During its existence, the Soviet Union was the largest country in the world (22,402,200 km2). It was also one of the most diverse countries, with more than 100 “nationalities” (ethnic groups) identified in its territory, with sixty-five languages ??and religions. The total population (known as the Soviet people) was estimated at 288 million in 1990. Today, Russia – the successor to the Soviet Union – is still the largest country in the world and is a very diverse country, administering hundreds of minorities, including Muslims, such as the Tatars, and other non-ethnic Russian.
Between 1954 and 1991, the Soviet Union consisted of 15 Soviet Socialist Republics. Each union republic was, in turn, divided into regions (oblast), with the exception of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, and Armenia had a unitary structure. The RSFSR had, in addition, countries (krai), which were divided into autonomous regions and autonomous districts part of oblasts and krais. Some Soviet republics (Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan) had also the autonomous republics in their structure, having some degree of self-governance.
The formation of the USSR was one of the consequences of the Russian Revolution of 1917. After the February Revolution (1917), which ended the reign of Tsar Nicolas II, the October Revolution of the Russian Republic on 7 November 1917 allowed the seizure of power by the Bolshevik Party, which was a federalist. One of the drivers of the creation of the USSR was the will of Lenin to apply its federalist doctrine transforming Russia into a single union republics formed according to the principle of ethnic division and enjoying a certain degree of local cultural autonomy. The design initially opposed to that of Joseph Stalin, who wanted to create a single Soviet Federative Socialist Republic of Russia. However, Stalin later returned to its position, and in the years 1925-1939, proceeded himself to the creation of several constituent republics (in the Caucasus, Karelia and Central Asia).
The political organization of the Soviet Union was defined by a single party, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and especially, its executive committee, the Politburo. Other powers (legislative, executive or judicial), as well as the press and civil society as a whole, were directly subject to the edicts of the apparatus of the CPSU. It was a totalitarian state.
The USSR was sometimes, in everyday language, named Russia or Soviet Russia. This appellation, improper, but frequently used, likened it to the Soviet Federal Socialist Republic of Russia, who was by far the most important Soviet republics, both in terms of its area, people, political and cultural power (Russian was the language of communication across the USSR), as well as the original component of the federation on the timeline. The former RSFSR, now the Russian Federation in 1991, is currently regarded as the heir of the USSR through the diplomatic point of view, and in particular inherited its seat as a permanent member of the Security Council of the UN.
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