William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. In a career lasting over sixty years, he served for twelve years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread over four terms beginning in 1868 and ending in 1894, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times. Gladstone was born in Liverpool to Scottish parents, he first entered the House of Commons in 1832, beginning his political career as a High Tory, a grouping which became the Conservative Party under Robert Peel in 1834. Gladstone served as a minister in both of Peel's governments, in 1846 joined the breakaway Peelite faction, which merged into the new Liberal Party in 1859, he was Chancellor under Lord Palmerston and Lord Russell. Gladstone's own political doctrine—which emphasised equality of opportunity, free trade, laissez-faire economic policies—came to be known as Gladstonian liberalism, his popularity amongst the working-class earned him the sobriquet "The People's William". In 1868, Gladstone became Prime Minister for the first time.
Many reforms were passed during his first ministry, including the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland and the introduction of secret voting. After electoral defeat in 1874, Gladstone resigned as leader of the Liberal Party, his Midlothian Campaign of 1879–80 was an early example of many modern political campaigning techniques. After the 1880 general election, Gladstone formed his second ministry, which saw the passage of the Third Reform Act as well as crises in Egypt and Ireland, where his government passed repressive measures but improved the legal rights of Irish tenant farmers. Back in office in early 1886, Gladstone proposed home rule for Ireland but was defeated in the House of Commons; the resulting split in the Liberal Party helped keep them out of office—with one short break—for twenty years. Gladstone formed his last government in 1892, at the age of 82; the Second Home Rule Bill passed through the Commons but was defeated in the House of Lords in 1893. Gladstone left office in March 1894, aged 84, as both the oldest person to serve as Prime Minister and the only Prime Minister to have served four terms.
He died three years later. Gladstone was known affectionately by his supporters as "The People's William" or the "G. O. M.". Historians call him one of Britain's greatest leaders. Born in 1809 in Liverpool, at 62 Rodney Street, William Ewart Gladstone was the fourth son of the merchant John Gladstone, his second wife, Anne MacKenzie Robertson. In 1835, the family name was changed from Gladstones to Gladstone by royal licence, his father was made a baronet, of Fasque and Balfour, in 1846. Although born and brought up in Liverpool, William Gladstone was of purely Scottish ancestry, his grandfather Thomas Gladstones was a prominent merchant from Leith, his maternal grandfather, Andrew Robertson, was Provost of Dingwall and a Sheriff-Substitute of Ross-shire. His biographer John Morley described him as "a highlander in the custody of a lowlander", an adversary as "an ardent Italian in the custody of a Scotsman". One of his earliest childhood memories was being made to stand on a table and say "Ladies and gentlemen" to the assembled audience at a gathering to promote the election of George Canning as MP for Liverpool in 1812.
In 1814, young "Willy" visited Scotland for the first time, as he and his brother John travelled with their father to Edinburgh and Dingwall to visit their relatives. Willy and his brother were both made freemen of the burgh of Dingwall. In 1815, Gladstone travelled to London and Cambridge for the first time with his parents. Whilst in London, he attended a service of thanksgiving with his family at St Paul's Cathedral following the Battle of Waterloo, where he saw the Prince Regent. William Gladstone was educated from 1816–1821 at a preparatory school at the vicarage of St. Thomas' Church at Seaforth, close to his family's residence, Seaforth House. In 1821, William followed in the footsteps of his elder brothers and attended Eton College before matriculating in 1828 at Christ Church, where he read Classics and Mathematics, although he had no great interest in the latter subject. In December 1831, he achieved the double first-class degree. Gladstone served as President of the Oxford Union, where he developed a reputation as an orator, which followed him into the House of Commons.
