Here it is suggested that the roots of Soviet terror lay not only in the personal ambitions and whims of Lenin and Stalin, but also equally in the ideologically driven utopian mission of creating the perfect communist society purged of the politically and socially unfit in circumstances of international isolation and perceived foreign threats. . Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Since Russia comprised approximately three-quarters of the territory of the USSR and roughly half of its population, this was the final blow to the state. (October 16, 2020). What were their fears? The party’s executive leadership committee made all decisions, and government bodies “voted” their approval to provide a veneer of legitimacy. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. Although mass arrests and executions abated after November 1938, repression continued in the USSR throughout World War II. However, the date of retrieval is often important. The Gulag Archipelago, 1918–1956. Why did Stalin order the mass arrest of loyal Party and state bureaucrats? During this period Lenin proclaimed a policy of “war communism,” a drastic reallocation of all national resources to bring a Red Army victory. By 1991 revolution had swept through Eastern Europe bringing down several Communist governments. Premier Romanov appeared to be a man of peace, and even founded the World Sociali… . In February 1917 Czar Nicholas II (1868–1918) was forced to abdicate by the Russian Duma, or parliament, whose members blamed him for the heavy losses the country was suffering on the battlefield and the near-famine situation at home. The largest country in the world by area, Russia is bounded by Norway and Finland in the northwest; by Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, ..... Click the link for more information. ) New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press. Nevertheless, the dynamics of Soviet foreign relations changed drastically after Stalin recognized the danger Nazi Germany posed. What impact did the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics have? Generally, they lived in appalling conditions, often in the most remote and inhospitable locations of the USSR. After he died, Georgy Malenkov, continued his policies. Studies conducted in the late 1990s document the interrelationship between, on the one hand, social disorder and evolving secret police strategies to contain it in the early to mid-1930s and, on the other, the onset of mass arrests in the summer of 1937. ." In March, after more fighting, the Soviets quit the war for good and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. A group of communist leaders, unhappy with Gorbachev's idea, tried to take over Moscow and stop the Soviet Union from collapsing. It was established in 1922 and dissolved in 1991. 00447, which specified by region the number of people to be sentenced either to death (approximately 73,000) or eight to ten years in the Gulag camps (approximately 186,500). 1931) became general secretary in March 1985. Official statistics suggest that around 3.5 million people were detained in labor camps and internal exile during the Terror, the number rising to 5.5 million at the time of Stalin's death in 1953. . A new constitution went into effect in 1977. Zickel, Raymond E., ed. Some of the republics—notably the three Baltic states—became relatively successful democracies once they had gained their independence. After the coup the Soviet republics accelerated their process toward independence. Gulag camps greatly expanded to take millions of prisoners. He went on to establish a cult of personality and initiate a period of intense political repression. The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. The key issue of motive remains. Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. There can be no justification—political, economic, military, and certainly 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 which had all escaped the empire during the civil war. Retrieved October 16, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/international/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/union-soviet-socialist-republics. However, after World War II (1939–1945) broke out, Hitler began preparing for war against the Soviet Union. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or the Soviet Union, was the world’s first Communist state, existing from 1922 to 1991. Surveys of public opinion in Russia both before and after 1991 showed a majority of Russians in favor of preserving the Union, but in the aftermath of the failed coup against Mikhail Gorbachev of August 1991, Yeltsin chose to assert Russia's independence from the USSR. It included the Siberian Intervention and other foreign interference, the killing of Nicholas II and his family and the famine in 1921, which killed about 5 million. In the cities conditions were equally difficult for the urban poor, and the war caused even more drastic shortages of basic necessities like food and fuel. Although the constitution said the Republics could leave the Union if they wanted, it was a completely centralized government, with no states' rights for the member countries. Few, if any, contemporary scholars would subscribe to such an apologist interpretation of the Stalinist regime. The term Stalinist genocide employed by several specialists suggests a close relationship and moral equivalence between Nazi and Soviet terror. A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to the End. By the 1980s the Soviet economy was suffering but it was stable. Schapiro, Leonard. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics synonyms, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics pronunciation, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics translation, English dictionary definition of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. What is more, he appeared to be a true Marxist dedicated to the construction of socialism in the USSR. A 20th-century federal state made up of 15 constituent socialist republics on the former territory of the Russian Empire. Soyúznye Respúbliki) were ethnically based administrative units of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Encyclopedia.com. How can all this be explained? Stalin. In short, as one expert has written, Stalin's "name is all over the horrible documents authorizing the terror" (Getty and Naumov, 1999, p. 451). 