The Soviet Union (Russian: Советский Союз, tr. Sovetsky Soyuz), officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR; Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik; IPA: [sɐˈjus sɐˈvʲetskʲɪx sətsɨəlʲɪˈstʲitɕɪskʲɪx rʲɪsˈpublʲɪk] ( listen); abbreviated СССР, SSSR), was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991. Russia is the legal successor of the USSR.
The Soviet Union was a single-party state ruled by the Communist Party from its foundation until 1990. Even though the USSR was technically a union of 15 subnational Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized.
The Russian Revolution of 1917 caused the downfall of the Russian Empire. Following the Russian Revolution, there was a struggle for power between the Bolshevik party, led by Vladimir Lenin, and the anti-communist White movement. In December 1922, the Bolsheviks won the civil war, and the Soviet Union was formed with the merger of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. Following the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, Joseph Stalin took power, leading the USSR through a large-scale industrialization program. Stalin established a planned economy and suppressed political opposition to him and the Communist party.
The Ministry of External Relations (MER) of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) (Russian: Министерство внешних сношений СССР), formed on 16 July 1923, was one of the most important government offices in the Soviet Union. It was known as the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs (Russian: Народный комиссариат по иностранным делам), or Narkomindel, until 1946. The Ministry was known as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russian: Министерство иностранных дел), or MFA, from 1946 to 1991. The MER, at the all-Union level, was established on 6 July 1923, after the signing of the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR, and was based upon the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), formed in 1917. The Ministry was led by a Commissar prior to 1946, a Minister of Foreign Affairs prior to 1991, and a Minister of External Relations in 1991. Every leader of the Ministry was nominated by the Chairman of the Council of Ministers and confirmed by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, and was a member of the Council of Ministers. (more...)
Gennady Ivanovich Yanayev (Russian: Генна́дий Ива́нович Яна́ев; 26 August 1937 – 24 September 2010) was a Soviet Russian politician and statesman whose career spanned the rules of Khrushchev, Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko, and culminated during the Gorbachev years. Yanayev was born in Perevoz, Gorky Oblast. After years in local politics, he rose to prominence as Chairman of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions, but he also held other lesser posts such as deputy of the Union of Soviet Societies for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.
Due to his chairmanship of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions he gained a seat in the Politburo. During the 1990 July plenum he was elected to the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee. Later that year, with the help of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yanayev was elected the first, and only, Vice President of the Soviet Union. Having growing doubts about where Gorbachev's reforms were leading, Yanayev started working with, and eventually leading, the Gang of Eight, the group which deposed Gorbachev during the August coup of 1991. After three days the coup collapsed due to the popularity of Boris Yeltsin, but during its brief grip of power Yanayev was made Acting President of the Soviet Union. He was then arrested for his role in the coup, but in 1994 he was pardoned by the State Duma. He spent the rest of his life working in the Russian tourism administration until his death on 24 September 2010. (more...)
Ivan Maisky signs the Soviet–Finnish Non-Aggression Pact on 21 January 1932.
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