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The SOVIET UNION (Russian : Сове́тский Сою́з, tr. _Sovetsky Soyuz_; IPA: ), officially the UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS (USSR; Russian : Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик (СССР), tr. _Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik (SSSR)_; IPA: (_ listen )), also known unofficially as RUSSIA (Russian : Росси́я, tr. Rossiya_; IPA: ), was a socialist state in Eurasia
Eurasia
that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple equal national Soviet republics , its government and economy were highly centralized . The country was a one-party federation , governed by the Communist Party with Moscow
Moscow
as its capital.

The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had its roots in the October Revolution of 1917, when the Bolsheviks , led by Vladimir Lenin , overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar
Tsar
Nicholas II . In 1922, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was formed with the unification of the Russian , Transcaucasian , Ukrainian , and Byelorussian republics. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s. Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism (which he created), and initiated a centrally planned economy . As a result, the country underwent a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization . Political paranoia was also fomented around Stalin, and the Great Purge was carried out to remove his opponents from the Communist Party through arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people.

Shortly before World War II
World War II
, Stalin signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
, after which the two countries invaded Poland in September 1939. In June 1941, Germany invaded the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
, opening the largest and bloodiest theater of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk . The territories overtaken by the Red Army
Red Army
became satellite states of the USSR. The Cold War emerged by 1947, as the Eastern Bloc which united under the Warsaw Pact in 1955 confronted the Western states which united under NATO
NATO
in 1949.

Following Stalin's death in 1953, a period of political and economic liberalization, known as "de-Stalinization " and "Khrushchev\'s Thaw ", occurred under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
. The Soviet Union took an early lead in the Space Race , with the first artificial satellite and the first human spaceflight . In the 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979.

In the mid-1980s, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of _glasnost _ and _perestroika _. The Cold War ended during his tenure, and in 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe
Europe
overthrew their respective communist governments. This led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements inside the USSR as well. The government initiated a referendum , boycotted by some Soviet republics, which resulted in the majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation . In August 1991, an abortive coup d\'état was attempted by Communist Party hardliners. The Russian President Boris Yeltsin played a high-profile role in facing down the coup. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the remaining twelve constituent republics emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
as independent post-Soviet states . The Russian Federation
Russian Federation
—formerly the Russian SFSR —assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and is recognized as the primary legal successor of the Soviet Union.

CONTENTS

* 1 Name * 2 Geography, climate and environment

* 3 History

* 3.1 Revolution and foundation * 3.2 Unification of republics

* 3.3 Stalin era

* 3.3.1 1930s * 3.3.2 World War II
World War II
* 3.3.3 Cold War

* 3.4 Khrushchev
Khrushchev
era * 3.5 Era of Stagnation * 3.6 Gorbachev era

* 3.7 Dissolution

* 3.7.1 Post-Soviet states

* 4 Politics

* 4.1 Communist Party * 4.2 Government * 4.3 Separation of power and reform * 4.4 Judicial system

* 5 Administrative divisions

* 6 Economy

* 6.1 Energy
Energy
* 6.2 Science and technology * 6.3 Transport

* 7 Demographics

* 7.1 Education * 7.2 Ethnic groups * 7.3 Health * 7.4 Language * 7.5 Religion

* 8 Culture * 9 Sport * 10 See also * 11 Notes * 12 References * 13 Bibliography

* 14 Further reading

* 14.1 Surveys * 14.2 Lenin
Lenin
and Leninism * 14.3 Stalin and Stalinism * 14.4 World War II
World War II
* 14.5 Cold War * 14.6 Collapse * 14.7 Specialty studies

* 15 External links

NAME

PART OF A SERIES ON THE

HISTORY OF RUSSIA

Early Slavs / Rus\' pre-9th century

Khazar Khaganate 7th–10th century

Rus\' Khaganate 9th century

Volga Bulgaria 9th–13th century

Kievan Rus\' 882–1240

Vladimir-Suzdal 1157–1331

Novgorod Republic 1136–1478

Mongol Yoke 1240s–1480

Grand Duchy of Moscow
Moscow
1283–1547

Tsardom of Russia
Russia
1547–1721

Russian Empire
Russian Empire
1721–1917

Russian Republic 1917

Russian SFSR 1917–1922

Soviet Union 1922–1991

Russian Federation
Russian Federation
1991–present

TIMELINE

Russia
Russia
portal

* v * t * e

Main article: Official names of the Soviet Union See also: Names of Russia
Russia

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

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

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
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, _Soyuz Sovetskikh Respublik Yevropy i Azii_). Stalin initially resisted the proposal, but ultimately accepted it, although – with Lenin's agreement – he changed the name of the newly proposed state to the UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS, although all the republics began as _Socialist Soviet_ and did not change to the other order until 1936 . In addition, in the national languages of several republics the word "Council/Conciliar" in the respective language was only quite late changed to an adaptation of the Russian "Soviet" – and never in others, e.g., Ukraine
Ukraine
.

The names of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
are as follows in several languages of its 15 constituent republics:

* RUSSIAN : Союз Советских Социалистических Республик; _Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik_ * UKRAINIAN : Союз Радянських Соціалістичних Республік; _Soyuz Radyans’kykh Socialistychnykh Respublik_ * BELARUSIAN : Саюз Савецкіх Сацыялістычных Рэспублік; _Sajuz Savieckich Sacyjalistyčnych Respublik_ * UZBEK : Совет Социалистик Республикалари Иттифоқи; _Sovet Sotsialistik Respublikalari Ittifoqi_ * KAZAKH : Кеңестік Социалистік Республикалар Одағы; _Keñestik Socïalïstik Respwblïkalar Odağı_ * GEORGIAN : საბჭოთა სოციალისტური რესპუბლიკების კავშირი (sabch’ota sotsialist’uri resp’ublik’ebis k’avshiri) * AZERBAIJANI : Совет Сосиалист Республикалары Иттифагы; _Sovet Sosialist Respublikaları İttifaqı_ * LITHUANIAN : Tarybų Socialistinių Respublikų Sąjunga * MOLDOVAN : Униуня Републичилор советиче Сочиалисте; _Uniunea Republicilor Sovietice Socialiste_ * LATVIAN : Padomju Sociālistisko Republiku Savienība * KYRGYZ : Советтик Социалисттик Республикалaр Союзу; _Sovettik Socialisttik Respublikalar Soyuzu_ * TAJIK : Иттиҳоди Ҷумҳуриҳои Шӯравии Сосиалистӣ; _Ittihodi Chumhurihoi Shūravii Sosialistī_ * ARMENIAN : Խորհրդային Սոցիալիստական Հանրապետությունների Միություն; _Xorhrdayin Soc̕ialistakan Hanrapetowt̕yownneri Miowt̕yown_ * TURKMEN : Совет Социалистик Республикалары Союзы; _Sovet Sosialistik Respublikalary Soýuzy_ * ESTONIAN : Nõukogude Sotsialistlike Vabariikide Liit

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

GEOGRAPHY, CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT

Main article: Geography of the Soviet Union

With an area of 22,402,200 square kilometres (8,649,500 sq mi), the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was the world 's largest country, a status that is retained by the Russian Federation
Russian Federation
. Covering a sixth of Earth
Earth
's land surface, its size was comparable to that of North America
North America
. The European portion accounted for a quarter of the country's area, and was the cultural and economic center. The eastern part in Asia extended to the Pacific Ocean to the east and Afghanistan
Afghanistan
to the south, and, except some areas in Central Asia
Asia
, was much less populous. 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. It had five climate zones: tundra , taiga , steppes , desert , and mountains .

The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had the world's longest border , like Russia
Russia
, measuring over 60,000 kilometres (37,000 mi), or  1 1⁄2 circumferences of Earth
Earth
. Two-thirds of it was a coastline . Across the Bering Strait was the United States
United States
. The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
bordered Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, China
China
, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
, Finland
Finland
, Hungary , Iran
Iran
, Mongolia , North Korea
North Korea
, Norway
Norway
, Poland , Romania , and Turkey
Turkey
from 1945 to 1991.

The Soviet Union's highest mountain was Communism
Communism
Peak (now Ismoil Somoni Peak ) in Tajikistan
Tajikistan
, at 7,495 metres (24,590 ft). The Soviet Union also included most of the world's largest lake, the Caspian Sea (shared with Iran
Iran
), and Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
, the world's largest freshwater and deepest lake, an internal body of water in Russia.