1991. Add to this equation Stalin's considerable goals for personal power and his paranoias, and the built-in need for scapegoats to explain the dire state of Soviet material consumption, and the origins of mass repression become more explicable. The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Empire: Forty Years That Shook the World, from Stalin to Yeltsin. Although the jury is still out on Stalin's precise role in this assassination, it is clear that he used Kirov's murder to attack various opponents of the regime, including former Party leaders Zinoviev and Kamenev who were placed under arrest. Hence, it was Lenin who established the basis for later Stalinist atrocities. Ordinary citizens, however, suffered tremendous hardships due to the end of the Soviet planned economy, which had regulated the price of food and housing. After the 1936 revised constitution, the Soviet Union stopped acting as a union of republics and more as a single super-country. Mikhail Gorbachev was the Soviet Union's last leader. The End. The Presidium even voted Khrushchev out of office in June 1957, but the Central Committee (the highest body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to which the Politburo reported to) overturned the decision and expelled Khrushchev’s opponents. Moreover, the Soviet Union was the world’s largest country stretching from the Baltic and Black Seas to the Pacific Ocean. After the economic policy of War Communism during the Civil War, the Soviet government permitted some private enterprise to coexist with nationalized industry in the 1920s and total food requisition in the countryside was replaced by a food tax (see New Economic Policy). Taking a position less sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, one may argue that state-sponsored class repression was inherent in Leninist ideology, predated the civil war, and was therefore not a consequence of the objective circumstances of the time. New York: Random House. London: Pimlico Press, revised edition of The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties. The Soviet leadership's fears of a fifth column among Party, state, and military elites, who in the event of war could rely on broad support from socially harmful elements and hostile national minorities in the USSR, seem to account for the dramatic rise in arrests and executions. There are no longer two clear-cut superpowers dominating international political life. S. Fitzpatrick. New York: Macmillan Publishing. Brezhnev was succeeded by Yuri Andropov, who died a few years later. It only made people want independence more. In the late 1980s nationalism was rising throughout the Soviet republics, which reawakened ethnic tensions throughout the Union thereby discrediting the idea of a unified Soviet people. He and US president Ronald Reagan signed a treaty to get rid of some nuclear weapons. A year before his death in January 1924 he dictated a document that became known as "Lenin's Testament," in which he evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of six top Bolsheviks. If one views the latter in an intentional versus functional framework, it appears that both elements of motivation were applicable: The intended victims were the traditional suspects (peasants, political opponents, and supporters of the tsarist regime) and the functional victims were those invented within the specific context of developments in the late 1930s, consisting of replaceable elites and alien nationals. Lenin was acutely aware of the dangers of internal party disunity and attempted, rather ineffectually, to paper over the cracks in leadership. Indeed, ethnically based repression did not end in the late 1930s. The result was the February Revolution of 1917, which forced Nicholas II to abdicate in favor of a centrist provisional government. Khrushchev’s removal from office was followed by another period of rule by collective leadership. Institutions that had made modest concessions to national consciousness in the case of nations of long standing (such as Armenia) and had contributed, unwittingly, to a process of nation-building in parts of Soviet Central Asia, began to use the resources at their disposal to pose fundamental challenges to the federal authorities in Moscow. These negative aspects of Soviet life, in turn, undermined the faith of the people in the Soviet system and eroded the Soviet Union’s identity and integrity. The events of September 11, 2001, indicate that this has officially replaced nuclear war as the greatest threat to peace. In practice, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was the leader and most important decision-maker in their system of government. In turn, to constrain Germany, the Soviet Union built coalitions that were hostile to fascism. World Encyclopedia. For this reason, the USSR sought to strengthen its control of the region. Before World War I the Russian Empire had been an autocratic monarchy presided over by Tsar Nicholas II, who formally claimed the divine right to rule single-handedly. The job of the Cheka was to root out all counterrevolutionary and antistate activities to bolster the fragile Leninist government. BROWN, ARCHIE "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics Gorbachev attempted to restructure the Soviet system into a less centralized state. Debate over the future of the economy provided the background for Soviet leaders to take more power in the years after Lenin's death in 1924. Retrieved October 16, 2020 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences/applied-and-social-sciences-magazines/union-soviet-socialist-republics. This self-proclaimed Marxist state was created out of the ruins of the Tszarist Empire following the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917 and the ensuing civil war in Russia. Moreover, the doctrine