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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!")
Anthem
Gosudarstvennyy Gimn Sovetskogo Soyuza
State Anthem of the Soviet Union
CapitalMoscow
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
1927–1953:
Stalinist one-party totalitarian dictatorship
1953–1990:
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
Formation
 •  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).

History

Stalin era (1927–1953)

World War II

De-Stalinization and Khrushchev era (1953–1964)

Brezhnev-Kosygin era (1964–1980)

Andropov era (1980–1984)

Gorbachev era (1984–1994)

New Union Treaty

The New Union Treaty was ratified by the republics
in the following order:
# Date State
1 20 August 1991 Russia
2 20 August 1991 Kazakhstan
3 20 August 1991 Uzbekistan
4 3 September 1991 Belarus
5 17 September 1991 Azerbaijan
6 17 September 1991 Tajikistan
7 1 October 1991 Turkmenistan
8 1 October 1991 Kyrgyzstan
9 18 December 1991 Ukraine

Faced with growing separatism and wanting to preserve the Union, Gorbachev sought to restructure the Soviet Union into a less centralized state. A referendum for the preservation of the USSR was held on 17 March 1991 in nine republics, with the remaining six rebellious republics Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia boycotting the vote. The referendum brought 76.4% in favor of preservation of the Union. In the republican referendum on March 17, the majority of residents of Ukraine supported joining the Union only if Ukraine declared itself a sovereign state. On 23 April Gorbachev and the leaders of nine Soviet republics signed the so-called "9 + 1" agreement in Novo-Ogaryovo, which would converted the Soviet Union into a confederation of independent republics with a common president, foreign policy, and military. Negotiations took place to decide what form the new constitution would take, bringing together Gorbachev and Ryzhkov in discussion.

On 20 August 1991, Gorbachev, Nikolai Ryzhkov (President of Russia), Nursultan Nazarbayev (President of Kazakhstan) and the Islam Karimov (President of Uzbekistan) signed the New Union Treaty in Moscow. The treaty stated that jurisdiction over most industries and resources, and control over taxation and public expenditures would be turned to those republics that were signing it, and their sovereignty would be recognized, and those which wouldn't sign would be allowed to go their own way. The central government would retain control of the country's armed forces and security services, but with a reduced size and subjected to oversight by the republican legislatures, along with issuing currency, Soviet Ruble and control of its gold and diamond resources, although the republics would have the right to share them. The republics and the central government would jointly determine military and foreign policy and work out policies on the economy, fuel, and energy resources. The Congress of People's Deputies would be disbanded. The number of government ministries would be reduced, some ministries having their responsibilities transferred to the republics, some having to reduce staff or abolished, or turned into small coordinating bodies which would support republican ministries. The republics would also be given ownership of almost all their natural resources, including mineral deposits on their territories, along with the right to establish direct diplomatic and trade relations with foreign states. A new constitutional court would have also been established to resolve questions between republics and the center. Lastly, republican law would take precedence over All-Union law.

By October, Belarus (3 September), Azerbaijan and Tajikistan (17 September), and Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan on (1 October), had approved the New Union Treaty. Ukraine, meanwhile, had reservations on the terms of the Treaty and calling on 14 October that for a referendum over the issue of declaring independence from the Soviet Union. The Russian ethnic majority in Crimea declared on boycotting the independence referendum on the desire to remain in the Union. On 1 December a majority of 58.2% of voters voted in favor of remaining in the union and rejected independence. On 8 December 1991, Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk signed the Treaty.

On 6 October the Soviet Union formally recognized the independence of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Georgia, Moldova and Armenia, who had boycotted the referendum in March.

Constitution of 1992

After the nine republics had signed the New Union Treaty, the Constitutional Conference of the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics convened in Moscow on 3 January 1992, under the auspices of Anatoly Sobchak (Russian), Leonid Yazkov (Ukrainian) and _____ (Kazakh). Some 800 representatives at the conference ultimately adopted a draft constitution on 25 April that envisaged a bicameral federal legislature, and the dissolution of the congress. But because the convention's draft of the constitution would dissolve the congress, there was little likelihood that the congress would vote itself out of existence. The Supreme Soviet approved by the Supreme Soviet on 29 April. After the last Supreme Soviet of the nine republics had ratified the constitution on , Gorbachev decreed on 12 ________ that a popular referendum to be held on the new constitution and elections to both houses of the Supreme Soviet in December if voters approved the constitution. The new Constitution was approved by 61.43% of voters.

