The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR, Russian: Союз Советских Социалистических Республик, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik, abbreviated СССР, SSSR), informally known as the Soviet Union (Russian: Советский Союз, tr. Sovetsky Soyuz), is a constitutionally socialist state that is located on the territory of most of the former Russian Empire in Eurasia.
The Soviet Union has a single-party political system dominated by the Communist Party. Is a union of Soviet republics, of which there are 14, with the capital in Moscow. The union was founded in March 1919, when the Russian SFSR, which formed during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and emerged victorious in the ensuing Russian Civil War, unified with the Transcaucasian, Ukrainian, Estonian and Belorussian SSRs.
Civil War (Spring,1918-Winter 1918)
After signing the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, the Russian government quickly went about stabilizing its hold on the vast lands inherited from the Russian Empire. Control over the Ukraine and Belarus was quickly established and Karelia was forcibly taken from Finland in early March, with Finland agreeing to hand the territory over after it proved unable to defend it. It quickly declared all the various nationalities in the country to be equal and no official language would exist in the new order, although it would de facto remain Russian. New jobs were promised, as well as free education, industrialization and social equality.
The Bolshevik government also saw no need to antagonize their former Allies and allowed the Czechoslovak Legions to pass through Russia and then go through the port of Murmansk to link up with their Western Allies. Although still not trusting them, this act of good faith, coupled with the Spring offensive of German forces on the Western Front and the reluctance of the U.S.A. to enter the war was enough for the Allies to not actively help the White Movement in Russia.
After securing the neutrality of Europe in its internal affairs, the government led several campaigns through the Summer and Winter of 1918, mainly against the White movement in Transibiskal, which was helped by Japan, although Britain and France continually demanded they cease antagonizing the Bolsheviks. No direct Japanese ground forces were given, which atributed to the Red Army's decisive victories over general Kolchak and other leaders in Siberia. Some managed to flee through Manchuria and Vladivostok before it was taken, while the rest were shot for treason.
Movements in the south, led from Novocherkassk, and movements in the north, led from Arhangelsk, were then crushed by October, with final battles lasting till December.
Forming the Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsAfter a quick civil war, Lenin set out to appease the many nations of Bolshevik Russia, who were mostly kept in check through the civil war but were now demanding greater representation in the state. Thus, keeping his promise, Lenin created the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, while the rest of the state was corraled into the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and promised greater representation after further consolidation of power in the Communist Party's hands. On March 22nd 1919 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics came to be. From there on, Lenin would introduce the new NEP in June of the same year. The New Economic Policy (NEP) replaced the policies of War Communism which attempted to obliterate any signs of the market economy in the Soviet Union. The laws sanctioned the coexistence of private and public sectors, which were incorporated in the NEP, which on the other hand was a state oriented "mixed economy".
Rather than repossess all goods produced, the Soviet government took only a small percentage of goods. This left the peasants with a marketable surplus which could be sold privately. The state, after starting to use the NEP, moved away from Communist ideals and started the modernizing of the economy, but this time, with a more free-minded way of doing things. The Soviet stopped upholding the idea of nationalizing certain parts of industries. Some kinds of abroad investments were expected by the Soviet Union under the NEP, in order to fund industrial and developmental projects. The policy proved to be a success, as the Soviet Union had recovered agricultural production levels from before the war (1913) by 1921.
Industrialization was also quickly conducted and by 1922, industrial capacity had surpased that of pre-war levels. Literacy levels had also risen and most of the population started living in cities in just under five years.
Excursion into Mongolia
Ever since the end of civil war in Russia, the newly formed Mongolian People's Party had fought a desperate war for independence. Roman Ungern von Sternberg had led raids on Soviet territory in the past and was now occupying Mongolian territory for the Chinese. The Red Army quickly led a campaign against their enemies in Mongolia, capturing and killing Sternberg in the process, while signing a peace agreement with the Chinese who relinquished control of Mongolia.
