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Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Союз Советских Социалистических Республик
1922–1945
Flag of the Soviet Union (1923-1955) USSR COA six republics
Flag Coat of Arms
Anthem: The Internationale
Motto: Пролетарии всех стран, соединяйтесь!
Workers of the world, unite!
CV Soviet Union orthographic map

The Soviet Union in 1925
Official language(s) Russian
Demonym Soviet
Capital Moscow
Largest city Moscow
Government Union socialist republic, single-party communist state
Leader Vladimir Lenin (First)
Joseph Stalin (Last)
Legislature Supreme Soviet
Currency Ruble (руб)
History 
 - October Revolution November 7, 1917
 - World War II September 9, 1939
 - Disestablished February 2, 1943
Preceded by Succeeded by
Flag of Russia Russian Empire Flag of Russia Russian Republic
Flag of Turkmenistan Republic of Turkmenistan
Flag of Tajikistan Republic of Tajikistan
Flag of Uzbekistan Republic of Uzbekistan
Kokbayraq flag Turkestan Republic
Flag of the Far Eastern Republic Chita Republic
Flag of Ural Republic Siberian Republic

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), sometimes simply but incorrectly refered to as Communist Russia, was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1945.

The Soviet Union was a single-party state ruled by the Communist Party from its foundation until 1945. A union of 15 subnational Soviet republics, the Soviet state was structured under a highly-centralized government and economy.

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. 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 Soviet Union made aggressive territorial gains when Georgia, Azerbaijan, and the Northern Caucasus, threatening war if they were not met. Armenia was later annexed in 1939. Stalin made a pacts with France and Britain, following which he invaded Belarus and Ukraine in September 1939, starting World War II in Europe. The Soviet Union conquered half of Europe by 1940, and nearly defeated its major foe: Germany. Communist regimes were established in conquered areas, who would engage the Soviet enemies but mostly served as occupation authorities. Gulags, established as early as 1930, were used to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime. The number of camps quadrupled between 1939 and 1942, as slave-laborers from across Europe, Jews, political prisoners, criminals, and others were imprisoned.

The tide turned after the failure of the Vistula–Oder Offensive—the invasion of Germany—in 1941. The Germans counter-attacked in a series of huge, fierce battles that overwhelmed the Soviets. The Soviet Union was in danger of being overrun in 1945 by majority of the Axis from the west and later by Japan from the east. The victorious Axis initiated a policy of decommunization and put the Soviet leadership on trial for war crimes at the Petrograd Trials.

HistoryEdit

The last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, ruled the Russian Empire until his abdication in March 1917 in the aftermath of the February Revolution, due in part to the strain of fighting in World War I, which lacked public support. A short-lived Russian Provisional Government took power, to be overthrown in the October Revolution (N.S. November 7, 1917) by revolutionaries led by the Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.

The Soviet Union was officially established in December 1922 with the union of the Russian and Transcaucasian Soviet republics, each ruled by local Bolshevik parties. Despite the foundation of the Soviet state as a federative entity of many constituent republics, each with its own political and administrative entities, the term "Soviet Russia" strictly applicable only to the Russian Federative Socialist Republic was often applied to the entire country by non-Soviet writers and politicians.

Revolution and foundationEdit

Modern revolutionary activity in the Russian Empire began with the Decembrist Revolt of 1825. Although serfdom was abolished in 1861, it was done on terms unfavourable to the peasants and served to encourage revolutionaries. A parliament — the State Duma — was established in 1906 after the Russian Revolution of 1905, but Tsar Nicholas II resisted attempts to move from absolute to constitutional monarchy. Social unrest continued and was aggravated during World War I by military defeat and food shortages in major Soviet cities.

Lenin-Trotsky 1920-05-20 Sverdlov Square (original)
Vladimir Lenin addressing a crowd, 1920

A spontaneous popular uprising in Petrograd, in response to the wartime decay of Russia's economy and morale, culminated in the February Revolution and the toppling of the imperial government in March 1917. The tsarist autocracy was replaced by the Russian Provisional Government, which intended to conduct elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly and to continue fighting on the side of the Entente in World War I.