HISTORY

SOVIET UNION

This article is part of a series on the politics and government of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union

Leadership

* Leaders

* President

* (list * Vice President )

* Collective leadership * State Council * Presidential Council

Communist Party

* Congress * Central Committee * History

_GENERAL SECRETARY _

* Politburo * Secretariat * Orgburo

Legislature
Legislature

* Congress of Soviets (Central Executive Committee )

_SUPREME SOVIET _

* Soviet of the Union * Soviet of Nationalities * Presidium

_CONGRESS OF PEOPLE\\'S DEPUTIES _

*

* Speaker * 1989 Legislative election

Governance

_CONSTITUTION _

* Official names * 1924 * 1936 * 1977

_GOVERNMENT _

* Ministries * State Committees * Executive Officer

_PREMIERSHIP _

* Cabinets * Council of People\'s Commissars * Council of Ministers * Cabinet of Ministers

Judiciary

* Law * Supreme Court * People\'s Court * Procurator General

History

_1917–27 _

* Revolution * Civil War

_1927–53 _

* World War II
World War II

_1953–64 _

* Khrushchev Thaw

_1964–82 _

* Era of Stagnation

_1982–91 _

* Dissolution

Ideology

* Soviet democracy * Marxism–Leninism

*

* Leninism * Stalinism * Khrushchevism

* De-Stalinization

Society

_ECONOMY _

* Agriculture * Consumer goods * Five-Year Plan * Kosygin reform * New Economic Policy * Science and technology * Era of Stagnation * Material balance planning * Transport

_CULTURE _

* Demographics * Education * Family * Phraseology * Religion

_REPRESSION_

* Censorship * Censorship of images * Great Purge * Gulag system * Collectivization * Human rights * Ideological repression * Suppressed research * Political abuse of psychiatry * Political repression * Population transfer * Propaganda
Propaganda
* Red Terror
Red Terror

* Other countries * Atlas

* v * t * e

Main article: History of the Soviet Union
History of the Soviet Union

The last Russian Tsar
Tsar
, Nicholas II , ruled the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
until his abdication in March 1917 in the aftermath of the February Revolution , due in part to the strain of fighting in World
World
War I , which lacked public support. A short-lived Russian Provisional Government took power, to be overthrown in the October Revolution (N.S. 7 November 1917) by revolutionaries led by the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
leader Vladimir Lenin .

The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was officially established in December 1922 with the union of the Russian , Ukrainian , Byelorussian , and Transcaucasian Soviet republics, each ruled by local Bolshevik
Bolshevik
parties. 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.

REVOLUTION AND FOUNDATION

Main article: History of Soviet Russia
Russia
and the Soviet Union (1917–27)

Modern revolutionary activity in the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
began with the Decembrist revolt of 1825. Although serfdom was abolished in 1861, it was done on terms unfavorable to the peasants and served to encourage revolutionaries. A parliament—the State Duma —was established in 1906 after the Russian Revolution of 1905 , but Tsar
Tsar
Nicholas II resisted attempts to move from absolute to constitutional monarchy . Social unrest continued and was aggravated during World
World
War I by military defeat and food shortages in major Soviet cities. Vladimir Lenin , Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
and Lev Kamenev celebrating the second anniversary of the October Revolution, 1919

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 the imperial government in March 1917. 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
World
War I.

At the same time, workers\' councils , known in Russian as "Soviets ", sprang up across the country. The Bolsheviks , led by Vladimir Lenin
Lenin
, pushed for socialist revolution in the Soviets and on the streets. 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. This event would later be known as the Great October Socialist Revolution . In December, the Bolsheviks signed an armistice with the Central Powers
Central Powers
, though by February 1918, fighting had resumed. In March, the Soviets ended involvement in the war for good and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk .

A long and bloody Civil War ensued between the Reds and the Whites , starting in 1917 and ending in 1923 with the Reds' victory. It included foreign intervention , the execution of the former tsar and his family , and the famine of 1921 , which killed about five million people. In March 1921, during a related conflict with Poland , the Peace of Riga was signed, splitting disputed territories in Belarus and Ukraine
Ukraine
between the Republic of Poland and Soviet Russia. Soviet Russia
Russia
had to resolve similar conflicts with the newly established Republic of Finland
Finland
, the Republic of Estonia
Estonia
, the Republic of Latvia , and the Republic of Lithuania
Lithuania
.

UNIFICATION OF REPUBLICS

The Russian SFSR as a part of the USSR in 1922. The Russian SFSR as a part of the USSR after 1936 Russian territorial changes.

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. These two documents were confirmed by the 1st 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. The formal proclamation was made from the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre .

On 1 February 1924, the USSR was recognized by the British Empire
British Empire
. The same year, a Soviet Constitution was approved, legitimizing the December 1922 union.

An intensive restructuring of the economy, industry and politics of the country began in the early days of Soviet power in 1917. A large part of this was done according to the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
Initial Decrees , government documents signed by Vladimir Lenin. 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. The plan was developed in 1920 and covered a 10 to 15-year period. It included construction of a network of 30 regional power stations , including ten large hydroelectric power plants , and numerous electric-powered large industrial enterprises. The plan became the prototype for subsequent Five-Year Plans and was fulfilled by 1931.

STALIN ERA

Main article: History of the Soviet Union
History of the Soviet Union
(1927–53) Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov
Nikolai Yezhov
, head of the NKVD . After Yezhov was executed, he was edited out of the image.

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

The stated purpose of the one-party state was to ensure that capitalist exploitation would not return to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and that the principles of democratic centralism would be most effective in representing the people's will in a practical manner. Debate over the future of the economy provided the background for a power struggle in the years after Lenin's death in 1924. Initially, Lenin
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 .

On 3 April 1922, Stalin was named the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union . Lenin
Lenin
had appointed Stalin the head of the Workers\' and Peasants\' Inspectorate , which gave Stalin considerable power. By gradually consolidating his influence and isolating and outmaneuvering his rivals within the party , Stalin became the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and, by the end of the 1920s, established totalitarian rule. In October 1927, Grigory Zinoviev and Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
were expelled from the Central Committee and forced into exile.

In 1928, Stalin introduced the First Five-Year Plan for building a socialist economy . In place of the internationalism expressed by Lenin
Lenin
throughout the Revolution, it aimed to build Socialism
Socialism
in One Country
Country
. In industry, the state assumed control over all existing enterprises and undertook an intensive program of industrialization. In agriculture, rather than adhering to the "lead by example" policy advocated by Lenin, forced collectivization of farms was implemented all over the country.

Famines ensued, causing millions of deaths; surviving kulaks were persecuted and many sent to Gulags to do forced labour . Social upheaval continued in the mid-1930s. Stalin's Great Purge resulted in the execution or detainment of many "Old Bolsheviks " who had participated in the October Revolution with Lenin. According to declassified Soviet archives, in 1937 and 1938, the NKVD arrested more than one and a half million people, of whom 681,692 were shot. Over those two years that averages to over one thousand executions a day. According to historian Geoffrey Hosking , "...excess deaths during the 1930s as a whole were in the range of 10–11 million." Although historian Timothy D. Snyder claims that archival evidence suggests a maximum excess mortality of nine million during the entire Stalin era. Yet despite the turmoil of the mid-to-late 1930s, the Soviet Union developed a powerful industrial economy in the years before World
World
War II .

Under the doctrine of state atheism in the Soviet Union, there was a "government-sponsored program of forced conversion to atheism " conducted by Communists. The communist regime 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. In 1925 the government founded the League of Militant Atheists to intensify the persecution. Accordingly, although personal expressions of religious faith were not explicitly banned, a strong sense of social stigma was imposed on them by the official structures and mass media and it was generally considered unacceptable for members of certain professions (teachers, state bureaucrats, soldiers) to be openly religious. As for the Russian Orthodox Church, Soviet authorities sought to control it and, in times of national crisis, to exploit it for the regime's own purposes; but their ultimate goal was to eliminate it. During the first five years of Soviet power, the Bolsheviks executed 28 Russian Orthodox bishops and over 1,200 Russian Orthodox priests. Many others were imprisoned or exiled. Believers were harassed and persecuted. Most seminaries were closed, and the publication of most religious material was prohibited. By 1941 only 500 churches remained open out of about 54,000 in existence prior to World
World
War I.

1930s

"Strengthen working discipline in collective farms" – Soviet propaganda poster issued in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
, 1933

The early 1930s saw closer cooperation between the West and the USSR. From 1932 to 1934, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
participated in the World Disarmament Conference . In 1933, diplomatic relations between the United States
United States
and the USSR were established when in November, the newly elected President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt chose to formally recognize Stalin's Communist government and negotiated a new trade agreement between the two nations. In September 1934, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
joined the League of Nations . After the Spanish Civil War
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
Nazi Germany
.

In December 1936, Stalin unveiled a new Soviet Constitution . The constitution was seen as a personal triumph for Stalin, who on this occasion was described by _ Pravda _ as a "genius of the new world, the wisest man of the epoch, the great leader of communism." By contrast, Western historians and historians from former Soviet occupied countries have viewed the constitution as a meaningless propaganda document. Sergei Korolev , the father of the Soviet space program , shortly after his arrest during Stalin's Great Terror

The late 1930s saw a shift towards the Axis powers . In 1939, almost a year after the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and France had concluded the Munich Agreement with Germany, the USSR dealt with the Nazis as well, both militarily and economically during extensive talks . The two countries concluded the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and the German–Soviet Commercial Agreement in August 1939. The nonaggression pact made possible Soviet occupation of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia
Estonia
, Bessarabia, northern Bukovina , and eastern Poland . In late November of the same year, unable to coerce the Republic of Finland
Finland
by diplomatic means into moving its border 25 kilometres (16 mi) back from Leningrad , Joseph Stalin ordered the invasion of Finland
Finland
.

In the east, the Soviet military won several decisive victories during border clashes with the Empire of Japan in 1938 and 1939. However, in April 1941, USSR signed the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact with the Empire of Japan , recognizing the territorial integrity of Manchukuo
Manchukuo
, a Japanese puppet state .

World
World
War II

Main article: Eastern Front (World War II) The Battle of Stalingrad is considered by many historians as a decisive turning point of World
World
War II.

Although it has been debated whether the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
intended to invade Germany once it was strong enough, Germany itself broke the treaty and invaded the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
on 22 June 1941, starting what was known in the USSR as the "Great Patriotic War ". The Red Army
Red Army
stopped the seemingly invincible German Army at the Battle of Moscow
Moscow
, aided by an unusually harsh winter. The Battle of Stalingrad , which lasted from late 1942 to early 1943, dealt a severe blow to the Germans from which they never fully recovered and became a turning point in the war. After Stalingrad, Soviet forces drove through Eastern Europe
Europe
to Berlin before Germany surrendered in 1945 . The German Army suffered 80% of its military deaths in the Eastern Front.

