Signed a non-aggression pact with Germany during the Second World War
They were soon invaded by Hitler in violation of their pact, but managed to repel his forces.
In retaliation, they met the Americans at Elbe, cutting Germany in half.
Russia suffered 29 million deaths, most of them civilian.
Stalin’s regime was suspicious of Allied influences, and refused to allow free elections in Eastern Europe.
His five-year-plans and immense industrialization skyrocketed Russian industry through the roof, at the price of civilian luxuries.
Established Molotov Plan in response to Marshall Plan, in order to exert greater control over the Eastern Bloc.
Blockaded West Germany to attempt to keep out Allied influence, but failed.
Successfully detonated a nuclear bomb in 1949, scaring the Western powers.
Formed the Warsaw Pact in response to NATO, solidifying its power.
Supported North Korean invasion of South Korea
Missiles in Cuba caused tensions with the USA known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was resolved by the USA removing their missiles from Turkey and Cuban invasion becoming taboo to the USA.
Khruschev took over from Stalin in 1953 and began the process of deStalinization, lightening up on individual expression as well.
He emphasized individual industry and agricultural, but these were largely failures.
Russia advanced to the point that it sent the first satellite into space.
Khruschev erected the Berlin Wall separating East from West.
Allowed his satellite states some freedom in conducting internal affairs.
Joined forces with the US to convince Britain and France to withdraw from Russia
Khruschev was succeeded by Brezhnev, a more relaxed leader.
Brezhnev benefited from the relaxation of detente, and lightened controls on Western methods of expression.
Brezhnev emphasized heavy industries, but was plagued by corruption and bad harvests.
The government at this point was based heavily on patronage, with selection for a government role being chosen through the favor of an existing Party member.
Brezhnev was succeeded by Andropov, but Andropov was old and unable to deal with the Soviet Union’s many problems. His most significant contribution was his support of a reformer named Mikhail Gorbachev.
Gorbachev demanded reforms in technology and standard of living. The cornerstone of these reforms was perestroika, or a reordering of the economic system to allow limited free enterprise and private property.
Another important component was glasnost, or openness, where people were encouraged to discuss the shortcomings of the Communist Party.
Gorbachev legalized other parties, as well as striking the article that guaranteed the Communist Party a leading role.
However, this relaxation allowed ethnic minorities to speak out, and in 1990 Lithuania declared itself an independent state, with other minorities looking to follow its example.
Gorbachev was also limited by having to cooperate with Yeltsin, the Russian president.
In 1991, a group of rightists arrested Gorbachev in an attempted coup; this led several republics within the Soviet Union to ask for independence, such as Ukraine and Belarus. This led Gorbachev to resign and hand over all power to Yeltsin.
Yeltsin attempted to introduce a free market, but encountered several problems, such a economic hardship and organized crime.
He created a bicameral parliament, and although a minority resisted Yeltsin took military action to silence them and won the parliamentary election.
Yeltsin was suddenly replaced by Putin, a former KGB member who vowed to end corruption and inexperience.
Putin centralized power into the hands of the central government, as well as attempting to return the state of Chechnya to Russian ownership.
Russian economy continued to rely on export of natural resources, making it unstable and unreliable, and large portions of the population still lived in poverty.
Censorship under Putin remained rampant, although many Russians