At the same time, workers' councils, known in Russian as "Soviets", sprang up across the country. The Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, pushed for socialist revolution in the Soviets and on the streets. On November 7, 1917 the Red Guards stormed the Winter Palace in Petrograd, ending the rule of the Provisional Government and leaving all political power to the Soviets. This event would later be known as the Great October Socialist Revolution. In December, the Bolsheviks signed an armistice with the Central Powers, though by February 1918, fighting had resumed. In March, the Soviets ended involvement in the war for good and signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

A long and bloody Civil War ensued between the Reds and the Whites, starting in 1917 and ending in 1923 with the Reds' victory. It included minor foreign intervention, the execution of the former tsar and his family, and the famine of 1921, which killed about five million. In March 1921, the Treaty of Riga was signed, recognising the territories of Belarus and Ukraine between them and Soviet Russia. Soviet Russia had to resolve similar issues with the newly established Republic of Finland, the Duchy of Livonia, and the Kingdom of Lithuania.

Unification of republicsEdit

On December 28, 1922 a conference of plenipotentiary delegations from the Russian SFSR and the Transcaucasian SFSR approved the Treaty of Creation of the USSR and the Declaration of the Creation of the USSR, forming the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. These two documents were confirmed by the 1st Congress of Soviets of the USSR and signed by the heads of the delegations, Mikhail Kalinin, Mikhail Tskhakaya and Mikhail Frunze on December 30, 1922.

On February 1, 1924 the USSR was recognized by the British Empire. The same year, a Soviet Constitution was approved, legitimizing the December 1922 union.

An intensive restructuring of the economy, industry and politics of the country began in the early days of Soviet power in 1917. A large part of this was done according to the Bolshevik Initial Decrees, government documents signed by Vladimir Lenin. One of the most prominent breakthroughs was the GOELRO plan, which envisioned a major restructuring of the Soviet economy based on total electrification of the country. The plan was developed in 1920 and covered a 10 to 15-year period. It included construction of a network of 30 regional power plants, including ten large hydroelectric power plant, and numerous electric-powered large industrial enterprises. The plan became the prototype for subsequent Five-Year Plans and was fulfilled by 1931.

Stalin eraEdit

Stalin and Nikolai Yezhov, head of the NKVD. After Yezhov was executed, he was edited out of the image.

From its creation, the government in the Soviet Union was based on the one-party rule of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks). After the economic policy of "War Communism" during the Russian Civil War, as a prelude to fully developing socialism in the country, the Soviet government permitted some private enterprise to coexist alongside nationalized industry in the 1920s and total food requisition in the countryside was replaced by a food tax (see New Economic Policy).

The stated purpose of the one-party state was to ensure that capitalist exploitation would not return to the Soviet Union and that the principles of Democratic Centralism would be most effective in representing the people's will in a practical manner. Debate over the future of the economy provided the background for a power struggle in the years after Lenin's death in 1924. Initially, Lenin was to be replaced by a "troika" consisting of Grigory Zinoviev of Ukraine, Lev Kamenev of Moscow, and Joseph Stalin of Georgia.

On April 3, 1922 Stalin was named the General Secretary of the All-Union Communist Party. Lenin had appointed Stalin the head of the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate, which gave Stalin considerable power. By gradually consolidating his influence and isolating and outmaneuvering his rivals within the party, Stalin became the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union and, by the end of the 1920s, established totalitarian rule. In October 1927, Grigory Zinoviev and Leon Trotsky were expelled from the Central Committee and forced into exile.

In 1928, Stalin introduced the First Five-Year Plan for building a socialist economy. In place of the internationalism expressed by Lenin throughout the Revolution, it aimed to build socialism in one country. In industry, the state assumed control over all existing enterprises and undertook an intensive program of industrialization. In agriculture, rather than adhering to the "lead by example" policy advocated by Lenin, forced collectivisation of farms was implemented all over the country.

Famines ensued, causing millions of deaths; surviving kulaks were persecuted and many sent to Gulags to do forced labour. Social upheaval continued in the mid-1930s. Stalin's Great Purge resulted in the execution or detainment of many "Old Bolsheviks" who had participated in the October Revolution with Lenin. According to declassified Soviet archives, in 1937 and 1938, the NKVD arrested more than one and a half million people, of whom 681,692 were shot – an average of 1000 executions a day. The excess deaths during the 1930s as a whole were in the range of 10–11 million. Yet despite the turmoil of the mid-to-late 1930s, the Soviet Union developed a powerful industrial economy in the years before World War II.