The same year, the USSR, in fulfillment of its agreement with the Allies at the Yalta Conference , denounced the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1945 and invaded Manchukuo
Manchukuo
and other Japan-controlled territories on 9 August 1945. This conflict ended with a decisive Soviet victory, contributing to the unconditional surrender of Japan and the end of World
World
War II. Left to right: Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin , U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
confer in Tehran in 1943 .

The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
suffered greatly in the war, losing around 27 million people . Approximately 2.8 million Soviet POWs died of starvation, mistreatment, or executions in just eight months of 1941–42. During the war, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
together with the United States, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and China
China
were considered as the Big Four of Allied powers in World War II
World War II
and later became the Four Policemen which was the foundation of the United Nations
United Nations
Security Council . It emerged as a superpower in the post-war period. Once denied diplomatic recognition by the Western world, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had official relations with practically every nation by the late 1940s. A member of the United Nations
United Nations
at its foundation in 1945, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
became one of the five permanent members of the United Nations
United Nations
Security Council , which gave it the right to veto any of its resolutions.

The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
maintained its status as one of the world's two superpowers for four decades through its hegemony in Eastern Europe, military strength, economic strength, aid to developing countries , and scientific research, especially in space technology and weaponry.

Cold War

Main article: Cold War

During the immediate postwar period, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
rebuilt and expanded its economy, while maintaining its strictly centralized control . It aided post-war reconstruction in the countries of Eastern Europe, while turning them into satellite states , binding them in a military alliance (the Warsaw Pact ) in 1955, and an economic organization (The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance or Comecon) from 1949 to 1991, the latter a counterpart to the European Economic Community . Later, the Comecon supplied aid to the eventually victorious Communist Party of China
China
, and saw its influence grow elsewhere in the world. Fearing its ambitions, the Soviet Union's wartime allies, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
and the United States, became its enemies. In the ensuing Cold War, the two sides clashed indirectly using mostly proxies.

KHRUSHCHEV ERA

Main article: History of the Soviet Union
History of the Soviet Union
(1953–64) Globe showing the greatest territorial extent of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and states that were dominated politically, economically and/or militarily by it, which was in 1960. This was during the period of time just after the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and just before the official Sino-Soviet split of 1961.

Stalin died on 5 March 1953. Without a mutually agreeable successor, the highest Communist Party officials initially opted to rule the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
jointly through a troika. This did not last, however, and Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
eventually won the power struggle by the mid-1950s. He shortly aftwerward denounced Stalin\'s use of repression in 1956 and proceeded to ease Stalin's repressive controls over party and society. This was known as de-Stalinization . Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
(left) with John F. Kennedy , 3 June 1961

Because Moscow
Moscow
considered Eastern Europe
Europe
to be a critically vital buffer zone for the forward defense of its western borders (in case of another major invasion such as the German invasion of 1940), 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 military force was used to suppress anti-Stalinist uprisings in Hungary and Poland in 1956.

In the late 1950s, a confrontation with China
China
regarding the USSR's rapprochement with the West and what Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
perceived as Khrushchev's revisionism led to the Sino–Soviet split . This resulted in a break throughout the global Marxist–Leninist movement, with the governments in Albania , Cambodia and Somalia choosing to ally with China
China
in place of the USSR.

During this period of the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Soviet Union 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; Alexey 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 cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin , first human to travel into space

Khrushchev
Khrushchev
initiated "The Thaw ", a complex shift in political, cultural and economic life in the Soviet Union. This included some openness and contact with other nations and new social and economic policies with more emphasis on commodity goods, allowing living standards to rise dramatically while maintaining high levels of economic growth. Censorship was relaxed as well.

Khrushchev's reforms in agriculture and administration, however, were generally unproductive. In 1962, he precipitated a crisis with the United States
United States
over the Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba
Cuba
. An agreement was made between the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and the United States to remove enemy nuclear missiles from both Cuba
Cuba
and Turkey
Turkey
, concluding the crisis. This event caused Khrushchev
Khrushchev
much embarrassment and loss of prestige, resulting in his removal from power in 1964.

ERA OF STAGNATION

Main articles: History of the Soviet Union
History of the Soviet Union
(1964–82) , History of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
(1982–91) , and Era of Stagnation

The Era of Stagnation was a period of negative economic, political, and social effects in the Soviet Union, which began during the rule of Leonid Brezhnev and continued under Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko .

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.

In 1968, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and Warsaw Pact allies invaded Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
to halt the Prague Spring
Prague Spring
reforms. In the aftermath, Brezhnev justified the invasion along with the earlier invasions of Eastern European states by introducing the Brezhnev Doctrine , which claimed the right of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
to violate the sovereignty of any country that attempted to replace Marxism–Leninism with capitalism. Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev and US President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
sign the SALT II arms limitation treaty in Vienna
Vienna
on 18 June 1979.

Brezhnev presided over a period of _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.

In October 1977, the third Soviet Constitution was unanimously adopted. The prevailing mood of the Soviet leadership at the time of Brezhnev's death in 1982 was one of aversion to change. The long period of Brezhnev's rule had come to be dubbed one of "standstill", with an aging and ossified top political leadership.

GORBACHEV ERA

Main articles: Cold War (1985–91) , History of the Soviet Union (1982–91) , and 1991 Soviet coup d\'état attempt Mikhail Gorbachev in one-to-one discussions with U.S. President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan

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. Kenneth S. Deffeyes argued in _ Beyond Oil _ that the Reagan administration encouraged Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
to lower the price of oil to the point where the Soviets could not make a profit selling their oil, so the USSR's hard currency reserves became depleted.

Brezhnev's next two successors, transitional figures with deep roots in his tradition, did not last long. Yuri Andropov was 68 years old and Konstantin Chernenko 72 when they assumed power; both died in less than two years. In an attempt to avoid a third short-lived leader, in 1985, the Soviets turned to the next generation and selected Mikhail Gorbachev .

Gorbachev made significant changes in the economy and party leadership, called _perestroika _. His policy of _glasnost _ freed public access to information after decades of heavy government censorship. Reagan and Gorbachev touring Red Square in Moscow during the Moscow
Moscow
Summit , 31 May 1988

Gorbachev also moved to end the Cold War. In 1988, the Soviet Union abandoned its nine-year war in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and began to withdraw its forces. In the late 1980s, he refused military support to the governments of the Soviet Union's satellite states, which paved the way for Revolutions of 1989 . With the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and with East Germany and West Germany pursuing unification, the Iron Curtain between the West and Soviet-controlled regions came down.

In the late 1980s, the constituent republics of the Soviet Union started legal moves towards potentially declaring sovereignty over their territories, citing Article 72 of the USSR constitution, which stated that any constituent republic was free to secede. 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. Many held their first free elections in the Soviet era for their own national legislatures in 1990. Many of these legislatures proceeded to produce legislation contradicting the Union laws in what was known as the "War of Laws ".

In 1989, the Russian SFSR , which was then the largest constituent republic (with about half of the population) convened a newly elected Congress of People's Deputies. Boris Yeltsin was elected its chairman. 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 USSR's laws. After a landslide victory of Sąjūdis in Lithuania, that country declared its independence restored on 11 March 1990.

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 nine republics voting for preservation of the Union. The referendum gave Gorbachev a minor boost. In the summer of 1991, the New Union Treaty , which would have turned the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
into a much looser Union, was agreed upon by eight republics. Boris Yeltsin stands on a tank in Moscow
Moscow
to defy the August Coup , 1991

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
KGB
who sought to reverse Gorbachev's reforms and reassert the central government's control over the republics. After the coup collapsed, Yeltsin was seen as a hero for his decisive actions, while Gorbachev's power was effectively ended. The balance of power tipped significantly towards the republics. In August 1991, Latvia
Latvia
and Estonia
Estonia
immediately declared the restoration of their full independence (following Lithuania's 1990 example). Gorbachev resigned as general secretary in late August, and soon afterward the Party's activities were indefinitely suspended—effectively ending its rule. 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
Russia
in July 1991.

DISSOLUTION

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

The remaining 12 republics continued discussing new, increasingly looser, models of the Union. However, by December, all except Russia and Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
had formally declared independence. During this time, Yeltsin took over what remained of the Soviet government, including the Moscow
Moscow
Kremlin . The final blow was struck on 1 December, when Ukraine, the second most powerful republic, voted overwhelmingly for independence . Ukraine's secession ended any realistic chance of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
staying together even on a limited scale. Changes in national boundaries after the end of the Cold War

On 8 December 1991, the presidents of Russia, Ukraine
Ukraine
and Belarus (formerly Byelorussia), signed the Belavezha Accords
Belavezha Accords
, which declared the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
dissolved and established the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in its place. 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. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned as the President of the USSR, declaring the office extinct. He turned the powers that had been vested in the presidency over to Yeltsin. That night, the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time, and the Russian tricolor was raised in its place.

