"Soyuz" is a transliteration of the Cyrillic text "Союз", and is the Russian word for "Union". It was often used as an internal abbreviation for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics ("Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик": "Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik") during the period of that country's existence. The term was used officially by both the Soviet State (for example in various projects it commissioned during the Space Race) and the citizenry as a whole. As terminological shorthand it was often used interchangeably with each of the slightly longer term "Сою́з Сове́тских" ("Soyuz Sovetskikh"; "Soviet Union"), and the initialism "ссср" ("SSSR" in the latin alphabet, "USSR" in English).
As a Russian language term, its use was primarily confined to the Soviet Union itself, since in other countries (for example in the Anglosphere) the name of the Soviet Union was typically translated into the relevant native language, and abbreviated accordingly.
The term is left untranslated in the English names of several Soviet-related concepts. These include:
- Soyuz programme, a human spaceflight programme initiated by the Soviet Union, continued by the Russian Federation
- The Soyuz Station, established by members of the Soviet Antarctic Expeditions in Mac. Robertson Land in Antarctica
- The Soyuz (faction) in the Congress of Soviets, 1990–1991
- SS Albert Ballin, a 1922 German-built ship recovered and renamed Soyuz by the USSR
- Soyuz (comics), a team of Russian superheroes from DC Comics
- Studio Soyuz, a media company in Russia
- Soyuz (Dr. Stone), a character in the manga series Dr. Stone