At university, Gladstone was a denounced Whig proposals for parliamentary reform. Following the success of his double first, William travelled with his brother John on a Grand Tour of Europe, visiting Belgium, France and Italy. Upon his return to England, William was elected to Parliament in 1832 as a Tory Member of Parliament for Newark through the influence of the local patron, the Duke of Newcastle. Although Gladstone entered Lincoln's Inn in 1833, with intentions of becoming a barrister, by 1839 he had requested that his name should be removed from the list because he no longer intended to be called to the Bar. In the House of Commons, Gladstone was a disciple of High Toryism and, as a scion of one of the largest slave-holding families in the world, he opposed both the abolition of slavery and factory legislation. Gladstone's father was a slave owner.
Rangers Football Club are a football club in Glasgow, who play in the Scottish Premiership, the first tier of the Scottish Professional Football League. Their home ground, Ibrox Stadium, is in the south-west of the city in the Govan district. Although not part of the official name, the club is referred to as Glasgow Rangers. Rangers have won more league titles and trebles than any other club in the world, winning the league title 54 times, the Scottish Cup 33 times and the Scottish League Cup 27 times, achieving the treble of all three in the same season seven times. Rangers won the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1972 after being losing finalists twice, in 1961 and 1967. A third runners-up finish in Europe came in the UEFA Cup in 2008. Rangers have a long-standing rivalry with Celtic, the two Glasgow clubs being collectively known as the Old Firm, considered one of the world's biggest football derbies. Founded in February 1872, Rangers were one of the 11 original members of the Scottish Football League and remained in the top division continuously until the liquidation of The Rangers Football Club PLC at the end of the 2011–12 season.
With a new corporate identity, the club gained admittance to the fourth tier of Scottish league football in time for the start of the following season. Rangers secured promotion back to the Premiership for the start of the 2016–17 season having won three promotions in four years. Rangers were formed by four founders – brothers Moses McNeil and Peter McNeil, Peter Campbell and William McBeath – who met at West End Park in February 1872. Rangers' first match, in May that year, was a goalless friendly draw with Callander on Glasgow Green. David Hill was a founder member. In 1873, the club held staff were elected. By 1876 Rangers had its first international player, with Moses McNeil representing Scotland in a match against Wales. In 1877 Rangers reached the Scottish Cup final. Rangers won the Glasgow Merchants' Charity Cup the following year against Vale of Leven 2–1, their first major cup; the first-ever Old Firm match took place in 1888, the year of Celtic's establishment. Rangers lost 5–2 in a friendly to a team composed of guest players from Hibernian.
The 1890–91 season saw the inception of the Scottish Football League, Rangers, by playing at the first Ibrox Stadium, were one of ten original members. The club's first-ever league match, on 16 August 1890, resulted in a 5–2 victory over Heart of Midlothian. After finishing joint-top with Dumbarton, a play-off held at Cathkin Park finished 2–2 and the title was shared for the only time in its history. Rangers' first-ever Scottish Cup win came in 1894 after a 3–1 final victory over rivals Celtic. By the start of the 20th century, Rangers had won three Scottish Cups. During William Wilton's time as match secretary and team manager, Rangers won 10 league titles. Taking over as manager after William Wilton's tragic death in 1920, Bill Struth was Rangers' most successful manager, guiding the club to 14 league titles before the onset of the Second World War. On 2 January 1939 a British league attendance record was broken as 118,567 fans turned out to watch Rangers beat Celtic in the traditional New Year's Day Old Firm match.
Leading the club for 34 years until 1954, Struth won more trophies than any manager in Scottish Football history, amassing 18 league championships, 10 Scottish Cups, two League Cups, seven war-time championships, 19 Glasgow Cups, 17 Glasgow Merchant Charity Cups and other war-time honours. During the wartime regional league setup, Rangers achieved their highest score against old firm rivals Celtic with an 8–1 win in the Southern Football League. Scot Symon continued Struth's success, winning six league championships, five Scottish Cups and four League Cups, becoming the second manager to win the domestic treble in 1963–64 season, the era of'Slim' Jim Baxter, one of the club's greatest players. Rangers lost by their biggest Old Firm margin of 7–1. Rangers reached the semi-finals of the European Cup in 1960, losing to German club Eintracht Frankfurt by a record aggregate 12–4 for a Scottish team. In 1961 Rangers became the first British team to reach a European final when they contested the Cup Winners' Cup final against Italian side Fiorentina, only to lose 4–1 on aggregate.
