGB engaged in the suppression of political dissent and maintained an extensive network of informers, reasserting itself as a political actor to some extent independent of the party-state structure, culminating in the anti-corruption campaign targeting high-ranking party officials in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Soviet Union_sentence_324

Separation of power and reform Soviet Union_section_19

Main article: Perestroika Soviet Union_sentence_325

The constitution, which was promulgated in 1924, 1936 and 1977, did not limit state power. Soviet Union_sentence_326

No formal separation of powers existed between the Party, Supreme Soviet and Council of Ministers that represented executive and legislative branches of the government. Soviet Union_sentence_327

The system was governed less by statute than by informal conventions, and no settled mechanism of leadership succession existed. Soviet Union_sentence_328

Bitter and at times deadly power struggles took place in the Politburo after the deaths of Lenin and Stalin, as well as after Khrushchev's dismissal, itself due to a decision by both the Politburo and the Central Committee. Soviet Union_sentence_329

All leaders of the Communist Party before Gorbachev died in office, except Georgy Malenkov and Khrushchev, both dismissed from the party leadership amid internal struggle within the party. Soviet Union_sentence_330

Between 1988 and 1990, facing considerable opposition, Mikhail Gorbachev enacted reforms shifting power away from the highest bodies of the party and making the Supreme Soviet less dependent on them. Soviet Union_sentence_331

The Congress of People's Deputies was established, the majority of whose members were directly elected in competitive elections held in March 1989. Soviet Union_sentence_332

The Congress now elected the Supreme Soviet, which became a full-time parliament, and much stronger than before. Soviet Union_sentence_333

For the first time since the 1920s, it refused to rubber stamp proposals from the party and Council of Ministers. Soviet Union_sentence_334

In 1990, Gorbachev introduced and assumed the position of the President of the Soviet Union, concentrated power in his executive office, independent of the party, and subordinated the government, now renamed the Cabinet of Ministers of the USSR, to himself. Soviet Union_sentence_335

Tensions grew between the Union-wide authorities under Gorbachev, reformists led in Russia by Boris Yeltsin and controlling the newly elected Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR, and communist hardliners. Soviet Union_sentence_336

On 19–21 August 1991, a group of hardliners staged a coup attempt. Soviet Union_sentence_337

The coup failed, and the State Council of the Soviet Union became the highest organ of state power "in the period of transition". Soviet Union_sentence_338

Gorbachev resigned as General Secretary, only remaining President for the final months of the existence of the USSR. Soviet Union_sentence_339

Judicial system Soviet Union_section_20

Main article: Law of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_340

See also: Socialist law Soviet Union_sentence_341

The judiciary was not independent of the other branches of government. Soviet Union_sentence_342

The Supreme Court supervised the lower courts (People's Court) and applied the law as established by the constitution or as interpreted by the Supreme Soviet. Soviet Union_sentence_343

The Constitutional Oversight Committee reviewed the constitutionality of laws and acts. Soviet Union_sentence_344

The Soviet Union used the inquisitorial system of Roman law, where the judge, procurator, and defence attorney collaborate to establish the truth. Soviet Union_sentence_345

Administrative divisions Soviet Union_section_21

Main articles: Soviet republic (system of government) and Republics of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_346

Constitutionally, the USSR was a federation of constituent Union Republics, which were either unitary states, such as Ukraine or Byelorussia (SSRs), or federations, such as Russia or Transcaucasia (SFSRs), all four being the founding republics who signed the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR in December 1922. Soviet Union_sentence_347

In 1924, during the national delimitation in Central Asia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were formed from parts of Russia's Turkestan ASSR and two Soviet dependencies, the Khorezm and Bukharan SSRs. Soviet Union_sentence_348

In 1929, Tajikistan was split off from the Uzbekistan SSR. Soviet Union_sentence_349

With the constitution of 1936, the Transcaucasian SFSR was dissolved, resulting in its constituent republics of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan being elevated to Union Republics, while Kazakhstan and Kirghizia were split off from Russian SFSR, resulting in the same status. Soviet Union_sentence_350

In August 1940, Moldavia was formed from parts of Ukraine and Bessarabia and northern Bukovina. Soviet Union_sentence_351

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (SSRs) were also admitted into the union which was not recognized by most of the international community and was considered an illegal occupation. Soviet Union_sentence_352

Karelia was split off from Russia as a Union Republic in March 1940 and was reabsorbed in 1956. Soviet Union_sentence_353

Between July 1956 and September 1991, there were 15 union republics (see map below). Soviet Union_sentence_354

While nominally a union of equals, in practice the Soviet Union was dominated by Russians. Soviet Union_sentence_355

The domination was so absolute that for most of its existence, the country was commonly (but incorrectly) referred to as "Russia". Soviet Union_sentence_356

While the RSFSR was technically only one republic within the larger union, it was by far the largest (both in terms of population and area), most powerful, most developed, and the industrial center of the Soviet Union. Soviet Union_sentence_357

Historian Matthew White wrote that it was an open secret that the country's federal structure was "window dressing" for Russian dominance. Soviet Union_sentence_358

For that reason, the people of the USSR were usually called "Russians", not "Soviets", since "everyone knew who really ran the show". Soviet Union_sentence_359

