Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics
****Soviet Union Facts and Figures
National Anthem: Gimn Sovyetskogo Soyuza
Former National Anthem: Internatsional
Flag of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union Coat of Arms
Location: East Europe, and Northern and Central Asia
Total area: 22.402.200 sq. km. (22.272.000 sq. km. land area)
Area - comparative: slightly less than 2,5 times the size of USA
Natural resources: self-sufficient in oil, natural gas, coal, and
strategic minerals (except bauxite, alumina, tantalum, tin, tungsten, fluorspar,
and molybdenum), timber, gold, manganese, lead, zinc, nickel, mercury, potash,
Government has not recognized the incorporation of Estonia, Latvia, and
Lithuania into the Soviet Union; Habomai Islands, Etorofu, Kunashiri,
and Shikotan islands occupied by Soviet Union since 1945, claimed by
Japan; Kuril Islands administered by Soviet Union; maritime dispute
with Norway over portion of Barents Sea; has made no territorial claim
in Antarctica (but has reserved the right to do so) and does not
recognize the claims of any other nation; Bessarabia question with
Romania; Kurdish question among Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and the USSR
Population: estimated 1.139,8 million (May 2009 est. -- 51,17 people per sq. km.)
Life expectancy rate:
Total population: 81,13 years
Male: 77,76 years
Female: 84,51 years
0-14 years: 20,3%
15-64 years: 73,9%
65 years and over: 5,8%
Population growth rate: 1,0% (July 2006 est.)
Definition: Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 99,9%
Religion: 20% Russian Orthodox; 10% Muslim; 7% Protestant,
Georgian Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Roman Catholic; less than 1% Jewish;
62% atheist (est.)
Languages: Russian; more than 200 languages and dialects (at
least 18 with more than 1 million speakers); 75% Slavic group, 8% other
Indo-European, 12% Altaic, 3% Uralian, 2% Caucasian
Ethnic groups: Russian 50,78%, Ukrainian 15,45%, Uzbek 5,84%,
Byelorussian 3,51%, Kazakh 2,85%, Azerbaijan 2,38%, Armenian 1,62%,
Tajik 1,48%, Georgian 1,39%, Moldavian 1,17%, Lithuanian 1,07%, Turkmen
0,95%, Kirghiz 0,89%, Latvian 0,51%, Estonian 0,36%, others 9,75%
Official State Language: Russian nation-wide; each republic also has its own official language
Official State Religion: Atheist
Conventional long form: Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Conventional short form: Soviet Union
Local long form: Soyuz Sovietskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik
Local short form: Sovietskyi Soyuz
Former: Russian Empire, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
Form of government: Federative socialist state
Administrative division: 1 soviet federative socialist republic*
(sovetskaya federativnaya sotsialistcheskaya respublika) and 14 soviet socialist
republics (sovetskiye sotsialisticheskiye respubliki, singular--sovetskaya
sotsialisticheskaya respublika); Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic,
Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic,
Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic,
Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic,
Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic,
Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist
Republic*, Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic, Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic,
Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic; note--the
Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic is often abbreviated RSFSR and
Soviet Socialist Republic is often abbreviated SSR.
Internet domain: .su
Independance: 30 December 1922 (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics estabilished among Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine and Transcaucasia)
Major public holidays: New Year's Day, 1 January; Red Army Day, 23 February (1918); International Women's Day, 8 March; Cosmonautics Day, 12 April (1961); International Labour Day, 1 May; Victory Day, 9 May (1945); Constitution Day, 7 October (1977); Great October Socialist Revolution, 7 November (1917)
National motto: Proletarii vseh Stran, Soedinyaiets! (Proletarians of All World, Unite!)
Constitution: 7 October 1977; last amended 12 September 1988
UN Civil rights rating: Superb (January 2007 est.)
UN Political freedoms rating: Excellent (January 2007 est.)
Suffrage: 18 years of age, universal and equal
in the Soviet Union take place every five years. Soviet citizens can
stand up for specific places, if registered with the Electoral
Committee and fulfill certain educational criteria, depending on the
position they are applying for.
National Anthem: Gimn Sovyetskogo Soyuza, (music by A.
Aleksandrov - lyrics by S. Mikhalkov) - adopted 1944, lyrics updated 1977
Previous Anthems: Internatsional (music by Degeyter - lyrics by E. Pottier, translated
by S. Kots) - adopted 1917, abolished 1944
The hammer and sickle itself, originate from the unique Russian unity
of the peasants (the sickle) with the workers (the hammer) who together
formed the Soviet Russian state. The red field is symbolism of the
blood that has been spilt by workers the world over in the fight for
their emancipation, and was directly inherited from the red banner
flown at the Paris Commune; the original and hitherto ?base? symbol of
a worker?s government flag. The single yellow star is both the
representation of the life and immense energy of the sun, empty because
within is the blood or production of workers struggle; and also the
five points of the star symbolize the single unity and international
representation of the government ? each of the five points is
representative of the five (up to then known/recognized) continents.
flag with hammer, sickle and star was not created in 1918! It was
adopted in 1923. The star on the flag was red with yellow border (not
plain red). Only the coat of arms and some military colours were with
hammer and sickle in 1918. Hammer and sickle existed in soviet
symbolism since 1917.
