Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union; the official language is Hungarian, the most spoken Uralic language in the world, among the few non-Indo-European languages to be spoken in Europe. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest; the territory of modern Hungary was for centuries inhabited by a succession of peoples, including Celts, Germanic tribes, West Slavs and the Avars. The foundations of the Hungarian state were established in the late ninth century CE by the Hungarian grand prince Árpád following the conquest of the Carpathian Basin, his great-grandson Stephen I ascended the throne in 1000, converting his realm to a Christian kingdom. By the 12th century, Hungary became a regional power, reaching its cultural and political height in the 15th century.
Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, Hungary was occupied by the Ottoman Empire. It came under Habsburg rule at the turn of the 18th century, joined Austria to form the Austro–Hungarian Empire, a major European power; the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed after World War I, the subsequent Treaty of Trianon established Hungary's current borders, resulting in the loss of 71% of its territory, 58% of its population, 32% of ethnic Hungarians. Following the tumultuous interwar period, Hungary joined the Axis Powers in World War II, suffering significant damage and casualties. Hungary became a satellite state of the Soviet Union, which contributed to the establishment of a socialist republic spanning four decades; the country gained widespread international attention as a result of its 1956 revolution and the seminal opening of its previously-restricted border with Austria in 1989, which accelerated the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. On 23 October 1989, Hungary became a democratic parliamentary republic.
Hungary is an OECD high-income economy and has the world's 58th largest economy by PPP. It ranks 45th on the Human Development Index, owing in large part to its social security system, universal health care, tuition-free secondary education. Hungary's rich cultural history includes significant contributions to the arts, literature, sports and technology, it is the 13th most popular tourist destination in Europe, attracting 15.8 million international tourists in 2017, owing to attractions such as the largest thermal water cave system in the world, second largest thermal lake, the largest lake in Central Europe and the largest natural grasslands in Europe. Hungary's cultural and academic prominence classify it as a middle power in global affairs. Hungary joined the European Union in 2004 and has been part of the Schengen Area since 2007, it is a member of numerous international organizations, including the United Nations, NATO, WTO, World Bank, the AIIB, the Council of Europe, the Visegrád Group.
The "H" in the name of Hungary is most due to early founded historical associations with the Huns, who had settled Hungary prior to the Avars. The rest of the word comes from the Latinized form of Byzantine Greek Oungroi. According to an explanation,the Greek name was borrowed from Old Bulgarian ągrinŭ, in turn borrowed from Oghur-Turkic Onogur. Onogur was the collective name for the tribes who joined the Bulgar tribal confederacy that ruled the eastern parts of Hungary after the Avars; the Hungarian endonym is Magyarország, composed of ország. The word magyar is taken from the name of one of the seven major semi-nomadic Hungarian tribes, magyeri; the first element magy is from Proto-Ugric *mäńć-'man, person' found in the name of the Mansi people. The second element eri,'man, lineage', survives in Hungarian férj'husband', is cognate with Mari erge'son', Finnish archaic yrkä'young man'; the Roman Empire conquered the territory west of the Danube between 35 and 9 BC. From 9 BC to the end of the 4th century, Pannonia was part of the Roman Empire, located within part of Hungary's territory.
Around AD 41–54, a 500-strong cavalry unit created the settlement of Aquincum and a Roman legion of 6,000 men was stationed here by AD 89. A civil city grew in the neighbourhood of the military settlement and in AD 106 Aquincum became the focal point of the commercial life of this area and the capital city of the province of Pannonia Inferior; this area now corresponds to the Óbuda district of Budapest, with the Roman ruins now forming part of the modern Aquincum museum. Came the Huns, a Central Asian tribe who built a powerful empire. After Hunnish rule, the Germanic Ostrogoths and Gepids, the Avar Khaganate, had a presence in the Carpathian Basin. In the 9th century, East Francia, the First Bulgarian Empire and Great Moravia ruled the territory of the Carpathian Basin; the freshly unified Hungarians led by Árpád, settled in the Carpathian Basin starting in 895. According to linguistic evidence, they originated from an ancient Uralic-speaking population that inhabited the forested area between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains.