The Mongolian People's Republic was declared in October of 1919. The relationship between the two countries quickly grew close, with a majority of the cabinet in Mongolia led by Russian revolutionaries. In an unprecedented move, Mongolia conducted a plebiscite in 1923, to see if its people would be willing to join the USSR. An overwellming majority, over 85% of the population chose to enter into a union with the country. On the 25th of September, the People's Republic of Mongolia was renamed into the Soviet Socialist Republic of Mongolia and officially admitted into the Soviet Union.
All was not well with the leader of the new nation, however. Lenin's health had been failing since mid-1923 and he had experienced several seizures throughout the year. In early 1924, Lenin decided to make one last public appearance in February, as he felt his time had come. In his speech, he denounced Stalin, while at the same time praising Lav Trotsky, shocking the assembled members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He once again reiterated his stance on Democratic Centralism and it being the will of the people, before leaving the hall, being hailed by thunderous applause.
Lenin would quietly die in his sleep a month later. Trotsky, being de facto picked by the beloved leader, had no problem in becoming the leader of the government apparatus, while Stalin was marginalized and quickly forgotten.
Exporting Communism (1925-1932)
Trotsky quickly expanded the industry even further, doubling its productivity levels from 1924 in under a year. Although he had been a supporter of exporting socialism in the past, he knew that with liberal movements being created all over Europe and the advent of the European Trade Organization in early 1922, communist rhetoric could not find a foothold in Europe. Thus, he set his sights to the east.
The Soviet Union started actively helpin Chiang Kai-shek after he had become leader of the KMT, even favoring cooperation between communists in the country with its leadership. Throughout 1926 till April of the next year, the USSR actively helped in China's northern expeditions to rid the country of various cliques, with Trotsky confident that he would be the one who would turn the tables on the KMT when the time was right. However, this was not to be, as Kai-shek ordered all the communists in the KMT to be killed.
Trotsky, furious with this setback in China, ordered Red Army officials to start divising a plan of attack on China, to topple the „corrupt back-stabbing nationalists“. He started actively arming the Communist Party of China, as well as further industrialising his own government. He also actively supported Uyghurs in Xinjiang and promised them representation and recognition after taking over China.
Finally, in Spring of 1930, the USSR had amassed a sizeable army on the western border of China, while strenghtening defenses around Primorskaya Krai. The invasion commenced on May 15th and was conducted by 12 army divisions, with heavy bombing of various strategic locations in China. The attack was further supported by the CP of China and the Uyghur nationalists. Xinjiang was quickly liberated by August of the same year and was promptly renamed into the Uyghur SSR and admitted into the Soviet Union in October of 1930. The rest of the country would prove more troublesome, however. The Soviet war machine had largely begun to stall, as endless waves of Chinese foot soldiers slowed their advance. There were fears of losing the massive gains in China, while the CPC's position was endangered. Help would come from an unlikely source, as Japan, itself wanting to get as much territory in China as possible, staged an invasion of Manchuria in July of 1931, overrunning the Chinese defenders, who did not expect to fight the Japanese advancing from Korea. This invasion helped the Soviets to reorganize and they once again pushed deeper into Chinese territory.
Chiang, unable to withstand the immense force of these two foes, managed to flee Nanchang, just as communist partisans and Soviet bombers attacked the capital. It was occupied in February of 1932. The rest of the campaign dealt with various warlords still left in China, while a border agreement between the CPC and Japan was signed in April, 1932. By December, the country was firmly in communist hands and on Christmas, 1932, the People's Republic of China was officially proclaimed.
Consolidating the communist rule (1933-1940)
Although over a quarter of a million men had been lost in the war, Trotsky had achieved a massive victory. He had secured an ally with massive future potential, a giant just ready to play its part on a global scale. Now was the time to grow and prosper and consolidate one's grip on power.
Relations with Europe and the U.S. were at an all time low, but Trotsky's current short term enemy was apparent: Japan. An aggressive Japan had been growing in power ever since the military had taken control and was now beginning to make its bid for power in the Pacific and Asia as well. A future conflict was also inevitable due to the humiliating defeat after the 1905 war and the loss of territory.
The country would start investing more in technology from then on, as new tactics and inventions were predicted to cause a greater advantage in the war to come.
