The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik) abbreviated to USSR (Russian: СССР, tr. SSSR) or the Soviet Union (Russian: Советский Союз, tr. Sovetsky Soyuz), was a constitutionally socialist state that existed between 1922 and 1991, ruled as a single-party state by the Communist Party with its capital as Moscow. A union of 15 subnational Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralised.
The Soviet Union had its roots in the Russian Revolution of 1917, which deposed Nicholas II, ending three hundred years of Romanov dynastic rule. The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, stormed the Winter Palace in Petrograd and overthrew the Provisional Government. The Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic was established and a civil war began. The Red Army entered several territories of the former Russian Empire and helped local communists seize power. In 1922, the Bolsheviks were victorious, forming the Soviet Union with the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian, Ukrainian and Byelorussian republics. Following Lenin's death in 1924, a troika collective leadership and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the late 1920s. Stalin committed the state ideology to Marxism–Leninism and a centralised planned economy was initiated. As a result, the country underwent a period of rapid industrialisation and collectivisation which laid the basis for its later war effort and dominance after World War II. However, Stalin repressed both Communist Party members and elements of the population through his authoritarian rule.
During World War II, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history and violating an earlier non-aggression pact between the two countries. The Soviet Union suffered the largest loss of life in the war, but halted the Axis advance at intense battles...
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