1930sEdit

The early 1930s saw closer cooperation between the West and the USSR. From 1932 to 1934, the Soviet Union participated in the World Disarmament Conference. In 1933, diplomatic relations between the United States and the USSR were established when in November, the newly elected President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt chose to formally recognize Stalin's Communist government and negotiated a new trade agreement between the two nations. After the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, the USSR actively supported the Republican forces against the Nationalists, who were supported by Fascist Italy and Imperial Germany.

In December 1936, Stalin unveiled a new Soviet Constitution. The constitution was seen as a personal triumph for Stalin, who on this occasion was described by Pravda as a "genius of the new world, the wisest man of the epoch, the great leader of communism." By contrast, Western historians and historians from former Soviet occupied countries have viewed the constitution as a meaningless propaganda document.

The late 1930s saw a shift towards the Axis powers. In 1939, almost a year after the United Kingdom and France had concluded the Munich Agreement with Germany, the USSR dealt with the Germans as well, both militarily and economically during extensive talks.

World War IIEdit

CV second world war europe 1939-1942 map
Map showing advances in Europe at the start of World War II

Outbreak of war Edit

The "Brest-Litovsk crisis" peaked in early 1939, around the time that German–Soviet talks broke down, the United Kingdom "guaranteed" to defend the USSR's territorial rights and the Soviets rejected a series of offers by Germany regarding both Belarus and Ukraine. Then, the Soviets broke off diplomatic relations. Stalin had learned that the Ottoman Empire was willing to sign a non-aggression pact with the USSR and would support an attack on Eastern Europe. The USSR invaded Ukraine on September 1, 1939 and two days later, Germany and Austria declared war on the Soviet Union. Germany proceeded to bomb Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad and other areas. Still, aside from battles at sea and Austria's Volhynia Offensive, no other activity occurred. Thus, the war became known as "the Phoney War".

The year 1940 began with little more than Germany dropping propaganda leaflets over Leningrad and Stalingrad but a German attack on the British High Seas fleet was followed by the British bombing the port city of Sylt. After the Altmark Incident off the coast of Norway and the discovery of the United Kingdom's plans to encircle Germany, Hitler sent troops into Denmark and Norway. This safeguarded iron ore supplies from Sweden through coastal waters. Shortly thereafter, the British and French landed in Mid- and North Norway, but the Germans de facto defeated these forces in the ensuing Norwegian Campaign. The loss of Denmark as a potential ally enraged Stalin as he had intended to invade Germany through Scandinavia.

Conquest of eastern EuropeEdit

In November the USSR put forth territorial demands to Finland for a minor part of the Karelian Isthmus, a naval base at Hanko (Hangö) peninsula and some islands in the Gulf of Finland. Finland rejected the demands and on November 30, the Soviet Union invaded Finland. Despite outnumbering Finnish troops by over 2.5:1, the war proved embarrassingly difficult for the Red Army, which was ill-equipped for the winter weather and lacking competent commanders since the purge of the Soviet high command. The Finns resisted fiercely, and received considerable support from the Axis.

JECY1 ~1
Polish prisoners of war captured by the Red Army
{C}In May 1940, the Phoney War ended. Against the will of his advisors, Stalin ordered an attack on the Ottoman Empire through the Caucasus. The war in Turkey ended with an overwhelming Soviet victory. The Soviets had occupied and annexed the Baltic states in fall 1940, and turned to planning the invasion of Germany in the coming Vistula–Oder Offensive, June 1941. The Soviet Union invaded Germany on June 22, 1941. Stalin hoped that rapid success in Germany would bring Italy to the negotiating table.

The Vistula–Oder Offensive was supposed to begin earlier, however, ventures in the Balkans caused Stalin concern. In February 1941, the Soviet troops were sent to southwest to aid the Serbs and hold the Italian forces from Italian-held Albania. In April, the Soviets launched the Jassy–Kishinev Offensive to aid friendly forces and gain control in the Balkans. This was followed by the Battle of Budapest, again to bail out the Serbs. Because of the diversions in the Balkans, the Soviets were not able to launch their offensive into Germany until late in June. Moreover, men and material were diverted to secure and consolidate Soviet gains before Stalin focused its attention on the West.