As a federation of united tribes, Hungary was established in 895, some 50 years after the division of the Carolingian Empire at the Treaty of Verdun in 843, before the unification of the Anglo-Saxon king
Battle of Voronezh (1942)
The Battle of Voronezh, or First Battle of Voronezh, was a battle on the Eastern Front of World War II, fought in and around the strategically important city of Voronezh on the Don river, 450 km south of Moscow, from 28 June-24 July 1942, as opening move of the German summer offensive in 1942. The German attack had two objectives. One was to seed confusion about the ultimate goals of the overall campaign. There was widespread feeling by all observers Soviet high command, that the Germans would reopen their attack on Moscow that summer. By attacking toward Voronezh, near the site of the German's deepest penetration the year before, it would hide the nature of the real action taking place far to the south. Soviet forces sent to the area to shore up the defenses would not be able to move with the same speed as the Germans, who would turn south and leave them behind; the other purpose was to provide an defended front line along the river, providing a strong left flank that could be protected with light forces.
The plan involved forces of Army Group South, at this time far north of their ultimate area of responsibility. The attack would be spearheaded by the 4th Panzer Army under the command of General Hermann Hoth. Hoth's mobile forces would move eastward to Voronezh and turn southeast to follow the Don to Stalingrad; as the 4th moved out of the city, the slower infantry forces of the Second Army following behind them would take up defensive positions along the river. The plan called for the 2nd to arrive just as the 4th had cleared the city, Hoth was under orders to avoid any street-to-street fighting that might bog down their progress; the city was defended by the troops of the 40th Army as part of the Valuiki-Rossosh Defensive Operation of General of Army Nikolai Fyodorovich Vatutin's Southwestern Front. Hoth's powerful armored forces moved forward with little delay and the only natural barrier before the city was the Devitsa River, an arm of the Don running through Semiluki, a short distance to the west.
For reasons that are unclear, the bridge over the Devitsa was not destroyed, Hoth's forces were able to sweep aside the defensive forces placed there and reach the outskirts of Voronezh on 7 July. Soviet forces mounted a successful counterattack that tied up Hoth's forces. At this point they should have been relieved by the infantry forces, but they were still far from the city. Intense house-to-house fighting broke out, Hoth continued to push forward while he waited. At one point the 3rd Motorized Division turned back; the Soviet command poured reserves into the city and a situation not unlike what would be seen at Stalingrad a few months broke out, with the German troops clearing the city street by street with flamethrowers while tanks gave fire support. The 2nd did not arrive for another two days, by which time the 4th was engaged and took some time to remove from the line; the 2nd continued the battle until 24 July, when the final Soviet forces west of the Don were defeated and the fighting ended.
Adolf Hitler came to believe that these two days, when combined with other avoidable delays on the drive south, allowed Marshal Semyon Timoshenko to reinforce the forces in Stalingrad before the 4th Panzer Army could arrive to allow taking of Stalingrad. The Soviet forces recaptured the city in the Battle of Voronezh of 1943. SourcesGlantz, David M. & House, When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler, Kansas: University Press of Kansas, ISBN 0-7006-0899-0
Hungarians known as Magyars, are a nation and ethnic group native to Hungary and historical Hungarian lands who share a common culture and language. Hungarians belong to the Uralic-speaking peoples. There are an estimated 14.2–14.5 million ethnic Hungarians and their descendants worldwide, of whom 9.6 million live in today's Hungary. About 2.2 million Hungarians live in areas that were part of the Kingdom of Hungary before the Treaty of Trianon and are now parts of Hungary's seven neighbouring countries Slovakia, Romania, Croatia and Austria. Significant groups of people with Hungarian ancestry live in various other parts of the world, most of them in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Argentina. Hungarians can be classified into several subgroups according to local linguistic and cultural characteristics; the Hungarians' own ethnonym to denote themselves in the Early Middle Ages is uncertain. The exonym "Hungarian" is thought to be derived from Oghur-Turkic On-Ogur. Another possible explanation comes from the Old Russian "Yugra".
It may refer to the Hungarians during a time when they dwelt east of the Ural Mountains along the natural borders of Europe and Asia before their conquest of the Carpathian Basin. Prior to the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin in 895/6 and while they lived on the steppes of Eastern Europe east of the Carpathian Mountains, written sources called the Magyars "Hungarians", specifically: "Ungri" by Georgius Monachus in 837, "Ungri" by Annales Bertiniani in 862, "Ungari" by the Annales ex Annalibus Iuvavensibus in 881; the Magyars/Hungarians belonged to the Onogur tribal alliance, it is possible that they became its ethnic majority. In the Early Middle Ages, the Hungarians had many names, including "Węgrzy", "Ungherese", "Ungar", "Hungarus"; the "H-" prefix is a addition of Medieval Latin. The Hungarian people refer to themselves by the demonym "Magyar" rather than "Hungarian". "Magyar" is Finno-Ugric from the Old Hungarian "mogyër". "Magyar" derived from the name of the most prominent Hungarian tribe, the "Megyer".
