Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union

Союз Советских Cуверенных Республик Советский Союз

Soyuz Sovetskikh Suverennykh Respublik Sovetsky Soyuz

Flag of the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union (New Union)
Coat of arms of the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union (New Union)
Location of the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union (New Union)

Location of the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union


Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь! (Russian)

("Workers of the world, unite!")

Anthem: Hymn of the Soviet Union
Capital (and largest city): Moscow (33.0 million)
Largest cities:
  • Baku (4.2 million)
Official: Russian
Other: 52 others
Main: Secular
Other: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Shamanism, Tengrism
Demonym: Soviet, Russian
Type of government: Semi-presidential federal republic
Government: Supreme Soviet
President of the Soviet Union: Valentina Tereshkova
Prime Minister of the Soviet Union: Almazbek Atambayev
Total: 25,232,097 km² (9,742,125 sq mi) (1st)
Water: (%)
2018 estimate: 501,316,651 (3rd)
Density: 19.87/km²
GDP (PPP): 2018 estimate
Total: $29.12 trillion (1st)
Per capita: $58,087
GDP (nominal): 2018 estimate
Total: $29.78 trillion (1st)
Per capita: $59,413
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union: December 30, 1922
Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union: August 20, 1991
Gini: (2018) 25.5 (low)
HDI: (2018) 0.930 (very high) (3rd)
Currency: Soviet ruble (SUR)
Time zone:
Time in the Soviet Union: (UTC+2 to +11)
Summer: (UTC+3 to +12)
Internet TLD: .su, .cccp, .союз
Calling code: +7
Organizations: Collective Security Treaty Organization, Warsaw Pact, Eurasian Economic Union, European Union

The Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union (Russian: Союз Советских Cуверенных Республик Советский Союз, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Suverennykh Respublik Sovetsky Soyuz), Union of Soviet Sovereign States (Russian: Союз советских Верховных государств) or Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics (Russian: Союз Советских Cуверенных Республик, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Suverennykh Respublik), abbreviated to USSR (Russian: CCCP, tr. SSSR) or the Soviet Union (Russian: Советский Союз, tr. Sovetsky Soyuz), informally referred to simply as the Union (Russian: Союз, tr. Soyuz) and Russia (Russian: Россия, tr. Rossiya), is a federation comprised by 41 republics extending from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific, and from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and from the Arctic to the Caspian Sea. The Soviet Union is the largest country in the world by area at 25,232,651 km² (9,742,125 sq mi), and the third largest by population, with 501,316,651 people. It is one of the two prominent superpowers in global politics, military and world culture (along with the United States).

The Soviet Union was first formed as Union of Soviet Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union (Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик Советский Союз, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik Sovetsky Soyuz), 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 Moscow as its capital and largest city. Moscow is one of the world's three most populous metropolitan areas with over 33 million people. A union of 15 subnational Soviet republics, in 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 Saint Petersburg 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 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 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. 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. Since 1989, the Soviet Union enjoys very close relations with its former rival, the United States. Soviet Union also has very close relations with its former communist rival, the People's Republic of China.

The economy of the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union is by far the world's largest national economy, with an estimated GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of $29.78 trillion, and GDP by purchasing power parity (PPP) of $29.12 trillion. The Soviet economy is one of the two largest ones in the world, and the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union is a major economic superpower. The Soviet Union enjoys high economic revenue, beneficial to all its member states. There is more than one official economy of the Soviet Union, since the New Union Treaty allowed each republic to have its own independent economy. Its joint currency, the Soviet ruble, has seen a steady rise over the years. Trade with People's Republic of China, the United States, Western Europe, and Japan has also increased since 2000, which has been profitable for all. On January 1, 2015 the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union established the Eurasian Economic Union, more officially known as simply the Eurasian Union, a economic, political and military union with the Islamic Republic of Iran, People's Republic of China, India, Ethiopia and the Pan-Islamic Federation. The Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union also made an application to accede to the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union in 1991, shortly after the New Union Treaty was signed on August 20. In 1995, it signed a Customs Union agreement with the EU and was officially recognized as a candidate for full membership on 12 December 1999, at the Helsinki summit of the European Council. Negotiations for full membership were started in late 2005, and the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics of the Soviet Union will officially join the European Union as a full member state on January 1, 2025. It will become by far the largest, most populous and the most powerful member state of the European Union.

The Soviet Armed Forces is the largest military force in the world, and the Soviet military is divided into the Soviet Army, Soviet Navy, Soviet Air Defense Forces, Soviet Air Force, and the Soviet Space Defense Forces. There are also three independent arms of service: Strategic Nuclear Forces, Military Space Forces, and the Soviet Airborne Troops. In 2018, the military had 5.096 million personnel on active duty.

The USSR possesses by far the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction in the world, with 52,500 nuclear warheads. It is the only country apart from the U.S. with a vast fleet of modern supercarriers, it has the second largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines and is the only country apart from the U.S. with a modern strategic bomber force. The USSR's tank force is the largest in the world, its surface navy and air force are among the two largest and strongest ones, the other being that of the United States.

The country has a large and fully indigenous arms industry, producing all of its own military equipment. The Soviet Union is the world's second top supplier of arms after the United States of America, accounting for around 35% of worldwide weapons sales and exporting weapons to about 100 countries. Official government military spending for 2018 was $1 trillion, by far the largest in the world, though various sources have estimated Soviet military expenditures to be considerably higher.

It is mandatory for all male citizens aged 18–47 to be drafted for a year of service in Armed Forces; the government plans to increase the proportion of contract servicemen to 70% by 2010. Defense expenditure has quadrupled over the past six years. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates, official government military spending for 2018 was around $1 trillion, the largest in the world, though various sources, including US intelligence, and the International Institute for Strategic Studies, have estimated the USSR’s military expenditures to be considerably higher. Currently, the military is undergoing a major equipment upgrade worth about $2.5 trillion between 2006 and 2025. Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov supervises the major reforms aimed to transform a mass mobilization army into a smaller, mobile force of professional soldiers.