PONCA ~1
Warsaw after a Red Air Force bombing raid.
{C}Nevertheless, Offensive began with great success. Only Stalin worried that the Red Army was not advancing into Germany fast enough. By December 1941, the Soviets were at the gates of Berlin; to the south, troops had reached Vienna and surrounded the city. Meanwhile, Germany and its allies controlled almost all of Western Europe, with the exception of neutral Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.

On December 11, 1941 four days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Germany declared war on the United States. Not only was this a chance for the USSR to strengthen its ties with the United States, but after months of anti-German hysteria in the American media and Lend-Lease aid to Britain, the leaking of Rainbow Five and the foreboding content of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor speech made it clear to the world that the US could not be kept neutral. Moreover, Germany's policy of appeasement, designed to keep the US out of the war, was a burden to Germany's war effort. Germany had refrained from attacking American convoys, even if they were bound for the United Kingdom or the Soviet Union. By contrast, after Germany declared war on the US, the German navy began unrestricted submarine warfare, using U-boats to attack ships without warning. Stalin had hoped the US would sign a formal alliance with the Soviet Union to create a united front for their eventual attack on Japan, but the US refused.

The goal of the Soviet Union's navy, the Red Fleet, was to cut off Germany's supply line. This was not accomplished however as the Soviet Navy was engaged by Kaiserliche Marine shortly after the Soviets invaded Belarus. Many of the vessels on the slips in Leningrad and Nikolayev were destroyed (mainly by aircraft and mines), but the Red Fleet also received captured Romanian destroyers and lend-lease small craft from the United States.

Turning point Edit

Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R74190, Russland, Kesselschlacht Stalingrad
Soldiers fighting in Slovakia
In early 1942, the German Army counter-attacked, and, by winter’s end, the Red Army was no longer immediately outside Berlin. Yet the Soviets and their allies held a strong line, and, in the fall, launched a major attack against the weaker sectors of the German lines in Silesia. For securing the flanks of this offensive, a line along the Moravian border to Slovakia had to be held, which led to the Battle of Žilina (July 17, 1942 – February 2, 1943), wherein the USSR and its allies were defeated. After launching a successful invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1943, the German Army progressed east, to Russia; henceforth, the Red Army and its allies remained on the defensive.

Beginning in 1942, Axis bombing of the USSR increased, severely damaging many cities, killing thousands of civilians, and causing hardship for the survivors. Contemporary estimates of Soviet military dead is 8,800,000 to 10,700,000. For its attack on Leningrad, the 4th Panzer Army was reinforced by tanks from Army Group Centre. On August 8, the Panzers broke through the Soviet defenses; the German 16th Army attacked to the northeast, the 18th Army and the Estonian guerrilla Forest Brothers cleared the country and advanced to Lake Peipus. By the end of August, the 4th Panzer Army had penetrated to within 30 mi (48 km) of Leningrad. The Finns had pushed southeast on both sides of Lake Ladoga, reaching the Finnish-Soviet frontier

At this stage, Hitler ordered the final destruction of Leningrad with no prisoners taken, and on September 9, Army Group North began the final push which within ten days brought it within 7 mi (11 km) of the city. However, the advance over the last 10 km (6.2 mi) proved very slow and casualties mounted. Hitler lost patience and ordered that Leningrad should not be stormed but starved into submission. Deprived of its Panzer forces, Army Group Center had remained static and was subjected to numerous Russian counter-attacks in which the Germans suffered only two tactical defeats since their invasion began. These attacks drew Hitler's attention back to Army Group Center and its drive on Moscow. The Germans ordered the 3rd and 4th Panzer Armies to break off their siege of Leningrad and support Army Group Center on its attack on Moscow. While the Germans were focusing on Moscow the Finnish Army would take control of Leningrad with German support.

