Definitions

soviet

soviet

[soh-vee-et, -it, soh-vee-et]
soviet, primary unit in the political organization of the former USSR. The term is the Russian word for council. The first soviets were revolutionary committees organized by Russian socialists in the Revolution of 1905 among striking factory workers. When the Russian Revolution broke out in 1917, workers', peasants', and soldiers' soviets sprang up all over Russia. They were led by a central executive committee, which included not only Bolsheviks, but also Mensheviks (see Bolshevism and Menshevism) and members of the Socialist Revolutionary party. At the first all-Russian soviet congress (June, 1917), the Socialist Revolutionaries had 285 deputies, the Mensheviks 248, the Bolsheviks only 105. Since the soviets represented the real power in Russia, when the Bolsheviks under Lenin captured the most important soviets in Petrograd, in Moscow, and in the armed forces, their success was assured. Imitations by leftist revolutionists in other countries met with less success, notably in Germany and Hungary, where, from 1918 to 1920, workers', peasants', and soldiers' councils were formed. A soviet republic in Bavaria was short-lived, and the regime of Béla Kun in Hungary was put down. Soviets in the Baltic republics met a similar fate. In Russia the soviets remained the basic political units, forming a hierarchy from rural councils to the Supreme Soviet, the highest legislative body in the USSR. Under the first Soviet constitution only the local soviets were elected by direct suffrage. The constitution of 1936 abolished the division of the electorate into occupational classes and instituted elections of all soviets by direct universal suffrage, but all levels were dominated by the Communist party's parallel hierarchy. In Russia the soviets survived the disintegration (1991) of the USSR, but in 1993 Yeltsin called for them to dissolve and reorganize as smaller dumas, or assemblies.

Council that constituted the primary unit of government in the Soviet Union. The first soviet was formed in St. Petersburg during the Russian Revolution of 1905 to coordinate revolutionary activities, but it was suppressed. Socialist leaders formed the second soviet shortly before the abdication of Nicholas II, with one deputy for every 1,000 workers and every military company. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks gradually gained a dominant position in soviets across the land. In 1918 a new constitution established soviets as the formal unit of local and regional government. The 1936 constitution created a directly elected bicameral Supreme Soviet, but the single candidate per district was chosen by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

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or Soviet Union

Former republic, eastern Europe and northern and central Asia. It consisted, in its final years, of 15 soviet socialist republics that gained independence at its dissolution: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia (now Belarus), Estonia, Georgia (now Republic of Georgia), Kazakhstan, Kirgiziya (now Kyrgyzstan), Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia (now Moldova), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. It also contained 20 autonomous soviet socialist republics: 16 within Russia, 2 within Georgia, 1 within Azerbaijan, and 1 within Uzbekistan. Capital: Moscow. Stretching from the Baltic and Black seas to the Pacific Ocean and encompassing some 8,650,000 sq mi (22,400,000 sq km), the Soviet Union constituted the largest country on Earth, having a maximum east-west extent of about 6,800 mi (10,900 km) and a maximum north-south extent of about 2,800 mi (4,500 km). It encompassed 11 time zones and had common boundaries with 6 European countries and 6 Asian countries. Its regions contained fertile lands, deserts, tundra, high mountains, some of the world's longest rivers, and large inland waters, including most of the Caspian Sea. The coastline on the Arctic Ocean extended 3,000 mi (4,800 km), while that on the Pacific was 1,000 mi (1,600 km) long. The U.S.S.R. was an agricultural, mining, and industrial power. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917, four socialist republics were established on the territory of the former Russian Empire: the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic, the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, and the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. These four constituent republics established the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922, to which other republics subsequently were added. A power struggle begun in 1924 with the death of communist leader Vladimir Lenin ended in 1927 when Joseph Stalin gained victory. Implementation of the first of the Five-Year Plans in 1928 centralized industry and collectivized agriculture. A purge in the late 1930s resulted in the imprisonment or execution of millions of persons considered dangerous to the state (see purge trials). After World War II, with their respective allies, the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. engaged in the Cold War. In the late 1940s the U.S.S.R. helped to establish communist regimes throughout most of eastern Europe. The U.S.S.R. exploded its first atomic bomb in 1949 and its first hydrogen bomb in 1953. Following Stalin's death, it experienced limited political and cultural liberalization under Nikita Khrushchev. It launched the first manned orbital spaceflight in 1961. Under Leonid Brezhnev liberalization was partially reversed, but in the mid-1980s Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev instituted the liberal policies called glasnost and perestroika. By the end of 1990 the communist government had toppled, and a program to create a market economy had been implemented. The U.S.S.R. was officially dissolved on Dec. 25, 1991.

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officially Republic of Moldova

Country, northeastern Balkan Peninsula, southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Ukraine and Romania. Area: 13,067 sq mi (33,843 sq km). Population (2007 est.): 3,794,000. Capital: Chissubcommaināu. Nearly half the population is Moldovan; there also are large numbers of Russians and Ukrainians, especially in Transdniestria (Transnistria; Pridnestrovie), the self-proclaimed republic located on the east bank of the Dniester River. Languages: Moldovan (official), Russian, Ukrainian. Religions: Christianity (mostly Eastern Orthodox, also other Christians), Islam. Currency: Moldovan leu. Most of Moldova is a fertile region lying between the Dniester and Prut rivers; the northern and central regions of the country are forested. The economy is based on agriculture; the major farm products are grapes, winter wheat, corn, and dairy products. Industry is centred on food processing. Moldova is a unitary parliamentary republic with one legislative body; its head of state is the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. The area of present-day Moldova consists of that part of the historic principality of Moldavia lying east of the Prut River (part of Romania before 1940) and, adjoining it on the south, the region of Bessarabia along the Black Sea coast. (See Moldavia for history prior to 1940.) The two regions were incorporated as the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1940. In 1991 Moldavia declared independence from the Soviet Union. It adopted the Moldovan spelling of Moldova, having earlier legitimized use of the Latin rather than the Cyrillic alphabet. Moldova was admitted to the UN in 1992. In 2000 it abandoned its semipresidential form of government to become a parliamentary republic.

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Soviet-era statues are statuary art as figured prominently in the art of the Soviet Union.

Soviet-era statues most frequently depicted significant state and party leaders, such as Stalin and V.I. Lenin. Communist symbology was of great importance. Such symbolism including portrayals of figures in motion, figuratively striding forward into the new Soviet age.

The sole statue of Stalin in Budapest, Hungary, was destroyed by citizens during the 1956 Hungarian Revolution; no replacement was ever made.

There is a Soviet Statue park (Grutas Park, promoted to tourists as Stalin World) in Lithuania, and a Statue Park (Szoborpark) in Budapest, Hungary.

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