Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics
Союз Советских Cуверенных Республик
Soyuz Sovyetskikh Suvyeryennykh Ryespublik
Motto"Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!"
Proletarii vsekh stran, soyedinyaytes'!
("Workers of the world, unite!")
Gosudarstvennyy Gimn Sovetskogo Soyuza
State Anthem of the Soviet Union
Official languages Russian
Recognised regional languages Ukrainian • Belarusian • Uzbek • Kazakh • Azerbaijani • Kyrgyz • Tajik • Armenian • Turkmen
Demonym Soviet
Government 1922–1927:
Federal Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic
Stalinist one-party totalitarian dictatorship
Federal Marxist–Leninist one-party socialist republic
Since 1990:
Federal Marxist–Leninist dominant-party semi-presidential republic
 •  President Vladimir Putin
 •  Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin
 •  Speaker of the Supreme Soviet Valentina Matviyenko
Legislature Supreme Soviet
 •  Upper House Soviet of Nationalities
 •  Lower House Soviet of the Union
 •  Kievan Rus' 879 
 •  Duchy of Moscow 1283 
 •  Tsardom of Russia 16 January 1547 
 •  Russian Empire 22 October 1721 
 •  October Revolution 7 November 1917 
 •  Treaty on the Creation of the USSR 30 December 1922 
 •  Victory in World War II 9 May 1945 
 •  Multi-party system 14 March 1990 
 •  New Union Treaty 20 August 1991 
 •  Current constitution 29 June 1992 
Currency Soviet ruble (руб) (SUR)
Time zone (UTC+2 to +12)
Drives on the right
Internet TLD .su
Calling code +7

The The Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics (Russian: Союз Советских Cуверенных Республик, tr. Soyuz Sovyetskikh Suvyeryennykh Ryespublik) abbreviated to USSR (Russian: СССР, tr. SSSR) or shortened to the Soviet Union (Russian: Сове́тский Сою́з, tr. Sovetskij Soyuz), is a Marxist–Leninist federative state on the Eurasian continent. A federation of 13 Soviet republics with Moscow as its capital, the USSR is the largest nation in area and one of the two global superpowers (along with the United States). From its formation up until the 1991 the Soviet Union was a single-party Communist state, officially named Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik). While the Soviet Union has been a multi-party republic since then, the Communist Party is still the dominant party. The capital and largest city is Moscow; other major urban areas include Saint Petersburg, Kiev, Minsk, Template:Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Almaty and Baku.

The East Slavs emerged as a recognisable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. The medieval state of Rus' arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' ultimately disintegrated into a number of smaller states, until it was finally reunified by the Grand Duchy of Moscow in the 15th century. By the 18th century, the nation had greatly expanded through conquest, annexation, and exploration to become the Russian Empire, which became a major European power, and the third-largest empire in history, stretching from Norway on the west to Canada on the east.

The Soviet Union has its roots in 1917 when the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin, led the October Revolution which overthrew the provisional government that had replaced the Tsar. They established the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (renamed Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic in 1936), beginning a civil war between pro-revolution Reds and counter-revolution Whites. The Red Army entered several territories of the former Russian Empire, and helped local Communists take power through soviets that nominally acted on behalf of workers and peasants. In 1922, the Communists were victorious, forming the Soviet Union with the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian, Ukrainian, and Byelorussian republics. Following Lenin's death in 1924, a troika collective leadership and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s. Stalin suppressed political opposition to him, committed the state 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 which laid the basis for its later war effort and dominance after World War II. However, Stalin established political paranoia, and introduced arbitrary arrests on a massive scale after which the authorities transferred many people (military leaders, Communist Party members, ordinary citizens alike) to correctional labour camps or sentenced them to death.

In the beginning of World War II, Stalin along with France and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany in response to their invasion of Czechoslovakia. Poland, however, was not willing to grant the Soviet Union access through their territory, which, along with their annexation of the Těšín region, prompted a Soviet invasion in October 1938. The war ended in a stalemate, and in June 1940 the Germans invaded, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the cost of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Moscow and Stalingrad. Soviet forces eventually defeated Germany and their allies in 1945. The territory overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Eastern Bloc. The Cold War emerged about 1947 as the Soviet bloc formed the Warsaw Pact and confronted the Western states that united in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in 1949. However the USSR did not itself engage in any "hot wars".

Following Stalin's death in 1953, some political and economic liberalization, known as "de-Stalinization" and "Khrushchev Thaw", occurred under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev. The country grew rapidly, as millions of peasants were moved into industrialized cities. The Space Race was emphasized, as the USSR took an early lead with the first ever satellite and world's first human spaceflight. The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis marked a period of high tension between the two superpowers, but it was resolved. In the 1970s, détente emerged briefly but tensions resumed when the Soviet Union deployed troops in Afghanistan in 1979. The war drained economic resources and was matched by an escalation of American military strength.