The following day, the Supreme Soviet , the highest governmental body of the Soviet Union, voted both itself and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
out of existence. This is generally recognized as marking the official, final dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
as a functioning state. The Soviet Army originally remained under overall CIS command, but was soon absorbed into the different military forces of the newly independent states. The few remaining Soviet institutions that had not been taken over by Russia
Russia
ceased to function by the end of 1991.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
on 26 December 1991, Russia
Russia
was internationally recognized as its legal successor on the international stage. To that end, Russia
Russia
voluntarily accepted all Soviet foreign debt and claimed overseas Soviet properties as its own. Under the 1992 Lisbon Protocol , Russia
Russia
also agreed to receive all nuclear weapons remaining in the territory of other former Soviet republics. Since then, the Russian Federation
Russian Federation
has assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations. Ukraine
Ukraine
has refused to recognize exclusive Russian claims to succession of the USSR and claimed such status for Ukraine
Ukraine
as well, which was codified in Articles 7 and 8 of its 1991 law On Legal Succession of Ukraine
Ukraine
. Since its independence in 1991, Ukraine
Ukraine
has continued to pursue claims against Russia
Russia
in foreign courts, seeking to recover its share of the foreign property that was owned by the Soviet Union. Internally displaced Azerbaijanis from Nagorno-Karabakh, 1993

The dissolution of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was followed by a severe economic contraction and catastrophic fall in living standards in post-Soviet states including a rapid increase in poverty, crime, corruption, unemployment, homelessness, rates of disease, and income inequality, along with decreases in calorie intake, life expectancy, adult literacy, and income. Between 1988/1989 and 1993/1995, the Gini ratio increased by an average of 9 points for all former socialist countries. The economic shocks that accompanied wholesale privatization were associated with sharp increases in mortality. Data shows Russia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania
Lithuania
and Estonia
Estonia
saw a tripling of unemployment and a 42% increase in male death rates between 1991 and 1994.

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."

Post-Soviet States

Main article: Post-Soviet states

The analysis of the succession of states with respect to the 15 post-Soviet states is complex. The Russian Federation
Russian Federation
is seen as the legal _continuator_ state and is for most purposes the heir to the Soviet Union. It retained ownership of all former Soviet embassy properties, as well as the old Soviet UN membership and permanent membership on the Security Council .

There are additionally four states that claim independence from the other internationally recognized post-Soviet states, but possess limited international recognition : Abkhazia
Abkhazia
, Nagorno-Karabakh , South Ossetia
South Ossetia
, and Transnistria
Transnistria
. The Chechen separatist movement of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria lacks any international recognition.

POLITICS

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

Part of a series on

MARXISM–LENINISM

_

Concepts

* Anti-imperialism * Anti-revisionism * Commanding heights of the economy * Communist society * Communist state * Democratic centralism * Economic planning * Marxist–Leninist atheism * One-party state * People\'s democracy * Popular front * Proletarian internationalism * Socialist patriotism * Socialist state * Theory of the productive forces
Theory of the productive forces
* Third Period
Third Period
* Vanguardism

Variants

* Guevarism * Ho Chi Minh Thought * Hoxhaism * Husakism * Kadarism * Khrushchevism * Maoism * Marxism–Leninism– Maoism * Prachanda Path * Titoism
Titoism
* Stalinism

People

* Joseph Stalin * Ernst Thälmann * Earl Browder * Gonchigiin Bumtsend * Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
* Abimael Guzmán * José Díaz * Josip Broz Tito * Enver Hoxha * Palmiro Togliatti
Palmiro Togliatti
* Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
* Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
* Che Guevara * Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh
* Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
* Mathieu Kérékou * Agostinho Neto * Samora Machel * Thomas Sankara
Thomas Sankara
* Alfonso Cano

Literature

* Wage Labour and Capital _ * _ Materialism and Empirio-criticism _ * _Imperialism_ (Lenin) * _ What Is to Be Done? _ * _ The State and Revolution _

* Dialectical and Historical Materialism * _Guerrilla Warfare _

* Fundamentals of Marxism–Leninism

History

* October Revolution * Soviet Union * Comintern * Hungarian Soviet Republic * Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
* World War II
World War II
* Warsaw Pact * Greek Civil War * Chinese Revolution * Korean War * Cuban Revolution * De-Stalinization * Non-Aligned Movement * Sino-Soviet split * Vietnam War * Portuguese Colonial War * Black Power movement * Nicaraguan Revolution
Nicaraguan Revolution
* Nepalese Civil War * Naxalite insurgency * Internal conflict in Peru

Related topics

* Bolshevism * Marxism * Leninism * Trotskyism

* Communism
Communism
portal * Socialism
Socialism
portal * Politics portal

* v * t * e

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 ultimate policymaker in the country.

COMMUNIST PARTY

Main article: Communist Party of the Soviet Union

At the top of the Communist Party was the Central Committee , elected at Party Congresses and Conferences. The Central Committee in turn voted for a Politburo (called the Presidium between 1952–1966), Secretariat and the General Secretary (First Secretary from 1953 to 1966), the de facto highest office in the USSR. 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). 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.

The Communist Party maintained its dominance over the state largely through its control over the system of appointments . All senior government officials and most deputies of the Supreme Soviet were members of the CPSU. Of the party heads themselves, Stalin in 1941–1953 and Khrushchev
Khrushchev
in 1958–1964 were Premiers. 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 largely ceremonial position of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet , the nominal head of state . The institutions at lower levels were overseen and at times supplanted by primary party organizations .

In practice, however, 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. Nor was the party itself monolithic from top to bottom, although factions were officially banned.

GOVERNMENT

Main article: Government of the Soviet Union The Grand Kremlin Palace , seat of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union , 1982

The Supreme Soviet (successor of the Congress of Soviets and Central Executive Committee ) 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. However, the powers and functions of the Supreme Soviet were extended in the late 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, including the creation of new state commissions and committees. It gained additional powers relating to the approval of the Five-Year Plans and the Soviet government budget . The Supreme Soviet elected a Presidium 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. 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. Local authorities were organized likewise into party committees , local Soviets and executive committees . While the state system was nominally federal, the party was unitary.

The state security police (the KGB
KGB
and its predecessor agencies) played an important role in Soviet politics. It was instrumental in the Stalinist terror , but after the death of Stalin, the state security police was brought under strict party control. Under Yuri Andropov , KGB
KGB
chairman in 1967–1982 and General Secretary from 1982 to 1983, the KGB
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 party officials in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

SEPARATION OF POWER AND REFORM

Main article: Perestroika Nationalist anti-government riots in Dushanbe
Dushanbe
, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
, 1990

The Union constitutions , which were promulgated in 1918 , 1924 , 1936 and 1977 , did not limit state power. No formal separation of powers existed between the Party, Supreme Soviet and Council of Ministers that represented executive and legislative branches of the government. The system was governed less by statute than by informal conventions, and no settled mechanism of leadership succession existed. Bitter and at times deadly power struggles took place in the Politburo after the deaths of Lenin
Lenin
and Joseph Stalin , as well as after Khrushchev\'s dismissal , itself due to a decision by both the Politburo and the Central Committee. 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.

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. The Congress of People\'s Deputies was established, the majority of whose members were directly elected in competitive elections held in March 1989. The Congress now elected the Supreme Soviet, which became a full-time parliament, much stronger than before. For the first time since the 1920s, it refused to rubber stamp proposals from the party and Council of Ministers. 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.

Tensions grew between the union-wide authorities under Gorbachev, reformists led in Russia
Russia
by Boris Yeltsin and controlling the newly elected Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR , and Communist Party hardliners. On 19–21 August 1991, a group of hardliners staged an abortive coup attempt . Following the failed coup, the State Council of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
became the highest organ of state power "in the period of transition". Gorbachev resigned as General Secretary, only remaining President for the final months of the existence of the USSR.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Main article: Law of the Soviet Union See also: Socialist law

The judiciary was not independent of the other branches of government. 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. The Constitutional Oversight Committee reviewed the constitutionality of laws and acts. The Soviet Union used the inquisitorial system of Roman law , where the judge, procurator , and defense attorney collaborate to establish the truth.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

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

Constitutionally, the USSR was a federation of constituent Union Republics, which were either unitary states, such as Ukraine
Ukraine
or Byelorussia (SSRs), or federal states, such as Russia
Russia
or Transcaucasia (SFSRs), all four being the founding republics who signed the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR in December 1922. In 1924, during the national delimitation in Central Asia, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
and Turkmenistan were formed from parts of the Russia's Turkestan ASSR and two Soviet dependencies, the Khorezm and Bukharan SSRs . In 1929, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
was split off from the Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
SSR. With the constitution of 1936, the Transcaucasian SFSR was dissolved, resulting in its constituent republics of Armenia
Armenia
, Georgia and Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
being elevated to Union Republics, while Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
and Kirghizia were split off from Russian SFSR, resulting in the same status. In August 1940, Moldavia was formed from parts of the Ukraine
Ukraine
and Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina . Estonia
Estonia
, Latvia
Latvia
and Lithuania
Lithuania
(SSRs) were also admitted into the union which was not recognized by most of the international community and was considered an illegal occupation . Karelia was split off from Russia
Russia
as a Union Republic in March 1940 and was reabsorbed in 1956. Between July 1956 and September 1991, there were 15 union republics (see map below).

While nominally a union of equals, in practice the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was dominated by the ethnic Russians
Russians
to such an extent that for most of the Soviet Union's existence, it was commonly (but incorrectly) referred to as "Russia." While the RSFSR was technically only one republic within the larger union, it was by far the largest (both in terms of population and geography), most powerful, and most highly developed. Historian Matthew White wrote that it was an open secret that the Soviet Union's federal structure was "window dressing" for Russian dominance. For that reason, the people of the Soviet Union were usually called "Russians," not "Soviets," since "everyone knew who really ran the show."