CollapseEdit

Joseph stalin
the USSR was effectively dissolved upon the capture of Joseph Stalin in May 1945

During the Battle of Moscow (April 16, 1945 – May 2, 1945), Stalin and members of government lived in the fortified Kremlin, while outside its walls the Red Army fought for control of the ruined capital city of the USSR. In the Kremlin, Stalin became psychologically detached and dangerously unstable. At the situation conference of April 22, Stalin suffered a total nervous collapse when he was informed that the instructions he had issued the previous day for Lieutenant General Markian Popov's Reserve Front to move to the rescue of Moscow had not materialised. Stalin openly declared for the first time the war was lost and blamed the generals. Stalin announced he would stay in Moscow until the end and then shoot himself. On April 23, as Moscow became more isolated, Vyacheslav Molotov sent Stalin an ultimatum, threatening to assume command of the USSR if Stalin would not resign—which he and most members of the Communist Party interpreted Stalin as being mentally incapacitated. Upon receiving the ultimatum, Stalin ordered Molotov's immediate arrest. By April 25 the German encirclement of Moscow was complete and secure radio communications with defending units had been lost; the command staff in the Kremlin were depending on telephone lines for passing orders and on public radio for news and information. Despite the losses of armies and lands, Stalin neither relinquished power, nor surrendered. On April 28, a news report stated that Minister of Internal Affairs Lavrentiy Beria had offered surrender to the Axis. Stalin had him shot upon hearing this.

On April 30, 1945 after intense street-to-street combat in Moscow, when German troops breached the walls of the Kremlin, Stalin attempted to commit suicide in his Kremlin appartment. However he was found alive and captured. Two days later, on May 2, 1945 Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov unconditionally surrendered Moscow to German General Field Marshal Fedor von Bock. From May 4–8, 1945 most of the remaining Soviet armed forces throughout the USSR surrendered unconditionally. This was the end of World War II in Europe.

Aftermath and Partition Edit

War crimes Edit

Stalint
The prosecution’s principal defendant was Joseph Stalin (court photo), the most important official from the Soviet Union.

The Axis powers organized trials of communist leaders for war crime and crimes against humanity. At the Petrograd Trials, the first trial prosecuted key Soviet officials—including Joseph Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Nikolai Voznesensky, Georgy Malenkov, Georgy Zhukov, and Mikhail Kalinin. Most defendants were found guilty, 12 were sentenced to execution. The victorious Axis outlawed the Communist Party, its subsidiary organizations, and most of its symbols and emblems especially the hammer and sickle throughout Russia and the other former Soviet states; this prohibition was lifted in Russia in 1993.

Occupation Edit

Following the Soviet capitulation in May 1945 German and Japanese armies progressed towards each other to occupy areas with substantial populations in July 1945, the two powers "assume[d] supreme authority in Russia".

The Axis' Congress of Warsaw in August 1945 created arrangements for the Axis occupation and decommunization of the country, as well as war reparations involving the removal of war-related factories. All Soviet annexations in Europe after 1937, and Russia's eastern border was shifted westwards to the 70th meridian. Japan took temporary control of territory east of the Urals which were partitioned into independent nations within the Japanese sphere of influence; Kazakhstan and parts of Kyrgyzstan were united with Xinjiang to create East Turkestan. The Soviet Far East as well as Siberia were created into independent republics. Territory west of the 70th meridian were left mostly intact. Karelia and Murmansk Oblast were ceded to Finland, as well as the separation of Turkmenistan from Soviet Central Asia.

PoliticsEdit

There were three power hierarchies in the Soviet Union: the legislative branch represented by the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, the government represented by the Council of Ministers, and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), the only legal party and the ultimate policymaker in the country.

Communist PartyEdit

Comintern2
Trotsky inspects the Red Army at a parade honoring the Third Congress of the Comintern, 1921

At the top of the Communist Party was the Central Committee, elected at Party Congresses and Conferences. The Central Committee in turn voted for a Politburo, Secretariat and the General Secretary, the highest office in the USSR. Depending on the degree of power consolidation, it was either the Politburo as a collective body or the General Secretary, who always was one of the Politburo members, that effectively led the party and the country (except for the period of the highly personalized authority of Stalin, exercised directly through his position in the Council of Ministers rather than the Politburo after 1941). They were not controlled by the general party membership, as the key principle of the party organization was democratic centralism, demanding strict subordination to higher bodies, and elections went uncontested, endorsing the candidates proposed from above.