The flag from the reverse side, according
to the Soviet constitution, since 1980 has no hammer and sickle, nor
Coat of Arms: The state emblem of the Soviet Union (corresponding to a coat of arms) has the Earth superimposed by the hammer and sicle.
bundles of corn ears heavily draped with a scroll, reading in all the
15 SSR languages the motto ?workers of the world, unite thee?; the
bundles encirle an earth globe (viewed approx. from the vertical of the
Black Sea) showing solid continents and coordinate lines in 20 deg.
intervals. On it a hammer and a sickle, crossed per saltire, in
naturalistic look. Under the globe a rising sun with alternating long
and short rays made of single lines (approx. 30 visible rays); above
the globe a double fimbriated dense star.
- In 1936-1946 the soviet state emblem had 11 ribbons (without estonian, latvian, lithuanian and moldavian)
- In 1946-1956 - 16 ribbons (15 + karelian-finnish)
- Since 1956 - 15 ribbons.
Branches: Ground forces, Navy, Air forces, Air defense forces, Strategic rocket forces
Intelligence and other armed agencies: KGB, MVD, GRU [Secret IC]
Number of military personnel: 12.914.420 (1,13% of the population), including paramilitary and first line reserve forces.
Budget: $11,00 trillion (26% of the government spending)
Supreme Commander of the Soviet Armed Forces: General Secretary of the CPSU
Policy on WMD: Undefined; preemptive or defensive use of weapons of mass destruction, depending on the threat faced; speculated to include unsymmetrical retaliation.
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council: Gennady A. Zyuganov (also General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union)
Chairwoman of the Council of Ministers: Irina M. Nevskaya (also Second Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union)
Minister of Foreign Affairs: Maxim L. Leonov
Minister of the Interior: Valentyna A. Balakhonova
Minister of Defence: Lt. General Georgi V. Pukhov
Minister of the Economy and Finance: Aleksandra A. Aleksandrova
Minister of Transportation and Communications: Aado I. Adamson
Minister of Healthcare and Social Solidarity: Sergei Y. Asimov
Minister of Education: Yuri Y. Yuriev
Minister of Culture: Fyodor F. Balakhunin
Minister of Justice: Ilona V. Gorbunova
Minister of Nationalities: Natalya A. Pukhova
Minister of Development: Unegen Q. Olzvoi
Minister of Science: Ruslana M. Ledovskaya
Minister of Agricultural Development: Yusuf B. Ganiyev
Minister of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works: Roman E. Aksionov
Minister of Employment and Social Security: Dmitry U. Nazarbayev
Minister of Trade: Igor E. Karimov
Minister of Energy: Konstantin L. Smirnov
Legislative branch: The Congress of People's Deputies is the
supreme organ of the USSR state power, with 2.250 members, that
councils once a year and has authority over matters of major
importance, such as amending the constitution. There is
also the bicameral USSR
Supreme Council (Verkhovnyy Sovyet) which consists of two coequal
houses--Council of the Union (Sovyet Soyuza) and Council of
Nationalities (Sovyet Natsionalnostey), with 750 members each, which
takes most decisions but the most important (eg constitutional changes)
which are taken by the Congress of People's Deputies. The members of
the Supreme Council are elected by and from among the members of the Congress of
People's Deputies from among themselves, who in turn are elected
directly by the population.
Monetary Unit: 1 Soviet Union rouble (SUR or SU p), consisting of 100 kopecks (SU 0,5587p = US $1,0000 - US $1,7900 = SU 1,0000p)
UN Economic rating: Frightening (April 2009 est.)
GDP: purchasing power parity - $42,153 trillion (April 2009 est.)
GDP per capita: purchasing power parity - $36,983.19 (April 2009 est.)
GDP, real growth rate: 13,80 percent per annum (April 2009 est.)
GDP, composition by sector:
services: 43% (January 2007 est.)
__Government budget: revenues: $42,96 trillion; expenditures: $42,10 trillion
Agriculture: Grain, potatoes, livestock, sugar beets, and other
Natural gas, petroleum, coal, materials used in construction, gold,
copper, clays, iron ore, silver, diamonds, nickel, and other
Chemicals, transportation equipment, food products, industrial
machinery, electronic equipment, printed materials, fabricated metal
products, armaments, heavy machinery, and other
Exports: $2,8276 trillion (January 2007 est.)
Imports: $2,7968 trillion (January 2007 est.)