During this time, the USSR helped the PRC attack Tibet, the only rogue faction of China left. The invasion was carried out during the Summer of 1935 and was a complete success. Its ally did not stop there, however. The new leader of the PRC's Communist Party, Mao Zedong, started to openly demand territory under effective control of the British Empire, as well as the entirety of Bhutan and Nepal, which were under British protection. This did not sit well with the USSR's leadership, as it was seen as needless provocation.
Surprisingly, Britain acceded to their demands and in 1937, Neville Chamberlain and Mao Zedong signed an agreement that protection of the two aforementioned countries would be given to China, while the British territory in question was given to China outright. China eventually occupied its new protectorships and annexed them into the PRC. Although pleased with their results, the USSR saw that Mao's rule was beginning to make China too autonomous and that they were drifting apart from the Soviet Union.
Thus, a covert operation, conducted by NKVD and GRU operatives ensured the Chinese leader would be in an „accident“. Mao Zedong was killed on May 3rd, 1938 in what seemed to be a car accident. He was replaced by a much more agreeable leadership. Plans were soon formulated for an attack on Japan, dubbed the „Setting Sun“.
The battle plan was a simultaneous attack conducted from China and the Russian Far East on Manchuria, while the USSR would conduct separate operations in the Kurils and South Sakhalin and the PRC would deal with capturing Taiwan alone.The attack commenced on April 2nd, 1941 and caught the Japanese completely of guard. The surprise on the border was so complete that some forward units gave up without a fight to advancing Soviet and Chinese forces. The plan was conducted with the oversight of generals Zhukov and Tukachevsky, who created it. It took the combined forces two months to take over the entirety of Manchuria, which was promptly given to the PRC. From there on, both forces would push through Korea, liberating it.
Meanwhile, the Soviet Union was successful in retaking South Sakhalin, while fierce naval warfare was being conducted in the Pacific. The Taiwan invasion was stalling, as Chinese forces were under supplied during the whole attack. In the end, Taiwan was taken in August of 1941.
The invasion of Korea was a hard fought battle as well. The invaders were quick to establish a government named the Democratic Republic of Korea, which would inspire the nation to rise up and fight. This slow grind through Japanese occupied Korea would take around six months to complete, ending during mid-December when the entirety of the peninsula was firmly in the hands of Comintern forces.
The war would have lasted indefinitely, were it not for the interference of the United States. Fearing the alarming expansion of the Soviet Union, it demanded a cessation of fighting, telling the USSR that it would not hesitate to use force to stop the combat. This aggressive stance was one of the reasons Charles Lindberg was chosen to be the countries president, and it was obvious he meant business. Having such an enemy was not in the best interest of the country. Thus, in January of 1942, a cease fire was signed. No formal peace treaty was signed, and this situation would not be resolved until the mid-eighties.
Post Soviet-Japanese War (1942-1955)
After winning the war with Japan, Trotsky decided that the revolution should be spread across the globe. Through the Comintern, which had not only been a forum but was now increasingly turning into an economic and military alliance of states as well, the USSR expanded the influence of communism on a larger scale, financing various dissident groups in the European colonies, arguing that Europe had been subjugating entire continents. The first act of the Comintern was to cause unrest in Indonesia and Indochina, as a stepping stone for other revolutions. Unrest in Indochina started as early as 1944, when Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Minh movement in Vietnam started to actively engage French forces operating in the then French colony.
The European Defense Initiative (EDI) sent its troops as well, trying to crush the rebellion. Although they were successful in Indonesia, they ultimately had to give the country independence in 1947, while the Indian Federation followed in 1948. The war in Indochina would continue further, however, with both Soviet-backed forces and the EDI fighting for supremacy. In the end, the North Vietnamese forces backed by the Comintern were allowed to continue existing, while the rest of Indochina was given independence under European-backed governments.
During this time, having heard of a new potentially deadly weapon being researched in both the U.S. and Europe, the USSR had begun to create its own version of the weapon. While they developed the A-bomb after their competitors, in 1950, the were just six months away when the first hydrogen bomb exploded in Greenland in 1954.
