Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union

Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик Советский Союз

Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik Sovetsky Soyuz


Flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union
Coat of arms of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union

Map of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union.


Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь! (Russian)

("Workers of the world, unite!")

1922-1944: "The internationale"
1944-1991: "National Anthem of the Soviet Union"
Capital (and largest city): Moscow, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union (15 million)
Other cities:
Official: Russian
Other: 52 others
Main: State atheism
Other: Secular, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Shamanism, Tengrism
Demonym: Soviet, Russian
Government: Union, Marxist-Leninist single-party socialist state
General Secretary of the Soviet Union:
1922-1952: Joseph Stalin (first)
1991: Vladimir Ivashko (last)
Head of State:
1922-1938: Mikhail Kalinin (first)
1988-1991: Mikhail Gorbachev (last)
Head of Government/Premier of the Soviet Union:
1922-1924: Vladimir Lenin (first)
1991: Ivan Silayev (last) 
Legislature: Supreme Soviet
Upper house: Soviet of the Union
Lower house: Soviet of Nationalities
Historical era: Interwar period / Cold War
Area: (1991) 22,402,200 km² (8,649,538 sq mi) (1st)
Population: (1991) 293,047,571 (3rd)
Density: 13.1 /km2 (33.9 /sq mi)
Treaty of Creation: December 30, 1922
New Union Treaty: August 20, 1991
Area: (1991) 22,402,200 km² (8,649,538 sq mi) (1st)
Population: (1991) 293,047,571 (3rd)
Density: 13.1 /km2 (33.9 /sq mi)
Currency: Soviet ruble (руб) (SUR)
Internet TLD: .su
Calling code: +7

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.; Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик Советский Союз, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik Sovetsky Soyuz; abbreviated С.С.С.Р., S.S.S.R.), commonly known as the Soviet Union (Russian: Советский Союз, tr. Sovietsky Soyuz), abbreviated to USSR (Russian: CCCP, tr. SSSR), informally referred to simply as the Union (Russian: Союз, tr. Soyuz) and Russia (Russian: Россия, tr. Rossiya), was a constitutionally socialist state that existed between 1922 and 1991, ruled as a single-party state by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union with its capital as Moscow, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Soviet Union. A union of 15 subnational Soviet republics, practice the Soviet Union was highly centralized. The largest ethnic group, the Russians, had political and economic hegemony over the Union. As a result, Russian characteristics personified the country, and it was informally referred to as "Russia".

The Soviet Union has its roots in the Russian Revolution of 1917, which deposed the Tsar, ending over three hundred years of Romanov dynastic rule. On 7 November 1917, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, stormed the Winter Palace in Leningrad and overthrew the Russian Provisional Government in a event which was thereafter known as the October Revolution. This immediately led to the establishment of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic – the world's first socialist state – and the beginning of a long and bloody civil war, the Russian Civil War. Led by Leon Trotsky, the Red Army entered several territories of the former Russian Empire and eliminated White forces and helped local communists seize power. In 1922, the civil war ended with the victory of the Red partisans, and the Soviet Union was formed with the merger of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Following Lenin's death in 1924, a troika had been established to continue a collective leadership policy. However, after a brief power struggle, by the end of the 1920s, Joseph Stalin came to power, during which time Marxism-Leninism was established as state ideology and a centralised centrally planned economy was initiated. As a result, the country underwent a period of rapid industralization and collectivisation which laid the basis for its later war effort and dominance after World War II. However, Stalin committed mass repression against both Communist Party members and elements of the population through his authoritarian rule.

During World War II, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history and violating an earlier non-aggrssion pact between the countries. The Soviet Union suffered the largest loss of life in the war, but halted the Axis advance at intense battles such as Stalingrad, eventually driving through Eastern Europe and capturing Berlin in 1945. Having played the decisive role in the Allied victory in Europe, the Soviet Union consequently occupied much of Central and Eastern Europe and emerged as one of the world's two superpowers after the war. Together with these new communist satellite states, through which it established economic and military pacts, Warsaw Pact, it became involved in the Cold War, a prolonged ideological and political struggle against the Western World led by the other superpower, the United States.