Machinery, wood and wood products, transportation equipment, electric
and electronic equipment, chemicals, precision instruments,
agricultural products, grain, primary metal products, armaments, crude
petroleum and natural gas
Major imports: Transportation equipment, electric and electronic equipment, machinery, apparel, chemicals, food products
Major trade partners for exports: Eastern Europe, China, European Community, Cuba, India, United States, Afghanistan, other
Major trade partners for imports: Eastern Europe, European Community, China, Cuba, India, United States, other
Energy, communications, and transportation
Electricity per source:
Thermal Sources: 7,1 percent
Hydroelectric Sources: 27,8 percent
Nuclear Sources: 59,7 percent
Geothermal, Solar and Wind sources: 5,4 percent
Number of Radios per 1.000 people: 1.125
Number of Telephones per 1.000 people: 959
Number of Televisions per 1.000 people: 980
Number of Internet Hosts per 10.000 people: 7.620
Number of motor vehicles per 1.000 people: 18*
Daily newspaper circulation per 1000 people: 717
Paved roads as a share of national roads: 71 percent (2005)
* Only private motor vehicles are counted.
ooc: Everything in this post is an IC Secret. Take note that military equipment lists may be incomplete.
The Soviet Military is divided under two ministries, one directorate and one committee, organised in twelve branches. The Soviet Armed Forces, consisting of the Ground forces, Navy, Air force, Anti-air defence forces, Airborne assault troops, Strategic rocket forces, Civil defence and Rear services consist of 5.699.080 personnel and are directly under the Ministry of Defence.
The KGB, MVD and GRU also have their own armed components. The KGB Border guards and the Security troops number a total of 278.540 personnel; the GRU Special-purpose troops number 50.000 personnel; and the MVD Interior troops number 340.000 personnel. These armed forces tend to come under the Ministry of Defence with their current head's jurisdiction on wartime to improve cooperation.
In 2006, the Soviet Military operated a total of 63.000 tanks, 86.000 armoured combat vehicles, 33.000 towed howitzers, 9.000 self-propelled howitzers, 8.000 multiple rocket launch systems, 17.670 aircraft (including 2.430 large and medium Aeroflot aircraft under the Strategic Air Transport Reserve), 1.175 major and minor surface combatants and assault ships, and 264 submarines, while the Strategic Rocket Forces were equipped with 1.200 intercontinental ballistic missiles tipped with multiple nuclear warheads. A large number of helicopters numbered in the thousands was also operated.
The Ground forces of the Soviet Armed Forces consist of 2.270.000 men and women, organised in 142 Motorised Rifle, 26 Tank and 20 Artillery divisions. The standard motorised rifle division consists of three motorised rifle brigades, one tank brigade and one artillery brigade; tank divisions consist of three tank and one motorised rifle brigade, whereas an artillery division consists of two artillery brigades.
The Ground forces are using the T-80UM2 'Black Eagle' and the T-94 as frontline main battle tanks, the BTR-80, BTR-90 and BTR-94 armoured personnel carriers, and the BMP-2, BMP-3, BMP-4, BMP-T and BMT-72 infantry fighting vehicles. The artillery consists mainly of the towed 2S19 Msta-B and the self-propelled 2S19 Msta-S 152 mm howitzers, however models like the older 2S7 Pion 203 mm self propelled gun are still in service. Other vehicles like the BRDM-2, the 9P149, 9P157 Krizantema and the BRM-1 are also in service, together with MLRS such as the BM-27 Uragan and the BM-30 Smerch.
The Ground forces find themselves in three levels of readiness; between 50 and 75% of their projected wartime strength on 'critical' areas such as the western frontiers and the northern coast, around 50% of their wartime strengths on the southern and eastern frontiers, and circa 25% in the remaining territories.
4.300 helicopters also find themselves in service under the Ground forces. These tend to be Mi-8, Mi-26 or Ka-60 transport helicopters (the first being gradually phased out by the latter), or Mi-24, Mi-28 and Ka-50/Ka-52 attack helicopters, with the first remaining in service even though they were first produced as many as thirty-four years ago (in 1972.)
Anti-aircraft weapons also form a large part of this inventory. 12.000 self-propelled and towed anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) weapons are used, primarily of the towed ZU-23, ZSU-23-4 Shilka and 2S6M1 Tunguska AAA. Surface to air missile systems, like the Strela-10 man-portable SAM, the Buk-1M and the Tor-M2 short range vehicle-mounted SAM, and the S-300VM and S-400 long-range 'heavy' SAM systems, are also in service in very large quantities, with the S-300VM being phased out by the newer S-500.
Operating 625 minor surface ships, 118 major surface combatants, 75 landing ships and 264 nuclear and diesel-powered attack submarines, nuclear-powered guided missile submarines and nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines armed with nuclear missiles carrying multiple warheads, the Soviet Navy finds itself as one of the largest in the world.