The space race was a different story. After seeing the awesome potential of the bomb when the American government detonated its bomb in 1946, the Soviets saw that bombers would be less ineffective than rocket-delivered payloads. Thus, in September of 1955, the first man-made satellite, Sputnik, was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Kazakh SSR. This information stunned the country's rivals, but was only the first of many Soviet successes in space. The first living being in space, a dog named Laika, was launched on the Sputnik 2 mere months after the initial launch. In one of his last addresses to the public, Trotsky announced that: „Man will reach the stars by the end of this decade and reach the Moon by the end of the next!“ The leader would not see his prophecy come true, as he died of a heart attack two weeks after giving this announcement on January 12th, 1956.
Khrushchev era (1956-1971)
Khrushchev would make good on his predecessors promise, sending Andrei Mitkov, a Soviet fighter-pilot turned cosmonaut, into space on November 3rd, 1959. Other successes of the Soviet space program include the first women in space in 1962, the first spacewalk in 1964 and the first to send man to the Moon in 1967.
The Khrushchev era would also lead to further advances in the standard of living as well as the increase of Soviet exports. His leadership would also see the rise of communist regimes in Laos and Cambodia, in 1958 and 1961, respectively. He also sent a Soviet expeditionary force to Cuba in March of 1959, bringing Castro's regime closer to the one in Moscow. This age also saw the fall of South Vietnam to advancing North Vietnamese forces in 1970, after nearly thirteen years of continuous fighting.
Khrushchev did not only expand communism created stronger ties with the other two great powers as well. Through his good will efforts in both the United States and the ETO, with strong backing from a newly elected John Kennedy in the US, both countries founded the World Council of Nations, which initially had around thirty-five members, but would soon grow to encompass most of the world's countries, including all of Europe.
The relative growth of achieved through this era would be diminished by the Brezhnev leadership, however, after the death of Nikita Khrushchev on September 11th, 1971.
Brezhnev era (1971-1982)During Brezhnev's rule, the global influence of the Soviet Union's grew dramatically, in part because of the expansion of the Soviet Military during this time. In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to support the fragile Marxist government located there, a move condemned by the West. His tenure as leader has often been criticized for marking the beginning of a period of economic stagnation, overlooking serious economic problems which eventually led to several republics leaving the Union in 1989.
He continued the Khrushchev doctrine of easing tensions with the West, at the same time strengthening the Soviet global stance. He would be famous for his own aggressive foreign policy doctrine, stating: "When forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern of all socialist countries." This stance would be backed during the invasion of Afghanistan, the Soviet intervention in Nicaragua and Cambodia in 1980 and 1975, respectively. It also entailed supplying groups of socialist revolutionaries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, which was especially beneficial for the Soviets.
His death would lead to the rise of a younger member of the Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev.
Gorbachev era (1982-2000)
Mikhail Gorbachev, an up and coming member in the upper circle of the Communist Party, quickly established himself as a reformist and a man willing to work with the West. He would sign numerous treaties with past adversaries, reducing the number of nuclear missiles at the disposal of his country, as well as ETO members and the US. His domestic policy would prove to be detrimental in the 1980s, however.His rapid economic reforms, as well as the policy of glasnost, would lead to the USSR losing significant amounts of territory in the west, as the Gorbachev doctrine at the time stated that any republic was free to leave if they chose to do so. This would lead to a perceived state of weakness within the USSR. This would lead to the Gulf War in 1990, where EDI and US forces attacked Iraq, a strong Soviet ally, after it invaded Kuwait. It would also lead to a reunified Latvia and Estland entering the ETO, as well as the Ukraine leaving the Union, resulting in a war that, in the end, resulted in the Ukraine losing significant amounts of territory, as well as an exchange of nuclear missiles between the two countries, which would kill millions, as Kiev, Odessa and other cities in the Ukraine were bombed.
Both Georgia and Armenia would leave the country as well, which would lead to the Soviet takeover of Ossetia and Abkhazia. Generally, his reforms would worsen relations with other communist countries, starting with an icy relationship with one of the Soviet Union's strongest allies, the PRC and ending with the dissolution of the Comintern. Although this forum of socialist states was dissolved, communist countries continued to have cooperative relationships, rarely attacking each other outright.
