Portal:Soviet Union

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Znak kachestva.svg UNION OF SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLICS Znak kachestva.svg

Introduction

Flag of the Soviet Union.svg

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (Russian SFSR). Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

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 during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. 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 constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During this period of totalitarian rule, political paranoia fermented and the late-1930s Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in over 600,000 deaths. Suppression of political critics and forced labor were carried out by Stalin's government. In 1933, a major famine that became known as the Holodomor in Soviet Ukraine struck multiple Soviet grain-growing regions, causing the deaths of some 3 to 7 million people.

On August 23 1939, days before the start of World War II, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact agreeing to non-aggression with Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, the pact collapsed as Germany turned to attack the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre 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 Soviet Union and the postwar division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the West, led by the United States of America.

The Cold War emerged by 1947 as the Eastern Bloc, united under the Warsaw Pact in 1955, confronted the Western Bloc, united under NATO in 1949. On 5 March 1953, Stalin died and was eventually succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization of Soviet society through the Khrushchev Thaw. The Soviet Union took an early lead in the Space Race, with the first artificial satellite, the first human spaceflight, and successfully launched the first probe to land on another planet, Venus. Dissatisfied with Khrushchev's policies, the Communist Party's conservative wing led a coup d'état against Khrushchev in 1964, quietly ousting him without any bloodshed. In the early 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 premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). Under Gorbachev, the role of the Communist Party in governing the state was removed from the constitution, causing a surge of severe political instability to set in. In 1989 Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments.

With the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements inside the union republics, Gorbachev tried to avert a dissolution of the Soviet Union. A March 1991 referendum, boycotted by some republics, resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation. Gorbachev's power was greatly diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin played a high-profile role in facing down an abortive August 1991 coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned, and on 26 December 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union, thereby ending the Cold War, and the remaining twelve constituent republics emerged 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 successor state of the Soviet Union. In summing up the international ramifications of these events, Vladislav Zubok stated: "The collapse of the Soviet empire was an event of epochal geopolitical, military, ideological and economic significance".

Throughout its existence, the Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. The country had the world's second largest economy and the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. It was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) and the Warsaw Pact.

March's selected article


The Mikoyan-Gurevich I-250 (a.k.a. Samolet N) was a Soviet fighter aircraft developed as part of a crash program in 1944 to develop a high-performance fighter to counter German turbojet-powered aircraft such as the Messerschmitt Me-262. The Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau decided to focus on a design that used something more mature than the jet engine, which was still at an experimental stage in the Soviet Union, and chose a mixed-power solution with the VRDK motorjet powered by the Klimov VK-107 V12 engine. While quite successful when it worked, with a maximum speed of 820 km/h (510 mph) being reached during trials, production problems with the VRDK fatally delayed the program and it was canceled in 1948 as obsolete. (more...)

Selected biography

About this soundLazar Markovich Lissitzky  (Russian: Ла́зарь Ма́ркович Лиси́цкий) (November 23 [O.S. November 11] 1890 – December 30, 1941), better known as El Lissitzky (Russian: Эль Лиси́цкий, Yiddish: על ליסיצקי‎), was a Russian artist, designer, photographer, typographer, polemicist and architect. He was an important figure of the Russian avant garde, helping develop suprematism with his mentor, Kazimir Malevich, and designing numerous exhibition displays and propaganda works for the former Soviet Union. His work greatly influenced the Bauhaus and constructivist movements, and he experimented with production techniques and stylistic devices that would go on to dominate 20th-century graphic design.(more...)

Did you know...

Selected anniversaries for March

8marta.jpg

Selected images

Categories

Soviet categories

WikiProjects

Things you can do

Things you can do Привет and welcome! Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit. If you are interested in the Soviet Union and have some information that can be added to an existing article, please help. Here are some things you can do:

Selected quote

Dmitri Shostakovich, talking about life living in the USSR

Recognized content

Featured article Featured articles

Former featured article Former featured articles

Featured list Featured lists

Former featured list Former featured lists

A-Class article A-Class articles

Good article Good articles

Delisted good article Former good articles

Good article nominee Good article nominees

Featured picture Featured pictures

Did You Know? Did you know? articles

Main page featured articles

Main page featured lists

In the News articles

Picture of the day pictures


(SCROLL)

Main topics

Soviet Union in the news

No recent news

Related portals

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

Commons
Media

Wikinews 
News

Wikiquote 
Quotations

Wikisource 
Texts

Wikiversity
Learning resources

Wiktionary 
Definitions

Wikidata 
Database

Purge server cache