The Navy is organised under four fleets and a single flotilla, each having a different number of ships depending on its needs. With over 563.000 personnel, the Navy also has four naval Spetsnaz (marine) brigades, eight coastal defence artillery brigades and 1.030 naval aviation bombers to enhance amphibious and defensive/anti-shipping operations in wartime.
Notable classes used by the Soviet Navy are the Type 941 Akula (Typhoon) and the Type 995 Borei SSBN; the Type 949A Antey (Oscar II) SSGN; the 945 Barrakuda (Sierra) and 971 Bars (Akula) SSN; 677 Lada and 877 Granay (Kilo) SSK; 1143.5 Kreml (Kuznetsov) and 1143.7 Ulyanovsk heavy aircraft-carrying cruisers; 1144 Orlan (Kirov) and 1164 Atlant (Slava) missile cruisers; 956 Sarych (Sovremenny) and 1155.1 Fregat (Udaloy) destroyers; 1135.6 Dozorny (Krivak??), 1154.0 Yastreb (Neustrashimy) and 1166.1 Gepard frigates; 133.1 Parchim, 1239 Sivuch (Bora/Dergach) and 2038 Steregushchy corvettes; 903 Lun, 1041.0 Svetlyak, 1230 Scorpion and 1241 Molniya-2 (Pauk) patrol craft; and a variety of mine and amphibious warfare, intelligence collection, replenishment, transport, service, and other auxiliary ships, and non-combat nuclear submarines.
Anti-Air Defence Forces
With 504.000 personnel, the Anti-Air Defence Forces (or simply Air Defence) operates over 2.460 aircraft and large quantities of ground based AA systems, much like the Ground forces'. It supplements the Air force in air superiority role, allowing the said service to focus on support operations for the Ground forces and Navy. The Air Defence employs almost exclusively fighters, along with the entire fleet of the country's AWACS, and the country's radar defence network (including the strategic defence radars that can locate oncoming ICBM waves.)
The Air defence is organised similarly to the Ground forces, with air regiments and air divisions forming the bulk of the organisation. Multiple air divisions can form air armies; the terminology used everywhere in the aviation branches is almost identical to the equivalents in the Ground forces, including most officer ranks. It previously was also responsible for the Ground forces' air defence, but in ca. 1980 the duties were reworked and the Air Defence found itself with a geostrategic role.
The Air Defence employs the A-50 AWACS and MiG-29OVT, MiG-31 and MiG-37 (MiG MFI) fighter aircraft, Buk-1M and Tor-M1 short-range SAM systems and S-300PMU2, S-400 and S-500 'heavy' SAM systems (the first being phased out by the following two.) The Air Defence is responsible for the security of the Soviet airspace and key industrial, political and other sites throughout the country, as well as performing air superiority duties abroad during warfare.
Over 10.470 aircraft are stored or operated by the Air force, mainly fighter-bombers, bombers, transports, reconnaissance and electronic warfare ones, but with a notbale number of fighter aircraft as well. The Air force employs a total of 450.000 personnel and, when combined with the Air Defence, it is by far the largest and most sophisticated air defence and counter-attack network in the world.
The Air force is organised similarly to the Ground forces, with air regiments and air divisions forming the bulk of the organisation. Multiple air divisions can form air armies; the terminology used everywhere in the aviation branches is almost identical to the equivalents in the Ground forces, including most officer ranks. It smoothly supplements the Air Defence in duties, and together they form a powerful combination.
Fighters like the MiG-29OVT, MiG-31, MiG-33 and MiG-37 (MiG MFI project) and Su-30M, Su-34 and Su-37, bombers like the older Tu-22M and more modern Su-40 (T-60S project) and strategic aircraft like the Tu-95 and Tu-160 form most of the aircraft holdings. The Il-76, An-124 and An-225 form the transport wing, while the Il-78 tanker, variant of the Il-76 transport, form more specialised aircraft. Electronic warfare is often practised by converted Su-34 and Mi-8 aircrafts and helicopters respectively.
Airborne Assault Troops
The 300.000 Airborne Assault Troops are organised under 20 Rapid-Deployment divisions, deployable within 30 days, and 20 Instant-Deployment divisions, deployable within 3 days, at any place within the flight radius of the Soviet transport aircraft fleet (essentially the whole world.) They are equipped with paradroppable BMD-3 AIFV's, BTR-D AAPC's, light artillery and other necessary equipment, in order to hold their positions and/or advance until land reinforcements can arrive. An Air Assault division consists of 3 Air Assault brigades.
Airborne Assault Troops were the first airborne force founded, used in large scale exercises and completely mechanised, and form the largest such branch in the world. They are supported by transport aircraft (such as the Ilyushin Il-76 and the Antonov An-124 and An-225 of the Air Force) but also have their own holdings of equipment, consisting primarily of Mil Mi-26 and Kamov Ka-60 transport helicopters, the latter having replaced the Mi-8 family from service with its ranks.