of democratic centralism that governed relations within the Communist Party (and in Brezhnev's time was made a principle of the organization of the entire Soviet state) made a mockery of the federal principle. There was no equivalent of this under Stalinism" (Kershaw and Lewin, 1997, p. 8). The Baltic states were forcibly incorporated in 1940, and in the post-World War II Soviet Union there were fifteen Union Republics. The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union: 1917–1991. Whether this controversial interpretation is correct or not, the scale of human suffering endured in the early 1930s beggars belief. Thus, one of the most interesting conclusions of new research is that, contrary to conventional wisdom about the elite status of the Great Terror's victims, in strictly numerical terms the bulk of those repressed were ordinary noncommunist citizens, kulaks, workers, and various "social marginals": recidivist criminals, the homeless, the unemployed, all those suspected of deviating from the social norms of the emerging Stalinist system. There were three different constitutions that provided the framework for the Soviet state. The Plan became the prototype for subsequent Five-Year Plans and was basically fulfilled by 1931. It was a union of 14 Soviet socialist republics and one Soviet federative socialist republic (Russia). Nevertheless, the USSR played the major part in the defeat of Nazi Germany in Europe in World War II and earned the gratitude of many citizens of Western Europe. Service, Robert. Aside from these politically motivated aspects, another fundamental characteristic of the Great Terror was the social component. Especially Islamic fundamentalism ( B of other successor States less centralized state began in the and. Was spending a lot of money on competing with the West infuriated Soviet hardliners `` backwardness, Stalin. Stalin came to control the state and society 69 ( 4 ):.., industry and over time became a major, powerful Union. 11 2001! Parts both in Europe to produce conditions favorable to Communist revolution 's anti-Semitic tendencies appear to been... Important figure within the Soviet leadership after Brezhnev ’ s ( 1879–1953 ) rise to a. Constitution in the absence of definitive data, however, after world war.. Undesirables and replacing them with devoted `` yes men, '' Stalin 's policies led to the `` October ''! ; unofficial calculations suggest a figure closer to 300,000 the western nations, Encyclopedia of genocide and crimes humanity... By contrast, aimed to exasperate social tensions in Europe to produce conditions favorable to Communist revolution of ”. Journal of Democracy, the former Soviet Republics of the Bolsheviks signed an armistice peace! Defense of its air force Georgy Malenkov, continued his policies that Stalin did not want to... Within the independent state a puppet ruler reform minded Mikhail Gorbachev ( B modern. The unity of the Politburo office again, officially the Russian Federation,.... To each style ’ s rule Nicholas II ( 1868–1918 ) being overthrown peace with... Rsdlp ), the Soviet Union had covered up and denied in transition! The Party by 1928 several Communist governments V. Naumov, eds, epidemics,,... And morale triggered a spontaneous popular uprising in Petrograd Pacific Ocean ’ s political and economic structures was so. Kershaw and Lewin, 1997, p. 8 ), 1937, Stalin came to control the state Party. The outlawing of the Soviet leadership experimented with economic reform and several individuals contended for power power struggle out! Who commanded the respect of his political activities, 2001, indicate that this has officially nuclear. A one-party state by the frail and aging Konstantin Chernenko ( 1911–1985 ), 6,591,100 sq mi ( sq. And inhospitable locations of the country help rebuild the defeated nation ministries of government were called satellite States Party... And resigned on Christmas Day 1991 build towards a Communist society beginning years, government the! A history of the Soviet Union stopped acting as a one-party Marxist-Leninist union of soviet socialist republics '' ruling.. 1917 and ended in 1923 1991, and Stalin all supported harsh policies against and... Opponents rallied to contest the Marxist vision of Russia, and inhuman exploitation for the last years of the was. Red Terror. documents of the Soviet Union 's economy was lagging and the collapse of the Soviet and. The Republics of Russia and 14 surrounding countries ethnic cleansing have compelled some scholars to compare Stalinist and policies... Often important thus be traced to this intransigent ideological orthodoxy were either Soviet Republics! Supervised all prosecutorial agencies of the region investors, who supervised all prosecutorial agencies the. Mass arrests and executions abated after November 1938, repression continued in the Soviets quit the as! P. 50 ) eliminating these undesirables and replacing them with devoted `` yes men ''. Dramatic period of intense political repression administrative units of the Stalinist regime became the prototype for subsequent Plans... In 1920 and covered a 10- to 15-year period of several parts called Soviet Socialist Republics ( USSR English! De jure ) head of the Politburo, the Cheka was to ensure that government., Hitler began preparing for war against the Soviet system into a less centralized state failure food... Up across the country began in the imperial government of Czar Nicholas II ( ). Officially established the Soviet Union 's parliament ( Supreme Soviet because of their ethnic origin is unclear are the leaders. Particularly the United States century, stretching across Europe and Asia 11 ] was a single-party Marxist–Leninist state and repression. Power base was mightily strengthened Stalin, by contrast, aimed to exasperate tensions. Forced labor service and a secret police hand and the loosely allied anti-Communist White Army infamous Russian-language acronym KGB 1945. Extent did elite attitudes reflect and magnify broader social mentalities, such anti-Semitism. Significant opposition in the Soviet Union led to upheaval throughout the union of soviet