Rangers lost again in the final of the same competition in 1967, by a single goal after extra time to Bayern Munich. The Ibrox disaster occurred on 2 January 1971 when large-scale crushing on a stairway exit at the culmination of an Old Firm game claimed 66 lives. An enquiry concluded that the crush was to have happened 10 minutes after the final whistle and to have been triggered by someone falling on the stairs. A benefit match to raise funds for the victims' families took place after the disaster, a joint Rangers and Celtic team playing a Scotland XI at Hampden, watched by 81,405 fans. In 1972, Rangers emerged from the tragedy of the previous year to achieve success on the European stage. A Colin Stein goal and a Willie Johnston double helped secure a 3–2 victory over Dynamo Moscow at the Nou Camp, Barcelona, to lift the European Cup Winners' Cup. Captain John Greig received the trophy in a small room within the Nou Camp following pitch invasions by Rangers fans reacting to the heavy handed tactics of the Spanish police, the majority of whom had been brought in from outwith Catalonia.
Rangers were banned from Europe for two years for the behaviour of their fans reduced on appeal to one year. The following season saw the club compete in the first European Super Cup, although the Europea
Glasgow Central Railway
The Glasgow Central Railway was a railway line built in Glasgow, Scotland by the Caledonian Railway, running in tunnel east to west through the city centre. It was opened in stages from 1894 and opened up new journey opportunities for passengers and enabled the Caledonian Railway to access docks and industrial locations on the north bank of the River Clyde. An intensive and popular train service was operated, but the long tunnel sections with frequent steam trains were smoky and heartily disliked; the network paralleled the North British Railway routes in the area, after nationalisation of the railways the line declined and was closed in stages from 1959 to 1964. In 1979 the central part of the route was reopened as an electrically operated passenger railway, the Argyle Line; the Argyle Line section is in heavy use today. In 1845 the Caledonian Railway was authorised to build its line from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Carlisle; this was a main line railway, with no thought of local travel within the cities.
By acquiring interests in other lines, the Caledonian soon had three terminal stations in Glasgow: Buchanan Street, South Side, Bridge Street. None of these was convenient to the city centre for passengers, goods to and from shipping on the River Clyde was carted through the streets; the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway terminated at Queen Street, a cramped terminal convenient for the city but with no access to the quays. The Caledonian set about getting access to the Clyde at Broomielaw by sponsoring the nominally independent General Terminus and Glasgow Harbour Railway which constructed berthing a short distance downstream from Glasgow Bridge on the south side, built a railway to it from Gushetfaulds; the construction was finished by December 1848 but it connected to the Clydesdale Junction Railway, only completed the following year. The General Terminus represented considerable progress in bulk handling of minerals, but it was still limited in capacity, as the vessels had to lie alongside the bank, the improvements to the navigation of the Clyde had not yet been completed.
Nonetheless the General Terminus had an effective monopoly of rail-borne export of minerals for many years. At this period the rapid industrialisation of Glasgow led to an influx of workers into the city centre: Glasgow became "the second city of the British Empire" and the more affluent moved to suburbs: Charing Cross and the Botanic Gardens area. There was still no recognisable suburban railway. In 1858 the Glasgow and Helensburgh Railway opened its line from the E&GR at Cowlairs, on the north-east of Glasgow, looping round to the north and running north of the Clyde to Dumbarton and on to Helensburgh; the circuit round the north of Glasgow was a roundabout route but it succeeded in connecting Dunbartonshire into the railway network. The company was absorbed by the E&GR in 1862 and the E&GR was itself absorbed to form the North British Railway in 1865. Accordingly, the Caledonian was losing out to a bitter competitor. In 1870 the City of Glasgow Union Railway bridged the Clyde and the so-called "bus trains", frequent services with spaced stops, were instituted.
