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The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (more commonly known as the Soviet Union or the USSR) was a multi-national state that existed on Earth during the 20th century, from 1922 until 1991. The Soviet Union stretched across the continents of Europe and Asia, and was comprised of a number of constituent nations, most notably Russia; ethnic Russians were the driving force behind the creation of the Soviet Union, and dominated it throughout much of its history. The Soviet Union was an authoritarian state ruled by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, its intelligence and secret police service was known as the KGB. (DS9 episode: "Our Man Bashir")
The Soviet Union was formed in 1922 after a Bolshevik revolution in 1917 abolished the former Russian Empire and a subsequent civil war. The first leader of the Soviet Union was Vladimir Lenin. After Lenin's death in 1924, Joseph Stalin eventually became the next leader of the U.S.S.R. Under Stalin's leadership, the Soviet Union became a major political and economical power. Stalin's government initially signed a nonaggression pact with Nazi Germany, but later the Soviet Union fought on the side of the Allies during World War II.
- In an alternate timeline created as part of the Temporal Cold War, Lenin was assassinated in 1916, preventing the October Revolution and the rise of the Soviet Union. The resulting Russian state was unable to battle Nazi Germany upon its rise, leading to German control of much of Europe and a quarter of North America by the 1950s. This timeline was later undone through the actions of the crew of Enterprise NX-01. (ENT episode: "Storm Front")
After the Second World War, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union began to increase. This led to a period later known as the Cold War on Earth. This was an ongoing rivalry for global dominance between the two powers which both states attempted to prevent from becoming an all-out war; as both powers possessed powerful nuclear weapons, such a conflict would have been devastating for the entire planet. When the two sides decided to put nuclear weapons platforms into Earth orbit, the Aegis sent agents to stop the launching of such platforms. (TOS episode: "Assignment: Earth")
In the late 1980s, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev began a program called perestroika to reform the ailing Soviet Union, which by then had been driven to social and economic hardship due to extensive military spending and the inefficiencies of central economic planning. Perestroika was a Russian word meaning "restructuring," and was coupled with the term glasnost, which could mean either "openness" or "publicity" by the Russian government. This program precipitated a liberalization of the Soviet Union - which was to include the elimination of corruption, simplification of bureaucracy, and production improvements. By 1991, hardliners in the Soviet government attempted to roll back the reforms by staging an attempted coup, which failed within a few days when the leaders of the coup were unable to consolidate power. After the coup was defeated, many of the Soviet Union's constituent members began to assert their independence, and the Soviet Union was dissolved on 25 December 1991. (TOS novel: Probe)
After its dissolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, which had replaced the Russian Empire and joined the Soviet Union, was transformed into the Russian Federation, assuming the role of successor state to the Soviet Union.
- Union of Soviet Socialist Republics article at Memory Alpha, the wiki for canon Star Trek.
- Union of Soviet Socialist Republics article at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.