A de-Stalinisation period followed Stalin's death, reducing the harshest aspects of society. The Soviet Union initiated significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including launching the first ever satellite (Sputnik 1) and world's first human spaceflight, which led into the Space Race. The Cuban Missile Crisis]] in 1962 marked a period of extreme tension between the two superpowers, considered the closest to a mutual nuclear confrontation so far. In the 1970s, a relexation of relations followed, but tensions resumed when, after a Communist-led revolution in Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, Soviet forces entered the country, by request of the new regime, Soviet war in Afghanistan. The occupation drained economic resources and dragged on without achieving meaningful political results. In the late 1980s the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who sought to enact liberal reforms in the Soviet system, introduced the policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) in an extreme succesful attempt to end the period of economic stagnation in the country and democratise the government. However, this led to the rise of strong nationalist and separatist movements. By 1991, economic and political turmoil were beginning to boil over, as the Baltic republics chose to secede from the Union. On March 17, a referendum was held, to which the vast majority of participating citizens voted in favour of preserving the Soviet Union as a renewed federation, now as Union of Soviet Sovereign States of the Soviet Union (U.S.S.S.). Gorbachev's reforms helped eliminate corruption in the USSR, leading to greater moral, and bring an end to the communist monopoly not just in the Soviet Union, but globally.

Geography, climate and environmentEdit

With an area of over 22,402,200 square kilometres, the Soviet Union is the world's largest state. Covering a sixth of the Earth's land surface, its size was comparable to that of the continent of North America. The European portion accounted for a quarter of the country's area, and is the cultural and economic center. The eastern part in Asia extend to the Pacific Ocean to the east and Afghanistan to the south, and was much less populous. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) east to west across 11 time zones, and almost 7,200 kilometres (4,500 mi) north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert, and mountains.

The Soviet Union has the world's longest border, measuring over 60,000 kilometres (62,000 mi), two-thirds of it a coastline of the Arctic Ocean. Across the Bering Strait is the United States. The Soviet Union borders the European Union to the west and southwest, Iran, Afghanistan, the Mongolian People's Republic, and the People's Republic of China to the south, and share maritime with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the United States by the Bering Strait.

The Soviet Union's longest river is the Irtysh. Its highest mountain is Communism Peak (even named Ismail Samani Peak) in Tajikistan, at 7,495 metres (24,590 ft). The world's largest lake, the Caspian Sea, lay mainly within the Soviet Union. The world's largest freshwater and deepest lake, Lake Baikal, is in the Soviet Union.


Main article: History of the Soviet Union

The last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, ruled the Russian Empire until his abdication in March 1917, due in part to the strain of fighting in World War I. A short-lived Russian provisional government took power, to be overthrown in the 1917 October Revolution (N.S. November 1917) by revolutionaries led by the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.

The Soviet Union was officially established in December 1922 with the union of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, and Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, each ruled by local Bolshevik parties. Despite the foundation of the Soviet state as a federative entity of many constituent republics, each with its own political and administrative entities, the term "Soviet Russia" – strictly applicable only to the Russian Federative Socialist Republic – was often incorrectly applied to the entire country by non-Soviet writers and politicians.

Revolution and foundationEdit

Main articles: History of Soviet Russia and the Soviet Union (1917-1927), Russian Revolution (1917), February Revolution, Russian Provisional Government, October Revolution, and Russian Civil War

Modern revolutionary activity in the Russian Empire began with the Decembrist Revolt of 1825. Although serfdom was abolished in 1861, it was done on terms unfavorable to the peasants and served to encourage revolutionaries. A parliament—the State Duma—was established in 1906 after the Russian Revolution of 1905, but the Tsar resisted attempts to move from absolute to constitutional monarchy. Social unrest continued and was aggravated during World War I by military defeat and food shortages in major cities.

A spontaneous popular uprising in Saint Petersburg, in response to the wartime decay of Russia's economy and morale, culminated in the February Revolution and the toppling of the imperial government in March 1917. The tsarist autocracy was replaced by the Russian Provisional Government, which intended to conduct elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly and to continue fighting on the side of the Entente in World War I.