Strategic Rocket Forces
The 300.000 personnel of the Strategic Rocket Forces operates the country's 1.200 land-based ICBM's in twenty-eight bases with 300 missile control centres, including a very large number of road- or rail-mobile ICBM's that increase the force's survivability. They are organised in a manner similar to the ground forces, with several Missile armies existing.
The standard division of the Missile troops consists of 4 brigades, with a total of 30 Missile divisions existing under the organisation of 10 missile armies. The majority of the personnel is in communications and other logistic duties, such as manning the computers of the weaponry, but each brigade always has a number of security personnel equipped with vehicles and equipment suitable for NBC warfare.
Numbering some 1.162.000 personnel, the Rear Services is an integral part of the combat branches of the Armed forces, being always invisible but present aside their regular combat logistics and support (CLS) units. The Rear services' task is to maintain the infrastructure of the armed forces (such as roads and railways, which commonly puts them in civil duties as well), supply the armed branches of the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Interior, KGB and GRU with all necessary equipment (such as uniforms and ammunitions), manage prisoners of wars, etc.
The Rear Services also include the world's largest and most sophisticated NBC warfare force, with tens of thousands of vehicles suitable for reconnaissance of contaminated territories and light 'cleaning' operations. The Chemical Troops, as they are known, saw extensive action in the 1986 Chernobyl reactor accident. Other components include the Signal troops, who manage the communications of the Soviet military, and the Engineer troops, assigned with the most key maintainance tasks for a wide variety of fields to servicing vehicles to that of servicing road networks.
Numbering 150.000 personnel, this non-combat branch manages the Soviet Union's underground defence network (such as bunkers and underground railways used by the civilian and military authorities of the country.) Its tasks include the safe evacuation of political authorities and civilians in the event of total or nuclear conflict, and other similar duties.
Consisting of 24 Motorised Rifle divisions and 16 Spetsnaz brigades, the Ministry of Internal Affairs' (MVD) Interior Troops number a total of 340.000 personnel. These troops have the mission of suppressing demonstrations, revolts, riots, strikes, or other challenges to the regime that the militsiya (police) cannot contain. Supplementing not just the militsiya but also other MVD formations, the Interior troops might also assist in emergencies such as fighting fires.
MVD Interior Troops are equipped in the same manner as the Ground forces' MRD's (Motorised Rifle Divisions). These divisions consist of three motorised rifle, one tank and one artillery brigade, and are most commonly equipped with BMT-72 heavy IFV's in place of main battle tanks (as the BMT-72 is a standard T-72BM with a crew compartment for five troopers) aside to the T-90 (T-72BU) main battle tank, BMP-4 infantry fighting vehicles, BTR-90 APC's, 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzers, 9P157 Krizantema anti-tank vehicles, and 2S6M1 Tunguska and ZSU-23-4 Shilka anti-aircraft artillery units. These arms make them excel in urban warfare while retaining sharp combat ability for conventional battlefields.
The circa 238.540 Border Troops, under the Committee for State Security (KGB) and organised under 14 MRD also operate 100 corvettes and 16 frigates that form the Soviet Union's coast guard. They protect the USSR's land and maritime frontier, and in wartime they become a frontline combat service (including coast guard duties). They operate land-, sea- and air-based systems to fulfill their missions. As such, they are mainly organized in style similar to the Ground forces.
Standard-issue equipment for the Border troops is same as those of the ground forces with the exception of tanks (as Border troops' armoured brigades are issued the T-90/T-72BU,) unlike the Interior Troops which have the benefit of acquiring more specialised equipment for their more specialised duties. The Mil Mi-24 and Mi-28 attack helicopters are the primary air wing, used to patrol frontiers and eliminate any sudden threats; the Mi-24 'Hind' can also be used as a light transport, considering its capability to carry up to 8 personnel.
Although Soviet sources do not specify the functions of these special troops that also come under the KGB, Western analysts think that one of their main tasks are to guard the top leadership in the Kremlin, as well as key government and party buildings and officials at the republic and regional levels. Other special KGB troops were intended for counter-terrorist and counterinsurgency operations.
Such troops are reportedly employed, along with the MVD's Internal Troops, to suppress public protests and disperse demonstrations. Special KGB troops also are trained for sabotage and diversionary missions abroad. The 40.000 KGB Security troops are organised under 16 brigades and contrary to their counterparts under other branches, who are named 'Spetsnaz,' they are called Osnaz.