THE REPUBLICS OF THE SOVIET UNION (1956–1991)

FLAG REPUBLIC CAPITAL MAP OF THE SOVIET UNION

1

Russian SFSR Moscow
Moscow

2

Ukraine
Ukraine
Kiev
Kiev

3

Byelorussia Minsk
Minsk

4

Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Tashkent

5

Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Alma-Ata

6

Georgia Tbilisi
Tbilisi

7

Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Baku
Baku

8

Lithuania
Lithuania
a Vilnius
Vilnius

9

Moldavia Kishinev

10

Latvia
Latvia
a Riga
Riga

11

Kirghizia Frunze

12

Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Dushanbe
Dushanbe

13

Armenia
Armenia
Yerevan
Yerevan

14

Turkmenia Ashkhabad

15

Estonia
Estonia
a Tallinn
Tallinn

^A The annexation of the Baltic republics in 1940 was illegal occupation by the current Baltic governments and by a number of Western countries, including the United States
United States
, United Kingdom
United Kingdom
, Canada
Canada
, Australia
Australia
and the European Union
European Union
. Their position is supported by the European Union
European Union
, the European Court of Human Rights , the United Nations
United Nations
Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council
and the United States
United States
. The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and the current government of the Russian Federation
Federation
considered the annexation legal, but officially recognized their independence on September 6, 1991, three months prior to its final dissolution.

ECONOMY

Main article: Economy of the Soviet Union
Economy of the Soviet Union
The DneproGES , one of many hydroelectric power stations in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in comparison to other countries by GDP (nominal) per capita in 1965 based on a West-German school book (1971).

> 5,000 DM 2,500 – 5,000 DM 1,000 – 2,500 DM 500 – 1,000 DM 250 – 500 DM < 250 DM

The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
became the first country to adopt a planned economy , whereby production and distribution of goods were centralized and directed by the government. The first Bolshevik
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 the circulation of money, as well as private enterprises and free trade . After the severe economic collapse caused by the war, Lenin
Lenin
replaced War Communism
Communism
with the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1921, legalising free trade and private ownership of smaller businesses. The economy quickly recovered.

Following a lengthy debate among the members of Politburo over the course of economic development, by 1928–1929, upon gaining control of the country , Joseph Stalin abandoned the NEP and pushed for full central planning, starting forced collectivization of agriculture and enacting draconian labor legislation. Resources were mobilized for rapid industrialization , which greatly expanded Soviet capacity in heavy industry and capital goods during the 1930s. Preparation for war was one of the main driving forces behind industrialization, mostly due to distrust of the outside capitalistic world. 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
World War II
. During the war, the Soviet economy and infrastructure suffered massive devastation and required extensive reconstruction. Picking cotton in Armenia
Armenia
in the 1930s

By the early 1940s, the Soviet economy had become relatively self-sufficient ; for most of the period until the creation of Comecon , only a very small share of domestic products was traded internationally. After the creation of the Eastern Bloc , external trade rose rapidly. Still the influence of the world economy on the USSR was limited by fixed domestic prices and a state monopoly on foreign trade . Grain and sophisticated consumer manufactures became major import articles from around the 1960s. 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. At the same time, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
became the largest arms exporter to the Third World
World
. Significant amounts of Soviet resources during the Cold War were allocated in aid to the other socialist states .

From the 1930s until its dissolution in late 1991, the way the Soviet economy operated remained essentially unchanged. The economy was formally directed by central planning , carried out by Gosplan and organized in five-year plans . In practice, however, the plans were highly aggregated and provisional, subject to _ad hoc_ intervention by superiors. All key economic decisions were taken by the political leadership. Allocated resources and plan targets were normally denominated in rubles rather than in physical goods. Credit was discouraged, but widespread. Final allocation of output was achieved through relatively decentralized, unplanned contracting. Although in theory prices were legally set from above, in practice the actual prices were often negotiated, and informal horizontal links (between producer factories etc.) were widespread.

A number of basic services were state-funded, such as education and healthcare. In the manufacturing sector, heavy industry and defense were assigned higher priority than the production of consumer goods . Consumer goods, particularly outside large cities, were often scarce, of poor quality and limited choice. Under command economy, consumers had almost no influence over production, so the changing demands of a population with growing incomes could not be satisfied by supplies at rigidly fixed prices. A massive unplanned second economy grew up alongside the planned one at low levels, providing some of the goods and services that the planners could not. Legalization of some elements of the decentralized economy was attempted with the reform of 1965 . Workers of the Salihorsk potash plant, Belarus
Belarus
, 1968

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. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Soviet economy experienced comparatively high growth and was catching up to the West. 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 increase in capital was only surpassed by Japan).

Overall, between 1960 and 1989, the growth rate of per capita income in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was slightly above the world average (based on 102 countries). According to Stanley Fischer and William Easterly , growth could have been faster. By their calculation, per capita income of Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 1989 should have been twice as high as it was considering the amount of investment, education and population. The authors attribute this poor performance to low productivity of capital in the Soviet Union. Steven Rosenfielde states that the standard of living actually declined as a result of Stalin's despotism, and while there was a brief improvement following his death, lapsed into stagnation.

In 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
tried to reform and revitalize the economy with his program of _perestroika _. His policies relaxed state control over enterprises, but did not yet allow it to be replaced by market incentives, ultimately resulting in a sharp decline in production output. The economy, already suffering from reduced petroleum export revenues , started to collapse. Prices were still fixed, and property was still largely state-owned until after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. For most of the period after World War II
World War II
up to its collapse, the Soviet economy was the second largest in the world by GDP (PPP ), and was 3rd in the world during the middle of the 1980s to 1989, though in per capita terms the Soviet GDP was behind that of the First World
World
countries. When compared to countries who had a similar GDP per capita to the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 1928, the Soviets experienced significant growth.

In 1990, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had a Human Development Index
Human Development Index
of 0.920, placing them in the "high" category of human development. They had the third highest in the Eastern Bloc , behind Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
and East Germany , and the twenty-fifth highest in the world out of one hundred-thirty countries in total.

ENERGY

Main article: Energy policy of the Soviet Union Soviet stamp depicting the 30th anniversary of the International Atomic Energy Agency , published in 1987, a year following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster

The need for fuel declined in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
from the 1970s to the 1980s, both per ruble of gross social product and per ruble of industrial product. At the start, this decline grew very rapidly but gradually slowed down between 1970 and 1975. From 1975 and 1980, it grew even slower, only 2.6 percent. David Wilson, a historian, believed that the gas industry would account for 40 percent of Soviet fuel production by the end of the century. His theory did not come to fruition because of the USSR's collapse. The USSR, in theory, would have continued to have an economic growth rate of 2–2.5 percent during the 1990s because of Soviet energy fields. However, the energy sector faced many difficulties, among them the country's high military expenditure and hostile relations with the First World
World
(pre-Gorbachev era ).

In 1991, the Soviet Union
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. Petroleum
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. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
heavily relied on fossil fuel exports to earn hard currency . At its peak in 1988, it was the largest producer and second largest exporter of crude oil, surpassed only by Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Main article: Science and technology in the Soviet Union Soviet stamp showing the orbit of Sputnik 1

The Soviet Union
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. Lenin
Lenin
believed that the USSR would never overtake the developed world if it remained as technologically backward as it was upon its founding. Soviet authorities proved their commitment to Lenin's belief by developing massive networks, research and development organizations. In the early 1960s, the Soviets awarded 40% of chemistry PhDs to women, compared to only 5% who received such a degree in the United States. 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. Due to rigid state planning and bureaucracy , the Soviets remained far behind technologically in chemistry, biology, and computers when compared to the First World
World
.

Project Socrates , under the Reagan administration , determined that the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
addressed the acquisition of science and technology in a manner that was radically different from what the US was using. 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. In contrast, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
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. However, in addition, the Soviet Union's technology-based planning was executed in a centralized, government-centric manner that greatly hindered its flexibility. It was this significant lack of flexibility that was exploited by the US to undermine the strength of the Soviet Union and thus foster its reform.

TRANSPORT

Main article: Transport in the Soviet Union Aeroflot
Aeroflot
's flag during the Soviet era

Transport was a key component of the nation's economy. 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
Aeroflot
, an aviation enterprise . The country had a wide variety of modes of transport by land, water and air. However, due to bad maintenance, much of the road, water and Soviet civil aviation transport were outdated and technologically backward compared to the First World.

Soviet rail transport was the largest and most intensively used in the world; it was also better developed than most of its Western counterparts. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, Soviet economists were calling for the construction of more roads to alleviate some of the burden from the railways and to improve the Soviet government budget . The street network and automotive industry remained underdeveloped, and dirt roads were common outside major cities. Soviet maintenance projects proved unable to take care of even the few roads the country had. By the early-to-mid-1980s, the Soviet authorities tried to solve the road problem by ordering the construction of new ones. Meanwhile, the automobile industry was growing at a faster rate than road construction. The underdeveloped road network led to a growing demand for public transport.

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

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

DEMOGRAPHICS

Main article: Demographics of the Soviet Union Population of the USSR (red) and the post-Soviet states (blue) from 1961 to 2009. And projection (dotted blue) 2010 to 2100.

Excess deaths over the course of World
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. The postwar Soviet population was 45 to 50 million smaller than it would have been if pre-war demographic growth had continued. According to Catherine Merridale , "... reasonable estimate would place the total number of excess deaths for the whole period somewhere around 60 million."

