Portal:Soviet Union

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

Introduction

Flag of USSR
State emblem of USSR
Location of USSR on the map of Eurasia

The Soviet Union (Russian: Советский Союз, tr. Sovetsky Soyuz), officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR; Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik; IPA: [sɐˈjus sɐˈvʲetskʲɪx sətsɨəlʲɪˈstʲitɕɪskʲɪx rʲɪsˈpublʲɪk]; abbreviated СССР, SSSR), was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991. Russia is the legal successor of the USSR.

The Soviet Union was a single-party state ruled by the Communist Party from its foundation until 1990. Even though the USSR was technically a union of 15 subnational Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The Russian Revolution of 1917 caused the downfall of the Russian Empire. Following the Russian Revolution, there was a struggle for power between the Bolshevik party, led by Vladimir Lenin, and the anti-communist White movement. In December 1922, the Bolsheviks won the civil war, and the Soviet Union was formed with the merger of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Following the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, Joseph Stalin took power, leading the USSR through a large-scale industrialization program. Stalin established a planned economy and suppressed political opposition to him and the Communist party.

October's selected article

The Second Battle of Kharkov, so named by Wilhelm Keitel, was an Axis counter-offensive against the Red Army Izium bridgehead offensive conducted from 12 May to 28 May 1942, on the Eastern Front during World War II. Its objective was to eliminate the Izium bridgehead (Russian: Изюмский плацдарм) over Seversky Donets, or the "Barvenkovo bulge" (Russian: Барвенковский выступ) which was one of the Soviet offensive's staging areas. After a successful winter counter-offensive that had driven German troops away from Moscow, but also depleted the Red Army's reserves, the Kharkov offensive was a new Soviet attempt to expand upon their strategic initiative, although it failed to secure a significant element of surprise.

On 12 May 1942, Soviet forces under the command of Marshal Semyon Timoshenko launched an offensive against the German 6th Army from a salient established during the winter counter-offensive. After initial promising signs, the offensive was stopped by German counterattacks. Critical errors by several staff officers, and by Joseph Stalin himself, who failed accurately to estimate the 6th Army's potential and overestimated their own newly-trained forces, led to a successful German pincer attack which cut off advancing Soviet troops from the rest of the front. (more...)

Selected biography

Eduard Anatolyevich Streltsov (Russian: Эдуа́рд Анато́льевич Стрельцо́в) (21 July 1937 – 22 July 1990) was a Soviet footballer who represented Torpedo Moscow as a forward. Joining Torpedo at the age of 16 from the Fraser factory team in 1953, Streltsov made his international debut two years later and played a key role in winning the gold medal for the Soviet national team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Judged by Western European sports journalists to be among the top seven footballers in Europe during 1957, Streltsov's promising career was then interrupted at the age of 20 by a conviction of rape that led to five years in prison.

Streltsov was accused of raping a 20-year-old woman, Marina Lebedeva, in 1958. After being told an admission of guilt would allow his participation in the 1958 World Cup, Streltsov confessed to the crime, despite inconclusive evidence against him. Instead sentenced to twelve years in a labour camp, Streltsov was released after five and resumed his football career with Torpedo Moscow two years later. In the first season of his comeback, Torpedo won the Soviet Championship for only the second time in their history. He returned to the Soviet national team in 1966, won the Soviet Cup with his club two years later, and was named Soviet Footballer of the Year in 1967 and 1968. (More...)

Did you know...

Selected anniversaries for October

1977 CPA 4774.jpg
  • USSR Constitution Day - 7 October - arguably the largest celebration of the year. Most of the traditions that were originally associated with Christmas in Russia (Father Frost, a decorated fir-tree) moved to New Year's Eve after the Revolution and are associated with New Year's Eve to this day.

Selected picture

A line of people going into a building
Credit: Bundesarchiv

Lenin's Mausoleum in 1925.

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Yakov Smirnoff
Yakov Smirnoff, commenting on his life under Soviet rule
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