Alternate titles: Russia, Sojuz Sovetskich Socialisticeskich Respublik, Sovetsky Soyuz, Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik, U.S.S.R., Union that Soviet Socialist Republics
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At its best extent, in between 1946 and 1991 (the figures and also descriptions given listed below refer come this period), the U.S.S.R. Covered some 8,650,000 square miles (22,400,000 square kilometres), seven times the area that India and also two and also one-half times the of the joined States. The country occupied virtually one-sixth the the earth land surface, including the eastern half of Europe and roughly the northern third of Asia.

The U.S.S.R. Extended much more than 6,800 miles (10,900 kilometres) from eastern to west, covering 11 the the world’s 24 time zones. The many westerly point was on the Baltic Sea, close to Kaliningrad; the easternmost to be Cape Dezhnev top top the Bering Strait, virtually halfway about the world. From phibìc to south the U.S.S.R. Prolonged some 2,800 miles from Cape Chelyuskin come Kushka ~ above the Afghan border. Nearly fifty percent the territory of the U.S.S.R. Was north of 60° N, at the very same latitude together Alaska, Baffin Island, and also Greenland.


In enhancement to having the world’s longest coastline, the U.S.S.R. Had the longest frontiers. Come the north the country was bounded by the seas the the Arctic Ocean, and also to the east were the seas of the Pacific. Top top the southern the U.S.S.R. Was bordered by phibìc Korea, Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey. On the southern frontier there were 3 seas: the Caspian Sea, the world’s largest inland sea, as well as the almost totally landlocked black color Sea and Sea of Azov. Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Finland, and also Norway lay to the west.

The U.S.S.R. Was the follower to the Russian empire of the tsars. Complying with the 1917 Revolution, four socialist republics were created on the territory of the previous empire: the Russian and also Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republics and also the Ukrainian and Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republics. ~ above December 30, 1922, this constituent republics created the U.S.S.R. Additional union republics (Soviet Socialist Republics) were set up in subsequent years: the Turkmen and also Uzbek S.S.R.’s in 1924, the Tadzhik S.S.R. In 1929, and also the Kazakh and Kirgiz S.S.R.’s in 1936. In that year the Transcaucasian Republic was abolished and also its territory was divided in between three brand-new republics: the Armenian, Azerbaijan, and also Georgian S.S.R.’s. In 1940 the Karelo-Finnish, Moldavian, Estonian, Latvian, and also Lithuanian S.S.R.’s were established. The Karelo-Finnish S.S.R. Came to be an autonomous republic in 1956, leave a total of 15 union republics (soyuznye respubliki). In enhancement to these, the U.S.S.R. As of 1990 was consisted of of 20 autonomous republics (avtonomnye respubliki), 8 autonomous provinces (avtonomnye oblasti), 10 autonomous districts (avtonomnye okruga), 6 areas (kraya), and also 114 provinces (oblasti).

Under the constitution adopted in the 1930s and also modified down to October 1977, the political structure of the U.S.S.R. Was created by the Soviets (Councils) of People’s Deputies. These existed at every levels that the governmental hierarchy, through the Soviet Union as a whole under the nominal control of the supreme Soviet the the U.S.S.R., located in Moscow. This body had actually two chambers—the Soviet of the Union, with 750 members chosen on a single-member constituency basis; and also the Soviet the Nationalities, through 750 members representing the assorted political divisions: 32 from each union republic, 11 from each autonomous republic, 5 from every autonomous region, and 1 from each autonomous district. In vote to these bodies, the voters were rarely provided any choice of candidate other than those gift by the Communist Party that the Soviet Union (CPSU), which, until the revised of article 6 that the structure in march 1990, to be the “leading and also guiding force of Soviet society and the nucleus of its politics system.” In theory, every legislation required the approval that both chambers that the can be fried Soviet; in practice, every decisions were made through the tiny group well-known as the Presidium the the supreme Soviet, chin strongly affected by the Politburo of the CPSU, and were unanimously approved by the deputies. The duty of the soviets in the individual republics and other regions was primarily to put into effect the decisions made through the can be fried Soviet the the U.S.S.R.

The political system was therefore authoritarian and also highly centralized, and also this likewise applied to the economic system. The economic foundation of the U.S.S.R. Was “Socialist property of the way of production, distribution, and also exchange,” and the economy of the entire country was controlled by a collection of five-year plan that collection targets because that all forms of production.

Dramatic changes, both political and economic, occurred during the so late 1980s and early ’90s, introduced by the fostering of perestroika (“restructuring”) and glasnost (“openness”). On the economic side the planned, highly centralized command economy was come be changed by the progressive development of aspects of a sector economy, a adjust that proved an overwhelming to attain and to be accompanied by decreasing production in plenty of sectors and also increasing distribution problems. In the politics sphere, amendments come the structure in 1988 replaced the old supreme Soviet with the conference of People’s Deputies that the U.S.S.R. The brand-new congress had 2,250 members; one-third of this were elected on a constituency basis, one-third stood for the political regions (as in the old can be fried Soviet), and the remaining third came indigenous “all-union social organizations” such together the trade unions, the CPSU, and the Academy the Sciences. Voter were presented with a choice of candidates, and many non-Communists to be elected. The congress of People’s Deputies elected a brand-new Supreme Soviet the 542 members and also chose the chairman of the body, that was to be the executive, management president that the U.S.S.R. Congresses that People’s Deputies were likewise established in each republic.

These congresses might be legitimately explained as parliaments, and they involved in vigorous conflict over the economic and political future the the country. Native 1989, conflicts developed between the conference of the U.S.S.R. And those of the individual republics, greatly over the respective powers the the centre (the U.S.S.R. Government) and also the republics. These problems were exacerbated by the revival of ethnic nationalism and also increasing demands for autonomy and even for complete independence. Following the abortive coup of august 1991, in which the CPSU was greatly implicated, the party itself was abolished.

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By December 1991 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had virtually ceased to exist, and also the future the its territories and peoples was uncertain. Three republics—Estonia, Latvia, and also Lithuania—had completed complete independence and also were around the world recognized as sovereign states, and several others to be demanding independence. Attempts were made, led by Mikhail Gorbachev, the chairman of the Soviet Union, to create a brand-new “Union of sovereign States” v some degree of integration in international policy, defense, and also economic affairs, however agreement amongst the staying 12 republics was not achieved. Everything the legitimate position, the union republics had started to act together if they to be sovereign states and were negotiating through each other, bypassing the vestigial main government. This process culminated on December 8, 1991, in the signing of one agreement in between the 3 Slav republics that Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus for the facility of the republic of Independent claims (CIS), with an agreed typical policy for international affairs and also defense. The CIS later came to include every the remaining republics other than Georgia, however great difficulty was experienced in getting here at i agreeed policies. The future for this reason remained uncertain, yet there could be no disagreement through the statement by the leader of the republic that “the U.S.S.R. Has ceased to exist together a geopolitical reality.”

This article contains a history of the Union that Soviet Socialist Republics indigenous 1917 to 1991. Because that the location and history of the previous Soviet Socialist republics, see the articles Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Ukraine.