The City Union Line was a joint scheme between the NBR and the Glasgow and South Western Railway, another competitor. From 1872 the Clyde Trustees undertook an ambitious project to build a large dock at Stobcross, on marshland on the north bank downstream; this became the Queen's Dock, it opened in 1874. The North British Railway built a connecting line to it, leaving the GD&HR line at Maryhill and running south and east, it took a wide circuit to reach Stobcross because of contours and housing development. This was the Stobcross Railway. Traffic started on 20 October 1870, it formed an important goods artery for NBR; the Caledonian Railway were granted running powers to reach the dock from Sighthill, a long and difficult transit over NBR tracks, the NBR placed every obstacle in the way of the Caledonian. Next the NBR sponsored another nominally independent company, the Glasgow and Clydebank Railway, which left the GD&HR line near Jordanhill and ran to industrial locations shipyards, on the Clyde.
It opened in 1882. The Glasgow City and District Railway was promoted by the NBR, to build a through east to west sub-surface line connecting the Coatbridge line and the Dumbarton line, it opened in 1886 and although expensive to construct, it was an immediate success. The North British Railway now had a decent suburban network in Glasgow and on the North bank of the Clyde, the Caledonian had nothing; the Caledonian had to do something, an independent engineer, Charles Forman, proposed a solution: a Glasgow Central Railway should be built on an east-west axis, connecting Maryhill in the north west of the city with Dalmarnock, on a short branch from Rutherglen on the main line, in the south east. It would run through the city centre south of the NBR line and have station facilities at the Caledonian's Glasgow Central terminal, as well as giving direct access to Stobcross and the Queen's Dock, still an important dock area; the Caledonian thought this was a good idea, encouraged the development of the scheme.
At this time the line that became the Liverpool Overhead Railway was being designed. The solution of building an urban railway over the streets in the central area seemed attractive and cheap, on that basis the Glasgow Central Railway obtained Parliamentary authorisation on 10 August 1888. Business interests and public opinion in Glasgow only now realised what was being proposed, a considerable outcry.
The Radical War or known as the Scottish Insurrection of 1820, was a week of strikes and unrest, a culmination of Radical demands for reform in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland which had become prominent in the early years of the French Revolution, but had been repressed during the long Napoleonic Wars. An economic downturn after the wars ended brought increasing unrest. Artisan workers weavers in Scotland, sought action to reform an uncaring government. Gentry fearing revolutionary horrors recruited militia and the government deployed an apparatus of spies and agents provocateurs to stamp out the movement. A Committee of Organisation for Forming a Provisional Government put placards around the streets of Glasgow late on Saturday 1 April, calling for an immediate national strike. On Monday 3 April work stopped in a wide area of central Scotland and in a swirl of disorderly events a small group marched towards the Carron Company ironworks to seize weapons, but while stopped at Bonnymuir they were attacked by Hussars.
Another small group from Strathaven marched to meet a rumoured larger force, but were warned of an ambush and dispersed. Militia taking prisoners to Greenock jail were attacked by the prisoners released. James Wilson of Strathaven was singled out as a leader of the march there, at Glasgow was executed by hanging decapitated. Of those seized by the British Army at Bonnymuir, John Baird and Andrew Hardie were executed at Stirling after making short defiant speeches. Twenty other Radicals were sentenced to penal transportation, it became evident that government agents had fomented the unrest to bring radicals into the open. The insurrection was forgotten as attention focussed on better publicised Radical events in England. Two years enthusiasm for the visit of King George IV to Scotland boosted loyalist sentiment, ushering in a new-found Scottish national identity. In the 18th century, artisans such as handloom weavers, shoemakers and wrights worked to commission and so could set their own hours of work which left them time to read, debate what they had read with friends.