At the same time, workers' councils, known as Soviets, sprang up across the country. The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, pushed for socialist revolution in the Soviets and on the streets. In November 1917, during the October Revolution, they seized power. In December, the Bolsheviks signed an armistice with the Central Powers, though by February 1918, fighting had resumed. In March, the Soviets quit the war for good and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

A long and bloody Russian Civil War ensued between the Reds and the Whites, starting in 1917 and ending in 1923 with the Reds victorious. It included foreign intervention, the execution of Nicholas II and his family, and the famine of 1921, which killed about five million. In March 1921, during a related conflict with Poland, the Peace of Riga was signed, splitting disputed territories in Belarus and Ukraine between the Republic of Poland and Soviet Russia. 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.

Unification of republicsEdit

On 28 December 1922, a conference of plenipotentiary delegations from the Russian SFSR, the Transcaucasian SFSR, the Ukrainian SSR and the Byelorussian SSR approved the Treaty of Creation of the USSR and the Declaration of the Creation of the USSR, forming the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. These two documents were confirmed by the 1st Congress of Soviets of the USSR and signed by the heads of the delegations, Mikhail Kalinin, Mikha Tskhakaya, Mikhail Frunze, Grigory Petrovsky, and Aleksandr Chervyakov, on 30 December 1922.

On 1 February 1924, the USSR was recognized by the British Empire. The same year, a Soviet Constitution was approved, legitimizing the December 1922 union.

An intensive restructuring of the economy, industry and politics of the country began in the early days of Soviet power in 1917. A large part of this was done according to the Bolshevik Initial Decrees, government documents signed by Vladimir Lenin. One of the most prominent breakthroughs was the GOELRO plan, which envisioned a major restructuring of the Soviet economy based on total electrification of the country. The plan was developed in 1920 and covered a 10-to 15-year period. It included construction of a network of 30 regional power plants, including ten large hydroelectric power plants, and numerous electric-powered large industrial enterprises. The plan became the prototype for subsequent Five-Year Plans and was fulfilled by 1931.

Stalin eraEdit

Main article: History of the Soviet Union (1927-1953)

From its beginning, the government in the Soviet Union was based on the one-party rule of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks). After the economic policy of War Communism during the Russian Civil War, the Soviet government permitted some private enterprise to coexist alongside nationalized industry in the 1920s and total food requisition in the countryside was replaced by a food tax (see New Economic Policy).

Soviet leaders argued that one-party rule was necessary to ensure that "capitalist exploitation" would not return to the Soviet Union and that the principles of Democratic Centralism would represent the people's will. Debate over the future of the economy provided the background for a power struggle in the years after Lenin's death in 1924. Initially, Lenin was to be replaced by a "troika" consisting of Grigory Zinoviev of Ukraine, Lev Kamenev of Moscow, and Joseph Stalin of Georgia.

On 3 April 1922, Stalin was named the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Lenin had appointed Stalin the head of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate, which gave Stalin considerable power. By gradually consolidating his influence and isolating and out-maneuvering his rivals within the party, Stalin became the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union and, by the end of the 1920s, established totalitarian rule. In October 1927, Grigory Zinoviev and Leon Trotsky were expelled from the Central Committee and forced into exile.

In 1928, Stalin introduced the First Five-Year Plan for building a socialist economy. While encompassing the internationalism expressed by Lenin throughout the Revolution, it also aimed to build socialism in one country. In industry, the state assumed control over all existing enterprises and undertook an intensive program of industrialization. In agriculture, collective farms were established all over the country.

Famines ensued, causing millions of deaths; surviving kulaks were persecuted and many sent to Gulags to do forced labour. Social upheaval continued in the mid-1930s. Stalin's Great Purge resulted in the execution or detainment of many "Old Bolsheviks" who had participated in the October Revolution with Lenin. According to declassified Soviet archives, in 1937 and 1938, the NKVD arrested more than one and a half million people, of whom 681,692 were shot – an average of 1,000 executions a day. The excess deaths during the 1930s as a whole were in the range of 10–11 million. Yet despite the turmoil of the mid-to-late 1930s, the Soviet Union developed a powerful industrial economy in the years before World War II.