In the mid-1980s, the new leader Mikhail Gorbachev sought to reform the political system and economy and open it up more through his policies of glasnost and perestroika. The goal was to preserve the Communist Party while reversing the economic stagnation. The economic reforms described as "socialist market economy" involved the de-collectivization of agriculture, the opening up of the country to foreign investment, permission for entrepreneurs to start businesses and privatization and contracting out of much state-owned industry under some state control. He achieved the ending of the Cold War, and in 1989 allowed the satellite countries of Eastern Europe to break free and overthrow their communist regimes. However, this led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements inside the USSR. Central authorities initiated a referendum, boycotted by the Baltic republics, Armenia, Georgia, and Moldova, which resulted in the majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the Union as a renewed federation, in which a multi-party system was established. The New Union treaty was signed in 1991, and a new constitution was adopted in 1992. Under the rule of Vladimir Putin, the 2000s brought the USSR back into global dominance following their involvement in the War on Terrorism. Political dissidents and human rights groups have denounced and criticized the Soviet government for widespread human rights abuses, including suppression of religious and ethnic minorities, censorship, mass surveillance, and cracking down on protests.

The Soviet economy ranks as the seventh-largest in the world by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by PPP. The Soviet Union's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally. The country is one of the five recognised nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of nuclear warheads. The Soviet Union was the world's second biggest exporter of major arms in 2010-14. The Soviet Union is one of the world's two superpowers, the other being the United States. The Soviet Armed Forces have been ranked as the world's second most powerful, and the most powerful in Europe. Russia hosts the world's ninth-greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is among the world's most popular tourist destinations. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the International Investment Bank (IIB) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as being a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).



The current constitution of the Soviet Union, adopted in 1992, establishes the union as a federation, semi-presidential and multi-party republic. The federal government of the USSR is comprised of three branches of government which constitutionally check the powers of the others. These branches include:

  • Legislative — Comprises of the bicameral Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, made up of the 750-member Soviet of the Union (lower house) and the 750-member Soviet of the Republics (upper house). The Supreme Soviet have the authority to amend the Constitution; admit new states to the union; determine the fundamental principles of Union domestic and foreign policy, approve the Union budget and the report on its implementation, declare war and conclude peace, and approve changes to Union borders. The Soviet of the Republics adopts law on the organization and procedure for the work of Union organs, examines questions of relations between the republics, ratifies international treaties, and gives consent to the appointment of the Cabinet of Ministers. The Soviet of the Union examines questions of safeguarding the rights and freedoms of citizens of the USSR and adopts laws on all questions except those under the jurisdiction of the Soviet of the Republics. Laws adopted by the Soviet of the Union enter into force after being approved by the Soviet of the Republics. The members of the Supreme Soviet are elected for a five-year term.
  • Executive — Comprises of the presidency and the Cabinet of Ministers. The President of the Soviet Union is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the Prime Minister and the Government of the Soviet Union (Cabinet of Ministers) as well as other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies. The Cabinet of Ministers is the governing body of the executive branch and includes several ministers who head a specific department (with the Prime Minister being the head of government).
  • Judiciary — Comprises of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Arbitration, and the lower courts (People's Court). All judges are appointed by the Supreme Soviet on the recommendation of the President. The primary function of the courts is to interpret laws and to overturn laws deemed unconstitutional.

The president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term, with no term limits. Ministries of the government are composed of the Prime Minister and his deputies, ministers, and selected other individuals; all are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister (whereas the appointment of the latter requires the consent of the Soviet of the Union). While the Soviet Union is specified as a multi-party system in the constitution, Soviet politics are dominated by Communist Party (CPSU/KPSS), while the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPSU/LDPSS), the Social Democratic Party (SDPSU/SDPSS), and the Agrarian Party (APSU/APSS) have minority status.

Administrative divisions

The Republics of the Soviet Union
Flag Republic Capital Premier Map of the Soviet Union
1 Flag of Russia.svg Russia
Russian SFSR
Moscow Mikhail Mishustin
Republics of the Soviet Union
2 Flag of Ukraine.svg Ukraine
Ukrainian SSR
Kiev Viktor Yanukovych
3 Flag of Belarus.svg Belarus
Byelorussian SSR
Minsk Alexander Lukashenko
4 Flag of Uzbekistan.svg Uzbekistan
Russian SSR
Tashkent Shavkat Mirziyoyev
5 Flag of Kazakhstan.svg Kazakhstan
Kazakh SSR
Almaty Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
6 Flag of Azerbaijan.svg Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan SSR
Baku Ilham Aliyev
7 Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyz SSR
Frunze Sooronbay Jeenbekov
8 Flag of Tajikistan.svg Tajikistan
Tajik SSR
Dushanbe Emomali Rahmon
9 Flag of Turkmenistan.svg Turkmenistan
Turkmen SSR
Ashgabat Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow

See also

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.