The national Presbyterian Church of Scotland was founded on egalitarian attitudes and rights of the individual to make principled judgements, so encouraged disputatious habits and preoccupation with "rights" as well as continuing the Scottish education tradition which achieved more widespread literacy at that time than other countries. In Scotland only 1 in 250 people had the right to vote and these artisans were ready to join the Radical movement in welcoming the American Revolution and the French Revolution, be influenced by Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man; the Scottish Society of the Friends of the People held a series of "Conventions" in 1792 and 1793. The government reacted harshly, sentencing successive leaders to penal transportation, in 1793 Dundee Unitarian minister Thomas Fysshe Palmer was given 7 years transportation for helping to prepare and distribute reform tracts. Dissent went underground with the United Scotsmen whose activities were curbed with the trial of George Mealmaker in 1798.
Between 1800 and 1808 the earnings of weavers were halved, in 1812 they petitioned for an increase, granted by the magistrates, but the employers refused to pay and so the weavers called a strike which lasted for nine weeks with the support of a "National Committee of Scottish Union Societies", organised in a similar way to the United Scotsmen. The authorities were further alarmed and set up spies and informers to forestall any further reformist activity. Between and 1815 Major John Cartwright made visits to establish radical Hampden Clubs across Scotland; the end of the Napoleonic Wars brought economic depression. In 1816 some 40,000 people attended a meeting on Glasgow Green to demand more representative government and an end to the Corn laws which kept food prices high; the industrial revolution affected handloom weavers in particular, unrest grew despite attempts by the authorities to employ the workless and open relief centres to relieve hardship. Government agents brought conspiracy trials to court in 1816 and 1817.
The Peterloo massacre of August 1819 sparked protest demonstrations across Britain. In Scotland, a memorial rally in Paisley on 11 September led to a week of rioting and cavalry were used to control around 5,000 "Radicals". Protest meetings were held in Stirling, Renfrewshire and Fife in weaving areas. On 13 December the "Radical Laird" Kinloch was arrested for addressing a mass meeting on Magdalen Green in Dundee, but he escaped and fled abroad; the gentry feared that the kind of revolutionary turmoil, seen in France and Ireland could take place in Britain, there was a great recruiting of volunteer regiments through the Scottish lowlands and Scottish Borders. Walter Scott urged his Borders neighbours to "appeal at this crisis to the good sense and loyalty of the lower orders... All you have to do is sound the men, mark down those who seem zealous, they will have to fight with the pitmen and colliers of Northumbria for defence of their firesides, for those literal blackguards are got beyond the management of their own people."
As 1820 began the government, frightened by the "Cato Street Conspiracy" in London, acted to suppress reform agitation and drew on its apparatus of spies and agents provocateurs in Scotland. A 28-man Radical Committee for organising a Provisional Government elected by delegates of local "unions" elected officers and decided to arrange military training for its supporters, giving some responsibility for the training programme to a Condorrat weaver with army experience, John Baird. On 18 March
Nelson Monument, Glasgow
The Nelson Monument is a commemorative obelisk built in 1806 in honour of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, constructed the year after his death at the Battle of Trafalgar. It is located within a historic public park in Glasgow, Scotland, it stands 144 feet tall, its square plinth is enclosed by cast iron railings. The obelisk was designed by the architect David Hamilton. A plaque in front of the column records that it was the first civic monument in Britain to Nelson's victories, funded by a public subscription; the foundation stone was laid on 20 August 1806, the monument was constructed by the mason A. Brockett. Soon after its construction, the obelisk was struck by lightning, leaving a long structural crack in the monument: this event was depicted in a painting by John Knox, now in the nearby People's Palace museum. In 1965 a tablet was added to the plinth commemorating James Watt's use of Glasgow Green while thinking about an improved steam engine; the monument became a category A listed building in 1970
Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in Britain that existed from 1838 to 1857. It took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 and was a national protest movement, with particular strongholds of support in Northern England, the East Midlands, the Staffordshire Potteries, the Black Country, the South Wales Valleys. Support for the movement was at its highest in 1839, 1842, 1848, when petitions signed by millions of working people were presented to the House of Commons; the strategy employed was to use the scale of support which these petitions and the accompanying mass meetings demonstrated to put pressure on politicians to concede manhood suffrage. Chartism thus relied on constitutional methods to secure its aims, though there were some who became involved in insurrectionary activities, notably in south Wales and in Yorkshire; the People's Charter called for six reforms to make the political system more democratic: A vote for every man twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, not undergoing punishment for a crime.