The 1930sEdit

The early 1930s saw closer cooperation between the West and the USSR. From 1932 to 1934, the Soviet Union participated in the World Disarmament Conference. In 1933, diplomatic relations between the United States and the USSR were established. In September 1934, the Soviet Union joined the League of Nations. After the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, the USSR actively supported the Republican forces against the Nationalists, who were supported by Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

In December 1936, Stalin unveiled a new Soviet Constitution. The constitution was seen as a personal triumph for Stalin, who on this occasion was described by Pravda as a "genius of the new world, the wisest man of the epoch, the great leader of communism." By contrast, western historians and historians from former Soviet occupied countries have viewed the constitution as a meaningless propaganda document.

The late 1930s saw a shift towards the Axis powers. In 1938, after the United Kingdom and France had concluded the Munich Agreement with Nazi Germany, the USSR dealt with the Nazis as well, both militarily and economically during extensive talks. The two countries concluded the Nazi German–Soviet Nonaggression Pact and the Nazi German–Soviet Commercial Agreement. The nonaggression pact made possible Soviet occupation of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bessarabia, northern Bukovina, and eastern Poland. In late November of the same year, unable to coerce the Republic of Finland by diplomatic means into moving its border 25 kilometres (16 mi) back from Leningrad, Joseph Stalin ordered the invasion of Finland.

In the east, the Soviet military won several decisive victories during border clashes with the Japanese Empire in 1938 and 1939. However, in April 1941, USSR signed the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact with the Empire of Japan, recognizing the territorial integrity of Manchukuo, a Japanese puppet state.

World War IIEdit

Main article: Eastern front (World War II)

Although it has been debated whether the Soviet Union intended to invade Nazi Germany once it was strong enough, Nazi Germany itself broke the treaty and invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, starting what was known in the USSR as the "Great Patriotic War". The Red Army stopped the seemingly invincible Nazi German Army at the Battle of Moscow (World War II), aided by an unusually harsh winter. The Battle of Stalingrad, which lasted from late 1942 to early 1943, dealt a severe blow to the Germans from which they never fully recovered and became a turning point of the war. After Stalingrad, Soviet forces drove through Eastern Europe to Berlin before Germany surrendered in 1945. The German Army suffered 80% of its military deaths in the Eastern Front.

The same year, the USSR, in fulfillment of its agreement with the Allies at the Yalta Conference, denounced the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact in April 1945 and invaded Manchukuo and other Japan-controlled territories on 9 August 1945. This conflict ended with a decisive Soviet victory, contributing to the unconditional surrender of Japan and the end of World War II.

The Soviet Union suffered greatly in the war, losing around 30 million people. Despite this, it emerged as a military superpower. Once denied diplomatic recognition by the Western world, the Soviet Union had official relations with practically every nation by the late 1940s. A member of the United Nations at its foundation in 1945, the Soviet Union became one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, which gave it the right to veto any of its resolutions (see Soviet Union and the United Nations).

The Soviet Union maintained its status as one of the world's two superpowers for the first four decades through its hegemony in Eastern Europe, military strength, economic strength, aid to developing countries, and scientific research, especially in space technology and weaponry.

Cold WarEdit

Main article: Cold War

During the immediate postwar period, the Soviet Union rebuilt and expanded its economy, while maintaining its strictly centralized control. It aided post-war reconstruction in the countries of Eastern Europe, while turning them into satellite states, binding them in a military alliance (the Warsaw Pact) in 1955, and an economic organization (The Council for Mutual Economic Assistance or Comecon) from 1949 to 1991, the latter a counterpart to the European Economic Community. Later, the Comecon supplied aid to the eventually victorious Chinese Communist Party, and saw its influence grow elsewhere in the world. Fearing its ambitions, the Soviet Union's wartime allies, the United Kingdom and the United States, became its enemies. In the ensuing Cold War, the two sides clashed indirectly using mostly proxies.

Khrushchev eraEdit

Main article: History of the Soviet Union (1953-1964)

Stalin died on 5 March 1953. Without a mutually agreeable successor, the highest Communist Party officials opted to rule the Soviet Union jointly. Nikita Khrushchev, who had won the power struggle by the mid-1950s, denounced Stalin's use of repression in 1956 and eased repressive controls over party and society. This was known as de-Stalinization.

