Formation of the Soviet Union

Vladimir Lenin, left, and Joseph Stalin. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed following the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Here are some things you may not have known about the formation of the Soviet Union.

On December 30, 1922, the leaders of the Russian Republic, Transcaucasian Republic, Ukrainian Republic and Byelorussian Republic met in the first Congress of Soviets, two days after signing the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR. The main function of the treaty was to centralize the federal government in Moscow. Earlier in 1922, Vladimir Lenin suffered the first of a series of stokes, allowing Joseph Stalin, the General Secretary of the Communist Party to fill the power vacuum. Stalin needed a way to consolidate the power of the independent Bolshevik states into a single entity.

Lenin died in January 1924 and days later the second Congress of Soviets ratified a new constitution. Stalin began advocating for building communism in the countries the Bolsheviks already controlled rather than spreading the revolution as Leon Trotsky envisioned. Stalin focused on transforming the USSR into an industrial power, at the same time millions of people were being imprisoned in forced labor camps. Millions more died during the famine of 1932-33. High ranking government officials, military and academics were killed in Stalin’s “Great Purge” of the Communist Party.

In 1936, a new constitution was written which further centralized power in Moscow. It remained in effect until 1977.

Stalin continued to lead the Soviet Union through World War II. He died of a stroke in 1953.

Our question, at the height of the Soviet Union, how many republics made up the USSR?

Today is unofficially National Bacon Day and National Bicarbonate of Soda Day.

It’s the birthday of writer Rudyard Kipling, who was born in 1865; baseball hall of famer Sandy Koufax, who is 81; and golfer Tiger Woods, who is 41.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1975, the top song in the U.S. was “Saturday Night” by the Bay City Rollers.

The No. 1 movie was “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” while the novel “Curtain” by Agatha Christie topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Before the break we asked: At the height of the Soviet Union, how many republics made up the USSR?

The answer is 15.

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We’ll be back with a new episode on Tuesday. Have a great weekend and a happy new year.



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