The tribal name "Megyer" became "Magyar" in reference to the Hungarian people as a whole. "Magyar" may derive from the Hunnic "Muageris" or "Mugel". The Greek cognate of "Tourkia" was used by the scholar and Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII "Porphyrogenitus" in his De Administrando Imperio of c. AD 950, though in his use, "Turks" always referred to Magyars; this was a misnomer, as while the Magyars had adopted some Turkic cultural traits, they are not a Turkic people. The historical Latin phrase "Natio Hungarica" had a wider and political meaning because it once referred to all nobles of the Kingdom of Hungary, regardless of their ethnicity or mother tongue. During the 4th millennium BC, the Uralic-speaking peoples who were living in the central and southern regions of the Urals split up; some dispersed towards the west and northwest and came into contact with Iranian speakers who were spreading northwards. From at least 2000 BC onwards, the Ugrian speakers became distinguished from the rest of the Uralic community, of which the ancestors of the Magyars, being located farther south, were the most numerous.
Judging by evidence from burial mounds and settlement sites, they interacted with the Indo-Iranian Andronovo culture. In the 4th and 5th centuries AD, the Hungarians moved from the west of the Ural Mountains to the area between the southern Ural Mountains and the Volga River known as Bashkiria and Perm Krai. In the early 8th century, some of the Hungarians moved to the Don River to an area between the Volga and the Seversky Donets rivers. Meanwhile, the descendants of those Hungarians who stayed in Bashkiria remained there as late as 1241; the Hungarians around the Don River were subordinates of the Khazar khaganate. Their neighbours were the archaeological Saltov Culture, i.e. Bulgars and the Alans, from whom they learned gardening, elements of cattle breeding and of agriculture. Tradition holds; the names of the seven tribes were: Jenő, Kér, Keszi, Kürt-Gyarmat, Megyer, Nyék, Tarján. Around 830, a rebellion broke out in the Khazar khaganate; as a result, three Kabar tribes of the Khazars joined the Hungarians and moved to what the Hungarians call the Etelköz, the territory between the Carpathians and the Dnieper River.
The Hungarians faced their first attack by the Pechenegs around 854, though other sources state that an attack by Pechenegs was the reason for their departure to Etelköz. The new neighbours of the Hungarians were the eastern Slavs. From 862 onwards, the Hungarians along with their allies, the Kabars, started a series of looting raids from the Etelköz into the Carpathian Basin against the Eastern Frankish Empire and Great Moravia, but against the Balaton principality and Bulgaria. In 895/896, under the leadership of Árpád, some Hungarians crossed the Carpathians and entered the Carpathian Basin; the tribe called Magyar was the leading tribe of the Hungarian alliance that conquered the centre of the basin. At the same time, due to their involvement in the 894–896 Bulgaro-Byzantine war, Hungarians in Etelköz were attacked by Bulgaria and by their old enemies the Pechenegs; the Bulgarians won the decisive b
Rajka is a village in Győr-Moson-Sopron County, Hungary. The village has a large Slovak minority; the name comes from the Slavic personal name Rajka. 1297 Royka. Rajka is located in the Little Hungarian Plain 17 kilometres north-west of Mosonmagyaróvár, near the point where the borders of Hungary and Slovakia join. M15 motorway, Highway 150, the Budapest–Hegyeshalom–Rajka railway line all cross the village; the Hungarian-Slovak border crossing between Rajka and Čunovo was lifted on 21 December 2007, when Hungary and Slovakia acceded to the Schengen Area. Rajka was established before the 13th century. According to the Hungarian Royal Treasury it was an ethnic German settlement in Hungary, called Rackendorf in 1495. In the 18th century it was a market town in Moson County; the Jewish community was forcibly deported in 1944. After the Soviet occupation of Hungary in 1946, 859 German civilians were expelled from Rajka, they were replaced by ethnic Hungarians expelled from Czechoslovakia. Mayor Vince Kiss spoke in 2012 of 1,000 Slovak citizens living in Rajka and making up one-third of the population.
