The Union was successful in many fields, putting the first man and satellite into space and winning World War II alongside the United States and United Kingdom. The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Empire: Forty Years That Shook the World, from Stalin to Yeltsin. The “Mystery” of the Soviet Collapse. Yakovlev, Alexander N. (2002). Gorbachev's new ideas had gotten out of hand and the communist party lost control. (2001). The result was the February Revolution of 1917, which forced Nicholas II to abdicate in favor of a centrist provisional government. Although it is important to recognize the enormity of Stalinist repression, it is critical, as many historians do, to emphasize the uniqueness of the Holocaust "the only example which history offers to date of a deliberate policy aimed at the total physical destruction of every member of an ethnic group. New York: Norton. The Allied victory in 1945 gave the Soviet Union an opportunity to widen its sphere of influence. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Since 2013, the document that confirmed the dissolution of the Soviet Union has been missing.[12]. However, relations between the two men soured in 1922 and 1923, and in his testament Lenin warned that Stalin was "too crude" to serve as General Secretary. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was the official name of communist Russia from December 1922 until its collapse in late 1991. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list. (October 16, 2020). As many as eight million peasants, the majority Ukrainian, starved to death in the Great Famine of 1932 and 1933, which Robert Conquest has insisted was a man-made catastrophe deliberately engineered by Stalin in order to smash Ukrainian nationalism. Although Stalin's motives remain, and will continue to remain, obscure, it appears that the decision to launch the mass operations in the summer of 1937 was related to reverses in the European and Asian arenas. Large public demonstrations erupted in both Moscow and St. Petersburg, spurred in part by similar regime changes instigated in the Eastern European countries two years earlier thanks to popular pro-democracy uprisings that were genuine “people’s revolutions,” and the August 1991 coup came to a quick and relatively bloodless end three days after it began. This program included the nationalization of all industries, the abolition of all private enterprise, and a policy of shooting workers who went on strike. Getty, J. Arch, and Oleg V. Naumov, eds. A distinction can be drawn between the dismantling or transformation of the Soviet system, and the disintegration of the USSR. Internally, Stalin used the conflict to target and deport entire peoples accused of collaborating with the Nazis. Leninist and Stalinist crimes against humanity are not easily elucidated. There were three different constitutions that provided the framework for the Soviet state. There was hope that the relatively moderate policies of the years 1934 to 1936 would curtail the suffering, but by 1937 mass arrests and executions became the norm. The General Secretary of the Communist Party was the de facto ruler. Do it in such a way that for hundreds of versts [kilometres] around, the people will see, tremble, know, shout: they are strangling and will strangle . Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. . Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License. ." The terror, it is argued, was inextricably linked to the massive campaigns of industrialization and the forced collectivization and dekulakization of Soviet agriculture from 1928 and 1929 on. London: Pimlico Press, revised edition of The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties. BROWN, ARCHIE "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments. As one of the two world superpowers for much of the twentieth century, the Soviet Union played a decisive role in nearly all major world events and social developments, and though it never entered into direct military engagement with the United States, surrogate battles were played out in Korea, Vietnam, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Institutions that had made modest concessions to national consciousness in the case of nations of long standing (such as Armenia) and had contributed, unwittingly, to a process of nation-building in parts of Soviet Central Asia, began to use the resources at their disposal to pose fundamental challenges to the federal authorities in Moscow. There are no longer two clear-cut superpowers dominating international political life. At the time, no other constitution in the world provided such economic assurances to its people. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. By the end of the decade, a former CPSU member and KGB officer, Vladimir Putin (1952–), had risen to power as president of the Russian Federation, and his domestic policies were criticized for appearing to rescind some of the democratic freedoms in place since the end of the Soviet Union. In the late 1950s, a confrontation with China regarding the USSR's policies led to the Sino–Soviet split. A major part of this final Stalinist plot was the arrest of several high-ranking Jewish doctors accused, among other things, of complicity in the deaths of two Soviet luminaries., "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison. activist who got things done. D. L. Hoffmann. The breakup of the Soviet Union was more ambiguous in respect of democratic developments. Its origins were in a Bolshevik division formed in 1917, the Cheka, to root out dissenters and coup-plotters in the party at a time of tremendous political instability. Hence, it was Lenin who established the basis for later Stalinist atrocities. Moscow, Russia © 2019 | All rights reserved. The End. The Soviet Demise: Revisionist Betrayal, Structural Defect, or Authoritarian Distortion? Those countries were not made part of the Soviet Union, but they were controlled by the Soviet Union indirectly. A History of the Soviet Camps. Aside from these politically motivated aspects, another fundamental characteristic of the Great Terror was the social component. The most prominent leader was Leon Trotsky (1879–1940), a Bolshevik revolutionary and a founding member of the Politburo. With the defeat of the USSR, the Allies began to help rebuild the defeated nation. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. New York: Oxford University Press. His economic policies, including the forced collectivization of farmland, caused widespread famine in the western parts of the Soviet Union, but his leadership during World War II made him an ally of the United States and Great Britain in their fight against Nazi Germany. Before World War I the Russian Empire had been an autocratic monarchy presided over by Tsar Nicholas II, who formally claimed the divine right to rule single-handedly. Boris Yeltsin was elected (democratically) the President of the Russian SFSR even though Gorbachev did not want him to come into power. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [Союз Радянських Соціялістичних Республік; Soiuz Radianskykh Sotsialistychnykh Respublik, or USSR]. . Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. The most notorious of these early Soviet camps was the prison on the Solovetskii Islands in the White Sea in the far north of Russia. As a result of his so-called revolution launched in 1928 and 1929—the forced collectivization and "dekulakization" of the countryside and the intensely rapid tempos of industrialization—millions of Soviet citizens, particularly peasants, endured dire living conditions and often direct persecution at the hands of Stalinist leaders whose overriding priority was to make the USSR economically and militarily secure. Taking a position less sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, one may argue that state-sponsored class repression was inherent in Leninist ideology, predated the civil war, and was therefore not a consequence of the objective circumstances of the time. Pipes, Richard, ed. It was established in 1922 and dissolved in 1991. At its peak it consisted of fifteen republics making it one of the most strongly centralized federal unions in the history of the world. Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. But, Khrushchev did face significant opposition in the Presidium, or Politburo, which threatened much needed economic reform and the de-Stalinization campaign. Khrushchev’s removal from office was followed by another period of rule by collective leadership. . It was announced after Vladimir Lenin overthrew Alexander Kerensky as Russian leader. Covering a sixth of the world's lived in land, its size was comparable to North America's. Soviet relations with the West first improved in the years after Khrushchev, which led to détente, or a relaxing of strained relations, in the early 1970s. A provision of the Soviet constitution allowed republics to vote to secede from the Soviet Union, and each of their respective legislatures—with freely elected non-CPSU members now—took advantage of the clause and declared their independence. Conquest, Robert (1971). Gorbachev started social and economic reforms that gave people freedom of speech; which allowed them to criticise the government and its policies. The Soviet leadership's fears of a fifth column among Party, state, and military elites, who in the event of war could rely on broad support from socially harmful elements and hostile national minorities in the USSR, seem to account for the dramatic rise in arrests and executions. Extreme government-changing activity in the Russian Empire began with the Decembrist Revolt of 1825, and although serfdom was removed in 1861, its removal was achieved on terms unfavorable to the peasants (poor agricultural workers) and served to encourage changers (revolutionaries). . It was not about to end. Thus, the Soviet control over Eastern Europe that had once seemed a source of strength of the USSR turned out, in the last years of the Soviet regime, to add to its own entropic pressures. The dissolution of the Soviet Union led to numerous political, economic, and social changes within the region. The First Socialist Society: A History of the Soviet Union from Within. "A State Against Its People: Violence, Repression, and Terror in the Soviet Union." The fact that Soviet troops stayed in their barracks as the countries in the Eastern part of the continent broke free of Soviet tutelage in 1989 encouraged the most disaffected nationalities within the USSR itself, with the Lithuanians in the vanguard, to demand no less for themselves than had been attained by Poles, Hungarians, and Czechs. . By 1937 the lethal triumvirate of political opposition, social disorder, and ethnic subversion had raised fears among the increasingly xenophobic Stalinist elite of a broadly based anti-Soviet "fifth column" linked to foreign agents and spies. The Soviet Union had the world's longest border, measuring over 60,000 kilometres (37,000 mi) in 1991. In the course of the ugly internecine power struggles that transformed the Party during the 1920s, Stalin was able to build up majority support in his position