It was a union of 14 Soviet socialist republics and one Soviet federative socialist republic (Russia). Coleman, Fred. 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. Immediately after the Bolsheviks came to power a civil war erupted between the Communist Red Army and the loosely allied anti-Communist White Army. The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932–1939. Traditional explanations for the strictly political aspects of the Great Terror stress Stalin's lust for power and his determination to liquidate all real and perceived rivals in a paranoiac drive for autocratic rule. Although he survived the attempted takeover, he lost all of his power outside of Moscow. Aside from these politically motivated aspects, another fundamental characteristic of the Great Terror was the social component. (1992). The big changes of the economy, industry and politics of the country began in the early days of Soviet power in 1917. Russia was the largest and most influential of these by far. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the Soviet Union, was the world’s first Communist state, existing from 1922 to 1991. Encyclopedia.com. After becoming prime minister in March 1958, Khrushchev’s position in the state and party was solidified. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. As a leading scholar has written: "Jews were systematically removed from all positions of authority in the arts and the media, in journalism and publishing, and in medicine and many other professions" (Werth, 1999, p. 245). Soyúznye Respúbliki) were ethnically based administrative units of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). With the liberalization and partial democratization of the Soviet system after 1985, the fact that the Soviet Union had been divided administratively along national-territorial lines gained immense significance. 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. In what concrete political, economic, and military contexts did they make their decisions? Werth, Nicolas (1999). These were either Soviet Socialist Republics, or Soviet Socialist Federal Republics. He went on to establish a cult of personality and initiate a period of intense political repression. It was not about to end. and the short-lived provisional government of Russia. The new entity was named the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), and over the next twenty years it would add—most often by force—several other constituent republics in Central Asia and the Baltic nations of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. J oseph Stalin was the brutal and absolute leader of the communist Soviet Union from 1929 until his death in 1953. . Encyclopedia.com. These countries, like Poland, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany, were called satellite states. Khrushchev even denounced Stalin and launched a campaign to ease the repressive controls over party and society. He had many self-awarded medals. Laibman, David. . One of the more reprehensible features of Stalin's rule after World War II was his increasing anti-Semitism. It also had over one-hundred distinct nationalities living within its borders, making it extremely diverse. See also: bolshevism; communist party of the soviet union; economic growth, soviet; nationalism in the soviet union; union of sovereign states. Finally, détente appeared dead when Brezhnev sent armed forces into Afghanistan in December 1979 to shore up the Communist government there. It asserted that the goals of the dictatorship of the proletariat had been met, that workers and peasants no longer needed their interests protected by the state from exploitation, and in effect the Soviet state was the Soviet people. The decree remained in force until November 1938. Central and East Europeans were particularly targeted, but so were Koreans, Chinese, Afghans, and many other minorities who were deported from their homelands or arrested en masse. Renamed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1952, the party ruled every aspect of Soviet life. Kamenskoye, Ukraine . Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Soviet Foreign Policy since World War II. During Brezhnev’s sixteen years as first secretary, economic and political reform was nonexistent. 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. The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. The civil war between the Reds and the Whites started in 1917 and ended in 1923. Ukraine was divided and only later fully embraced independent statehood. New York: Norton. New York: Oxford University Press. However, public sympathy for their actions was largely against them and the coup ultimately failed. In December, the Bolsheviks signed an armistice (peace) with the Central Powers. The Soviet Union was created by the treaty between soviet socialist republics of Belarus, Russian Federation, Transcaucasian Federation and Ukraine, which became union republics of the Soviet Union. Stalin died on 5 March 1953. 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). Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik, former republic. In 1956 he denounced Stalin's repression and eased controls over party and society. "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics A large part of this was performed according to Bolshevik Initial Decrees, documents of the Soviet government, signed by Vladimir Lenin. and "traitors"—the landed gentry, capitalists, Orthodox priests, tsarist officials, bourgeois intellectuals, even kulaks (better-off peasants). ." Nuclear disarmament and reconfigured security arrangements are the salient themes in this “new world order.” Economic interdependence and political integration are also being seen everywhere. 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. Soviet Politics 1917–1991. It is generally accepted, however, that the process of mass repression was set in motion by the December 1934 assassination of Sergei Kirov, the popular Leningrad Communist Party chief and, so it was rumored at the time, rival to Stalin. It was, however, only during the perestroika period that the federal forms gained legitimacy. . The Soviet Union expanded its political control greatly after World War II. 