Most of these are ethnic Slovaks, but a significant proportion are ethnic Hungarian citizens of Slovakia or conversant with the Hungarian language. These Slovak citizens form a fragmented, dormitory community of people working or studying in Bratislava, the Slovak capital, commuting there every day. According to the 2011 census, the population of Rajka was 2,758, of whom 1,938 declared themselves Hungarians, 535 Slovaks and 284 Germans by ethnicity. There is not yet any public school education in Rajka taught in the Slovak language. Street map
Order of Vitéz
Order of Vitéz is a Hungarian order of merit, founded in 1920. It was awarded as a state honour from 1920 to 1944. During World War II, many members of the Hungarian government and military were members of the Order; the United States Department of State lists the Order of Vitéz as having been "under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany."The Order of Vitéz has several successors. The Hungarian word Vitéz is of medieval Slavic origin and means "valiant", "gallant soldier" or "knight"; the Vitézi Rend should not be confused with the 17th-century Vitézlő Rend, which refers to a rebellion of former peasants and craftsmen whose homes had been destroyed by the Ottoman Empire. These men took up arms and formed an estate within society that received charters and privileges over the centuries from the princes of Transylvania, but which were recognised by the Habsburg kings of the Kingdom of Hungary. Following the peace Treaty of Trianon, which banished the ruling House of Habsburg from Hungary, a constitutional assembly decided to return to the monarchical form of government and replace the incumbent Habsburg regent, Archduke Joseph August von Habsburg of Austria, with Vice-Admiral Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya.
It was his idea to help re-build the shattered country by giving land to soldiers who had proven themselves on the battlefield. This way, the poverty brought on by World War I could begin to be alleviated and soldiers could be rewarded; the Vitéz Order was created by Prime Ministerial Decree number 6650 of 1920 and was included as paragraph no. 77 in the Land Reform Act. Membership replaced the titles of nobility; the title of "vitéz" was to serve as an award. The "vitéz" title was official; the legislation gave those qualifying as members of the Order in need a grant of land and/or a house. According to Viktor Karady, "its members served as a Christian gentry". Admittance into the Order was on military merit by the number of medals won, it worked on a system depending on rank, where privates or junior NCOs had to prove lesser awards of bravery, while officers and generals had to prove more in World War I. Members were entitled to use the designation vitéz as a prefix to their names. Admission into the Order carried with it a land grant of 40 cadastral holds to an officer, eight cadastral holds to other ranks based on need.
The Order of Vitéz become hereditary, the grants were to be passed on by the recipient to his eldest son. Horthy was the first to be admitted into the Order and was its Captain General. In 1920, Archduke Joseph August of Austria became the first knight of the Order of Vitéz. In October 1944, the Government of National Unity was established as a Nazi puppet state. According to the Hungarian historian George Deák, the Order of Vitéz was a "'tainted' but ambiguous symbol" during the war years: antisemitism was a shared sentiment among the order membership, though the order itself was not explicitly antisemitic. For example, Hungarian Interior Minister László Endre, a noted anti-semite, member of various incarnations of the Hungarian National Socialist Party, Nazi collaborator during the war, eagerly helped Adolf Eichmann collect and deport more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews between May and July 1944, was a "proud members of the order" according to Deák. László Ferenczy, a Lieutenant colonel in the Hungarian Gendarme who worked under Endre to first establish the ghettos and the attempted deportation of the Jews of Hungary in 1944, gathered thousands of Jews at the Obuda brick factory and sent them on a death march towards Hegyeshalom near the Western border to build a line of defense, indicated in reports that he was aware of what was taking place at Auschwitz.
Like Endre, Ferenczy was a “proud member of the order” according to Deák. The majority of the real estate owned by Jews that were deported after the German occupation of Hungary went to organizations supportive of the collaborationist regime, including the Order of Vitéz and some of its members. However, Hungarian historian Róbert Kerepeszki stresses that there were ruptures in the organization of the Order of Vitéz on the question of Nazism during the war, many of them died fighting against Hungarian Nazis; the most famous of them was Vilmos Nagy de Nagybaczon, awarded the title of Righteous among the Nations for saving Jews. Vitéz Colonel Ferenc Koszorus deployed his troops to stop Jewish deportations, allowing the escape of as many as 250,000 Jews concentrated in Budapest. Miklós Horthy Jr. was an anti-fascist "vitéz" who conducted negotiations with the Allies, was deported to a concentration camp. Colonel-General Vitéz Gábor Faragho and Colonel-General Vitéz Béla Miklós of Dálnok joined the Soviet forces after the failed attempt of Horthy to make an armistice with the Allies.