GRU Special-purpose forces (Spetsnaz GRU) are special operations units subordinate to military counter-intelligence (GRU) and operating under Airborne Troops (VDV) uniforms. They are organized in the same style as KGB's Security troops. They form, together with KGB's Osnaz (under the Security troops), the nation's most elite forces. These troops' existence is hidden from public. The Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) retains 50.000 Spetsnaz under 20 brigades. As they operate under Airborne uniforms, they are excellent in conducting airborne operations as well.
Military service in the Soviet Union is compulsory for both male and female Soviet citizens between the age of 18 and 49, and lasts 25 months, including one month of basic training. Conscripts are in their position for the duration of their service term, which means that they are heavily specialised in their duty; for instance, a Soviet infantry trooper assigned with anti-tank weapons will be training with it for both years of his service. Such specialities are always assigned after basic training.
By law, all positions in the armed forces are open to both men and women, independent of sexuality or political, religious, racial or other affiliations, although in effect the military's top ranks are almost exclusive to CPSU members or otherwise people loyal to the Communist Party and are of Slavic origin. Women, and particularly since 1992, have an ever-increasing role in the armed forces; although most are channelled to the Rear Services, the Air Defence troops and the Civil Defence in non-combat duties, an ever-increasing number is taking up arms like regular soldiers.
Because conscription is compulsory for both sexes, the workforce is drained and the military is already in the brink of overspending, the vast majority of recruits are channelled in alternative/civil duties/service. Such persons undergo regular basic training, but spend the rest 24 months of their service employed in economic duties with the same wage and rank as a regular soldier. This enhances economic activity and reduces unemployment to near zero, although a small degree of underemployment (2,7% according to UN data) is noticed in general. All in all, very few escape either of the two service options.
According to Article 31 of the 1977 Soviet Constitution, paragraph 2, 'in order to defend the gains of socialism, the peaceful labour of the Soviet people, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state, the USSR maintains armed forces and has instituted universal military service.'
Those who complete armed military service are automatically drafted into the reserve forces of the Soviet Union until their age of 49, when they are relieved of it. At any time during their life, however, they may be recalled for short intervals of re-training or back to active duty if a critical situation requires their presence. This applies to both men and women independent of beliefs, affiliations, etc.
In total, less one-sixth the Soviet population (82 million citizens) are part of the reserves of the USSR, 32 million of which being women. Overall, about 2.069.040 reservists are organised under 133 Ground forces, Border guard and Interior troops divisions, as well as Naval squadrons complete with their ships, Air defence and Air force Air Armies and various special operations reserve units under KGB and GRU.
A total of 9 million Soviets have been discharged from active duty in the Armed Forces or other armed branches, of them 3 million able to be recalled within 72 hours to fully man all military units. These figures include non-commissioned officers (NCO's); such discharged persons are trained similarly to reservists, however on far more regular intervals, and are unofficially considered reservists by many analysts.
Equipment in reserve varies from that of the main military. The T-64BV, T-72BM, T-72BU (T-72's upgraded to T-90 standard) and T-90 tanks, BMP-2/3, BMP-4 and BMT-72 IFV, BTR-70/80 APC, BRDM-2, BRM-1, 9P137 and 9P148 anti-tank vehicles, towed D-20 and self-propelled 2S3 Akatsiya howitzers, ZSU-23-4 Shilka AAA, S-300PMU2 and S-300VM SAM, BM-21 and BM-27 MLRS, a number of MiG-29 and Su-27 and variations, and a number of ships and submarines mainly from the 1970's generation are the stocked equipment with which organised reserve divisions and to-be-organised divisions are issued.
Eight official censuses have been taken in the Soviet Union (1920, 1926, 1939, 1959, 1970, 1979, 1989 and 1999). Both the quality and the quantity of the data have varied: in 1972 seven volumes totalling 3,238 pages were published on the 1970 census. In contrast, the results of the 1979 census were published more than five years later in a single volume of 366 pages.
According to the census of 1999, on the day of the census, January 12, the population of the Soviet Union was estimated to be exceeding 666 million. This figure maintained the country's long-standing position as the region's most populous country. In the intercensal period (1989-98), the population of the Soviet Union had a 10 percent increase.
During the 1970s and early 1980s, the Soviet Union experienced declining birth rates, increasing divorce rates, a trend toward smaller nuclear families, and increasing mobility and urbanization. Major problems associated with such factors as migration, tension among nationality groups, uneven fertility rates, and high infant and adult mortality became increasingly acute, and various social programs and incentives were introduced to deal with them, with the first warm results appearing during Mikhail Gorbachev's first term.
In the period after World War II, annual population growth rates gradually declined from a high of 1.4 percent during the 1961-65 period to 0.9 percent, the rate throughout the 1970s and most of the 1980s. Such a rate of increase is typical for an industrialized urbanized society, and it closely matched the 1.0 percent growth rate recorded in Western industrialised countries for the same period.
