Soviet Union (USSR)


The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), a federation made up of Russia, Belorussia, Ukraine, and the Transcaucasian Federation, was founded on December 30, 1922, in post-revolutionary Russia. This new communist state, the Soviet Union, succeeded the Russian Empire and was the 1st nation in the world to be established on Marxist socialism.

MOSCOW, USSR - APRIL 13: Front page of the Soviet newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda with reporting about first manned flight in Space and Yury Gagarin s portrait, on April 13, 1961 in Moscow, USSR.

Revolution and Foundation

Two things happened in 1917 that are frequently referred to as the Russian Revolution.

  • The February Revolution is considered as the first, resulting in the resignation of Tsar Nicholas II and the establishment of a transitional administration.

  • The Bolshevik Party of Vladimir Lenin took control during the second incident, often known as the ,October Revolution or Bolshevik Revolution, and began seven decades of one-party dictatorship. Some academics and Soviet critics contend that the second event wasn't really a revolution at all, but rather a coup by Lenin and his backers.

The Civil War and the creation of the USSR

  • The USSR had the largest and most powerful army in the world, with allies that included the majority of the nations in Eastern Europe, East Germany, Vietnam, and Cuba.

  • After a civil war that lasted five years, the Soviet Union was established. Like other revolutions, the Russian Empire's horrifyingly low standard of living, the exploitation of workers and peasants, and the subjugation of particular nationalities, while the nobility and bourgeoisie enjoyed immense wealth and opulent palaces, were the catalysts for the uprising. The Bolshevik Party led the populace in the overthrow of the government in October 1917.

The Communist International

  • Lenin and his allies saw Russia as nothing more than a base from which to start a world war. They worried that if the revolution was restricted to backward, agrarian Russia, it would be crushed by the combined assault of the local peasantry and foreign "bourgeoisie."

  • They believed it was crucial to spread the revolution to the industrialised West, where workers were eager to put an end to violence and overthrow their oppressors. They established the Third International, sometimes known as the "Comintern," in March 1919 to plan and fund this endeavour. This group functioned as a division of the Russian Communist Party and was governed by its Central Committee.

  • According to rules framed in 1920 at the Comintern's Second Congress, Communist parties overseas had to be founded from scratch or by splintering Social Democratic organisations; in either event, they were to be answerable to Moscow and not to their local constituencies.

Lenin’s Disillusionment

Lenin's health started to worsen in 1921, and it got worse the following year when he had numerous strokes. He had the chance to reflect on his accomplishment while he was made to progressively withdraw from daily activities. He was not amused by it. There is strong evidence that he would have made significant changes to the political and economic framework of the Soviet state if his health had let it.

The growing bureaucratization of the state and the party was one reason for anxiety. The ruling party grew more centralised as a result of Lenin's tight discipline, with its directorate which was led by the Politburo and the Secretariat of the Central Committee making decisions on its own power without consulting the party cadres.

Lower organ dissension was disregarded and, if pressed, punished. Local party branches no longer had the option of electing its officers; instead, the Secretariat would regularly choose them. The outcome was an unjustified consolidation of power in the hands of the Moscow apparatus and the ossification of the Communist Party.

The Struggle for Succession

The USSR, like other authoritarian regimes, lacked a systematic succession plan. The system over time created a loose succession mechanism that eventually transformed into a recognizable pattern.

First Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin experienced a serious stroke in 1922 at the age of 52 from which he never fully recovered. After he passed away in 1924, there was a protracted power struggle inside the Communist Party's Politburo until Josef Stalin finally took the helm. Since Lenin had served as the head of the Council of People's Commissars (later known as the Council of Ministers), the general secretary's ascent to the position of supreme leader was unexpected.

Lenin held a position that was akin to prime minister. Initially, the general secretary had been viewed as a policy administrator with limited authority. Even though Stalin presided over the USSR for close to thirty years, it remained unclear if the general secretary of the CPSU would continue to hold the top position following his passing.


The USSR was the world's first and largest communist state. The 1917 Russian Revolution led to the establishment of the Soviet Union. An agreement was made in 1922 by a number of nations, collectively known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic. Vladimir Lenin was chosen as the chairman following the treaty's signature. Vladimir Lenin passed away in 1924, and Joseph Stalin took over as leader of the Soviet Union.


Q1. Which nation left the USSR first?

Ans. Between March and May 1990, the 3 Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania became the first to formally renounce the Soviet Union, asserting continuity with the original states that existed before the Soviet Union annexed them in 1940.

Q2. Was China part of the USSR?

Ans. Early in the Chinese Civil War, on November 7, 1931, Chinese communist leaders Mao Zedong and Zhu De announced the Chinese Soviet Republic (CSR), an East Asian proto-state in China. There were 18 provinces and 4 countries under communist rule in the CSR's discontiguous areas.

Q3. How many countries did the USSR lose?

Ans. The number of countries, USSR lost includes Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan, also all twelve sovereign republics.

Updated on: 28-Feb-2023


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