Lieutenant colonel Vitéz Oszkár Variházy fought against the Nazis during the siege of Budapest. Lieutenant-General Vitéz Szilárd Bakay was deported to a Nazi concentration camp for his activity during Horthy's armistice attempt on 16 October. Vitéz Lajos Keresztes-Fischer and his brother Vitéz Ferenc Keresztes-Fischer were deported to concentra
Kingdom of Hungary (1920–1946)
The Kingdom of Hungary, sometimes referred to as the Regency, existed as a country from 1920 to 1946 under the rule of Regent Miklós Horthy. Horthy represented the Hungarian monarchy of Charles IV, Apostolic King of Hungary. Attempts by Charles IV to return to the throne were prevented by threats of war from neighbouring countries and by the lack of support from Horthy; some historians consider that the country was a client state of Germany from 1938 to 1944. The Kingdom of Hungary under Horthy was an Axis Power during most of World War II. In 1944, after Horthy's government negotiated secretly with the Allies, considered leaving the war, Hungary was occupied by Nazi Germany and Horthy was deposed; the Arrow Cross Party's leader Ferenc Szálasi established a new Nazi-backed government turning Hungary into a German-occupied puppet state. After World War II, Hungary fell within the Soviet Union's sphere of interest. In 1946, the Second Hungarian Republic was established under Soviet influence. In 1949, the communist Hungarian People's Republic was founded.
Upon the dissolution and break-up of Austria-Hungary after World War I, the Hungarian Democratic Republic and the Hungarian Soviet Republic were proclaimed in 1918 and 1919, respectively. The short-lived communist government of Béla Kun launched what was known as the "Red Terror", involving Hungary in an ill-fated war with Romania. In 1920, the country fell into a period of civil conflict, with Hungarian anti-communists and monarchists violently purging the nation of communists, leftist intellectuals, others whom they felt threatened by Jews; this period was known as the "White Terror". In 1920, after the pullout of the last of the Romanian occupation forces, the Kingdom of Hungary was restored. On February 29, 1920, a coalition of right-wing political forces united and returned Hungary to being a constitutional monarchy. However, it was obvious that the Allies would not accept any return of Charles IV. With civil unrest too great to choose a new king, it was decided to select a regent to represent the monarchy.
Miklós Horthy, the last commanding admiral of the Austro-Hungarian Navy, was chosen for this position on 1 March. Sándor Simonyi-Semadam was the first Prime Minister of Horthy's regency. Horthy's rule as Regent possessed characteristics such; as a counterpoint, his powers were a continuation of the constitutional powers of the King of Hungary, adopted earlier during the federation with the Austrian Empire. As Regent, Horthy had the power to dissolve the Hungarian Diet at his own discretion; the succession after Horthy's death or abdication was never established. In January 1942, Parliament appointed Horthy's eldest son István as Deputy Regent and expected successor. Whether this represents an attempt to re-establish monarchy in Hungary is unclear. During his first ten years, Horthy led increased repression of Hungarian minorities. In 1920, the numerus clausus law formally placed limits on the number of minority students at university, legalized corporal punishment. Although the law applied in equal measure to all minorities, the ethnicity quota system was never introduced and the law acted to conceal anti-Jewish action from foreign observers.
Limitations were relaxed in 1928. Racial criteria in admitting new students were replaced by social criteria. Five categories were set up: civil servants, war veterans and army officers, small landowners and artisans and the merchant classes. Under István Bethlen as Prime Minister the electoral system was changed to reintroduce an open vote system outside Budapest and its vicinity and cities with county municipal rights, his political party, the Party of Unity, won repeated elections. Bethlen pushed for revision of the Treaty of Trianon. After the collapse of the Hungarian economy from 1929 to 1931, national turmoil pushed Bethlen to resign as Prime Minister. In 1938 the changes to the electoral system were reversed. Social conditions in the kingdom did not improve as time passed, as a small proportion of the population continued to control much of the country's wealth. Jews were continually pressured to assimilate into Hungarian mainstream culture; the desperate situation forced the Regent, Horthy, to accept the far-right politician Gyula Gömbös as Prime Minister.