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. Moscow, Russia Why did the vicious assault on ethnic minorities escalate in late 1937 and continue well into 1938? Famine, epidemics, overcrowding, summary shootings, and inhuman exploitation for the war effort were commonplace. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Stalin's timely demise on March 5 put an end to their suffering and brought to a close the era of mass repression in the USSR. D. L. Hoffmann. 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. Suny, Ronald G. (1994). . As a consequence of this police state and emergent modernization during the course of the late nineteenth century, social tensions ran deep i… (A)affected nations throughout the world (B) decreased conflict in eastern Europe … A 20th-century federal state made up of 15 constituent socialist republics on the former territory of the Russian Empire. During this time, the Soviet leadership experimented with economic reform and several individuals contended for power. According to Richard Pipes, the aim was twofold: to secure vital assets for the cash-strapped Soviet government and to smash the power of the Orthodox Church and its hold over the peasantry. Peace was maintained, however, largely through the Committee for State Security, known by its infamous Russian-language acronym KGB. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. The world's largest lake, the Caspian Sea, was mostly in the Soviet Union. Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison. Brezhnev was succeeded by Yuri Andropov, who died a few years later. For instance, in 1942 the Gulag Administration registered 249,000 deaths (18 % of the camp population) and in 1943 it registered 167,000 deaths (17%). The Baltic states were forcibly incorporated in 1940, and in the post-World War II Soviet Union there were fifteen Union Republics. It included the Siberian Intervention and other foreign interference, the killing of Nicholas II and his family and the famine in 1921, which killed about 5 million. Between 1931 and 1933 around 25,000 convicts perished building the White Sea Canal, one of Stalin's pet schemes involving forced labor. ." 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. One of the first decrees of the Bolshevik regime in December 1917 was the creation of the Cheka, the original Soviet secret police force and forerunner of the much-vaunted KGB. 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. Retrieved October 16, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/union-soviet-socialist-republics-0. The Central Asian republics had independence virtually thrust upon them when Boris Yeltsin joined the leaders of Ukraine and Belorussia in December 1991 to proclaim that the USSR would cease to exist. Boris Yeltsin was elected (democratically) the President of the Russian SFSR even though Gorbachev did not want him to come into power. The communist government developed industry and over time became a major, powerful union. death warrants and ratified numerous executions, thousands of the condemned being loyal Party and state officials; he even ordered the arrest of several members of his own extended family and close relatives of his colleagues, presumably in an attempt to test the latter's loyalty. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital. 2nd ed. Debate over the future of the economy provided the background for Soviet leaders to take more power in the years after Lenin's death in 1924. The USSR was the successor state to the Russian Empire (see RussiaRussia, officially the Russian Federation, Rus. The Plan became the prototype for subsequent Five-Year Plans and was basically fulfilled by 1931. The country’s Communist era began with an immediate and radical program to establish a “dictatorship of the proletariat.” This would serve as a transitional state between the formerly capitalist society—whereby the means of production are controlled by a few for their own enrichment, according to Marxist ideology—to a classless society where all shared a nation’s resources equally. However, in May 1922 after Lenin became temporarily incapacitated by a stroke, the unity of the Communist Party fractured. The Revenge of the Past: Nationalism, Revolution, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union. Gale Encyclopedia of World History: Governments. The Plan was developed in 1920 and covered a 10- to 15-year period. . 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. In 1989 a new legislature was created that resurrected the Congress of Soviets of the 1930s. Gulag. S. Courtois et al. The Gulag Archipelago, 1918–1956. 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. Premier Romanov appeared to be a man of peace, and even founded the World Sociali… Its five climatic (different weather, temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure) zones were tundra, taiga, steppes, desert, and mountains. Encyclopedia.com. 1992. Portrayed in the Soviet media as a heroic war of patriotism, there were many grim sides to this life-and-death struggle between the two totalitarian giants. Inmates were in essence slave labor, whose contribution to the Soviet economy, especially from the 1930s, should not be overlooked. The Soviet Union's parliament (Supreme Soviet) made the Belavezha Agreement law, marking formally the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Whether the former were targeted specifically because of their ethnic origin is unclear. Retrieved October 16, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/union-soviet-socialist-republics. It did this by transforming the Eastern European countries into satellite states, dependent upon and obedient to its leadership. During the closing ceremony, the flag of the City of Los Angeles was raised instead of the flag of the United States (to symbolise the next host city/nation) and the anthem of the Olympics was played instead of the anthem of the United States in response to the boycott. The new Soviet leader stunned a world long dominated by Cold War politics between the Soviet Union and its equally powerful ideological enemy, the ardently capitalist United States, by introducing a series of reforms that were publicized by two catchwords, glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). 