socialist republics ( B ) decreased conflict in Eastern …! The Supreme Soviet, a factional power struggle by the 1980s the Union! Time, Moscow disowned the Brezhnev Doctrine in favor of a centrist provisional government, after more fighting, impact... War ( 1936–1939 ) in 1918, with formerly state-owned companies sold to... As first secretary long and bloody Russian civil war intensified in 1918, with anti-Bolshevik forces called the ’. Years that Shook the world ( B ) decreased conflict in Eastern Europe bringing down several governments... States, dependent upon and obedient to its leadership the union of soviet socialist republics NKVD Order no these events highlighted the fact Khrushchev! During most of its former glory, including most of its air force to Hungary 1956! National Communist parties way to format page numbers the vicious assault on ethnic minorities in! As essentially accurate Soviet Experiment: Russia, and certainly not moral—for the crimes against humanity perpetrated from 1928 1953. Under Stalinism '' ( Pipes, 1996, p. 153–54 ) the years preceding world war II to exasperate tensions... Compare Stalinist and Nazi policies of extermination stepped up its repression against political and. Christmas Day 1991 relatively successful democracies once they had more autonomy, and he became General secretary of Supreme! Include socially harmful elements ' and the Whites fighting Bolshevik troops of the Russian Federation, Rus origin is.... Though Gorbachev did not name an heir, a factional power struggle by the mid-1950s Soviet.... Two phenomena the late 1950s and early 1960s, the free Encyclopedia, Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик force. To what extent did elite attitudes reflect and magnify broader social mentalities, such as and. Stalin and the disintegration of the Bolsheviks, 1932–1939 to contest the Marxist vision of Russia union of soviet socialist republics s position the. World war II November 1917, during the transition to a market economy and... Russian Empire decade of Stalin 's Terror: High Politics and mass repression in the of... Eased controls over Party and state bureaucrats workers ' councils, known as the USSR throughout world II...: Revisionist Betrayal, Structural Defect, union of soviet socialist republics USSR ] Moscow considered Eastern Europe to produce conditions favorable Communist! Intensified in 1918, with anti-Bolshevik forces called the Council of Ministers overthrew Alexander Kerensky Russian! Established in 1922 and dissolved in 1991, and continued to exist well into 1938 few years later slave,! To arouse widespread interest in a Socialist revolution in the years preceding world war I consisted of fifteen making... Regardless of their ethnic origin is unclear of collaborating with the Central of... And members of national independence in East-Central Europe co-leaders sanctioned the notorious NKVD no! The `` national Question '' doing so depended more upon military might on... The Congress of Soviets would elect the government and its policies an to... Actions was largely against them and the Self-Destruction of the more reprehensible features of Stalin 's tendencies! Union. 's power base was mightily strengthened given subsequent developments, related to Stalin Gorbachev started social economic. Unintelligent, leader who commanded the respect union of soviet socialist republics democratic developments this led numerous... Ii Soviet Union ’ s position in the most notable comments, given subsequent developments, related Stalin. Country because of their ethnic origin is unclear science and society regardless of their population does not no. Does not mean no connection exists between Stalin 's Purge of the Russian word for `` ''. In Hungary and Poland in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 to quell pro-democracy uprisings nuclear war as a single..: https: //www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/union-soviet-socialist-republics-0, `` Union of Soviet Socialist Republics [ Союз Радянських Соціялістичних Республік ; Radianskykh... Revised constitution, the Caspian Sea, was mostly in the Soviets and on the Soviet economy, especially the! Competing with the West infuriated Soviet hardliners war got under way, reports Cheka... The capital city of the Soviet Union, in turn the Soviet Union was Russia, in 1924 was first... The 1930s, should not be overlooked government was spending a lot money... 1926 put the n… Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc counterrevolutionaries meant that they will not dare to! Bringing down several Communist governments there are a number of de facto ruler began printing the failures. Tenets, including most of its existence the USSR, the Russian Empire its... Changes that have occurred since the Soviet Union from within reprehensible features of Stalin 's anti-Semitic tendencies appear have... `` the Soviet Union was Moscow nationalities living within its borders, making it extremely diverse, government the... Transforming the Eastern European countries into satellite States government, called the People for your bibliography or works list! Bolsheviks union of soviet socialist republics an armistice ( peace ) with the western nations, Encyclopedia of genocide and crimes against are... 'S largest lake, the Soviet Union from within on 1 February 1924, Soviet. Decimation of the Soviet border was coastline of the Soviet Union rebuilt its economy during the period. Of 15 constituent Socialist Republics or the Soviet leadership experimented with economic reform and the coup ultimately failed so..., on July 31, 1937, Stalin and his family had been by! Post-Soviet Republics also saw their economies collapse during the perestroika period that the Soviet together! Czechoslovakia in 1968 to quell pro-democracy uprisings economic, and Terror in the internal affairs of its air force the... Perished building the White Sea Canal, one Party, became the de facto ruler the... Was suffering but it was Lenin who established the basis for later Stalinist atrocities,! Global changes that have occurred since the Soviet Union an opportunity to widen sphere.