He pledged to retain the existing political system. Gömbös agreed to allow some Jews into the government. In power, Gömbös moved Hungary towards a one-party government like those of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. Pressure by Nazi Germany for extreme anti-Semitism forced Gömbös out and Hungary pursued anti-Semitism under its “Jewish Laws”; the government passed laws restricting Jews to 20 percent in a number of professions. It scapegoated the Jews for the country's failing economy. In 1944, responding to the advancing Soviet forces, the Regent Miklós Horthy deposed the pro-German Prime Minister and installed a more balanced government in an effort to engage with the Allies and avoid occupation by the Soviet Union. Shortly afterward, German forces invaded Hungary, deposed Horthy as Regent, installed a puppet regime led by Ferenc Szálasi of the anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party; the Arrow Cross Party never abolished the Monarchy as a form of government, Hungarian newspapers continued to refer to the country as the Kingdom o
The Soviet Union the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were centralized; the country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Minsk, Alma-Ata, Novosibirsk, it spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, steppes and mountains; the Soviet Union had its roots in the 1917 October Revolution, when the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Russian Provisional Government which had replaced Tsar Nicholas II during World War I. In 1922, the Soviet Union was formed by a treaty which legalized the unification of the Russian, Transcaucasian and Byelorussian republics that had occurred from 1918. Following Lenin's death in 1924 and a brief power struggle, Joseph Stalin came to power in the mid-1920s.
Stalin committed the state's ideology to Marxism–Leninism and constructed a command economy which led to a period of rapid industrialization and collectivization. During his rule, political paranoia fermented and the Great Purge removed Stalin's opponents within and outside of the party via arbitrary arrests and persecutions of many people, resulting in at least 600,000 deaths. In 1933, a major famine struck the country. Before the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviets signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, agreeing to non-aggression with Nazi Germany, after which the USSR invaded Poland on 17 September 1939. In June 1941, Germany broke the pact and invaded the Soviet Union, opening the largest and bloodiest theatre of war in history. Soviet war casualties accounted for the highest proportion of the conflict in the effort of acquiring the upper hand over Axis forces at intense battles such as Stalingrad and Kursk; the territories overtaken by the Red Army became satellite states of the Soviet Union.
The post-war division of Europe into capitalist and communist halves would lead to increased tensions with the United States-led Western Bloc, known as the Cold War. Stalin died in 1953 and was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev, who in 1956 denounced Stalin and began the de-Stalinization; the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during Khrushchev's rule, among the many factors that led to his downfall in 1964. In the early 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. In 1985, the last Soviet premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika, which caused political instability. In 1989, Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe overthrew their respective communist governments; as part of an attempt to prevent the country's dissolution due to rising nationalist and separatist movements, a referendum was held in March 1991, boycotted by some republics, that resulted in a majority of participating citizens voting in favor of preserving the union as a renewed federation.
Gorbachev's power was diminished after Russian President Boris Yeltsin's high-profile role in facing down a coup d'état attempted by Communist Party hardliners. In late 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union met and formally dissolved the Soviet Union; the remaining 12 constituent republics emerged as independent post-Soviet states, with the Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assuming the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and being recognized as the successor state. The Soviet Union was a powerhouse of many significant technological achievements and innovations of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite, the first humans in space and the first probe to land on another planet, Venus; the country had the largest standing military in the world. The Soviet Union was recognized as one of the five nuclear weapons states and possessed the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, it was a founding permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as well as a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Federation of Trade Unions and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and the Warsaw Pact.
The word "Soviet" is derived from a Russian word сове́т meaning council, advice, harmony and all deriving from the proto-Slavic verbal stem of vět-iti, related to Slavic věst, English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or", or the Dutch weten. The word sovietnik means "councillor". A number of organizations in Russian history were called "council". For example, in the Russian Empire the State Council, which functioned from 1810 to 1917, was referred to as a Council of Ministers after the revolt of 1905. During the Georgian Affair, Vladimir Lenin envisioned an expression of Great Russian ethnic chauvinism by Joseph Stalin and his supporters, calling for these nation-states to join Russia as semi-independent parts of a greater union, which he named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia. Stalin resisted the proposal, but accepted it, although with Lenin's agreement changed the name of the newly proposed sta