Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR or U.S.S.R Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик, CCCP C.C.C.P romanized as- Soyuz Sovietskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik) often shorten to Soviet Union (Russian: Советский Союз, romanized as- Sovietsky Soyuz), was a Communist country spanning the European and Asian continents, from the Baltic and Black seas in the West to the Okhotsk sea in the East and the Caspian Sea to the south.
Soviet Union has an area of 8,649,538 sq mi (22,402,200 km2) and a population of 293,047,571. The average density is caculated to be ~ 33.9 /sq mi (13.9/km2).
It consisted of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics (soyuznye respubliki) from 1956 until its end. Its government and economy was highly centralised.
After defeating the Provisional Government of Russia, anarchists, cossaks, Mechavicks and anti-communists; the Bolsheviks unified the Russian, Byelorussian, Irkusk, Amur, Ukrainian, Bukhara and Transcaucasian SSRs.
After Lenin had died, Stalin struggled with his political rivals to come to power and started a rapid state planned industrialisation of the country.
After Stalin's death in 1953, the Soviet Union went under a process of de-Stalinization under Nikita Khrushchev, and achieved many notable successes.
After Nikita Khrushchev was removed from office, due to a reform that introduced collective leadership, subsequent leaders (Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko) did not have much power, and when Mikhail Gorbachev acceded to the position, the Soviet Union has already falling into a crisis.
He tried to reform politics and the econamy, but faced opposition from both the people and the party. Yet, he created the opportunity for the republics to proclaim independence, and the Soviet Union eventually fell under the leadership of Vladimir Ivashko.
The Lenin eraEdit
After taking over Russia and forming the USSR they began to spread communism, in to neighboring states. The Bolsheviks helped in the creation of the short lived Braverian-Munich SSR of 1919 and the long term take over of Mongolia by communists in 1924.
Both Bukhora (mostly in today's Uzbekistan) and Tanu Tuva (in Siberia directly nort west of Mongolia) became communist states under Bolshevik influence in the early 1920's as well. Bukhara soon joins the USSR.
The Stalin eraEdit
Field Marshal Joseph Stalin sign the Molotov - Ribbentrop Pact which led to occupation of Western Poland (now part of Belarus and Ukraine), the Baltic states, some Romanian districts and Finland’s the Karelian province. The locals either fled abroad, slavishly obeyed government orders or were moved to Gulag prison and/or labour concentration camps.
The USSR fought a bloody war with Nazi Germany after the Nazis invaded the USSR in 1941. The Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 as the Soviets and now successor states call it, killed about 25,000,000 Soviets, 3,000,000 Germans, 250,000 Romanians and 150,000 Hungarians by it's end. The USSR was so traumatised and fearful that it thought only the occupation of neighboring states like Poland and treating penitential threats like the USA was the only way could their stop a new invasion of the nation. The Baltic states were formally annexed to the USSR to Anglo-French disgust.
Tannu Tuva SSR joined the USSR in 1944.
Between 1945 and 1948, communist governments were set up as puppet and client regimes in Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Poland, East Germany (Yugoslavia and Albania already got an interim communist government before the war's end). Stalin, who was clinically paranoid by this time, finally died in 1953.
The Soviets retained garrison troops throughout the territories they had occupied. During The Cold War saw these states formed the Warsaw Pact and Comecon, have continuing political and military tensions with the capitalist NATO bloc, in a 50 year stand-off in Europe.
Khrushchev took power and start simultaneous reforms. However, the big loss in war didn't seem to have been fully reverted, and economic poorness began to swallow the nation. Many projects worked well, but others were major flops. In the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, a spontaneous nationwide pro-democracy revolt had occurred and the Soviet Union invaded Hungary to re-assert its control.
In 1968, the USSR repressed the pro-democracy Prague Spring by organizing the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia. Détente then occurred in several East-West summits between Brezhnev and America's president Nixon. A add-mixture of corruption, fear, incompetence, government dictates, wastefulness and in inefficacy gradually undermined the Soviet state from within after the mid 1970's.
By the early 1980s the declining Soviet economy got a big hit, thus affecting the whole block. In Poland, more than 60% of population lived in poverty, and inflation, measured by black-market rate of the U.S. dollar, was 1,500% in the period 1982 – 1987. Poland later became the cradle of the Revolutions of 1989.
Due to a then political protocol, this successor of Brezhnev were obliged to rule in the same way as Brezhnev did. Therefore, hey did not left much influence. He died of old age after a about a year in office. The Poles were told to destroy the growing opposition block within Poland or face a Soviet take over of the nation.
Due to a then political protocol, this successor of Brezhnev were obliged to rule in the same way as Brezhnev did. Therefore, he did not left much influence. He died of old age after a about a year in office. Relations began to improve with NATO, but collapsed with China, N. Korea and Poland.
Mikhail Gorbachev was elected General Secretary by the Politburo on March 11, 1985, only three hours after Konstantin Chernenko's death. Upon his accession at age 54, he was the youngest member of the Politburo. Gorbachev's primary goal as General Secretary was to revive the Soviet economy after the stagnant Brezhnev years.
Gorbachev's policies of perestroika and glasnost in the late 1980's helped end the cold war, introduced a free market economy and significantly expanded freedom of expression in both the media and the press. As this happened supplies started to run out, inflation grew and fighting started between both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, also known as the August Putsch or August Coup was a rebellion by Viktor Yanayev and a few hard liners in the Soviet communist party. The ruling GKChP cabal included Viktor Yanayev, Gen. Pavlov, Mr Kryuchkov, Mr Yazov, Boris Pugo (head of the KGB), Oleg Baklanov, Vasily Starodubtsev (chairman of the USSR Peasant Union), and Alexander Tizyakov (president of the Association of the State Enterprises and Conglomerates of Industry, Transport, and Communications).
Mikhail Gorbachev gave up leadership in late 1991 and Vladimir Ivashko finally took over most leadership roles for a few more days. Boris Yeltsin soon became president, and later on, the first democratically elected President of Russia.
Gulags and the KGBEdit
Space and science achievementsEdit
Officially the USSR was atheist and hated religion. Unofficially, the power hungry and Russian eccentric Russian Orthodox Church maintained a fairly close relationship with the non atheist faction of the Communists. The Ukrainian Catholic Church, which was at least in part Ukrainian nationalist in nature, was vigorously suppressed in Soviet-controlled Ukraine until 1989. Islam was similarly crushed in Central Asia and Azerbaijan during this time. Buddhist and pagan minorities in Siberia were ignored and considered harmless in religious issues.
- Estonian oil shale industry
- Narva Power Plants
- The "Baltic Chain" demonstration on August 23, 1989
- Cold War radio propaganda
- Life under communism
- FK Panerys Vilnius
- Baltic Way
- Cold War radio jamming
- Baltics are Waking Up
- Singing Revolution
- The anti-communist "Revolutions of 1989"
- Dissolution of the Soviet Union
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