Soviet Union_table_general_1

RepublicSoviet Union_header_cell_1_0_0 Map of the Union Republics between 1956 and 1991Soviet Union_header_cell_1_0_2
1Soviet Union_cell_1_1_0 Russian SFSRSoviet Union_cell_1_1_1 Soviet Union_cell_1_1_2
2Soviet Union_cell_1_2_0 Ukrainian SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_2_1
3Soviet Union_cell_1_3_0 Byelorussian SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_3_1
4Soviet Union_cell_1_4_0 Uzbek SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_4_1
5Soviet Union_cell_1_5_0 Kazakh SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_5_1
6Soviet Union_cell_1_6_0 Georgian SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_6_1
7Soviet Union_cell_1_7_0 Azerbaijan SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_7_1
8Soviet Union_cell_1_8_0 Lithuanian SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_8_1
9Soviet Union_cell_1_9_0 Moldavian SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_9_1
10Soviet Union_cell_1_10_0 Latvian SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_10_1
11Soviet Union_cell_1_11_0 Kirghiz SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_11_1
12Soviet Union_cell_1_12_0 Tajik SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_12_1
13Soviet Union_cell_1_13_0 Armenian SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_13_1
14Soviet Union_cell_1_14_0 Turkmen SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_14_1
15Soviet Union_cell_1_15_0 Estonian SSRSoviet Union_cell_1_15_1

Military Soviet Union_section_22

Main article: Soviet Armed Forces Soviet Union_sentence_360

See also: Red Army, Soviet Navy, Soviet Air Forces, and Military history of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_361

Under the Military Law of September 1925, the Soviet Armed Forces consisted of three components, namely the Land Forces, the Air Force, the Navy, Joint State Political Directorate (OGPU), and the Internal Troops. Soviet Union_sentence_362

The OGPU later became independent and in 1934 joined the NKVD, and so its internal troops were under the joint leadership of the defense and internal commissariats. Soviet Union_sentence_363

After World War II, Strategic Missile Forces (1959), Air Defense Forces (1948) and National Civil Defense Forces (1970) were formed, which ranked first, third, and sixth in the official Soviet system of importance (ground forces were second, Air Force Fourth, and Navy Fifth). Soviet Union_sentence_364

The army had the greatest political influence. Soviet Union_sentence_365

In 1989, there served two million soldiers divided between 150 motorized and 52 armored divisions. Soviet Union_sentence_366

Until the early 1960s, the Soviet navy was a rather small military branch, but after the Caribbean crisis, under the leadership of Sergei Gorshkov, it expanded significantly. Soviet Union_sentence_367

It became known for battlecruisers and submarines. Soviet Union_sentence_368

In 1989 there served 500 000 men. Soviet Union_sentence_369

The Soviet Air Force focused on a fleet of strategic bombers and during war situation was to eradicate enemy infrastructure and nuclear capacity. Soviet Union_sentence_370

The air force also had a number of fighters and tactical bombers to support the army in the war. Soviet Union_sentence_371

Strategic missile forces had more than 1,400 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), deployed between 28 bases and 300 command centers. Soviet Union_sentence_372

In the post-war period, the Soviet Army was directly involved in several military operations abroad. Soviet Union_sentence_373

These included the suppression of the uprising in East Germany (1953), Hungarian revolution (1956) and the invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968). Soviet Union_sentence_374

The Soviet Union also participated in the war in Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989. Soviet Union_sentence_375

In the Soviet Union, general conscription applied. Soviet Union_sentence_376

Space program Soviet Union_section_23

Main articles: Soviet space program and Nedelin catastrophe Soviet Union_sentence_377

Economy Soviet Union_section_24

Main article: Economy of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_378

The Soviet Union adopted a command economy, whereby production and distribution of goods were centralized and directed by the government. Soviet Union_sentence_379

The first Bolshevik experience with a command economy was the policy of War communism, which involved the nationalization of industry, centralized distribution of output, coercive requisition of agricultural production, and attempts to eliminate money circulation, private enterprises and free trade. Soviet Union_sentence_380

After the severe economic collapse, Lenin replaced war communism by the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1921, legalizing free trade and private ownership of small businesses. Soviet Union_sentence_381

The economy quickly recovered as a result. Soviet Union_sentence_382

After a long debate among the members of the Politburo about the course of economic development, by 1928–1929, upon gaining control of the country, Stalin abandoned the NEP and pushed for full central planning, starting forced collectivization of agriculture and enacting draconian labor legislation. Soviet Union_sentence_383

Resources were mobilized for rapid industrialization, which significantly expanded Soviet capacity in heavy industry and capital goods during the 1930s. Soviet Union_sentence_384

The primary motivation for industrialization was preparation for war, mostly due to distrust of the outside capitalist world. Soviet Union_sentence_385

As a result, the USSR was transformed from a largely agrarian economy into a great industrial power, leading the way for its emergence as a superpower after World War II. Soviet Union_sentence_386

The war caused extensive devastation of the Soviet economy and infrastructure, which required massive reconstruction. Soviet Union_sentence_387

By the early 1940s, the Soviet economy had become relatively self-sufficient; for most of the period until the creation of Comecon, only a tiny share of domestic products was traded internationally. Soviet Union_sentence_388

After the creation of the Eastern Bloc, external trade rose rapidly. Soviet Union_sentence_389