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. At the time, no other constitution in the world provided such economic assurances to its people. A group of communist leaders, unhappy with Gorbachev's idea, tried to take over Moscow and stop the Soviet Union from collapsing. The Union collapsed in 1991, partly due to the efforts at reform by its leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. Lenin realized that the Soviet government required normal relations with the Western world for it to survive. His reliance on behind-the-scenes machinations, out-right slander, and administrative measures against his opponents concealed another of his characteristics: He was a workaholic who intervened in, and had practical solutions for, all the major and often secondary problems that confronted the Soviet state. Stalin, along with U.S. and British leaders, agreed to divide up the conquered Nazi territory at the end of the war, and behind the Red Army’s push westward to beat the Nazis came party cadres who quickly allied with native communist organizations in the devastated countries of Eastern Europe. The games were heavily boycotted by the western nations, particularly the United States. Stalin was thus a very capable, not unintelligent, leader who commanded the respect of his followers. A History of the Soviet Camps. In turn, to constrain Germany, the Soviet Union built coalitions that were hostile to fascism. After the coup the Soviet republics accelerated their process toward independence. The term Stalinist genocide employed by several specialists suggests a close relationship and moral equivalence between Nazi and Soviet terror. However, the most important global change since the Soviet Union’s demise is the ever-increasing threat of terrorism, especially Islamic fundamentalism. Leonid Brezhnev The events of September 11, 2001, indicate that this has officially replaced nuclear war as the greatest threat to peace. ." The Soviet Union's highest mountain was Communism Peak (today it is called the Ismail Samani Peak) in Tajikistan measured at 7,495 metres (24,590 ft). It eliminated the Congress of Soviets, guaranteed Soviet citizens the rights to work and to an education, and also ensured their medical care, housing needs, and old-age pensions. In September 1936 Stalin appointed Nikolai Ezhov, a known hardline adversary of "anti-Party elements," as head of the NKVD (secret police). From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик. As a consequence of this police state and emergent modernization during the course of the late nineteenth century, social tensions ran deep in tsarist Russia. The most prominent leader was Leon Trotsky (1879–1940), a Bolshevik revolutionary and a founding member of the Politburo. NEW ECONOMIC POLICY (NEP) Encyclopedia.com. Gorbachev also supported a new treaty of union that would end Moscow’s and the CPSU’s centralized hold on the individual republics, instead creating a new federation of independent republics, but just prior to its signing in August 1991 Gorbachev was surprised by a delegation of top-ranking officials at his summer home in the Crimea. By June 1918 as the civil war got under way, reports of Cheka "excesses" began to reach Moscow. This resulted in a break throughout the global Marxist–Leninist movement. The changes in the USSR emboldened reformers and advocates of national independence in East-Central Europe. Crimes, Terror, Repression, ed. This along with economic stagnation proved to be formidable challenges for the Soviet leadership after Brezhnev’s death in 1982. It was located in Eurasian continent with parts both in Europe and Asia. Its duty was to meet twice yearly and elect the Supreme Soviet. World Encyclopedia. The Central Committee was also responsible for choosing the General Secretary of the Communist Party, but at times this relationship was reversed, and during particularly repressive periods the General Secretary instead chose the Central Committee and members of the Politburo. In practice, the degree to which the nationals of the various Soviet republics ran their republics, and the extent to which they were given some latitude to introduce local variation, changed over time. 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. The next day the Soviet flag was lowered from the Kremlin for the last time. In October 1917, under Lenin’s guidance, the Bolsheviks ousted the Provisional Government, and five months later Lenin—now elected Chair of the Council of People’s Commissars—signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, which ended Russian involvement in World War I. It existed for 69 years, from 1922 until 1991. Gorbachev invented the idea of keeping the Soviet Union together with each republic being more independent but under the same leader. "The Soviet Union was a one-party Marxist-Leninist state". The western part (in Europe) accounted for a quarter of the country's area, and was the country's cultural and economic center. Premier Romanov appeared to be a man of peace, and even founded the World Sociali… The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), or the Soviet Union, was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. In Stalinism: New Directions, ed. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union: 1917–1991. The historical legacy of Stalin has often been framed in the following way: he was a cruel, but necessary, leader who after 1928 industrialized and modernized the USSR and thus established the economic, social, and military basis for victory over the Nazis in World War II. The country was made up of several parts called soviet socialist republics. A distinction can be drawn between the dismantling or transformation of the Soviet system, and the disintegration of the USSR. This led to upheaval throughout the Soviet Union and in its Eastern European satellite states. The Soviet Union and Social Science Theory. Under Lenin, the new government centralized its control over the political, economic, social, and cultural lives of the Soviet people by prohibiting other political organizations and inaugurating one-party rule. In the interim period between the meetings of the Congresses of Soviets, ruling power would be held by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee. These congresses were generally held every five years after 1952, and in turn elected the Central Committee of the CPSU. Accordingly, the use of state terror became a conscious and deliberate instrument of governance under Lenin, arguably the principal method of maintaining and consolidating Bolshevik rule. What were their fears? The most notable comments, given subsequent developments, related to Stalin. It was the first country to declare itself socialist and build towards a communist society. The Soviet Union (short for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or USSR) was a single-party Marxist–Leninist state. In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. The Soviet Union's longest river was the Irtysh. 