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The USSR Formation
April 3, 2006 14:28

The Bolsheviks formed a new government and at last made reality such a long awaited promise as the war end (1918). According to the Peace Treaty of Brest-Litovsk Russia lost a range of territories including those in Poland, Finland, Ukraine, and Baltic lands. But there were many more plans to be put into life. According to the new ideology the nationalization of land, industrial plants and banks, as well as separation of state and church - all this was a non-distant reality. As a new state system continued to develop, the Bolshevik Party was renamed the Communist Party, and a new Constitution was adopted in 1918, acknowledging the existence of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (RSFSR). The Russian capital moved from Petrograd (St Petersburg) to Moscow.

Despite the Brest-Litovsk treaty signed on dreadfully unfavorable conditions, peace was still a long way to go. Now the main enemy of the new power was inside the state. The existence of a strong opposition to the communists, the Whites, led towards three years of civil war (1918 -1920) accompanied by foreign intervention. This war ended when counterrevolutionary White Army (supported by Great Britain, France, and Unites States) was defeated by a new army of the Communist state – the Red Army. After eliminating all their enemies, the Bolsheviks established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.


To revitalize the country from the ruins of the civil war the New Economic Policy (NEP) was carried out from 1921 till 1929. Private enterprise was allowed together with land rent, waged labor, and privatization of small industries. By the mid 1920s these measures proved to be effective, a relative economic revival was reached and the government set a new goal – that of heavy industry development. The industrialization meant financing, which required an increased export of grain. However, prices that the government offered for the grain did not correspond to the reality. Peasants refused to sell their production at such prices. The situation provoked the end of the market economy scheme that was substituted with strict government control. In the late 1920s, under Communist party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, planned economy was introduced. This system determined Russian economic development up till the USSR disintegration in 1991. Five-year plans were elaborated to provide rapid development in different spheres of life from industry to culture. Education became not only available to everyone but also compulsory. The enthusiasm grew with the first impressive achievements, and those who doubted or opposed the Communist Party policy could easily be put into prison, sent to the forced-labor camps, or executed for being the "enemies of the nation". Among the long-time plans of the USSR leaders was to prove that the Communist ideology offered the only right way of development and that the Soviet Union dominated other major Superpowers of the World.

World War II

Before the Soviet Union was involved into World War II, Stalin carried out a series of negotiations trying to find the best allies in the forthcoming war. The result of these negotiations was a nonaggression pact between Russia and Germany signed in 1939. The act was accompanied by confidential protocols, according to which the two countries divided spheres of their influence in Poland, Baltic region and the Balkans. However, Hitler had no plans of keeping his promises and in 1941 Germany initiated unexpected and devastating attacks against the Russians.  But what was planned by Hitler as a one-year military campaign - Operation Barbarossa - turned into a long and exhausting war, which led Nazi Germany to complete failure.

Russian people paid a high price for their victory. As it was in the previous battles for national independence, patriotism saved the country but the number of human victims was really tremendous. More than 26.5 million people died in this war. Russian contribution to the liberation of the world from the fascism was invaluable. Germany had to send more then 2/3 of its armed forces to fight on this front. In the result of World War II an international influence of the Soviet Union grew immensely. Together with the US it became one of the predominant world forces. At the Yalta (1945) and Potsdam (1945) Conferences Stalin held talks on postwar world organization with the United States President Franklin Roosevelt and the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The Soviet Union also played an important role in the creation of the United Nations and became one of the five countries that received power of veto in this international organization. Moreover, Russia spread influence over a large part of Eastern Europe, including Poland, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Albania, and East Germany.

Tags: Russian history The USSR    

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