However, the influence of the world economy on the USSR was limited by fixed domestic prices and a state monopoly on foreign trade. Soviet Union_sentence_390

Grain and sophisticated consumer manufactures became major import articles from around the 1960s. Soviet Union_sentence_391

During the arms race of the Cold War, the Soviet economy was burdened by military expenditures, heavily lobbied for by a powerful bureaucracy dependent on the arms industry. Soviet Union_sentence_392

At the same time, the USSR became the largest arms exporter to the Third World. Soviet Union_sentence_393

Significant amounts of Soviet resources during the Cold War were allocated in aid to the other socialist states. Soviet Union_sentence_394

From the 1930s until its dissolution in late 1991, the way the Soviet economy operated remained essentially unchanged. Soviet Union_sentence_395

The economy was formally directed by central planning, carried out by Gosplan and organized in five-year plans. Soviet Union_sentence_396

However, in practice, the plans were highly aggregated and provisional, subject to ad hoc intervention by superiors. Soviet Union_sentence_397

All critical economic decisions were taken by the political leadership. Soviet Union_sentence_398

Allocated resources and plan targets were usually denominated in rubles rather than in physical goods. Soviet Union_sentence_399

Credit was discouraged, but widespread. Soviet Union_sentence_400

The final allocation of output was achieved through relatively decentralized, unplanned contracting. Soviet Union_sentence_401

Although in theory prices were legally set from above, in practice they were often negotiated, and informal horizontal links (e.g. between producer factories) were widespread. Soviet Union_sentence_402

A number of basic services were state-funded, such as education and health care. Soviet Union_sentence_403

In the manufacturing sector, heavy industry and defence were prioritized over consumer goods. Soviet Union_sentence_404

Consumer goods, particularly outside large cities, were often scarce, of poor quality and limited variety. Soviet Union_sentence_405

Under the command economy, consumers had almost no influence on production, and the changing demands of a population with growing incomes could not be satisfied by supplies at rigidly fixed prices. Soviet Union_sentence_406

A massive unplanned second economy grew up at low levels alongside the planned one, providing some of the goods and services that the planners could not. Soviet Union_sentence_407

The legalization of some elements of the decentralized economy was attempted with the reform of 1965. Soviet Union_sentence_408

Although statistics of the Soviet economy are notoriously unreliable and its economic growth difficult to estimate precisely, by most accounts, the economy continued to expand until the mid-1980s. Soviet Union_sentence_409

During the 1950s and 1960s, it had comparatively high growth and was catching up to the West. Soviet Union_sentence_410

However, after 1970, the growth, while still positive, steadily declined much more quickly and consistently than in other countries, despite a rapid increase in the capital stock (the rate of capital increase was only surpassed by Japan). Soviet Union_sentence_411

Overall, the growth rate of per capita income in the Soviet Union between 1960 and 1989 was slightly above the world average (based on 102 countries). Soviet Union_sentence_412

According to Stanley Fischer and William Easterly, growth could have been faster. Soviet Union_sentence_413

By their calculation, per capita income in 1989 should have been twice higher than it was, considering the amount of investment, education and population. Soviet Union_sentence_414

The authors attribute this poor performance to the low productivity of capital. Soviet Union_sentence_415

Steven Rosenfielde states that the standard of living declined due to Stalin's despotism. Soviet Union_sentence_416

While there was a brief improvement after his death, it lapsed into stagnation. Soviet Union_sentence_417

In 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev attempted to reform and revitalize the economy with his program of perestroika. Soviet Union_sentence_418

His policies relaxed state control over enterprises but did not replace it by market incentives, resulting in a sharp decline in output. Soviet Union_sentence_419

The economy, already suffering from reduced petroleum export revenues, started to collapse. Soviet Union_sentence_420

Prices were still fixed, and the property was still largely state-owned until after the country's dissolution. Soviet Union_sentence_421

For most of the period after World War II until its collapse, Soviet GDP (PPP) was the second-largest in the world, and third during the second half of the 1980s, although on a per-capita basis, it was behind that of First World countries. Soviet Union_sentence_422

Compared to countries with similar per-capita GDP in 1928, the Soviet Union experienced significant growth. Soviet Union_sentence_423

In 1990, the country had a Human Development Index of 0.920, placing it in the "high" category of human development. Soviet Union_sentence_424

It was the third-highest in the Eastern Bloc, behind Czechoslovakia and East Germany, and the 25th in the world of 130 countries. Soviet Union_sentence_425

Energy Soviet Union_section_25

Main article: Energy policy of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_426

The need for fuel declined in the Soviet Union from the 1970s to the 1980s, both per ruble of gross social product and per ruble of industrial product. Soviet Union_sentence_427

At the start, this decline grew very rapidly but gradually slowed down between 1970 and 1975. Soviet Union_sentence_428

From 1975 and 1980, it grew even slower, only 2.6%. Soviet Union_sentence_429

David Wilson, a historian, believed that the gas industry would account for 40% of Soviet fuel production by the end of the century. Soviet Union_sentence_430

His theory did not come to fruition because of the USSR's collapse. Soviet Union_sentence_431

The USSR, in theory, would have continued to have an economic growth rate of 2–2.5% during the 1990s because of Soviet energy fields. Soviet Union_sentence_432

