We explain to you what the USSR was and what “Soviet” means. History of the USSR. The cold war, and dissolution of the USSR.
What is the USSR?
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, known as the USSR by its acronym, was a federal and Marxist-Leninist ( communist ) nation that existed between 1922 and 1991, and was one of the two most powerful countries in the world during the so-called Cold War (1947-1991), in which he faced the United States and its allies in Western Europe.
It was located in the current territory of Russia and that of fifteen neighboring nations that joined in a socialist federation , pursuing the ideals of the October Revolution of 1917, in which the Russian tsarist regime was demolished and the communist party assumed power politician. It was made up of the current nations of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Uzbekistan.
Many other nations, close and not so much, were influenced by the USSR and were countries protected by it, especially those that assumed communism as an economic and government system , such as Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, China, Cambodia, Vietnam , Poland, East Germany and Cuba, among others.
What does “Soviet” mean?
The country model imposed by the Communist Revolution in 1917 reorganized Russian territory into small labor and peasant committees called soviets (from the Russian “councils”). These units of organization of soldiers and workers were the basis of the inverse hierarchical society (political power should flow from the bottom up and not the other way around) that was planned in the Constitution of 1918, until reaching the highest authority of the State , the Supreme Soviet.
This development model was summed up in the formula “Communism = soviets + electricity” , since the idea was to socialize and industrialize the country to the fullest. However, since 1922, when the USSR was institutionalized and the workers state was bureaucratized, the soviets gradually lost power and gave way to a centralist state, which adopted a legislative political model.
History of the USSR
The USSR formally began in December 1922 , when the integration treaties of the Soviet socialist republics of Russia, Ukraine and Transcaucasia (at that time Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia) were signed, once the ” war communism ” that prevailed until 1920 had an end.
The death of the revolutionary Vladimir Lenin left Joseph Stalin at the head of the new unipartisan state, appointed Secretary General of the Party, who ended all forms of leftist opposition and dissent, which included the persecution of Leon Trotsky, a revolutionary of long-standing whose interpretation of communist doctrine was different from his.
The USSR participated in both the defeat of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan in World War II , being the country with the highest casualties during the conflict: about 25 million deaths among civilians (almost 18 million) and military (almost 9 millions).
The Cold War
The end of World War II left the USSR and the US as the great world powers, after the collapse of a devastated Europe. Then a struggle for the ideological domination of the world between these two powers began, each defending its model: Western capitalism vs. Soviet communism.
This conflict was very prolonged and very particular, since neither of the two countries was directly attacked, but they fought their battles through third countries, financing dictatorships , insurgencies, civil wars and revolutions throughout the Third World, especially in Asia and Latin America.
In addition, the USSR and the US competed in technological, cultural and weapons matters, developing much of the key technology for the contemporary world of the 21st century, such as space travel (the USSR was the first to take a live animal into space : the dog Layka, and putting an astronaut in orbit: Yuri Gagarin), computer development or the creation and hoarding of nuclear weapons.
Dissolution of the USSR
The USSR began a period of economic crisis and political instability towards the end of the twentieth century, which attempted to alleviate a series of reforms called Perestroika and Glasnost , none with much success. The USSR was unable to keep its economy going at the same pace as its investment in technology and the financing of allied governments such as Cuba’s.
These internal changes continued governability crisis and the loss of portions of their territory, which led to the dissolution of the Union in 1991. The fall of the USSR and the end of the Cold War marked the beginning of a new era in the contemporary history of humanity, which in the 1970s and 1980s believed to be on the verge of a devastating atomic war.