Moscow considered Eastern Europe to be a buffer zone for the forward defense of its western borders, and ensured its control of the region by transforming the East European countries into satellite states. Soviet military force was used to suppress anti-communist uprisings in People's Republic of Hungary and People's Republic of Poland in 1956.

In the late 1950s, a confrontation with China regarding the USSR's rapprochement with the West and what [[Mao Zedong perceived as Khrushchev's revisionism led to the Sino–Soviet split. This resulted in a break throughout the global Communist movement, with Communist regimes in Albania, Cambodia and Somalia choosing to ally with China in place of the USSR.

During this period, the Soviet Union continued to realize scientific and technological exploits: Launching the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1; a living dog, Laika; the first human being, Yuri Gagarin; the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova in 1963; Alexey Leonov, the first person to walk in space in 1965; and the first moon rovers, Lunokhod 1 and Lunokhod 2.

Khrushchev initiated "The Thaw" better known as Khrushchev's Thaw, a complex shift in political, cultural and economic life in the Soviet Union. That included some openness and contact with other nations and new social and economic policies with more emphasis on commodity goods, allowing living standards to rise dramatically while maintaining high levels of economic growth. Censorship was relaxed as well.

Khrushchev's reforms in agriculture and administration, however, were generally unproductive. In 1962, he precipitated a crisis with the United States over the Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba. The Soviet Union backed down after the United States initiated a naval blockade, causing Khrushchev much embarrassment and loss of prestige. He was removed from power in 1964.

Brezhnev eraEdit

Main article: History of the Soviet Union (1964-1982)

Following the ousting of Khrushchev, another period of collective leadership ensued, consisting of Leonid Brezhnev as General Secretary, Alexei Kosygin as Premier and Nikolai Podgorny as Chairman of the Presidium, lasting until Brezhnev established himself in the early 1970s as the preeminent Soviet leader. In 1968 the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies invaded People's Republic of Czechoslovakia to halt the Prague Spring reforms.

Brezhnev presided over a period of détente with the West (see SALT I, SALT II, Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty) while at the same time building up Soviet military might.

In October 1977, the third Soviet Constitution was unanimously adopted. The prevailing mood of the Soviet leadership at the time of Brezhnev's death in 1982 was one of aversion to change. The long period of Brezhnev's rule had come to be dubbed one of "standstill", with an aging and ossified top political leadership.

Gorbachev era and ReformsEdit

Main articles: Cold War (1985-1991), History of the Soviet Union (1982-1991), History of the Soviet Union (1991-1995), New Union Treaty

Two developments dominated the decade that followed: the increasingly apparent crumbling of the Soviet Union's economic and political structures, and the patchwork attempts at reforms to reverse that process. Kenneth S. Deffeyes argued in Beyond Oil that the Reagan administration encouraged Saudi Arabia to lower the price of oil to the point where the Soviets could not make a profit selling their oil, so that the USSR's hard currency reserves became depleted.

Brezhnev's next two successors, transitional figures with deep roots in his tradition, did not last long. Yuri Andropov was 68 years old and Konstantin Chernenko 72 when they assumed power; both died in less than two years. In an attempt to avoid a third short-lived leader, in 1985, the Soviets turned to the next generation and selected Mikhail Gorbachev.

Gorbachev made significant changes in the economy and party leadership, called perestroika. His policy of glasnost freed public access to information after decades of heavy government censorship.

Gorbachev also moved to end the Cold War. In 1988, the Soviet Union abandoned its nine-year war in Afghanistan and began to withdraw its forces. In the late 1980s, he refused military support to the Soviet Union's former satellite states, resulting in the toppling of multiple communist regimes. With the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and with East Germany and West Germany pursuing unification, the Iron Curtain came down.