However, the energy sector faced many difficulties, among them the country's high military expenditure and hostile relations with the First World. Soviet Union_sentence_433

In 1991, the Soviet Union had a pipeline network of 82,000 kilometres (51,000 mi) for crude oil and another 206,500 kilometres (128,300 mi) for natural gas. Soviet Union_sentence_434

Petroleum and petroleum-based products, natural gas, metals, wood, agricultural products, and a variety of manufactured goods, primarily machinery, arms and military equipment, were exported. Soviet Union_sentence_435

In the 1970s and 1980s, the USSR heavily relied on fossil fuel exports to earn hard currency. Soviet Union_sentence_436

At its peak in 1988, it was the largest producer and second-largest exporter of crude oil, surpassed only by Saudi Arabia. Soviet Union_sentence_437

Science and technology Soviet Union_section_26

Main article: Science and technology in the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_438

The Soviet Union placed great emphasis on science and technology within its economy, however, the most remarkable Soviet successes in technology, such as producing the world's first space satellite, typically were the responsibility of the military. Soviet Union_sentence_439

Lenin believed that the USSR would never overtake the developed world if it remained as technologically backward as it was upon its founding. Soviet Union_sentence_440

Soviet authorities proved their commitment to Lenin's belief by developing massive networks, research and development organizations. Soviet Union_sentence_441

In the early 1960s, the Soviets awarded 40% of chemistry PhDs to women, compared to only 5% in the United States. Soviet Union_sentence_442

By 1989, Soviet scientists were among the world's best-trained specialists in several areas, such as energy physics, selected areas of medicine, mathematics, welding and military technologies. Soviet Union_sentence_443

Due to rigid state planning and bureaucracy, the Soviets remained far behind technologically in chemistry, biology, and computers when compared to the First World. Soviet Union_sentence_444

Under the Reagan administration, Project Socrates determined that the Soviet Union addressed the acquisition of science and technology in a manner that was radically different from what the US was using. Soviet Union_sentence_445

In the case of the US, economic prioritization was being used for indigenous research and development as the means to acquire science and technology in both the private and public sectors. Soviet Union_sentence_446

In contrast, the USSR was offensively and defensively maneuvering in the acquisition and utilization of the worldwide technology, to increase the competitive advantage that they acquired from the technology while preventing the US from acquiring a competitive advantage. Soviet Union_sentence_447

However, technology-based planning was executed in a centralized, government-centric manner that greatly hindered its flexibility. Soviet Union_sentence_448

This was exploited by the US to undermine the strength of the Soviet Union and thus foster its reform. Soviet Union_sentence_449

Transport Soviet Union_section_27

Main article: Transport in the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_450

Transport was a vital component of the country's economy. Soviet Union_sentence_451

The economic centralization of the late 1920s and 1930s led to the development of infrastructure on a massive scale, most notably the establishment of Aeroflot, an aviation enterprise. Soviet Union_sentence_452

The country had a wide variety of modes of transport by land, water and air. Soviet Union_sentence_453

However, due to inadequate maintenance, much of the road, water and Soviet civil aviation transport were outdated and technologically backward compared to the First World. Soviet Union_sentence_454

Soviet rail transport was the largest and most intensively used in the world; it was also better developed than most of its Western counterparts. Soviet Union_sentence_455

By the late 1970s and early 1980s, Soviet economists were calling for the construction of more roads to alleviate some of the burdens from the railways and to improve the Soviet government budget. Soviet Union_sentence_456

The street network and automotive industry remained underdeveloped, and dirt roads were common outside major cities. Soviet Union_sentence_457

Soviet maintenance projects proved unable to take care of even the few roads the country had. Soviet Union_sentence_458

By the early-to-mid-1980s, the Soviet authorities tried to solve the road problem by ordering the construction of new ones. Soviet Union_sentence_459

Meanwhile, the automobile industry was growing at a faster rate than road construction. Soviet Union_sentence_460

The underdeveloped road network led to a growing demand for public transport. Soviet Union_sentence_461

Despite improvements, several aspects of the transport sector were still riddled with problems due to outdated infrastructure, lack of investment, corruption and bad decision-making. Soviet Union_sentence_462

Soviet authorities were unable to meet the growing demand for transport infrastructure and services. Soviet Union_sentence_463

The Soviet merchant navy was one of the largest in the world. Soviet Union_sentence_464

Demographics Soviet Union_section_28

Main article: Demographics of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_465

Excess deaths throughout World War I and the Russian Civil War (including the postwar famine) amounted to a combined total of 18 million, some 10 million in the 1930s, and more than 26 million in 1941–5. Soviet Union_sentence_466

The postwar Soviet population was 45 to 50 million smaller than it would have been if pre-war demographic growth had continued. Soviet Union_sentence_467

According to Catherine Merridale, "... reasonable estimate would place the total number of excess deaths for the whole period somewhere around 60 million." Soviet Union_sentence_468

The birth rate of the USSR decreased from 44.0 per thousand in 1926 to 18.0 in 1974, mainly due to increasing urbanization and the rising average age of marriages. Soviet Union_sentence_469

The mortality rate demonstrated a gradual decrease as well – from 23.7 per thousand in 1926 to 8.7 in 1974. Soviet Union_sentence_470