The Soviet Union would also continue to maintain a strong presence in Afghanistan, continuing to destroy much of the country. This would later lead to the rise of Al-Qaeda, which would not only prove a challenge to the USSR, but the rest of the world as well.
During the later years of his premiership, the situation within and without would improve, as Gorbachev was the principal force that was responsible for the join expedition and first colony of the World Council of Nations in 1997. By the end of the 20th century, the Soviet Union would once again make peace with the PRC, albeit now acting as equals within the communist bloc.
Gorbachev formally resigned in June of 2000, stating that: "I have achieved all that I wanted as premier of this glorious country. It is time for other, younger men to take my place."
Zyuganov era to present (2000-...)
After Gorbachev left office, the CP of the USSR elected Gennady Zyuganov to lead the country. He was elected in large part due to his strong opposition to Gorbachev's methods of reform, which had led to hardships in the past. He did not, however, abolish Gorbachev's reforms, as he later stated: "It would make no sense to get rid of them now, after they have been in practice for over fifteen years. That would be counterproductive."
Through the early years of his presidency, there would be no real challenges to face, other than the relatively modest growth of the economy, compared to previous years. This was, in part, due to the still icy relationship with China, which had surpassed the Soviet economy in 2002. The relationship between the two countries remains cordial to this day, as both sides deem it necessary to have some semblance of a bond between communist countries. Joint military exercises resumed in 2005 and continue annually, resuming after nearly twenty years.
In 2003, the 5/11 attacks happened all over the world. The Soviet Union experienced terrorist attacks in Minsk, Leningrad and Vladivostok, while the attack on Moscow was averted. The attacks were conducted using dirty bombs, spreading radioactive material through hit cities. This shook most of the world, regardless of already common attacks in the Middle East. The World Council of Nations quickly issued a resolution condemning the attacks and ordering an investigation of events. The group responsible was the Islamic Jihad Army (IJA), a group ever present in the world and had been around since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, growing in power in Iran and Pakistan, as well as the Iraqi and Afghan countryside.
The Soviet Union has one of the strongest economies in the world, being surpassed only by the US, ETO and China. As it had aggravated a severe economic collapse caused by the Great War, in 1919 Lenin replaced War Communism with the New Economic Policy (NEP), legalizing free trade and private ownership of smaller businesses. The economy subsequently recovered fairly quickly. The government decided to continue pursuing the policy, with greater emphasis on industrialization. Elements of a planned economy were introduced, but only in state owned bigger industries, while smaller enterprises were allowed to continue conducting business freely.
A wide range of industries constitute the Soviet industrial sector , including machine-building and metal-working, metallurgy, chemicals, petroleum and natural gas,coal mining, forestry, defense industry, textiles, food processing, and construction. By 1980, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest industrial capacity with 20 percent of total world industrial output, leading the world in producing oil, cast iron, steel, coke, mineral fertilizers, locomotives, tractors, and cement. Other major industrial products include petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunications, chemicals, electronics, food processing, lumber, mining, defense industry.
Advances in technology were always a staple mark for the Soviet Union and that has continued, both in the civilian and military sectors.
Agriculture follows the strategy of NEP implemented by Lenin, using both private businesses and state-run farms to achieve economic gain. Cotton, sugar beets, potatoes, and flax are major crops.
A number of basic services are state-funded, such as education and healthcare. In the manufacturing sector, heavy industry and defense were assigned higher priority than consumer goods production through most of the 1940s but heavier emphasis on consumer goods was achieved after the death of Trotsky in the mid-50s.
Government & Politics
The CPSU controls the government apparatus and takes decisions affecting economy and society. The Communist Party follows the ideology of Marxism-Leninism and operates on the principle of democratic centralism. The primary CPSU bodies are the Politburo, the highest decision-making organ; the Secretariat, the controller of party bureaucracy; and the Central Committee, the party's policy forum. Party members occupy positions of authority in all officially recognized institutions throughout the country. Since the ascension of Mikhail Gorbachev to the head of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the policies of greater freedom of speech (Glasnost) and his economic and political reforms, the Soviet Union has been perceived as a free country, but still lacking any decision making that does not follow Marxist-Leninist rhetoric.