The Communist Party maintained its dominance over the state largely through its control over the system of appointments. All senior government officials and most deputies of the Supreme Soviet were members of the AUCP. One of the party heads himself, Stalin in 1941–1945 was the Premier. Upon the creation of the Russian Republic, a party leader was prohibited from this kind of double membership. The institutions at lower levels were overseen and at times supplanted by primary party organizations.

In practice, however, the degree of control the party was able to exercise over the state bureaucracy was far from total, with the bureaucracy pursuing different interests that were at times in conflict with the party. Nor was the party itself monolithic from top to bottom, although factions were officially banned.

GovernmentEdit

Supreme Soviet 1982
The Grand Kremlin Palace, seat of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR

The Supreme Soviet (successor of the Congress of Soviets and Central Executive Committee) was nominally the highest state body for most of the Soviet history, at first acting as a rubber stamp institution, approving and implementing all decisions made by the party. It gained additional powers when it came to the approval of the Five-Year Plans and the Soviet state budget. The Supreme Soviet elected a Presidium to wield its power between plenary sessions, ordinarily held twice a year, and appointed the Supreme Court, the Procurator General and the Council of People's Commissars, headed by the Chairman (Premier) and managing an enormous bureaucracy responsible for the administration of the economy and society. State and party structures of the constituent republics largely emulated the structure of the central institutions, although the Russian SFSR, unlike the other constituent republics, had no republican branch of the CPSU, being ruled directly by the union-wide party. Local authorities were organized likewise into party committees, local Soviets and executive committees. While the state system was nominally federal, the party was unitary.

The state security police (the NKVD and its predecessor agencies) played an important role in Soviet politics. It was instrumental in the Stalinist terror. The NKVD engaged in the suppression of political dissent and maintained an extensive network of informers, reasserting itself as a political actor to some extent independent of the party-state structure.

Judicial systemEdit

The judiciary was not independent of the other branches of government. The Supreme Court supervised the lower courts and applied the law as established by the Constitution or as interpreted by the Supreme Soviet. The Constitutional Oversight Committee reviewed the constitutionality of laws and acts. The Soviet Union used the inquisitorial system of Roman law, where the judge, procurator, and defense attorney collaborate to establish the truth.

Political divisionsEdit

Constitutionally, the Soviet Union was a union of Soviet Socialist Republics (SSRs) and the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), although the rule of the highly centralized Communist Party made the union merely nominal. The Treaty on the Creation of the USSR was signed in December 1922 by the autonomous republics of the RSFSR In 1924, during the national delimitation in Central Asia, the Uzbek and Turkmen SSR were formed from parts of the RSFSR's Turkestan ASSR and two Soviet dependencies, the Khorezm and Bukharan SSR. In 1929, the Tajik SSR was split off from the Uzbek SSR. In 1935 the Caucasian states namely Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, were incorporated into the union, while the Kazakh and Kirghiz SSR were split off from the RSFSR. After their conquest the Soviets created the Byelorussian SSR and the Ukrainian SSR in 1939. In August 1940, the Soviet Union formed the Moldavian SSR from parts of Bessarabia annexed from Romania. It also annexed the Baltic states as the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian SSR's. The Karelo-Finnish SSR was split off from the RSFSR in March 1940.


# Republic Map of the Union Republics between 1940–1945
1 Flag of Russian SFSR Russian SFSR CV Soviet Union map
2 Flag of Ukrainian SSR Ukrainian SSR
3 Flag of Byelorussian SSR Belorussian SSR
4 Flag of Uzbek SSR Uzbek SSR
5 Flag of Kazakh SSR Kazakh SSR
6 Flag of Georgian SSR Georgian SSR
7 Flag of Azerbaijan SSR Azerbaijan SSR
8 Flag of Lithuanian SSR Lithuanian SSR
9 Flag of Moldavian SSR Moldavian SSR
10 Flag of Latvian SSR Latvian SSR
11 Flag of Kyrgyz SSR Kirghiz SSR
12 Flag of Tajik SSR Tajik SSR
13 Flag of Armenian SSR Armenian SSR
14 Flag of Turkmen SSR Turkmen SSR
15 Flag of Estonian SSR Estonian SSR
16 Flag of the Karelo-Finnish SSR Karelo-Finnish SSR
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