In general, the birth rates of the southern republics in Transcaucasia and Central Asia were considerably higher than those in the northern parts of the Soviet Union, and in some cases even increased in the post–World War II period, a phenomenon partly attributed to slower rates of urbanistion and traditionally earlier marriages in the southern republics. Soviet Union_sentence_471

Soviet Europe moved towards sub-replacement fertility, while Soviet Central Asia continued to exhibit population growth well above replacement-level fertility. Soviet Union_sentence_472

The late 1960s and the 1970s witnessed a reversal of the declining trajectory of the rate of mortality in the USSR, and was especially notable among men of working age, but was also prevalent in Russia and other predominantly Slavic areas of the country. Soviet Union_sentence_473

An analysis of the official data from the late 1980s showed that after worsening in the late-1970s and the early 1980s, adult mortality began to improve again. Soviet Union_sentence_474

The infant mortality rate increased from 24.7 in 1970 to 27.9 in 1974. Soviet Union_sentence_475

Some researchers regarded the rise as mostly real, a consequence of worsening health conditions and services. Soviet Union_sentence_476

The rises in both adult and infant mortality were not explained or defended by Soviet officials, and the Soviet government stopped publishing all mortality statistics for ten years. Soviet Union_sentence_477

Soviet demographers and health specialists remained silent about the mortality increases until the late-1980s, when the publication of mortality data resumed, and researchers could delve into the real causes. Soviet Union_sentence_478

Women and fertility Soviet Union_section_29

Under Lenin, the state made explicit commitments to promote the equality of men and women. Soviet Union_sentence_479

Many early Russian feminists and ordinary Russian working women actively participated in the Revolution, and many more were affected by the events of that period and the new policies. Soviet Union_sentence_480

Beginning in October 1918, Lenin's government liberalized divorce and abortion laws, decriminalized homosexuality (re-criminalized in the 1930s), permitted cohabitation, and ushered in a host of reforms. Soviet Union_sentence_481

However, without birth control, the new system produced many broken marriages, as well as countless out-of-wedlock children. Soviet Union_sentence_482

The epidemic of divorces and extramarital affairs created social hardships when Soviet leaders wanted people to concentrate their efforts on growing the economy. Soviet Union_sentence_483

Giving women control over their fertility also led to a precipitous decline in the birth rate, perceived as a threat to their country's military power. Soviet Union_sentence_484

By 1936, Stalin reversed most of the liberal laws, ushering in a pronatalist era that lasted for decades. Soviet Union_sentence_485

By 1917, Russia became the first great power to grant women the right to vote. Soviet Union_sentence_486

After heavy casualties in World War I and II, women outnumbered men in Russia by a 4:3 ratio. Soviet Union_sentence_487

This contributed to the larger role women played in Russian society compared to other great powers at the time. Soviet Union_sentence_488

Education Soviet Union_section_30

Main article: Education in the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_489

Anatoly Lunacharsky became the first People's Commissar for Education of Soviet Russia. Soviet Union_sentence_490

In the beginning, the Soviet authorities placed great emphasis on the elimination of illiteracy. Soviet Union_sentence_491

All left-handed children were forced to write with their right hand in the Soviet school system. Soviet Union_sentence_492

Literate people were automatically hired as teachers. Soviet Union_sentence_493

For a short period, quality was sacrificed for quantity. Soviet Union_sentence_494

By 1940, Stalin could announce that illiteracy had been eliminated. Soviet Union_sentence_495

Throughout the 1930s, social mobility rose sharply, which has been attributed to reforms in education. Soviet Union_sentence_496

In the aftermath of World War II, the country's educational system expanded dramatically, which had a tremendous effect. Soviet Union_sentence_497

In the 1960s, nearly all children had access to education, the only exception being those living in remote areas. Soviet Union_sentence_498

Nikita Khrushchev tried to make education more accessible, making it clear to children that education was closely linked to the needs of society. Soviet Union_sentence_499

Education also became important in giving rise to the New Man. Soviet Union_sentence_500

Citizens directly entering the workforce had the constitutional right to a job and to free vocational training. Soviet Union_sentence_501

The education system was highly centralized and universally accessible to all citizens, with affirmative action for applicants from nations associated with cultural backwardness. Soviet Union_sentence_502

However, as part of the general antisemitic policy, an unofficial Jewish quota was applied in the leading institutions of higher education by subjecting Jewish applicants to harsher entrance examinations. Soviet Union_sentence_503

The Brezhnev era also introduced a rule that required all university applicants to present a reference from the local Komsomol party secretary. Soviet Union_sentence_504

According to statistics from 1986, the number of higher education students per the population of 10,000 was 181 for the USSR, compared to 517 for the US. Soviet Union_sentence_505

Nationalities and ethnic groups Soviet Union_section_31

Main articles: Islam in the Soviet Union, National delimitation in the Soviet Union, Korenizatsiya, and Soviet Central Asia Soviet Union_sentence_506

The Soviet Union was an ethnically diverse country, with more than 100 distinct ethnic groups. Soviet Union_sentence_507

The total population was estimated at 293 million in 1991. Soviet Union_sentence_508

According to a 1990 estimate, the majority were Russians (50.78%), followed by Ukrainians (15.45%) and Uzbeks (5.84%). Soviet Union_sentence_509

