The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (also known as the Soviet Union) was established on 30th December 1922 by the acceptance of the Declaration and Treaty on Formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The country was led by Vladimir Lenin who had led the Bolshevik party to victory in the October Revolution of 1917 and the Civil War that followed.
In 1924 Lenin died and was succeeded by Joseph Stalin. Stalin was dictator of the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1954. He was a ruthless dictator disposing of any who opposed his policies. It is estimated that 10 million people were transported to labour camps or executed.
Under his two five-year plans agricultural collectivism and industrialisation of the Soviet Union was developed.
During World War Two the Soviet Union fought with the allies and at the end of the war took control of those eastern European countries that had been occupied by the Nazis.
When Stalin died in 1953 he was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev. The Cold War turned the Soviet Union’s World War Two allies into enemies as the USSR retreated behind an ‘Iron Curtain’.
In 1985 Mikhail Gorbochev led the Soviet Union through internal reform and improved relations with the west. The Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991.