The Soviet Armed Forces are the principal fighting force of the Soviet Union. The military was restructured into its current state, largely through the Khrushchev reforms of 1955, when the military was renamed from its previous name, the Red Army. The army had seen serious fighting through its history, ranging from the short Civil War of 1918 to the Sino-Soviet war and the Soviet-Japanese war, continuing through participation in the Vietnam and Afghanistan wars and ending with the Gulf War in 1991. The military consists of four branches:the Soviet Army, Air Defence Forces, Air Force and the Navy.
The Army currently employs a mostly professional force, while conscripts need to serve a six month, basic training tour. Around 1,500,000 servicemen are currently in the Army. The Soviets employ the T-90 as their MBT, while the T-80 is also still largely in use. The standard small arms of the army are the AK-108 and the AK-74M, derivatives of the famous AK-47, while the main sidearm is the MP-443 Grach, together with the battle hardened Makarov and Tokarev T-55, a variant of the T-33.The Air Force is currently the largest in the world, employing thousands of aircraft of various purposes. The principal multirole fighters are the MiG-35, MiG-31 and the MiG-29 Fulcrum. The Sukhoi Su-47 is its most advanced stealth fighter. Bombers include the Tupolev Tu-160 Blackjack and Tupolev Tu-95 Bear and the Tupolev Tu-22M. The premier trainer aircraft is the Yakovlev Yak-130, while command aircraft currently in use are the Ilyushin Il-80 and Tupolev Tu-214. Aerial refueling is done by the Ilyushin Il-78, while reconnaissance is done by the Beriev A-50 and the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25. Transport planes include: Ilyushin Il-76, Ilyushin Il-112 and Antonov An-124.
Helicopters that are employed:Kamov Ka-52, Kamov Ka-50, Mil Mi-24, Mil Mi-28, Mil Mi-8, Mil Mi-26 and Kamov Ka-60.
The Soviet Navy is currently the second largest navy in the world, second only to the United States. Often referred to as the Red Fleet, the Soviet Navy is instrumental in any possible role in an all-out war with EDI and US forces.The Soviet Navy is divided into four major fleets: Northern Fleet, the Pacific Fleet, the Black Sea Fleet, the Baltic Fleet, and, as a separate command, the Leningrad Naval Base. The Caspian Flotilla is a semi-independent formation administratively under the Black Sea Fleet command while the Soviet Mediterranean Squadron draws its units from the Black Sea, Baltic, and Northern Fleets and the Soviet Indian Ocean Squadron draws its units dominantly from Pacific Fleet. Other components include the Naval Aviation, Naval Infantry (the Soviet equivalent of marines), and Coastal missile and artillery troops.
The Air Defence Forces formerly the Air Defense Troops of the Nation (Russian: Войска ПВО, Voyska ProtivoVozdushnaya Oborona, Voyska PVO and formerly ProvitoVozdushnaya Oborona Strany, PVO Strany) is the air defense branch of the Soviet Armed Forces. Unlike Western air defense forces, PVO National Air Defence Troops is a branch of the military unto itself, separate from the Soviet Air Force (VVS). It is generally ranked third in importance of the Soviet services, behind the Strategic Rocket Forces and the Ground Forces.
The Strategic Rocket Forces (Strategic Missile Troops) of the Soviet Union are an arm of service (Rod) of the Russian armed forces that controls Soviet land-based ICBMs.
Soviet Space Program
Since the founding of a joint space directorate, the Soviet Federal Space Agency (SFSA), by Leon Trotsky in 1953, the Soviet space program has been one of the most inovative and groundbreaking programs of its kind. It has been responsible for a number of notable accomplishments in space flight, including mankind's first intercontinental ballistic missile (1955), first satellite (Sputnik 1), first animal in space (the dog Laika on Sputnik 2), first human in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Andrei Mitkov on Vostok 1 in 1959), first Moon impact (1958) and manned landing (1967), first woman in space (1962), first space station, first interplanetary probe, first to establish a colony on the Moon and first to have a manned mission to Mars, to name a few.