All citizens of the USSR had their own ethnic affiliation. Soviet Union_sentence_510

The ethnicity of a person was chosen at the age of sixteen by the child's parents. Soviet Union_sentence_511

If the parents did not agree, the child was automatically assigned the ethnicity of the father. Soviet Union_sentence_512

Partly due to Soviet policies, some of the smaller minority ethnic groups were considered part of larger ones, such as the Mingrelians of Georgia, who were classified with the linguistically related Georgians. Soviet Union_sentence_513

Some ethnic groups voluntarily assimilated, while others were brought in by force. Soviet Union_sentence_514

Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians shared close cultural ties, while other groups did not. Soviet Union_sentence_515

With multiple nationalities living in the same territory, ethnic antagonisms developed over the years. Soviet Union_sentence_516

Members of various ethnicities participated in legislative bodies. Soviet Union_sentence_517

Organs of power like the Politburo, the Secretariat of the Central Committee etc., were formally ethnically neutral, but in reality, ethnic Russians were overrepresented, although there were also non-Russian leaders in the Soviet leadership, such as Joseph Stalin, Grigory Zinoviev, Nikolai Podgorny or Andrei Gromyko. Soviet Union_sentence_518

During the Soviet era, a significant number of ethnic Russians and Ukrainians migrated to other Soviet republics, and many of them settled there. Soviet Union_sentence_519

According to the last census in 1989, the Russian "diaspora" in the Soviet republics had reached 25 million. Soviet Union_sentence_520

Soviet Union_unordered_list_1

  • Soviet Union_item_1_4
  • Soviet Union_item_1_5
  • Soviet Union_item_1_6

Health Soviet Union_section_32

Main article: Health care in the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_521

In 1917, before the revolution, health conditions were significantly behind those of developed countries. Soviet Union_sentence_522

As Lenin later noted, "Either the lice will defeat socialism, or socialism will defeat the lice". Soviet Union_sentence_523

The Soviet principle of health care was conceived by the People's Commissariat for Health in 1918. Soviet Union_sentence_524

Health care was to be controlled by the state and would be provided to its citizens free of charge, a revolutionary concept at the time. Soviet Union_sentence_525

Article 42 of the 1977 Soviet Constitution gave all citizens the right to health protection and free access to any health institutions in the USSR. Soviet Union_sentence_526

Before Leonid Brezhnev became General Secretary, the Soviet healthcare system was held in high esteem by many foreign specialists. Soviet Union_sentence_527

This changed, however, from Brezhnev's accession and Mikhail Gorbachev's tenure as leader, during which the health care system was heavily criticized for many basic faults, such as the quality of service and the unevenness in its provision. Soviet Union_sentence_528

Minister of Health Yevgeniy Chazov, during the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, while highlighting such successes as having the most doctors and hospitals in the world, recognized the system's areas for improvement and felt that billions of Soviet rubles were squandered. Soviet Union_sentence_529

After the revolution, life expectancy for all age groups went up. Soviet Union_sentence_530

This statistic in itself was seen by some that the socialist system was superior to the capitalist system. Soviet Union_sentence_531

These improvements continued into the 1960s when statistics indicated that the life expectancy briefly surpassed that of the United States. Soviet Union_sentence_532

Life expectancy started to decline in the 1970s, possibly because of alcohol abuse. Soviet Union_sentence_533

At the same time, infant mortality began to rise. Soviet Union_sentence_534

After 1974, the government stopped publishing statistics on the matter. Soviet Union_sentence_535

This trend can be partly explained by the number of pregnancies rising drastically in the Asian part of the country where infant mortality was the highest while declining markedly in the more developed European part of the Soviet Union. Soviet Union_sentence_536

Language Soviet Union_section_33

Main article: Languages of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_537

Under Lenin, the government gave small language groups their own writing systems. Soviet Union_sentence_538

The development of these writing systems was highly successful, even though some flaws were detected. Soviet Union_sentence_539

During the later days of the USSR, countries with the same multilingual situation implemented similar policies. Soviet Union_sentence_540

A serious problem when creating these writing systems was that the languages differed dialectally greatly from each other. Soviet Union_sentence_541

When a language had been given a writing system and appeared in a notable publication, it would attain "official language" status. Soviet Union_sentence_542

There were many minority languages which never received their own writing system; therefore, their speakers were forced to have a second language. Soviet Union_sentence_543

There are examples where the government retreated from this policy, most notably under Stalin where education was discontinued in languages that were not widespread. Soviet Union_sentence_544

These languages were then assimilated into another language, mostly Russian. Soviet Union_sentence_545

During World War II, some minority languages were banned, and their speakers accused of collaborating with the enemy. Soviet Union_sentence_546

As the most widely spoken of the Soviet Union's many languages, Russian de facto functioned as an official language, as the "language of interethnic communication" (Russian: язык межнационального общения), but only assumed the de jure status as the official national language in 1990. Soviet Union_sentence_547

Religion Soviet Union_section_34

Main article: Religion in the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_548

Christianity and Islam had the highest number of adherents among the religious citizens. Soviet Union_sentence_549

Eastern Christianity predominated among Christians, with Russia's traditional Russian Orthodox Church being the largest Christian denomination. Soviet Union_sentence_550

About 90% of the Soviet Union's Muslims were Sunnis, with Shias being concentrated in the Azerbaijan SSR. Soviet Union_sentence_551