The birth rate of the USSR decreased from 44.0 per thousand in 1926 to 18.0 in 1974, largely due to increasing urbanization and the rising average age of marriages. The mortality rate demonstrated a gradual decrease as well – from 23.7 per thousand in 1926 to 8.7 in 1974. In general, the birth rates of the southern republics in Transcaucasia and Central Asia
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
World War II
period, a phenomenon partly attributed to slower rates of urbanization and traditionally earlier marriages in the southern republics. Soviet Europe
Europe
moved towards sub-replacement fertility , while Soviet Central Asia
Asia
continued to exhibit population growth well above replacement-level fertility.

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
Russia
and other predominantly Slavic areas of the country. 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. The infant mortality rate increased from 24.7 in 1970 to 27.9 in 1974. Some researchers regarded the rise as largely real, a consequence of worsening health conditions and services. The rises in both adult and infant mortality were not explained or defended by Soviet officials, and the Soviet government simply stopped publishing all mortality statistics for ten years. 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.

EDUCATION

Main article: Education in the Soviet Union Soviet pupils in Milovice , Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
(now Czech Republic
Czech Republic
), 1985

Anatoly Lunacharsky
Anatoly Lunacharsky
became the first People\'s Commissar for Education of Soviet Russia. At the beginning, the Soviet authorities placed great emphasis on the elimination of illiteracy . People who were literate were automatically hired as teachers. For a short period, quality was sacrificed for quantity. By 1940, Joseph Stalin could announce that illiteracy had been eliminated. Throughout the 1930s social mobility rose sharply, which has been attributed to Soviet reforms in education. In the aftermath of the Great Patriotic War, the country's educational system expanded dramatically. This expansion had a tremendous effect. In the 1960s, nearly all Soviet children had access to education, the only exception being those living in remote areas. Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
tried to make education more accessible, making it clear to children that education was closely linked to the needs of society. Education also became important in giving rise to the New Man . Citizens directly entering the work force had the constitutional right to a job and to free vocational training .

The country\'s system of education was highly centralized and universally accessible to all citizens, with affirmative action for applicants from nations associated with cultural backwardness . 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. The Brezhnev era also introduced a rule that required all university applicants to present a reference from the local Komsomol party secretary. 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 U.S.

ETHNIC GROUPS

People in Samarkand
Samarkand
, Uzbek SSR, 1981 Svaneti man in Mestia , Georgian SSR, 1929

The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was a very ethnically diverse country, with more than 100 distinct ethnic groups. The total population was estimated at 293 million in 1991. According to a 1990 estimate, the majority were Russians
Russians
(50.78%), followed by Ukrainians (15.45%) and Uzbeks (5.84%).

All citizens of the USSR had their own ethnic affiliation. The ethnicity of a person was chosen at the age of sixteen by the child's parents. If the parents did not agree, the child was automatically assigned the ethnicity of the father. 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 . Some ethnic groups voluntarily assimilated, while others were brought in by force. Russians, Belarusians
Belarusians
, and Ukrainians shared close cultural ties, while other groups did not. With multiple nationalities living in the same territory, ethnic antagonisms developed over the years.

*

Ethnographic map of the Soviet Union, 1941 *

Number and share of Ukrainians in the population of the regions of the RSFSR (1926 census ) *

Number and share of Ukrainians in the population of the regions of the RSFSR (1979 census) *

Map showing the distribution of Muslims within the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 1979

HEALTH

Main article: Health care in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
An early Soviet-era poster discouraging unsafe abortion practices

In 1917, before the revolution, health conditions were significantly behind those of developed countries. As Lenin
Lenin
later noted, "Either the lice will defeat socialism, or socialism will defeat the lice". The Soviet principle of health care was conceived by the People\'s Commissariat for Health in 1918. Health care was to be controlled by the state and would be provided to its citizens free of charge, this at the time being a revolutionary concept. 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. Before Leonid Brezhnev became General Secretary, the healthcare system of the Soviet Union was held in high esteem by many foreign specialists. This changed however, from Brezhnev's accession and Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
's tenure as leader, the Soviet health care system was heavily criticized for many basic faults, such as the quality of service and the unevenness in its provision. Minister of Health Yevgeniy Chazov , during the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union , while highlighting such Soviet 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.

After the socialist revolution, the life expectancy for all age groups went up. This statistic in itself was seen by some that the socialist system was superior to the capitalist system . These improvements continued into the 1960s, when the life expectancy in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
surpassed that of the United States. It remained stable during most years, although in the 1970s, it went down slightly, possibly because of alcohol abuse . At the same time, infant mortality began to rise. After 1974, the government stopped publishing statistics on this. This trend can be partly explained by the number of pregnancies rising drastically in the Asian part of the country where infant mortality was highest, while declining markedly in the more developed European part of the Soviet Union. The USSR had several centers of excellence, such as the Fyodorov Eye Microsurgery Complex , founded in 1988 by Russian eye surgeon Svyatoslav Fyodorov .

LANGUAGE

Main article: Languages of the Soviet Union

The Soviet government headed by Vladimir Lenin gave small language groups their own writing systems. The development of these writing systems was very successful, even though some flaws were detected. During the later days of the USSR, countries with the same multilingual situation implemented similar policies. A serious problem when creating these writing systems was that the languages differed dialectally greatly from each other. When a language had been given a writing system and appeared in a notable publication, that language would attain "official language" status. There were many minority languages which never received their own writing system; therefore their speakers were forced to have a second language . There are examples where the Soviet government retreated from this policy, most notable under Stalin's regime, where education was discontinued in languages which were not widespread enough. These languages were then assimilated into another language, mostly Russian. During the Great Patriotic War , some minority languages were banned, and their speakers accused of collaborating with the enemy.

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.

RELIGION

Main article: Religion in the Soviet Union The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour , Moscow
Moscow
, during its demolition in 1931

Christianity
Christianity
and Islam
Islam
had the greatest number of adherents among the Soviet state's religious citizens. Eastern Christianity
Christianity
predominated among Christians, with Russia's traditional Russian Orthodox Church being the Soviet Union's largest Christian denomination . About 90 percent of the Soviet Union's Muslims were Sunnis , with Shias concentrated in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
. Smaller groups included Roman Catholics , Jews , Buddhists , and a variety of Protestant denominations.

Religious influence had been strong in the Russian Empire. The Russian Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church
enjoyed a privileged status as the church of the monarchy and took part in carrying out official state functions. 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 .

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 . 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.

The 1918 Council of People\'s Commissars decree establishing the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) as a secular state also decreed that "the teaching of religion in all where subjects of general instruction are taught, is forbidden. Citizens may teach and may be taught religion privately." Among further restrictions, those adopted in 1929, a half-decade into Stalin's rule, included express prohibitions on a range of church activities, including meetings for organized Bible study . Both Christian and non-Christian establishments were shut down by the thousands in the 1920s and 1930s. By 1940, as many as 90 percent of the churches, synagogues, and mosques that had been operating in 1917 were closed. Soviet stamp: Saint Sophia\'s Cathedral, Kiev
Kiev
and statue of Bohdan Khmelnytsky , 1989

Convinced that religious anti-Sovietism had become a thing of the past with most Soviet Christians, and with the looming threat of war, the Stalin regime began shifting to a more moderate religion policy in the late 1930s. Soviet religious establishments overwhelmingly rallied to support the war effort during the Soviet war with Nazi Germany . Amid other accommodations to religious faith after Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, churches were reopened, Radio Moscow
Moscow
began broadcasting a religious hour, and a historic meeting between Stalin and Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Sergius of Moscow was held in 1943. Stalin had the support of the majority of the religious people in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
even through the late 1980s. The general tendency of this period was an increase in religious activity among believers of all faiths.

The Soviet establishment under General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
's 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. 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. The number of working mosques also declined, falling from 1,500 to 500 within a decade.

Religious institutions remained monitored by the Soviet government, but churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques were all given more leeway in the Brezhnev era . Official relations between the Orthodox Church and the Soviet 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 . A poll conducted by Soviet authorities in 1982 recorded 20 percent of the Soviet population as "active religious believers."

CULTURE

Main article: Culture of the Soviet Union See also: Soviet cuisine and Fashion in the Soviet Union The _Enthusiast's March_, a 1930s song famous in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
Soviet singer-songwriter, poet, and actor Vladimir Vysotsky
Vladimir Vysotsky
in 1979 Young Pioneers in the second building of the Moscow railway Museum , 1984.

The culture of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
passed through several stages during the USSR's 69-year existence. During the first eleven years following the Revolution (1918–1929), there was relative freedom and artists experimented with several different styles to find a distinctive Soviet style of art. Lenin
Lenin
wanted art to be accessible to the Russian people. On the other hand, hundreds of intellectuals, writers, and artists were exiled or executed, and their work banned, for example Nikolay Gumilyov (shot for alleged conspiring against the Bolshevik regime) and Yevgeny Zamyatin
Yevgeny Zamyatin
(banned).

The government encouraged a variety of trends. In art and literature, numerous schools, some traditional and others radically experimental, proliferated. Communist writers Maxim Gorky
Maxim Gorky
and Vladimir Mayakovsky were active during this time. Film, as a means of influencing a largely illiterate society, received encouragement from the state; much of director Sergei Eisenstein
Sergei Eisenstein
's best work dates from this period.

Later, during Stalin's rule, 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, for example Mikhail Bulgakov 's works. Many writers were imprisoned and killed.

Following the Khrushchev Thaw of the late 1950s and early 1960s, censorship was diminished. During this time, a distinctive period of Soviet culture developed characterized by conformist public life and intense focus on personal life. Greater experimentation in art forms were again permissible, with the result that more sophisticated and subtly critical work began to be produced. The regime loosened its emphasis on socialist realism; thus, for instance, many protagonists of the novels of author Yury Trifonov
Yury Trifonov
concerned themselves with problems of daily life rather than with building socialism. An underground dissident literature, known as _samizdat _, developed during this late period. In architecture the Khrushchev
Khrushchev
era mostly focused on functional design as opposed to the highly decorated style of Stalin's epoch.