In the late 1980s, the constituent republics of the Soviet Union started legal moves towards potentially declaring sovereignty over their territories, citing Article 72 of the USSR constitution, which stated that any constituent republic was free to secede. On 7 April 1990, a law was passed allowing a republic to secede if more than two-thirds of its residents voted for it in a referendum. Many held their first free elections in the Soviet era for their own national legislatures in 1990. Many of these legislatures proceeded to produce legislation contradicting the Union laws in what was known as the "War of Laws".

In 1989, the Russian SFSR, which was then the largest constituent republic (with about half of the population) convened a newly elected Congress of People's Deputies. Boris Yeltsin was elected its chairman. On 12 June 1990, the Congress declared Russia's sovereignty over its territory and proceeded to pass laws that attempted to supersede some of the USSR's laws. The period of legal uncertainty continued throughout 1991 as constituent republics slowly became de facto independent.

A referendum for the preservation of the USSR was held on 17 March 1991, with the majority of the population voting for preservation of the Union in nine out of the 15 republics. The referendum gave Gorbachev a minor boost. In the summer of 1991, the New Union Treaty, which would turn the Soviet Union into a much looser federation, was agreed upon by eight republics.


On August 20, 1991, the republics of Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic, and Alaskan Soviet Socialist Republic of Alaska would sign the New Union Treaty, establishing the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics. Addressing the nation, Mikhail Gorbachev would make mention that a "Bright future is just around the corner." Over controversy, the break-away republic of Abkhazia would become the Abkhazian Soviet Socialist Republic of Abkhazia, and was allowed to participate with Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, Kirghaz Soviet Socialist Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic of Soviet Armenia, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic and Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic of Turkmenistan on signing the treaty on September 18. This action was taken negatively by Georgia, as well as other nations in western Europe. Despite rumors about the USSR annexing additional regions from the six republics, the USSR recognized the independence of Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Moldova on October 25. Abkhazia was not recognized as part of Georgia, while minor relations continued to exist on the break-away regions of Gagauzian Soviet Socialist Republic, Pridnestrovie Soviet Socialist Republic, and South Ossetian Soviet Socialist Republic, which all became parts of the USSR as Soviet republics.

Border conflictsEdit

With the beginning of 1992, the Soviet Union hoped to bring peace between Moscow and the newly independent republics. Headway between Moscow and Yerevan when the two sides met in Tehran in December 1991. The Tehran Accords would bring an end to the Nagorno-Karabakh War war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Tensions between the USSR and the independent republics of Georgia and Moldavia seemed to only get more tensions as the months passed. Minor fighting broke out in South Ossetia in January 1992, with limited Soviet assistance on behalf of the South Ossetians. It has hoped that not engaging in war over South Ossetia would leave diplomatic options open.

The boiling point came in March 1992, when Moldavia (backed by neighboring Romania) launched an invasion of the break-away region of Pridnestrovie. Gorbachev ordered military aid to the Pridnestrovians, deploying the 14th Army involvement across the border. Russian, Ukrainian, and Don Cossack volunteers began the trek to the front. Days after the beginning of the war, Gagauzia and Pridnestrovie declared independence from Moldavia and requested admission into the Soviet Union. The conflict lasted only weeks, ending in a decisive Soviet victory. With pressure from the two republics, as well as pressure from South Ossetia on a potential invasion by Georgian forces, the three republics were granted admission into the USSR in April 1992.

With the announcement that South Ossetia has been granted admission, Georgian troops were ordered to the borders of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Soviet troops were ordered to assist the regions in the event of a Georgian invasion. In hopes to prevent war, Gorbachev requested diplomatic reasoning to end the conflict. Georgia reluctantly agreed, and the two sides began talks in August. By the end of 1992, Georgia agreed to allow the transfer of Abkhazia and South Ossetia into the USSR, in exchange for economic assistance to the new nation. With one conflict over, another needed resolution. In 1994, Moldavia held a referendum on whether to merge with Romania. With an almost 80% vote for unification, Romania itself showed little interest in inheriting a border conflict with the USSR. Prior to the unification in 1995, Romania announced that the unification would only take place if Moldavia gave up Gagauzia and Pridnestrovie. This officially took place on December 31, 1994, one day prior to the official unification on January 1, 1995.

Ryzhkov era and Roaring NinetiesEdit


Main article: Economy of the Soviet Union