Smaller groups included Roman Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, and a variety of Protestant denominations (especially Baptists and Lutherans). Soviet Union_sentence_552

Religious influence had been strong in the Russian Empire. Soviet Union_sentence_553

The Russian Orthodox Church enjoyed a privileged status as the church of the monarchy and took part in carrying out official state functions. Soviet Union_sentence_554

The immediate period following the establishment of the Soviet state included a struggle against the Orthodox Church, which the revolutionaries considered an ally of the former ruling classes. Soviet Union_sentence_555

In Soviet law, the "freedom to hold religious services" was constitutionally guaranteed, although the ruling Communist Party regarded religion as incompatible with the Marxist spirit of scientific materialism. Soviet Union_sentence_556

In practice, the Soviet system subscribed to a narrow interpretation of this right, and in fact utilized a range of official measures to discourage religion and curb the activities of religious groups. Soviet Union_sentence_557

The 1918 Council of People's Commissars decree establishing the Russian SFSR as a secular state also decreed that "the teaching of religion in all [places] where subjects of general instruction are taught, is forbidden. Soviet Union_sentence_558

Citizens may teach and may be taught religion privately." Soviet Union_sentence_559

Among further restrictions, those adopted in 1929 included express prohibitions on a range of church activities, including meetings for organized Bible study. Soviet Union_sentence_560

Both Christian and non-Christian establishments were shut down by the thousands in the 1920s and 1930s. Soviet Union_sentence_561

By 1940, as many as 90% of the churches, synagogues, and mosques that had been operating in 1917 were closed. Soviet Union_sentence_562

Under the doctrine of state atheism, a "government-sponsored program of forced conversion to atheism" was conducted. Soviet Union_sentence_563

The government targeted religions based on state interests, and while most organized religions were never outlawed, religious property was confiscated, believers were harassed, and religion was ridiculed while atheism was propagated in schools. Soviet Union_sentence_564

In 1925, the government founded the League of Militant Atheists to intensify the propaganda campaign. Soviet Union_sentence_565

Accordingly, although personal expressions of religious faith were not explicitly banned, a strong sense of social stigma was imposed on them by the formal structures and mass media, and it was generally considered unacceptable for members of certain professions (teachers, state bureaucrats, soldiers) to be openly religious. Soviet Union_sentence_566

While persecution accelerated following Stalin's rise to power, a revival of Orthodoxy was fostered by the government during World War II and the Soviet authorities sought to control the Russian Orthodox Church rather than liquidate it. Soviet Union_sentence_567

During the first five years of Soviet power, the Bolsheviks executed 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and over 1,200 Russian Orthodox priests. Soviet Union_sentence_568

Many others were imprisoned or exiled. Soviet Union_sentence_569

Believers were harassed and persecuted. Soviet Union_sentence_570

Most seminaries were closed, and the publication of most religious material was prohibited. Soviet Union_sentence_571

By 1941, only 500 churches remained open out of about 54,000 in existence before World War I. Soviet Union_sentence_572

Convinced that religious anti-Sovietism had become a thing of the past, and with the looming threat of war, the Stalin regime began shifting to a more moderate religion policy in the late 1930s. Soviet Union_sentence_573

Soviet religious establishments overwhelmingly rallied to support the war effort during World War II. Soviet Union_sentence_574

Amid other accommodations to religious faith after the German invasion, churches were reopened. Soviet Union_sentence_575

Radio Moscow began broadcasting a religious hour, and a historic meeting between Stalin and Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Sergius of Moscow was held in 1943. Soviet Union_sentence_576

Stalin had the support of the majority of the religious people in the USSR even through the late 1980s. Soviet Union_sentence_577

The general tendency of this period was an increase in religious activity among believers of all faiths. Soviet Union_sentence_578

Under Nikita Khrushchev, the state leadership clashed with the churches in 1958–1964, a period when atheism was emphasized in the educational curriculum, and numerous state publications promoted atheistic views. Soviet Union_sentence_579

During this period, the number of churches fell from 20,000 to 10,000 from 1959 to 1965, and the number of synagogues dropped from 500 to 97. Soviet Union_sentence_580

The number of working mosques also declined, falling from 1,500 to 500 within a decade. Soviet Union_sentence_581

Religious institutions remained monitored by the Soviet government, but churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques were all given more leeway in the Brezhnev era. Soviet Union_sentence_582

Official relations between the Orthodox Church and the government again warmed to the point that the Brezhnev government twice honored Orthodox Patriarch Alexy I with the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. Soviet Union_sentence_583

A poll conducted by Soviet authorities in 1982 recorded 20% of the Soviet population as "active religious believers." Soviet Union_sentence_584

Legacy Soviet Union_section_35

Culture Soviet Union_section_36

Main article: Culture of the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_585

See also: Soviet cuisine, Music of the Soviet Union, Fashion in the Soviet Union, Broadcasting in the Soviet Union, and Printed media in the Soviet Union Soviet Union_sentence_586

The culture of the Soviet Union passed through several stages during the USSR's existence. Soviet Union_sentence_587

During the first decade following the revolution, there was relative freedom and artists experimented with several different styles to find a distinctive Soviet style of art. Soviet Union_sentence_588