Ryzhkov era (1994–2004)

Putin era (2004–present)

Politics

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

No. Emblem Name Flag Capital Official languages Joined New Union Treaty Population Pop.
%
Area (km2) Area
%
President
1 Emblem of the Russian SFSR.svg Russia
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
Flag of Russian SFSR Moscow Russian 1922 20 August 1991 &0000000147386000000000147,386,000 &000000000000005139999951.40 &000000001707540000000017,075,400 &000000000000007662000076.62 Andrey Belousov
CP RSFSR
2 Emblem of the Ukrainian SSR.svg Ukraine
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Ukrainian SSR Kyiv Ukrainian, Russian 1922 18 December 1991 &000000005170674600000051,706,746 &000000000000001803000018.03 &0000000000603700000000603,700 &00000000000000027100002.71 Nataliya Vitrenko
CPU
3 File:Emblem of the Byelorussian SSR (1981-1991).svg Byelorussia
Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Belarusian SSR Minsk Byelorussian, Russian 1922 3 September 1991 &000000001015180600000010,151,806 &00000000000000035400003.54 &0000000000207600000000207,600 &00000000000000009300000.93 Alexander Lukashenko
CPB
4 File:Emblem of the Uzbek SSR.svg Uzbekistan
Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Uzbekistan SSR Tashkent Uzbek,
Russian
1924 20 August 1991 &000000001990600000000019,906,000 &00000000000000069400006.94 &0000000000447400000000447,400 &00000000000000020099992.01 Ilham Aliyev
AKP
5 Emblem of Kazakh SSR.svg Kazakhstan
Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Kazakhstan SSR Alma-Ata Kazakh, Russian 1936 20 August 1991 &000000001671190000000016,711,900 &00000000000000058300005.83 &00000000027173000000002,717,300 &000000000000001224000012.24 Jambyl Ahmetbekov
QKP
6 Emblem of the Azerbaijan SSR.svg Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Azerbaijan SSR Baku Azerbaijani, Russian 1922 17 September 1991 &00000000070379000000007,037,900 &00000000000000024500002.45 &000000000008660000000086,600 &00000000000000003900000.39 Ilham Aliyev
AKP
7 File:Emblem of the Kirghiz SSR.svg Kyrgyzstan
Socialist Republic of Kyrgyzstan
Flag of Kyrgyzstan SSR Bishkek Kirghiz, Russian 1936 1 October 1991 &00000000042578000000004,257,800 &00000000000000014800001.48 &0000000000198500000000198,500 &00000000000000008900000.89 Sadyr Japarov
Mekenchil
8 File:Emblem of the Tajik SSR.svg Tajikistan
Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Tajikistan SSR Dushanbe Tajik,
Russian
1929 17 September 1991 &00000000051120000000005,112,000 &00000000000000017800001.78 &0000000000143100000000143,100 &00000000000000006400000.64 Emomali Rahmon
TKP
9 File:Emblem of the Turkmen SSR.svg Turkmenistan
Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Turkmenistan SSR Ashkhabad Turkmen, Russian 1924 1 October 1991 &00000000035227000000003,522,700 &00000000000000012299991.23 &0000000000488100000000488,100 &00000000000000021899992.19 Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
HKT
10 File:Emblem of the Moldavian SSR (1981-1990).svg Transnistria
Pridnestrovian Soviet Socialist Republic
Flag of Pridnestrovian SSR Tiraspol Moldavian, Russian 1940 N/A &00000000043376000000004,337,600 &00000000000000015100001.51 &000000000003384300000033,843 &00000000000000001500000.15 Oleg Khorzhan
CPT

See also

  • List of Countries (WFAC)


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