In the second half of the 1980s, Gorbachev's policies of _perestroika _ and _glasnost _ significantly expanded freedom of expression throughout the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in the media border:solid #aaa 1px">

* Soviet Union
Soviet Union
portal * Communism
Communism
portal * Russia
Russia
portal

* Soviet Empire * Neo-Sovietism * Eurasian Economic Union
Eurasian Economic Union
* Commonwealth of Independent States * Collective Security Treaty Organization
Collective Security Treaty Organization
* Index of Soviet Union-related articles * Orphans in the Soviet Union

NOTES

* ^ Ukrainian : рада (_rada _); Polish : _rada_; Belarusian : савет; Uzbek : _совет_; Kazakh : совет/кеңес; Georgian : საბჭოთა; Azerbaijani : _совет_; Lithuanian : _taryba_; Moldovan : совиет; Latvian : _padome_; Kyrgyz : совет; Tajik : шӯравӣ/совет; Armenian : խորհուրդ / սովետ; Turkmen : совет; Estonian : _nõukogu_

* ^ Part III of the 1977 Soviet Constitution "THE NATIONAL-STATE STRUCTURE OF THE USSR"

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of Horrible Things _. W. W. Norton . p. 368. ISBN 9780393081923 . * ^ The Occupation of Latvia
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at Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia * ^ Estonia
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by the EU * ^ European Court of Human Rights
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* ^ European parliament : Resolution on the situation in Estonia, Latvia
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Bank . Retrieved 23 October 2010. * ^ Rosefielde, Steven (1996). " Stalinism in Post-Communist Perspective: New Evidence on Killings, Forced Labour and Economic Growth in the 1930s". _Europe- Asia
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Studies_. Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 48 (6): 956–987. JSTOR 152635 . The new evidence shows that administrative command planning and Stalin's forced industrialization strategies failed in the 1930s and beyond. The economic miracle chronicled in official hagiographies and until recently faithfully recounted in Western textbooks has no basis in fact. It is the statistical artefact not of index number relativity (the Gerschenkron effect) but of misapplying to the calculation of growth cost prices that do not accurately measure competitive value. The standard of living declined during the 1930s in response to Stalin's despotism, and after a brief improvement following his death, lapsed into stagnation. Glasnost and post-communist revelations interpreted as a whole thus provide no basis for Getty, Rittersporn & Zemskov's relatively favourable characterization of the methods, economic achievements and human costs of Stalinism. The evidence demonstrates that the suppression of markets and the oppression of vast segments of the population were economically counterproductive and humanly calamitous, just as anyone conversant with classical economic theory should have expected. * ^ Central Intelligence Agency
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* ^ Central Intelligence Agency
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Had a Better Record of Training Women in STEM Than America Does Today. _Smithsonian.com ._ Retrieved 26 June 2014. * ^ MacFarland, Margo (3 May 1990). "Global Tech Strategies Brought to U.S". _Washington Technology_. * ^ Deckert, R.A. (10 October 1990). "The science of uncovering industrial information". _Business Journal of the Treasure Coast_. * ^ "U.S. Firms Must Trade Short-Term Gains for Long-Term Technology Planning". _Inside the Pentagon_. 7 March 1991. * ^ Highman, Robert D.S.; Greenwood, John T.; Hardesty, Von (1998). _Russian Aviation and Air Power in the Twentieth Century_. Routledge. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-7146-4784-5 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Wilson 1983 , p. 205 * ^ Wilson 1983 , p. 201 * ^ Ambler, Shaw and Symons 1985, p. 166–67. * ^ Ambler, Shaw and Symons 1985, p. 168. * ^ Ambler, Shaw and Symons 1985, p. 165. * ^ _A_ _B_ Ambler, Shaw and Symons 1985, p. 167. * ^ Ambler, Shaw and Symons 1985, p. 169. * ^ International Monetary Fund and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 1991, p. 56. * ^ Mark Harrison (18 July 2002). _Accounting for War: Soviet Production, Employment, and the Defence Burden, 1940–1945_. Cambridge University Press. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-521-89424-1 . * ^ Jay Winter; Emmanuel Sivan (2000). _War and Remembrance in the Twentieth Century_. Cambridge University Press. p. 64. ISBN 0521794366 . * ^ Government of the USSR (1977). Большая советская энциклопедия (IN RUSSIAN). 24. Moscow: State Committee for Publishing . p. 15. * ^ Anderson, Barbara A. (1990). _Growth and Diversity of the Population of the Soviet Union_. 510. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. pp. 155–77. * ^ Vallin, J.; Chesnais, J.C. (1970). _Recent Developments of Mortality in Europe, English-Speaking Countries and the Soviet Union, 1960–1970_. 29. Population Studies. pp. 861–898. * ^ Ryan, Michael (28 May 1988). _Life Expectancy and Mortality Data from the Soviet Union_. _ British Medical Journal _. 296. p. 1,513–1515. * ^ Davis, Christopher; Feshbach, Murray . _Rising Infant Mortality in the USSR in the 1970s_. Washington, D.C.: United States
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Census Bureau. p. 95. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link ) * ^ Krimins, Juris (3–7 December 1990). _The Changing Mortality Patterns in Latvia, Lithuania
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and Estonia: Experience of the Past Three Decades_. Paper presented at the International Conference on Health, Morbidity and Mortality by Cause of Death in Europe. * ^ Sheila Fitzpatrick , _Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union
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1921–1934_, Cambridge University Press (16 May 2002), ISBN 0521894239 * ^ Law, David A. (1975). _Russian Civilization_. Ardent Media. pp. 300–1. ISBN 0-8422-0529-2 . * ^ Mikhail Shifman , ed. (2005). _You Failed Your Math Test, Comrade Einstein: Adventures and Misadventures of Young Mathematicians Or Test Your Skills in Almost Recreational Mathematics_. World Scientific. * ^ Edward Frenkel (October 2012). "The Fifth problem: math & anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union". _The New Criterion_. * ^ Dominic Lawson (11 October 2011). "More migrants please, especially the clever ones". _ The Independent
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_. London. * ^ Andre Geim (2010). "Biographical". Nobelprize.org. * ^ Shlapentokh, Vladimir (1990). _Soviet Intellectuals and Political Power: The Post-Stalin Era_. I.B. Tauris . p. 26. ISBN 978-1-85043-284-5 . * ^ Pejovich, Svetozar (1990). _The Economics of Property Rights: Towards a Theory of Comparative Systems_. Springer Science+Business Media . p. 130. ISBN 978-0-7923-0878-2 . * ^ Central Intelligence Agency
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BIBLIOGRAPHY

* Ambler, John; Shaw, Denis J.B.; Symons, Leslie (1985). _Soviet and East European Transport Problems_. Taylor & Francis . ISBN 978-0-7099-0557-8 . * Comrie, Bernard (1981). _The Languages of the Soviet Union_. Cambridge University Press (CUP) Archive . ISBN 978-0-521-29877-3 . * Fischer, Louis (1964). _The Life of Lenin_. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. * Janz, Denis (1998). _ World
World
Christianity
Christianity
and Marxism_. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-511944-2 . * Lane, David Stuart (1992). _Soviet Society under Perestroika_. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-07600-5 . * Leggett, George (1981). _The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police_. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-822552-2 . * Lewin, Moshe (1969). _Lenin's Last Struggle_. Translated by Sheridan Smith, A. M. London: Faber and Faber. * Rayfield, Donald (2004). _Stalin and His Hangmen: An Authoritative Portrait of a Tyrant and Those Who Served Him _. Viking Press . ISBN 978-0-375-75771-6 . * Service, Robert (2000). _Lenin: A Biography _. London: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-333-72625-9 . * Simon, Gerard (1974). _Church, State, and Opposition in the U.S.S.R._ Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-02612-4 . * Volkogonov, Dmitri (1994). _Lenin: Life and Legacy_. Translated by Shukman, Harold . London: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-255123-6 . * White, James D. (2001). _Lenin: The Practice and Theory of Revolution_. European History in Perspective. Basingstoke, England: Palgrave. ISBN 978-0-333-72157-5 . * Wilson, David (1983). _The Demand for Energy
Energy
in the Soviet Union_. Taylor & Francis . ISBN 978-0-7099-2704-4 . * World
World
Bank and OECD (1991). _A Study of the Soviet economy_. 3. International Monetary Fund . ISBN 9789264134683 . * Palat, Madhavan K. (2001). _Social Identities in Revolutionary Russia_. UK: Palgrave. ISBN 978-0-333-92947-6 . Retrieved 26 May 2012.

* Warshofsky Lapidus, Gail (1978). _Women in Soviet Society: Equality, Development, and Social Change_. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press . ISBN 978-0-520-03938-4 .