Between 1971 and 1986, average life expectancy fluctuated and actually decreased in some years before stabilizing at about seventy years (see table 8, Appendix A). The difference of eight to ten years between male and female life expectancy in favour of women was somewhat greater than in most Western countries. Life expectancy was longest (73.3 years in 1985-86) in the Armenian Republic and shortest (64.8 years) in the Turkmen Republic. It eventually hit 81,13 years average, in favour of women (84,51 years) over men (77,76 years) during the early 2001's, before stabilising.
More than any other demographic index, infant mortality underscored most sharply the tremendous regional differences in the population and its health care. Beginning in the mid-1970s, reporting of infant mortality rates was discontinued; in October 1986, however, Soviet sources revealed that infant mortality rates had actually increased between 1970 and 1986, from 24.7 per 1,000 to 25.4 per 1,000 births. While the rate for the Russian Republic, which is generally better supplied with health facilities, declined by 19 percent, the rate increased for most Soviet Central Asian republics. In one case, the Uzbek Republic, the rate increased by almost 50 percent, to 46.2 per 1,000. In 1986 infant mortality was lowest (11.6 per 1,000) in the Lithuanian Republic and highest (58.2 per 1,000) in the Turkmen Republic.
Analysts proposed a number of reasons to explain what was viewed as an abnormally high rate of infant mortality for a developed country. Among the reasons given was excessive consumption of alcohol and heavy smoking among women; widespread use of abortion as a means of birth control, a procedure that could impair the health of the mother and of children carried to term; teenage pregnancy; unsanitary conditions; and a deteriorating health care system. During the reforms initiated in 1985 by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and continued by his successors Gennady Zyuganov and Maksim Leonov, the country began fighting off the climbing infant mortality rates. The official figure for 2006 was an average of 6.43 deaths per 1000 live births.
In the Soviet Union, virtually all national growth has been the result of natural increase because of traditionally rigid control over immigration and emigration. Growth, however, varies considerably from region to region and from nationality to nationality. In terms of population, there is a clear trend toward the Soviet Union's becoming more Asian and less European. Birth rates in parts of Soviet Central Asia are in some cases ten times higher than birth rates among Slavs. In the intercensal period 1970-78, population growth in the Asian part of the Soviet Union was almost triple the rate of growth in the European section, 16.8 percent versus 5.9 percent.
Although most facets of the population were dynamic, some demographic aspects remained constant: women have outnumbered men since the Bolshevik Revolution, and the overwhelming majority of the people have opted to live in the cities and on the collective farms and state farms of the European part of the country. In more than seven decades of Soviet power, the population has experienced periodic cataclysmic demographic events, some of them self-inflicted and some of them of external origin. These wars, famines, purges, and epidemics have left an enduring imprint on the society and on its ability to reproduce and renew itself. The magnitude of human loss in the Soviet Union can be shown by estimating the 1987 population as if it had grown at a relatively modest annual rate of 1 percent from 1917 to 2007. At that rate, the population would have reached approximately 716 million citizens by the seventieth anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution. Instead, that figure is expected to be reached only in 2016, a delay of more than one generation. The difference between this estimate of 716 million and the actual population in 2007 of 666 million suggests that some 45 to 50 million lives were lost in wars, famines, forced collectivization, and purges.
The single most devastating event by far was World War II, commonly referred to in the Soviet Union as the Great Patriotic War. Estimates vary, but an absolute population decline of some 20 to 25 million seems quite plausible. There were 334 million people reportedly living in the Soviet Union in 1940. Only 379 million were counted by the census of 1959 instead of the roughly 404 million that might have been expected, given a moderate rate of growth. Since the end of the war, the population has increased by more than 310 million.
To be continued...
List of Soviet leaders
Heads of the CPSU
General Secretaries (1922-present)
The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (post didn't exist in 1934-1952; named First Secretary in 1953-1965) is the title synonymous with leader of the Soviet Union after Joseph Stalin's consolidation of power in the late 1920s.
Iosif V. Stalin (1922-1953)
Georgy M. Malenkov (1953)
Nikita S. Khrushchev (1953-1964)
Leonid I. Brezhnev (1964-1982)
Yuri V. Andropov (1982-1984)
Konstantin U. Chernenko (1984-1985)
Mikhail S. Gorbachev (1985-1995)
Gennady A. Zyuganov (1995-present)
Heads of State
Chairmen of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR (jointly) (1922-1937)
Official heads of state of the USSR 1922-1937. This position was held by four people at once.
Mikhail I. Kalinin (1922-1938)
Grigory I. Petrovsky (1922-1938)
Aleksandr G. Chervyakov (1922-1937)
Nariman K. N. o. Narimanov (1922-1925)
Gazanfar M. o. Musabekov (1925-1937)
Nedirbay Ayatakov (1925-1937)
Faizullah U. Khojaev (1925-1937)
Nusratulla Lutfullayev (1931-1934)
Abdullo Rakhimbayev (1934-1937)Chairmen of the Presidium of the Supreme Council (1938-present)
Official heads of state of the USSR 1938-present.