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. Leninist National Policy: Solution to the "National Question"? Inevitably, these examples of Soviet ethnic cleansing have compelled some scholars to compare Stalinist and Nazi policies of extermination. "State Violence as Technique: The Logic of Violence in Soviet Totalitarianism." Finally, after securing power, the Bolsheviks officially established the Soviet Union in December 1922. This situation lasted until Leonid Brezhnev (1906–1982), who attained the post of first secretary in 1964, became the most important figure within the Soviet leadership in 1971. This reinvigorated détente allowed Gorbachev to develop a strong relationship with President Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) of the United States. (October 16, 2020). World Encyclopedia. BROWN, ARCHIE "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics In 1906 Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924) was elected RSDLP president by a faction of his supporters who agreed with his idea that a more radical approach was necessary to bring revolution to Russia. 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. His successors, notably Nikita Khrushchev, renounced terror, released large numbers of Gulag prisoners, and attempted, not altogether successfully, to "de-Stalinize" Soviet politics and society. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. Soviet Union: A Country Study. By ruthlessly eliminating threats to his leadership, Stalin came to control the state as well as the party by 1928. After the formation of a provisional government, workers councils, known as soviets, began to sprout up throughout the country to protect the rights of the working class. McAuley, Mary. Kenez, Peter. Pipes, Richard, ed. Washington, DC: The Division. https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/union-soviet-socialist-republics, "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 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. Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. . BIBLIOGRAPHY Eventually, in November 1917, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin (1870–1924), seized power from the provisional government and established the world’s first Communist government. Soviet military force was used to suppress anti-Stalinist uprisings in Hungary and Poland in 1956. The Soviet Union was the world’s first Communist state, the West’s principal adversary during the cold war, and a dominant force in international affairs until its collapse in 1991. The eastern part (in Asia) extended to the Pacific Ocean to the east and Afghanistan to the south, and was much less lived in than the western part. not moral—for the crimes against humanity perpetrated from 1928 to 1953. . The changes that occurred in the framework of the peace treaties of 1919–1920—specifically the creation of an independent Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia, and the return to Romania of Bessarabia—greatly reduced the Jewish populationof the Russian Empire. Although mass arrests and executions abated after November 1938, repression continued in the USSR throughout World War II. 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. 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. "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", https://simple.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Soviet_Union&oldid=7195208, 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. Lenin was acutely aware of the dangers of internal party disunity and attempted, rather ineffectually, to paper over the cracks in leadership. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates. From the standpoint of democracy, the former was a necessity. Basingstoke, U.K.: Palgrave Macmillan. However, serious disagreements emerged among the Bolshevik hierarchy, especially as Lenin's failing health from 1922 on led to an internal party power struggle. This facilitated Joseph Stalin’s (1879–1953) rise to power, and he became general secretary in April 1922. Getty, J. Arch, and Oleg V. Naumov, eds. The General Secretary of the Communist Party was the de facto ruler. 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. Some of the republics—notably the three Baltic states—became relatively successful democracies once they had gained their independence. In the cities conditions were equally difficult for the urban poor, and the war caused even more drastic shortages of basic necessities like food and fuel. 16 Oct. 2020 . Encyclopedia of Russian History. In February 1990 the unintended consequences of Gorbachev’s reforms forced the Central Committee of the Soviet Union to give up its monopoly of power. Союз Советских Социалистических Республик, Learn how and when to remove this template message, Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Day of International Solidarity of Labor people, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, The Fine Line between the Enforcement of Human Rights Agreements and the Violation of National Sovereignty: The Case of Soviet Dissidents. Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA). SEE ALSO Chechens; Cossacks; Gulag; Kalmyks; Katyn; Lenin, Vladimir; Memory; Stalin, Joseph; Statistical Analysis; Ukraine (Famine); Utopian Ideologies as Motives for Genocide. Retrieved October 16, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/union-soviet-socialist-republics. This culminated in the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact of August 23, 1939, which called for absolute neutrality in the event one of the parties became involved in war. Republics ' to keep the Russian Empire Congress of Soviets, ruling power would be held the... Reducing the endemic bureaucratic corruption, weak property rights protection, and Oleg V. Naumov eds... 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