The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) or the Soviet union was a constitutional socialist state in Northern Europe and Asia. The USSR included the countries of Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The USSR existed from 1922 until 1991 when it was dissolved.
Interesting Facts about the former USSR
- The USSR was the world’s largest state covering one sixth of the world’s surface.
- It had five climate zones and spanned 7 time zones.
- The USSR had the world’s longest border measuring over 37,000 miles (60,000 km).
- The highest mountain was Communism Peak (now Ismail Samani Peak) in Tajikistan, at 7,495 meters (24,590 ft).
- It was also home to world’s largest lake, the Caspian Sea.
- The Soviet Union was officially established in December 1922 with the union of the Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and Transcaucasian Soviet republics.
- 1928 a Five year plan was instigated to build a socialist economy. The state assumed control over all industry and collective farms were established throughout the USSR. This caused widespread famine and much death.
- Purges were undertaken to rid the communist party of opposition and many wealthy farmers and businessmen were sent to forced labor camps after refusing to cooperate with the socialist government.
- In 1937 and 1938, the NKVD (The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) arrested more than one and a half million people, of whom 681,692 were shot – an average of 1,000 executions a day.
- The USSR, Untied States and United Kingdom were allies in the Second World War.
- The Cold War began because the United States and United Kingdom’s feared the spread of communism to other countries around the world.
- The USSR was at its largest territorial size from 1959 to 1961.
- The Soviet Union traded the body of Grand Duchess Olga Constantinova (wife of George I of Greece) for a piece of construction equipment.
- Stalin planned to make Moscow “The Eighth Wonder of the World”. It included a Statue of Lenin the size of the Empire State Building. However, World War II scuttled these plans.
- The USSR produced the world’s first space satellite Sputnik.
- By 1989, Soviet scientists were among the world’s best-trained specialists in several areas, such as energy physics, selected areas of medicine, mathematics, welding and military technologies.
- The KGB was an organization dedicated to the security of the USSR. During the cold war many KGB spies infiltrated the United States.
- The Soviet Union were very careful about the information they released. For example, the Chernobyl nuclear disaster was covered up by the Soviet Union for 2 days. They only admitted a problem has occurred after officials from Sweden alerted the world to increased levels of radiation they believed were coming from the Soviet Union.