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What is the Soviet Union?

A map of the Soviet Union, with the star, sickle, and hammer that appeared on its flag.
Moscow relinquished control of several satellite states after the fall of the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union fielded several potent weapon systems, such as the Typhoon class ballistic missile submarines.
The Soviet Union sent the first man into space, however the United States later beat the communist country to the moon.
Kazakhstan was once part of the Soviet Union.
Estonia, a Baltic country, was part of the Soviet Union.
Many former Soviet Republics, such as Ukraine, became independent nations after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
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The Soviet Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is a former country which included the modern-day Russian Federation and a number of adjacent states, including the Baltic states (Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania), Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and others. The USSR was a major world power during its existence, which began with the Russian Revolution of 1917 and continued until its collapse in 1991. The Soviet Union and the United States were major rivals from the end of WWII until the late 1980s, creating a conflict known as the "Cold War" where the superpowers fought each other through proxies. Many people believe that billions of people could have been killed if nuclear war broke out between the two countries, but thankfully it never did.

The Soviet Union was founded in 1917, when the Russian peasantry got fed up with the monarchy, presided over by the uncharismatic Czar Nicholas II. Some intellectuals in Russia embraced the idea of Communism, a socialist philosophy promoted by philosopher Karl Marx in his 1848 political manuscript, The Communist Manifesto. The basic idea of communism was to institute a classless, stateless society where the means of production were owned by the people. Through revolutionary activity, these intellectuals eventually got their way, toppling the Czar and executing the entire royal family. Although it sounded like an okay idea on paper, unfortunately the implementation of communism in the USSR was profoundly corrupt and deadly to many.

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The Soviet Union was founded around by a revolution led by the Bolshevik party, under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin. After five years of unrest and purges between 1917 and 1922, it finally unified, and was recognized by other nations around the world. The country was ruled by only one party, the Communist Party. When Lenin died in 1924, he was replaced by Josef Stalin, who later became known as one of the most brutal mass murderers in history.

The Soviet Union under Stalin was a terrible time, characterized by artificial famines and the incarceration of millions of people in forced labor camps called gulags. The actions of Stalin are estimated to have led to the deaths of more than 60 million people. As WWII hit in the late 1930s, the USSR became an ally of the United States, France, and the United Kingdom in the war against the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan). After a lengthy campaign by the Nazis in an attempt to invade the country, Hitler's forces were eventually beaten back, with most of the invaders dying.

After WWII, the Soviet Union consolidated its influence in Eastern Europe, and area that became known as "behind the Iron Curtain," partially because of the political repression and media blackout there. The West aligned itself against the Soviet Union, starting the lengthy Cold War. On a more positive note, this also ignited the Space Race, where the USA and the USSR competed to see who could achieve more space "firsts" than the other. The USSR succeeded in launching the first satellite and the first man into space, while the USA succeeded in getting the first man on the Moon.

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 after its citizens decided they preferred capitalism. This caused Moscow to relinquish several satellite states it had previously been controlling, resulting in a multiplicity of new nations being created. Today, relations between the Russian Federation and the West are somewhat strained, but better than they were in the Cold War days.

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Discuss this Article

anon351682
Post 16

But why did they decide to form?

anon347355
Post 15

What was the relationship between the USA and USSR from 1959 to 1965?

anon258524
Post 12

How did this affect other countries in the world?

anon195504
Post 10

I knew some of this from Hetalia which makes it funny. And in the group that the Soviet Union joined, wasn't China in it?

PizzaGeek
Post 9

@anon152124 - The Cold War is commonly said to have ended in 1991 (late 1991) when the Soviet Union dissolved into separate states or republics. Former Soviet Union countries today include: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and many "stans" -- Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgystan.

anon152124
Post 8

When did the cold war end?

anon143806
Post 6

i agree with the first comment. and third. Dying is not good. and why is it different? How do you know it is?

anon127400
Post 3

i would like to know how this could have been avoided, saving millions of men woman and children who did not deserve to die

anon85813
Post 2

all i want to know is the attitude of russia to Georgia.

anon24513
Post 1

I need to no what problems did the soviet face while shifting from centrally planned economy to the market economy..........

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