Lenin wanted art to be accessible to the Russian people. Soviet Union_sentence_589

On the other hand, hundreds of intellectuals, writers, and artists were exiled or executed, and their work banned, such as Nikolay Gumilyov who was shot for alleged conspiring against the Bolshevik regime, and Yevgeny Zamyatin. Soviet Union_sentence_590

The government encouraged a variety of trends. Soviet Union_sentence_591

In art and literature, numerous schools, some traditional and others radically experimental, proliferated. Soviet Union_sentence_592

Communist writers Maxim Gorky and Vladimir Mayakovsky were active during this time. Soviet Union_sentence_593

As a means of influencing a largely illiterate society, films received encouragement from the state, and much of director Sergei Eisenstein's best work dates from this period. Soviet Union_sentence_594

During Stalin's rule, the Soviet culture was characterized by the rise and domination of the government-imposed style of socialist realism, with all other trends being severely repressed, with rare exceptions, such as Mikhail Bulgakov's works. Soviet Union_sentence_595

Many writers were imprisoned and killed. Soviet Union_sentence_596

Following the Khrushchev Thaw, censorship was diminished. Soviet Union_sentence_597

During this time, a distinctive period of Soviet culture developed, characterized by conformist public life and an intense focus on personal life. Soviet Union_sentence_598

Greater experimentation in art forms was again permissible, resulting in the production of more sophisticated and subtly critical work. Soviet Union_sentence_599

The regime loosened its emphasis on socialist realism; thus, for instance, many protagonists of the novels of author Yury Trifonov concerned themselves with problems of daily life rather than with building socialism. Soviet Union_sentence_600

Underground dissident literature, known as samizdat, developed during this late period. Soviet Union_sentence_601

In architecture, the Khrushchev era mostly focused on functional design as opposed to the highly decorated style of Stalin's epoch. Soviet Union_sentence_602

In music, in response to the increasing popularity of forms of popular music like jazz in the West, many jazz orchestras were permitted throughout the USSR, notably the Melodiya Ensemble, named after the principle record label in the USSR. Soviet Union_sentence_603

In the second half of the 1980s, Gorbachev's policies of perestroika and glasnost significantly expanded freedom of expression throughout the country in the media and the press. Soviet Union_sentence_604

Sport Soviet Union_section_37

See also: Voluntary Sports Societies of the Soviet Union, CSKA Moscow, Soviet Union at the Olympics, and Soviet Union men's national ice hockey team Soviet Union_sentence_605

Founded on 20 July 1924 in Moscow, Sovetsky Sport was the first sports newspaper of the Soviet Union. Soviet Union_sentence_606

The Soviet Olympic Committee formed on 21 April 1951, and the IOC recognized the new body in its 45th session. Soviet Union_sentence_607

In the same year, when the Soviet representative Konstantin Andrianov became an IOC member, the USSR officially joined the Olympic Movement. Soviet Union_sentence_608

The 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki thus became first Olympic Games for Soviet athletes. Soviet Union_sentence_609

The Soviet Union national ice hockey team won nearly every world championship and Olympic tournament between 1954 and 1991 and never failed to medal in any International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) tournament in which they competed. Soviet Union_sentence_610

The advent of the state-sponsored "full-time amateur athlete" of the Eastern Bloc countries further eroded the ideology of the pure amateur, as it put the self-financed amateurs of the Western countries at a disadvantage. Soviet Union_sentence_611

The Soviet Union entered teams of athletes who were all nominally students, soldiers, or working in a profession – in reality, the state paid many of these competitors to train on a full-time basis. Soviet Union_sentence_612

Nevertheless, the IOC held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism. Soviet Union_sentence_613

A 1989 report by a committee of the Australian Senate claimed that "there is hardly a medal winner at the Moscow Games, certainly not a gold medal winner...who is not on one sort of drug or another: usually several kinds. Soviet Union_sentence_614

The Moscow Games might well have been called the Chemists' Games". Soviet Union_sentence_615

A member of the IOC Medical Commission, Manfred Donike, privately ran additional tests with a new technique for identifying abnormal levels of testosterone by measuring its ratio to epitestosterone in urine. Soviet Union_sentence_616

Twenty percent of the specimens he tested, including those from sixteen gold medalists, would have resulted in disciplinary proceedings had the tests been official. Soviet Union_sentence_617

The results of Donike's unofficial tests later convinced the IOC to add his new technique to their testing protocols. Soviet Union_sentence_618

The first documented case of "blood doping" occurred at the 1980 Summer Olympics when a runner was transfused with two pints of blood before winning medals in the 5000 m and 10,000 m. Soviet Union_sentence_619

Documentation obtained in 2016 revealed the Soviet Union's plans for a statewide doping system in track and field in preparation for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Soviet Union_sentence_620

Dated before the decision to boycott the 1984 Games, the document detailed the existing steroids operations of the program, along with suggestions for further enhancements. Soviet Union_sentence_621

Dr. Sergei Portugalov of the Institute for Physical Culture prepared the communication, directed to the Soviet Union's head of track and field. Soviet Union_sentence_622

Portugalov later became one of the leading figures involved in the implementation of Russian doping before the 2016 Summer Olympics. Soviet Union_sentence_623

Environment Soviet Union_section_38

See also Soviet Union_section_39

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet Union.