The secret ballot to protect the elector in the exercise of his vote. No property qualification for Members of Parliament in order to allow the constituencies to return the man of their choice. Payment of Members, enabling tradesmen, working men, or other persons of modest means to leave or interrupt their livelihood to attend to the interests of the nation. Equal constituencies, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing less populous constituencies to have as much or more weight than larger ones. Annual Parliamentary elections, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since no purse could buy a constituency under a system of universal manhood suffrage in each twelve-month period. Chartists saw themselves fighting against political corruption and for democracy in an industrial society, but attracted support beyond the radical political groups for economic reasons, such as opposing wage cuts and unemployment. After the passing of the Reform Act 1832, which failed to extend the vote beyond those owning property, the political leaders of the working class made speeches claiming that there had been a great act of betrayal.
This sense that the working class had been betrayed by the middle class was strengthened by the actions of the Whig governments of the 1830s. Notably, the hated new Poor Law Amendment was passed in 1834, depriving working people of outdoor relief and driving the poor into workhouses, where families were separated, it was the massive wave of opposition to this measure in the north of England in the late 1830s that gave Chartism the numbers that made it a mass movement. It seemed that only securing the vote for working men would change things, indeed Dorothy Thompson, the pre-eminent historian of Chartism, defined the movement as the time when "thousands of working people considered that their problems could be solved by the political organization of the country." In 1836 the London Working Men's Association was founded by William Lovett and Henry Hetherington, providing a platform for Chartists in the south east. The origins of Chartism in Wales can be traced to the foundation in the autumn of 1836 of Carmarthen Working Men's Association.
Both nationally and locally a Chartist press thrived in the form of periodicals, which were important to the movement for their news, editorials and reports on international developments. They reached a huge audience; the Poor Man's Guardian in the 1830s, edited by Henry Hetherington, dealt with questions of class solidarity, manhood suffrage and temperance. The paper explored the rhetoric of violence versus non-violence, or what its writers referred to as moral versus physical force, it was succeeded as the voice of radicalism by an more famous paper: the Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser. The Star was published between 1837 and 1852, in 1839 was the best-selling provincial newspaper in Britain, with a circulation of 50,000 copies. Like other Chartist papers it was read aloud in coffee houses and the open air. Other Chartist periodicals included the Northern Liberator, English Chartist Circular, the Midland Counties' Illuminator; the papers gave justifications for the demands of the People's Charter, accounts of local meetings, commentaries on education and temperance and a great deal of poetry.
The papers advertised upcoming meetings organised by local grass roots branches, held either in public houses, or in their own halls. Research of the distribution of Chartist meetings in London which were advertised in the Norther Star shows that the movement was not uniformly spread across the Metropolis, but was instead clustered in the city's West End where a group of Chartist tailors had shops, as well as in Shoreditch in the east, relied on pubs that supported local friendly societies. Readers found denunciations of imperialism—the First Opium War was condemned—and of the arguments of free traders about the civilizing and pacifying influences of free trade. In 1837, six Members of Parliament and six working men, including William Lovett formed a committee, which in 1838 published the People's Charter; this set out the six main aims of the movement. The achievement of these aims would give working men a say in law-making: they would be able to vote, their vote would be protected by a secret ballot.
None of these demands was new, but the People's Charter was to become one of the most famous political
Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly