Soviet Union

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Союз Советских Социалистических Республик
Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik
1922–1991 [1]
Workers of the world, unite!
Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!
(Proletarii vsekh stran, soyedinyaytes!
Literally: Proletarians of all countries, unite!)
The Internationale

State Anthem of the Soviet Union
The Soviet Union after World War II
Capital Moscow
Languages Russian (all-union official since 1990 2)
Demonym Soviet, Russian [2]
General Secretary
 •  1922–1952 Joseph Stalin (first)
 •  1991 Vladimir Ivashko (last)
Head of state
 •  1922–1938 Mikhail Kalinin (first)
 •  1988–1991 Mikhail Gorbachev (last)
Head of government
 •  1922–1924 Vladimir Lenin (first)
 •  1991 Ivan Silayev (last)
Legislature Supreme Soviet
 •  Upper house Soviet of the Union
 •  Lower house Soviet of Nationalities
Historical era 20th century
 •  Treaty of Creation 30 December 1922
 •  Admitted to the United Nations 25 October 1945
 •  Constitution adopted 9 October 1977
 •  Union dissolved 26 December 1991 [1]
 •  1991 22,402,200 km2 (8,649,500 sq mi)
 •  1991 est. 293,047,571 
     Density 13/km2 (34/sq mi)
Currency Soviet ruble (руб) (SUR)
Internet TLD .su 1
Calling code +7
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Russian SFSR
Transcaucasian SFSR
Ukrainian SSR
Byelorussian SSR
Bukharan People's Soviet Republic
Khorezm People's Soviet Republic
Tuvan People's Republic
Russian Federation
  1. ^ Assigned on 19 September 1990, existing onwards.
  2. ^ Constituent republics had right to declare their own official languages

The Soviet Union ( Russian: Сове́тский Сою́з, tr. Sovetsky Soyuz; IPA:  [sɐˈvʲɛt͡skʲɪj sɐˈjus]), officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR; Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик (СССР), tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik (SSSR); IPA:  [sɐˈjus sɐˈvʲɛtskʲɪx sətsɨəlʲɪsˈtʲitɕɪskʲɪx rʲɪˈspublʲɪk]), also known unofficially as Russia [8] ( Russian: Росси́я, tr. Rossiya; IPA:  [rɐˈsʲijə]), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple equal national Soviet republics, [a] its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party federation, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital.

The 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 Nicholas II. In 1922, the 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, Stalin signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the two countries invaded Poland in September 1939. In June 1941, Germany invaded the 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 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 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. 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, 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 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 as independent post-Soviet states. The 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. [9] [10] [11]


The word “ Soviet” is derived from a Russian word meaning council, assembly, advice, harmony, concord, [note 1] 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. [12]

A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council" ( Russian: сове́т). For example, in the Russian Empire, the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. [12]

During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he initially named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia ( Russian: Союз Советских Республик Европы и Азии, Soyuz Sovetskikh Respublik Yevropy i Azii). [13] 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.

The names of the 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" [2]), though that was technically incorrect since Russia was only one of the republics. [14]

Other Languages
Acèh: Uni Soviet
Afrikaans: Sowjetunie
Alemannisch: Sowjetunion
অসমীয়া: ছ'ভিয়েট সংঘ
авар: СССР
تۆرکجه: شوروی
Bân-lâm-gú: So͘-liân
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Саюз Савецкіх Сацыялістычных Рэспублік
Boarisch: Sowjetunion
Cebuano: Unyong Sobyet
čeština: Sovětský svaz
Deutsch: Sowjetunion
dolnoserbski: Sowjetski zwězk
Esperanto: Sovetunio
estremeñu: Unión Soviética
føroyskt: Sovjetsamveldið
Frysk: Sovjet-Uny
贛語: 蘇聯
گیلکی: شؤروي
𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌹𐍃𐌺: 𐌲𐌲𐌲𐌸
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Sû-lièn
한국어: 소련
हिन्दी: सोवियत संघ
hornjoserbsce: Sowjetski zwjazk
hrvatski: Sovjetski Savez
Bahasa Indonesia: Uni Soviet
interlingua: Union Sovietic
Interlingue: Soviet-Union
íslenska: Sovétríkin
Basa Jawa: Uni Sovyèt
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: صؤوِت اِتِفاق
kernowek: URSS
Lëtzebuergesch: Sowjetunioun
lietuvių: Tarybų Sąjunga
Limburgs: Sovjet-Unie
la .lojban.: sofygu'e
magyar: Szovjetunió
مازِرونی: شوروی
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Sŭ-lièng
молдовеняскэ: Униуня Совиетикэ
Nederlands: Sovjet-Unie
Nedersaksies: Sovjet-Unie
नेपाली: सोभियत संघ
Napulitano: Aunione Sovieteca
Nordfriisk: Sowjetunion
norsk nynorsk: Sovjetunionen
پنجابی: سویت یونین
Papiamentu: Union Sovietiko
ភាសាខ្មែរ: សហភាពសូវៀត
Plattdüütsch: Sowjetunion
português: União Soviética
rumantsch: Uniun sovietica
русиньскый: СССР
sámegiella: Sovjetlihttu
Seeltersk: Sowjetunion
Simple English: Soviet Union
slovenčina: Sovietsky zväz
slovenščina: Sovjetska zveza
Soomaaliga: Midowga Sofiyet
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Sovjetski Savez
Basa Sunda: Uni Soviét
svenska: Sovjetunionen
Tagalog: Unyong Sobyet
тыва дыл: ССРЭ
Vahcuengh: Suhlienz
Tiếng Việt: Liên Xô
walon: URSS
文言: 蘇聯
West-Vlams: Sovjet-Unie
吴语: 苏联
粵語: 蘇聯
žemaitėška: Tarību Sājonga
中文: 苏联