FURTHER READING

See also: List of primary and secondary sources on the Cold War

SURVEYS

* _A Country
Country
Study: Soviet Union
Soviet Union
(Former)_. Library of Congress Country
Country
Studies , 1991. * Brown, Archie, et al., eds.: _The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Russia and the Soviet Union_ (Cambridge University Press, 1982). * Gilbert, Martin. _Routledge Atlas of Russian History_ (4th ed. 2007) excerpt and text search * Gorodetsky, Gabriel, ed. _Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917–1991: A Retrospective_ (2014) * Grant, Ted. _Russia, from Revolution to Counter-Revolution_, London, Well Red Publications, 1997 * Hosking, Geoffrey. _The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
from Within_ (2nd ed. Harvard UP 1992) 570pp * Howe, G. Melvyn: _The Soviet Union: A Geographical Survey_ 2nd. edn. (Estover, UK: MacDonald and Evans, 1983). * Kort, Michael. _The Soviet Colossus: History and Aftermath_ (7th ed. 2010) 502pp * McCauley, Martin. _The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union_ (2007), 522 pages. * Moss, Walter G. _A History of Russia_. Vol. 2: Since 1855. 2d ed. Anthem Press, 2005. * Nove, Alec . _An Economic History of the USSR, 1917–1991_. (3rd ed. 1993) * Pipes, Richard. _Communism: A History_ (2003) * Service, Robert. _A History of Twentieth-Century Russia_. (2nd ed. 1999)

LENIN AND LENINISM

* Clark, Ronald W. _Lenin_ (1988). 570 pp. * Debo, Richard K. _Survival and Consolidation: The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia, 1918–1921_ (1992). * Marples, David R. _Lenin's Revolution: Russia, 1917–1921_ (2000) 156pp. short survey * Pipes, Richard. _A Concise History of the Russian Revolution_ (1996) excerpt and text search, by a leading conservative * Pipes, Richard. _ Russia
Russia
under the Bolshevik
Bolshevik
Regime._ (1994). 608 pp. * Service, Robert. _Lenin: A Biography_ (2002), 561pp; standard scholarly biography; a short version of his 3 vol detailed biography * Volkogonov, Dmitri. _Lenin: Life and Legacy_ (1994). 600 pp.

STALIN AND STALINISM

* Daniels, R. V., ed. _The Stalin Revolution_ (1965) * Davies, Sarah, and James Harris, eds. _Stalin: A New History,_ (2006), 310pp, 14 specialized essays by scholars excerpt and text search * De Jonge, Alex. _Stalin and the Shaping of the Soviet Union_ (1986) * Fitzpatrick, Sheila, ed. _Stalinism: New Directions,_ (1999), 396pp excerpts from many scholars on the impact of Stalinism on the people (little on Stalin himself) online edition * Fitzpatrick, Sheila. "Impact of the Opening of Soviet Archives on Western Scholarship on Soviet Social History." _Russian Review_ 74#3 (2015): 377–400; historiography * Hoffmann, David L. ed. _Stalinism: The Essential Readings,_ (2002) essays by 12 scholars * Laqueur, Walter. _Stalin: The Glasnost Revelations_ (1990) * Kershaw, Ian, and Moshe Lewin. _ Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison_ (2004) excerpt and text search * Lee, Stephen J. _Stalin and the Soviet Union_ (1999) online edition * Lewis, Jonathan. _Stalin: A Time for Judgement_ (1990) * McNeal, Robert H. _Stalin: Man and Ruler_ (1988) * Martens, Ludo. _Another view of Stalin_ (1994), a highly favorable view from a Maoist historian * Service, Robert. _Stalin: A Biography_ (2004), along with Tucker the standard biography * Trotsky, Leon. _Stalin: An Appraisal of the Man and His Influence,_ (1967), an interpretation by Stalin's worst enemy * Tucker, Robert C. _Stalin as Revolutionary, 1879–1929_ (1973); _Stalin in Power: The Revolution from Above, 1929–1941._ (1990) online edition with Service, a standard biography; online at ACLS e-books

WORLD WAR II

* Barber, John, and Mark Harrison. _The Soviet Home Front: A Social and Economic History of the USSR in World
World
War II,_ Longman, 1991. * Bellamy, Chris. _Absolute War: Soviet Russia
Russia
in the Second World War_ (2008), 880pp excerpt and text search * Berkhoff, Karel C. _Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine Under Nazi Rule._ Harvard U. Press, 2004. 448 pp. * Berkhoff, Karel C. _Motherland in Danger: Soviet Propaganda
Propaganda
during World
World
War II_ (2012) excerpt and text search covers both propaganda and reality of homefront conditions * Braithwaite, Rodric. _ Moscow
Moscow
1941: A City and Its People at War_ (2006) * Broekmeyer, Marius. _Stalin, the Russians, and Their War, 1941–1945._ 2004. 315 pp. * Dallin, Alexander. _Odessa, 1941–1944: A Case Study of Soviet Territory under Foreign Rule._ Portland: Int. Specialized Book Service, 1998. 296 pp. * Kucherenko, Olga. _Little Soldiers: How Soviet Children Went to War, 1941–1945_ (2011) excerpt and text search * Overy, Richard. _Russia's War: A History of the Soviet Effort: 1941–1945_ (1998) 432pp excerpt and txt search * Overy, Richard. _Russia's War: A History of the Soviet Effort: 1941–1945_ (1998) excerpt and text search * Roberts, Geoffrey. _Stalin's Wars: From World
World
War to Cold War, 1939–1953_ (2006). * Schofield, Carey, ed. _Russian at War, 1941–1945_. Text by Georgii Drozdov and Evgenii Ryabko, introd. by Vladimir Karpov pref. by Harrison E. Salisbury, ed. by Carey Schofield. New York: Vendome Press, 1987. 256 p., copiously ill. with b Meslé, France; Adamets, Serguei; and Pyrozhkov, Serhii. "A New Estimate of Ukrainian Population Losses During the Crises of the 1930s and 1940s." _Population Studies_ (2002) 56(3): 249–264. in JSTOR Reports life expectancy at birth fell to a level as low as ten years for females and seven for males in 1933 and plateaued around 25 for females and 15 for males in the period 1941–44.

COLD WAR

* Brzezinski, Zbigniew. _The Grand Failure: The Birth and Death of Communism
Communism
in the Twentieth Century_ (1989) * Edmonds, Robin. _Soviet Foreign Policy: The Brezhnev Years_ (1983) * Goncharov, Sergei, John Lewis and Litai Xue, _Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao and the Korean War_ (1993) excerpt and text search * Gorlizki, Yoram, and Oleg Khlevniuk. _Cold Peace: Stalin and the Soviet Ruling Circle, 1945–1953_ (2004) online edition * Holloway, David. _Stalin and the Bomb: The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
and Atomic Energy, 1939–1956_ (1996) excerpt and text search * Mastny, Vojtech . _Russia's Road to the Cold War: Diplomacy, Warfare, and the Politics of Communism, 1941–1945_ (1979) * Mastny, Vojtech . _The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity: The Stalin Years_ (1998) excerpt and text search; online complete edition * Nation, R. Craig. _Black Earth, Red Star: A History of Soviet Security Policy, 1917–1991_ (1992) * Sivachev, Nikolai and Nikolai Yakolev, _ Russia
Russia
and the United States_ (1979), by Soviet historians * Taubman, William . _Khrushchev: The Man and His Era _ (2004), Pulitzer Prize; excerpt and text search * Ulam, Adam B. _Expansion and Coexistence: Soviet Foreign Policy, 1917–1973_, 2nd ed. (1974) * Zubok, Vladislav M. _Inside the Kremlin's Cold War_ (1996) 20% excerpt and online search * Zubok, Vladislav M. _A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev_ (2007)

COLLAPSE

* Beschloss, Michael, and Strobe Talbott. _At the Highest Levels:The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War_ (1993) * Bialer, Seweryn and Michael Mandelbaum, eds. _Gorbachev's Russia and American Foreign Policy_ (1988). * Carrère d'Encausse, Hélène. _Decline of an Empire: the Soviet Socialist Republics in Revolt_. First English language ed. New York: Newsweek Books (1979). 304 p. _N.B_.: Trans. of the author's _L'Empire éclaté_. ISBN 0-88225-280-1 * Garthoff, Raymond. _The Great Transition: American–Soviet Relations and the End of the Cold War_ (1994), detailed narrative * Grachev, A.S. _Gorbachev's Gamble: Soviet Foreign Policy and the End of the Cold War_ (2008) excerpt and text search * Hogan, Michael ed. _The End of the Cold War. Its Meaning and Implications_ (1992) articles from _Diplomatic History_ * Roger Keeran and Thomas Keeny. _ Socialism
Socialism
Betrayed: Behind the Collapse of the Soviet Union_, International Publishers Co Inc., U.S. 2004 * Kotkin, Stephen. _Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970–2000_ (2008) excerpt and text search * Matlock, Jack. _Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador's Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union_ (1995) * Pons, S., Romero, F., _Reinterpreting the End of the Cold War: Issues, Interpretations, Periodizations_, (2005) ISBN 0-7146-5695-X * Remnick, David. _Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire_, (1994), ISBN 0-679-75125-4 * Solzhenitsyn, Aleksandr. _Rebuilding Russia: Reflections and Tentative Proposals_, trans. and annotated by Alexis Klimoff. First ed. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1991. _N.B_.: Also discusses the other national constituents of the U.S.S.R. ISBN 0-374-17342-7

SPECIALTY STUDIES

* Armstrong, John A. _The Politics of Totalitarianism: The Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
from 1934 to the Present._ New York: Random House, 1961. * Katz, Zev, ed.: _Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities_ (New York: Free Press, 1975). * Moore, Jr., Barrington. _Soviet politics: the dilemma of power._ Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1950. * Rizzi, Bruno: _The Bureaucratization of the World: The First English edition of the Underground Marxist Classic That Analyzed Class Exploitation in the USSR_, New York, NY: Free Press, 1985. * Schapiro, Leonard B. _The Origin of the Communist Autocracy: Political Opposition in the Soviet State, First Phase 1917–1922._ Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1955, 1966.

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