What was the USSR at its beginning?
The Soviet Union, also known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a single-party communist state. It existed from 1922 until 1991. The USSR consisted of 15 Soviet socialist republics.
When was the USSR formed?
In 1924, under a new constitution, Russia was reorganised into the USSR - the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Was the USSR dominated by Russia?
By the 1930s, the government required Russian language and culture to be supreme. The promotion of other cultures was disloyal. Millions of people from ethnic minorities were sent to gulags in Siberia.
What were the consequences of the Second World War in the USSR?
There were 4 main changes in the USSR after the Second World War:
  • The Soviet Union lost 25 million people.
  • 70% of USSR industry was destroyed.
  • 60% of the USSR's transport infrastructure was destroyed.
  • 1,700 Soviet cities were destroyed.
What was the Soviet Union like in 1953?
Three main strands were developing in the USSR by 1953:
  • By 1953, the Soviet Union was recovering from the consequences of the Second World War and had emerged as a 'superpower' with nuclear capabilities to rival the US.
  • Tensions between the Soviet Union and the USA increased due to the Cold War.
  • The Soviet Union had strengthened its control over the satellites states in communist eastern Europe through the Cominform and COMECON.
How did the Soviet Union collapse?
There were 6 key events which led to the collapse of the USSR:
  • Gorbachev attempted to reform the USSR to save communism.
  • The USSR lost control of eastern Europe between 1989 and 1990 because of Gorbachev's reforms.
  • There was an attempted coup against Gorbachev by the Gang of 8 in August 1991.
  • Gorbachev's attempt to introduce a new constitution and a New Union Treaty to save the USSR was rejected.
  • When the 12 Soviet republics signed the Commonwealth of Independent States agreement it meant the USSR no longer existed as a country.
  • In December 1991, Gorbachev dissolved the Soviet Union in his final act as president.
When did the collapse of the Soviet Union happen?
The Soviet Union ended on 26th December, 1991.
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