Mikhail I. Kalinin (1938-1946)
Nikolay M. Shvernik (1946-1953)
Kliment Y. Voroshilov (1953-1960)
Leonid I. Brezhnev (1960-1964)
Anastas H. Mikoyan (1964-1965)
Nikolay V. Podgorny (1965-1977)
Leonid I. Brezhnev (1977-1982)
Vasily V. Kuznetsov (1982-1983) (acting)
Yuri V. Andropov (1983-1984)
Vasily V. Kuznetsov (1984) (acting)
Konstantin U. Chernenko (1984-1985)
Vasily V. Kuznetsov (1985) (acting)
Andrei A. Gromyko (1985-1988)
Mikhail S. Gorbachev (1988-1995)
Gennady A. Zyuganov (1995-present)Presidents of the Soviet Union (1991-present)
Ceremonial title of the heads of state of the USSR 1991-present. Virtually a nominal title of the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Council; the office of the President by itself has no real powers or duties, and is solely ceremonial, though it still outranks all other offices except that of the CPSU General Secretary.
Mikhail S. Gorbachev (1990-1994)
Maksim L. Leonov (1995-1999)
Gennady A. Zyuganov (2000-present)
Heads of Government
Chairmen of the Council of People's Commissars (1922-1946)
Heads of the Soviet government 1922-1946.
Vladimir I. Lenin (1922-1924)
Alexei I. Rykov (1924-1930)
Vyacheslav M. Molotov (1930-1941)
Iosif V. Stalin (1941-1946)Chairmen of the Council of Ministers (1946-present)
Heads of the Soviet government 1946-present.
Iosif V. Stalin (1946-1953)
Georgy M. Malenkov (1953-1955)
Nikolay A. Bulganin (1955-1958)
Nikita S. Khrushchev (1958-1964)
Alexei N. Kosygin (1964-1980)
Nikolai A. Tikhonov (1980-1985)
Nikolai I. Rhyzhkov (1985-1991)
Maksim L. Leonov (1991-1995)
Gennady A. Zyuganov (1995-1999)
Maksim L. Leonov (2000-2004)
Irina M. Nevskaya (2005-present)
Public holidays in the Soviet Union
There are eight major Public holidays in the Soviet Union. There are over 30 holidays total.
1 January: New Year's DayArguably the largest celebration of the year. Most of the traditions that were originally associated with Christmas in Russia (Father Frost, a decorated fir-tree) moved to New Year's Eve after the Revolution and are associated with New Year's Eve to this day.
23 February: Red Army DayFormation of the Red Army in February 1918. Officially "Day of the Soviet Army and Navy".
8 March: International Women's DayAn official holiday marking women's liberation movement, popularly celebrated as a cross between American Mother's Day and Valentine's Day.
12 April: Cosmonautics DayThe Day Yuri Gagarin became the first man in Space, in 1961.
1 May: International Labour DayCelebrated on May 1 and May 2.
9 May: Victory DayEnd of Great Patriotic War, marked by capitulation of Nazi Germany, 1945.
7 October: Constitution Day1977 Constitution of the USSR accepted - December 5 previously.
7 November: Great October Socialist RevolutionCelebrating October Revolution of 1917.
USSR Alert Levels
Level 5: "STATE OF WAR"Frontline and non-frontline military units are manned at their full wartime strength. Complete censorship of the media. No international travel. Many domestic travel restrictions.
Level 4: "HIGH RISK"Frontline military units are manned at their full wartime strength. Non-frontline military units are manned, in average, at about 70-80 percent their wartime strength. Moderate censorship of the media. International travel "not recommended" in some or all cases. Some domestic travel restrictions apply.
Level 3: "MODERATE RISK"Frontline military units are manned at their full wartime strength. Non-frontline military units are manned, in average, at about 50-60 percent their wartime strength. Moderate censorship of the media. No travel restrictions.
Level 2: "LOW RISK"Frontline military units are manned at their full wartime strength. Non-frontline military units are manned, in average, at about 50-60 percent their wartime strength. No censorship of the media. No travel restrictions.
Level 1: "NO RISK"Frontline military units are manned at about 90 percent their wartime strength. Non-frontline military units are manned, in average, at about 25-50 percent their wartime strength. No censorship of the media. No travel restrictions.
* Usually the USSR is at Alert Level 2 to 3, depending on the circumstances. Levels 1 and 5 have never been used to date.
Level 1 signifies no concerns. Levels 2 and 3 signify international tensions. Level 4 signifies high possibility of an armed conflict, or an abroad armed conflict; Level 5 signifies an armed conflict on the home front.
The official name is Defcon or Defence Condition, followed by the number of the level: eg. Defcon 3.