as General Secretary. Kotkin, Stephen. World Encyclopedia. . The PPOs elected district bodies, which in turn elected assemblies, which in turn elected the delegates to the party conferences, or congresses as they were known in some cases. The socalled Polish Operation, ratified by the Politburo on August 7, 1937, resulted in the arrest of approximately 140,000 people, a staggering 111,000 of whom were executed. Add to this equation Stalin's considerable goals for personal power and his paranoias, and the built-in need for scapegoats to explain the dire state of Soviet material consumption, and the origins of mass repression become more explicable. Ukraine was divided and only later fully embraced independent statehood. The Great Terror: A Reassessment., "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 1999. Moscow considered Eastern Europe to be a very vital buffer zone for the forward defense of its western borders. of capitalist exploitation, the emancipation of the working class, the transformation of "bourgeois" values, and the creation of a socialist state and society—justified any means of achieving these ends, including class discrimination, illegal arrest and incarceration, even mass executions. Nevertheless, the USSR played the major part in the defeat of Nazi Germany in Europe in World War II and earned the gratitude of many citizens of Western Europe. There were 2,250 deputies, with 750 elected for every 300,000 citizens; another 750 were elected by direct suffrage, with set numbers of seats awarded to each of the republics, oblasts, and national districts; and the final 750 were chosen by the CPSU and other public organizations. . The Plan was developed in 1920 and covered a 10- to 15-year period. It is not enough to simply point the finger at two "evil," power-hungry men, highly relevant though they are to the entire process of Soviet mass repression. . After France and Britain acquiesced to Adolph Hitler’s (1889–1945) demands for Czechoslovak territory at Munich, Germany, in 1938, Soviet foreign policy shifted again; Stalin decided to come to an understanding with Germany. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or the Soviet Union, was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. Following the disintegration of the Union, the permanent place on the United Nations Security Council, which had belonged to the USSR since the formation of the United Nations, passed to the largest of the Soviet successor states, Russia. The Soviet Union was created about five years after the Russian Revolution. ." Chernenko died a mere year after taking office. The August 1991 coup led to the outlawing of the CPSU, and Gorbachev resigned from office on December 25, 1991. The job of the Cheka was to root out all counterrevolutionary and antistate activities to bolster the fragile Leninist government. Decrees in September 1918 and April 1919 sanctioned the establishment of the first concentration and labor camps, the latter originally conceived as sites for rehabilitating petty criminals through physical work. The single most…, Andrei Andreevich Gromyko (1909-1989) represented the Soviet Union for many years in major international conferences after World War II, first as min…, Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, Union of Farmers and Agricultural Laborers of Brazil (ULTAB), Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union, Union Nationale Des Forces Populaires (UNFP), Union Nationale Des Etudiants Marocains (UNEM), Union Institute & University: Tabular Data, Union Institute & University: Narrative Description, Union of Struggle for The Emancipation of Labor, Union Socialiste Des Forces Populaires (USFP), Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education: Distance Learning Programs, Union Tunisienne Des Industrialistes, Compagnies, Artisans (UTICA), Union University: Distance Learning Programs, Utopian Ideologies as Motives for Genocide,,,,,, Anti-Soviet President Gorbachev Caricatured Protest Sign During Soviet Armed Crackdown on Independence-Bent Baltic SSR. See also: bolshevism; communist party of the soviet union; economic growth, soviet; nationalism in the soviet union; union of sovereign states. not moral—for the crimes against humanity perpetrated from 1928 to 1953. Within the former constituent republics of the Soviet Union, too, governments strained to achieve a multiparty political life given the threat posed by right-wing or even still-active Communist elements within their populace. Inevitably, these examples of Soviet ethnic cleansing have compelled some scholars to compare Stalinist and Nazi policies of extermination. By the 1980s the Soviet economy was suffering but it was stable. Encyclopedia of Russian History. By the end of the month the USSR had ceased to exist. Its five climatic (different weather, temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure) zones were tundra, taiga, steppes, desert, and mountains. "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics For various political and socioeconomic reasons, these tensions between peasants and landlords, urban industrial workers and their bosses, and alienated middle-class intellectuals and the anachronistic tsarist state grew in the decades before 1914. There was no equivalent of this under Stalinism" (Kershaw and Lewin, 1997, p. 8). Ordinary citizens, however, suffered tremendous hardships due to the end of the Soviet planned economy, which had regulated the price of food and housing. Leonid Brezhnev Although the jury is still out on Stalin's precise role in this assassination, it is clear that he used Kirov's murder to attack various opponents of the regime, including former Party leaders Zinoviev and Kamenev who were placed under arrest. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) or Soviet Union, sometimes referred to as 'Russia', was a multinational Communist state that existed between 1917 and 1991. From 1917 to 1922, the country that came before the Soviet Union was the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), which was its own country, as were other Soviet republics at the time. Beginning in the late 1920s, Stalin began carrying out a program of intensive socialist construction by rapidly industrializing the economy and nationalizing all industry and services. From the Secret Archive. However, the transition from communism in the former Soviet Union only sometimes led to democracy; some states abandoned communism for democracy, while others turned to authoritarian rule. There is no doubt that the Soviet Union was one of the most powerful countries in the world during its period of existence, especially from 1945 to 1991. Brezhnev's rule is often linked with the decline in Soviet economy and starting the chain of events that would lead to the union's eventual collapse. Here the nature and scale of the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Soviet state from the October Revolution to the death of Stalin will be examined, along with differing perspectives on Leninist and Stalinist terror. The spiral of terror and counterterror was growing. The largest country in the Union was Russia, and Kazakhstan was the second. ." The decree remained in force until November 1938. Across the Bering Strait was the United States. After the coup the Soviet republics accelerated their process toward independence. What were their fears? These countries, like Poland, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany, were called satellite states. The campaign reached a peak in the summer of 1952 with the secret trial of the members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, thirteen of whom were executed. ." . As with the previous documents, civil liberties such as freedom of speech, of religion, and of assembly were protected—so long as they did not infringe upon the goals of the state or tenets of the Communist Party, which the 1977 Constitution described the “leading and guiding force” of the state. He oversaw the decimation of the Red Army command from May through June 1937. The United States set up Alexander Romanov as a puppet ruler. Stalin. For most of its history, the USSR was a highly centralized state; the decentralizationref… However, as it turned many Eastern European countries into satellite states and set up the Warsaw Pact and Comecon (economic and military organizations of Central and Eastern European Communist states), the Soviet Union’s relations with the West became extremely tense. The largest country in the world by area, Russia is bounded by Norway and Finland in the northwest; by Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, ..... Click the link for more information. ) Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Its departments included a foreign intelligence service and a secret police. However, the date of retrieval is often important. The intent of this massive purge of socially harmful elements was to destroy what appeared to the Stalinists to be the social base for an armed overthrow of the Soviet government. Only in the context of the Stalinists' grave fears for the security and integrity of the Soviet state can the mass repressions of 1937 and 1938 be understood. According to official statistics, the Cheka killed 12,733 prisoners between 1918 and 1920; unofficial calculations suggest a figure closer to 300,000. Moldova was declared a sovereign state on June 23, 1990 but was officially known as the Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldova until … S. Courtois et al. The first one, in 1924, established the Congress of Soviets as the ruling body. W hen chosen to succeed Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971; see…, Joseph Stalin On 1 February 1924, the USSR was accepted as a country by the British Empire. But in August 1991, the vice president, prime minister, defense minister, KGB (the Soviet security agency) chief, and other senior officials acted to prevent the signing of the union treaty. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a country that existed in Earth's 20th century, stretching across Europe and Asia. By the late 1930s,…, Soviet Brezhnev was the second longest serving Soviet leader after Stalin. The Soviet Union at its largest size in 1991, with 22,400,000 square kilometres (8,600,000 sq mi), was the world's biggest country. Stalin's regime was arguably the most repressive in modern history. The KGB had broad powers to spy on Soviet citizens, who could be brought to trial and sentenced to labor camps for crimes against the state, which included criticisms of party leadership. "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (1971). The big changes of the economy, industry and politics of the country began in the early days of Soviet power in 1917. What impact did the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics have? The key issue of motive remains. 16 Oct. 2020 . Furthermore, it gave assistance to antifascists in the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). In what concrete political, economic, and military contexts did they make their decisions? Russian political culture lacked liberal or democratic roots and institutions, and for many centuries the state had dominated society, often using repressive methods carried out by a prototype secret police force. