The Soviet Union was formed on July 6, 1923 by a group of Socialist Republics. The group was formed by the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the Trans-Caucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic.
The Soviet Union came about for many reasons. First, the rise of Communism gave way to the creation of the Soviet Union “There was no democracy, and the people had no way to express or channel their grievances.” (p.116) Most of Russia had fallen under czarist control, and the government tried to guide everyone into a uniformly functioning state. “It was decided to divide the vast realm into 15 Soviet Socialist Republics, each of which was delimited to correspond broadly to one of the major nationalities.” (p116) The leaders would call this Soviet system a federation. Russia was formally ruled by czars including Peter the Great and Czarina Catherine the Great. These leaders built up the Russian Empire under their own vision. This vision was one of greed and power gain. Czarina Catherine the Great ruled from 1760 to 1796, and Czar Peter the Great ruled from 1682 to 1725. Peter the Great founded the beautiful city known as St. Petersburg, Russia. “Peter the Great, an extraordinary Leader, was in several ways the founder of modern Russia.” (p.114)
Education was one of the greatest legacies of the Soviet Union, with a high concentration in mathematics and sciences. Many children were smarter than their czarist counterparts. The health of Soviet citizens was also much better than non-Soviet citizens. In a nutshell, the overall living conditions in Soviet Russia were much better than the region of Russia under czarist rule. The Soviets, at the time, were also leading the world in manufacturing and export of goods and commodities. They led the world in the production of crude oil and natural gas, thanks to the mineral-rich Ural Mountains The basic infrastructure of present-day Russia is all thanks to the Soviet Union. Eventually, the Soviet system was bound to fail. Agriculture as the weakest link in the Soviet system.
“Soviet agriculture never attained such productivity and those who obstructed the communists grand design suffered a dreadful fate. It has been estimated that between 30 and 60 million people lost their lives from imposed starvation, constant political purges, Siberian exile, and forced relocation. The Soviet grand experiment amounted to an incalculable human tragedy, but the secretive character of Soviet officialdom made it possible to hide everything from the world.” (p.118)
The Soviets never thought their experiment could or would fail and disintegrate at the seams.
Looking forward towards the future, Russia will see a moderately progressive movement. Russia is currently going in the right direction; Vladimir Putin’s administration has seen real gains in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). His economic policy is second to none, everything from agriculture production to household income has almost doubled. Coupled with their oil and natural gas reserves, they are a very productive nation. Protecting their country is their army, ranked second worldwide, which could also prove that they are a very powerful nation. Many citizens of Russia cannot perceive a Russia without Vladimir Putin.
“Even after the dismantling of the Soviet Empire, keeping a country together the size of Russia is a colossal challenge. Russia has not yet found a balance, not in its so-called managed democracy, not in dealing with free markets, not in a partnership with the West, not in accommodating minorities, not in forging better relations with the former Soviet republics that surround it.” (p.145)
One of Russia’s disadvantages is its sheer size, almost 55% is completely uninhabitable! “Once you are over the Ural Mountains, then you are in Siberia (sleeping land), which is comprised of tundra and taiga.” (prof lecture) This area is where criminals and other undesirables are sent when they are exiled. They will then die after a certain period of time, however long they are able to survive in the tundra will be the most gruesome, and bone-chilling last few hours or days of their lives.