Soviet Union Basics

Soviet Union Basics

Acronyms Geography


According to ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG, the Soviet Union occupied the eastern portion of the European continent and the northern portion of the Asian continent. Most of the country was north of 50 ° north latitude and covered a total area of ​​approximately 22,402,200 square kilometers. Due to the large size of the state, the climate varied greatly, from subtropical and continental to subarctic and polar. 11% of the land was arable, 16% was grassland and pasture, 41% forest, and 32% was declared as “other” (including tundra).

The Soviet Union measured about 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) from Kaliningrad in the west to Ratmanova Island (Diomedes Islands) in the Bering Strait, roughly the equivalent of the distance from Edinburgh, Scotland, east of Nome, Alaska. From the tip of the Taimir Peninsula in the Arctic Ocean to the Central Asian town of Kushka, near the Afghan border, there are nearly 5,000 kilometers of terrain, mostly rugged and inhospitable. The entire width of the continental United States would lie between the extreme northern and southern borders of the Soviet Union.


Before its dissolution, the Soviet Union was the second most powerful economy in the world, after the United States. [6] The government established its economic priorities for the centralized economy, a system under which administrative decisions, rather than the market, determine the allocation of resources and prices.

After the Bolshevik revolution of 1917, the country grew from a largely underdeveloped peasant society with minimal industry to become the second largest industrial power in the world. According to Soviet statistics, the country’s industrial production in the world grew from 5.5% to 20% between 1913 and 1980.

The Bolsheviks began a program of collectivization of Soviet agriculture to increase food production. Agronomist Pavel Pantelimonovich Luk’ianenko raised a crop called Bezostaia-1, a product that resists many temporary and diseased conditions. It was planted in large areas: at least 13 million hectares by the 1960s and 18 million by 1972. [7] By 1976 the average caloric consumption of the population was 3,330. [8] The AIC alleged in 1983 that the Soviets consumed an amount of food identical to that of the Americans, although the Soviet diet was perhaps more nutritious. He put the caloric intake at 3,280 on a daily basis. [9]


The Soviet Union was one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world, with more than 150 distinct ethnic groups within its borders. The total population was estimated at 293 million inhabitants in 1991, having been the third most populous country in the world after China and India for decades.

In the last years of the Soviet Union, the ethnic groups of the country were: Russians (50.78%), followed by Ukrainians (15.48%), Uzbeks (5.84%). Other ethnic groups include Armenians, Belarusians, Georgians, Germans, Ossetians, Romanians, Moldovans, Tajiks, Greeks, Hungarians, Poles, Gypsies, Lithuanians, Bulgarians, Latvians, Turks, Tatars, Bashkirs, Chinese, Chuvashians, Jews, Kazakhs, Azerbaijanis, Caucasian peoples, Uralic peoples, Mongols, Tuvans, Semitic peoples, Yakuts, Ketos, Koreans, Cubans, only 1.6% of the population does not come from Russia. Mainly because of differences in birth rates between Soviet nationalities, the proportion of the Russian population was steadily decreasing in the post-war period. [10]


Soviet culture went through various stages during the 70 years of its existence. During the first eleven years of the Revolution (1918 – 1929), there was wide freedom and artists experimented with several different styles in an effort to find a distinctive Soviet art style. Lenin wanted art to be accessible to the Russian people.

The government encouraged a variety of trends. In art and literature, numerous schools, some traditional and others radically experimental, proliferated. The writers Máximo Gorki and Vladimir Mayakovski were active during this period. The cinema received the support of the State; many of the best works of cinematographer Sergei Eisenstein date from this period.

Later, during the era of Joseph Stalin, Soviet culture was characterized by government support for socialist realism, with the rest of the tendencies seriously repressed, with rare exceptions (for example the works of Mikhail Bulgakov).

In the 1950s and 1960s further experimentation in art forms became permitted again. Many protagonists of the novels of the author Yuri Trífonov referred to problems of everyday life. The architecture was mostly focused on functional design in contrast to the highly ornate style of the Stalin era.

The main forums for public dispute, criticism and the formation of public opinion were the media, specialized newspapers and conferences. The media was the main forum for opposing views with Pravada and Izvestia varying more freely as social critics than the weekly newspapers. The Soviet press abounded with public disputes on many subjects. Only the Communist Party as an institution, the existence of the militia, socialism as a system and communism, the idea of ​​unity between the Party and the people and the highest political directors as persons were prohibited subjects in the press.

Soviet Union Basics