The manned lunar mission came in large part due to Trotsky's vow to have a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s. This was achieved by using the successful N1 rocket. The crew reached the Moon on July 3rd, 1967, with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin being the first man to step foot on Earth's satellite, followed by Gherman Titov moments later. Six years later, a permanent Moon colony was created, named Lunagrad, which initially housed one hundred people. Currently, there are around 15,000 people from around the world living on the Moon, with more coming every year.
Chief designer of the SFSA, Sergei Korolyov, was the principle arhitect of the Soviet space program, designing much of the Soviet space vehicles, with the Buran shuttle program being one of the last projects the designer worked upon. Other work carried out after his death were the long-term plans for a permanent, rotating wheel space station, the trip to Mars and a permanent colony on the red planet.The rotating space station, dubbed the Korolyov torus, was achieved after the SFSA constructed an orbital shipyard that, together with payloads delivered from the Earth, were able to produce this new type of station, dubbed Mir and was officially opened for use in 1988, after three years of construction. A similar station was created specifically for the Moon, named the Luna Space Station (LSS) in 1990. Both stations house around 200 cosmonauts but are also capable of receiving around 30 additional men and women. Plans to replace the outdated space stations are set to commence in 2012, as both stations have been in continuous use for over 20 years.
The mission to Mars, a long standing goal for all of the three world powers, started in 1980, with cosmonauts being chosen for the task. Although solar flares would prove to be worrisome, the spaceship that would take the ten cosmonaut crew (seven men and three women) was constructed by December of 1986 by the Lunar shipyard. The mission commenced on March 9th, 1987. The ship would sling shoot around the Moon, using its gravity to further assist it on its trip, reaching Mars by November, 1987. This would lead to several other missions to Mars, as well as a flyby mission to Venus, which ultimately culminated in a joint mission by the World Council of Nations to establish a colony on Mars on April 11th, 1997. Currently, there are 743 people permanently living on Mars, with the first "Martian" being born in 2001, named Katherine.
After establishing the USSR in March, 1919, the country was divided into 4 republics: Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Later on, several autonomous republics within the RSFSR were given official statehood: the Turkmen SSR (1920), the Uzbek SSR (1922), the Tajik SSR (1926), while the Kazakh and Kirghiz SSR were both founded in 1933.
The Transcaucasian SFSR fell apart due to internal disagreements between the various nationalities that occupy the region and were replaced by the Armenian, Azerbaijan and Georgian SSR on December 5th, 1930.
Two other republics joined the USSR freely, Mongolia in 1919 and Uyghuristan in 1930. These are the only two republics in the Soviet Union which had not been under the previous rule of the Russian Empire.
In 1989, the Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Estland and Latvian parts of the RSFSR managed to secede from the country, leaving only ten republics in the USSR. In the nineties, some territory would be regained both from Georgia and Ukraine in two short-lived wars.
The Soviet Union maintains diplomatic relations with most of the world. The Cold War feel of the past decades has eased a bit in recent times, as all three world powers have tried to maintain a semblance of an understanding with each other, ever since the end of the 1980s.
It promotes an aggressive foreign policy in its immediate neighbourhood, trying to maintain a buffer between itself and other hostile nations, with varying degrees of success. Afghanistan has been a long standing theater of conflict for the Soviet Armed Forces, as well as allies willing to participate in the conflict. In recent years, due to some republics leaving the union, there have also been wars waged for territory disputed between the nations, namely versus Georgia and the Ukraine.
Although myriad bureaucracies are involved in the formation and execution of Soviet foreign policy, the major policy guidelines are determined by the Politburo of the Communist Party. The foremost objectives of Soviet foreign policy have been the maintenance and enhancement of national security and maintaining cordial relations with other superpowers. Relations with individual Third World states are at least partly determined by the proximity of each state to the border and to estimates of strategic significance. Relations with any and all socialist countries, and those moving towards socialism, are one of the most important, although relations with China have been strained in recent years, but are improving.