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (also known as the USSR or the Soviet Union) consisted of Russia and 14 surrounding countries. the bloodsucker kulaks" (Pipes, 1996, p. 50). The country was made up of several parts called soviet socialist republics. (October 16, 2020). However, in May 1922 after Lenin became temporarily incapacitated by a stroke, the unity of the Communist Party fractured. Some of them contained so-called Autonomous Republics which, like the Union Republics, were named after a nationality for which that territory was a traditional homeland. Before reforms were enacted in 1989, Soviet political institutions merely carried out the policies and directives of the Communist Party. The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), sometimes simply but incorrectly referred to as Communist Russia, was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1945.. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. These congresses were generally held every five years after 1952, and in turn elected the Central Committee of the CPSU. and "traitors"—the landed gentry, capitalists, Orthodox priests, tsarist officials, bourgeois intellectuals, even kulaks (better-off peasants). . There can be no justification—political, economic, military, and certainly Lenin, also in 1922, insisted on the death penalty for the arrested leaders of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, but he was overruled and finally relented, with the leaders instead given lengthy prison terms. The governments in Albania, Cambodia and Somalia chose to ally with China instead of the USSR. Studies conducted in the late 1990s document the interrelationship between, on the one hand, social disorder and evolving secret police strategies to contain it in the early to mid-1930s and, on the other, the onset of mass arrests in the summer of 1937. After he died, Georgy Malenkov, continued his policies. Why did Stalin order the mass arrest of loyal Party and state bureaucrats? "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics This is because the relaxation of censorship on the media brought to light many of the severe social and economic problems the Soviet government claimed did not exist; events such as the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986 exasperated this. In the absence of definitive data, however, it seems prudent to accept the archival figures as essentially accurate. This precipitated a return to more interventionist economic policies by the government. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996. Initially, Lenin was to be replaced by a "troika" composed of Grigory Zinoviev of Ukraine, Lev Kamenev of Moscow, and Joseph Stalin of Georgia. Retrieved October 16, 2020 from Horrendous as they are, the bald statistics cited above obscure the unimaginable depths of human misery, the families ripped apart, the countless orphaned children, the mental and physical torture of prisoners, the uprooting of entire peoples from their homelands, the trampling on human integrity and dignity. Beginning in the summer of 1936, and more conclusively during the spring of 1937, Stalin extended these repressive measures, seeking, it appears, to eliminate any real or potential political opposition to his rule. (1997). In particular, the lessons of the Spanish Civil War induced an atmosphere of panic in the Kremlin and incited the Stalinists to seek "enemies" at home and abroad. Lenin realized that the Soviet government required normal relations with the Western world for it to survive. "Law of the USSR of March 14, 1990 N 1360-I 'On the establishment of the office of the President of the USSR and the making of changes and additions to the Constitution (Basic Law) of the USSR, "GDP – Million – Flags, Maps, Economy, Geography, Climate, Natural Resources, Current Issues, International Agreements, Population, Social Statistics, Political System", "Document proclaiming death of Soviet Union missing",, Articles containing Russian-language text, Articles needing additional references from March 2019, All articles needing additional references, Pages using collapsible list with both background and text-align in titlestyle, Articles with Russian-language sources (ru), Pages using infobox country or infobox former country with the flag caption or type parameters, Pages using infobox country or infobox former country with the symbol caption or type parameters, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License, Первое Мая - День Международной Солидарности Трудящихся. Finally, after securing power, the Bolsheviks officially established the Soviet Union in December 1922. A wealthy class of nobles and landowners exploited those who tilled Russia’s agricultural lands and had only been freed from serfdom some fifty years earlier. BROWN, ARCHIE "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics This reinvigorated détente allowed Gorbachev to develop a strong relationship with President Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) of the United States. (1992). The camp population there grew from 3,000 in 1923 to approximately 50,000 in 1930. The Soviet Union had to resolve similar conflicts with the newly established Republic of Finland, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, and the Republic of Lithuania which had all escaped the empire during the civil war. A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to the End. 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