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
1968 Polish political crisis
The Polish 1968 political crisis known in Poland as March 1968 or March events, pertains to a series of major student and other protests against the government of the Polish People's Republic. The crisis resulted in the suppression of student strikes by security forces in all major academic centres across the country and the subsequent repression of the Polish dissident movement, it was accompanied by mass emigration following an antisemitic campaign waged by the minister of internal affairs, General Mieczysław Moczar, with the approval of First Secretary Władysław Gomułka of the Polish United Workers' Party. The protests coincided with the events of the Prague Spring in neighboring Czechoslovakia – raising new hopes of democratic reforms among the intelligentsia; the unrest culminated in the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia on 20 August 1968. The anti-Jewish campaign had begun in 1967; the policy was carried out in conjunction with the Soviet withdrawal of all diplomatic relations with Israel after the Six-Day War, but involved a power struggle within the Polish communist party itself.
The subsequent purges within the ruling party, led by Mieczysław Moczar and his faction, failed to topple Gomułka's government, but resulted in an exile from Poland of thousands of individuals of Jewish ancestry, including professionals, party officials and secret police functionaries. In staged public displays of support, factory workers across Poland were assembled to publicly denounce Zionism. At least 13,000 Poles of Jewish origin emigrated in 1968–72 as a result of being fired from their positions and various other forms of harassment. Political turmoil of the late 1960s was exemplified in the West by the violent protests against the Vietnam War and included numerous instances of protest and revolt among students, that reverberated across Europe in 1968; the movement was reflected in the Eastern Bloc by the events of the Prague Spring, which began on 5 January 1968. A wave of protests in Czechoslovakia marked the high point of a broader series of dissident social mobilization. According to Ivan Krastev, the 1968 movement in Western Europe, with its emphasis on individual sovereignty, was fundamentally different from that in the Eastern Bloc, concerned with national sovereignty, this dichotomy is reflected in the different societal models that have since evolved in the respective parts of the continent.
In Poland, a growing crisis having to do with communist party control over universities, the literary community, intellectuals in general, marked the mid-1960s. Those persecuted for political activism on campus included Jacek Kuroń, Karol Modzelewski, Adam Michnik, Barbara Toruńczyk and a number of others. A decade earlier, Poland was a scene of the Polish October events; the events of 1967 and Polish communist leaders' necessity to follow the Soviet lead altered the correct relations between People's Poland and Israel. The combination of international and domestic factors gave rise in Poland to a campaign of hate against purported internal enemies, among whom the Jews would become the most salient target; as the Israeli–Arab Six-Day War started on 5 June 1967, the Polish Politburo met the following day and made policy determinations, declaring condemnation of "Israel's aggression" and full support for the "just struggle of the Arab countries". First Secretary Władysław Gomułka and Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz went to Moscow on 9 June for a Middle East conference of communist leaders.
The participants deliberated in a depressed atmosphere. The decisions made included the Warsaw Pact's continuation of military and financial support for the Arab states and the breaking of diplomatic relations with Israel, in which only Romania refused to participate. A media campaign commenced in Poland and was soon followed by "anti-Israeli imperialism" rallies held in various towns and places of employment. After the government delegation's return to Warsaw, Gomułka, pessimistic and fearful of a possible nuclear confrontation and irritated by the reports of support for Israel among many Polish Jews, on 19 June proclaimed at the Trade Union Congress that Israel's aggression had been "met with applause in Zionist circles of Jews – Polish citizens." Gomułka invited "those who feel that these words are addressed to them" to emigrate, but Edward Ochab and some other Politburo members objected and the statement was deleted before the speech's publication. Gomułka did not issue a call for anti-Jewish personnel purges, but the so-called "anti-Zionist" campaign got underway anyway, supported by his close associates Zenon Kliszko and Ignacy Loga-Sowiński.
It was eagerly amplified by General Mieczysław Moczar, minister of internal affairs, by some military leaders who had long been waiting for an opportunity to "settle with the Jews", by other officials. A list of 382 "Zionists" was presented at the ministry on 28 June and the purge developed, beginning with Jewish generals and other high-ranking officers of the Polish armed forces. About 150 Jewish military officers were fired in 1967–68, including Czesław Mankiewicz, national air defense chief. Minister of Defense Marian Spychalski tried to defend Mankiewicz and by doing so compromised his own position; the Ministry of Internal Affairs renewed its proposal to ban the Jewish organizations from receiving foreign contributions from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. This time, unlike on previous occasions, the request was granted by the Secretariat of the PZPR's Central Committee and the well-developed Jewish social and cultural organized activities in Poland faced stiff reductions or practical liquidation.
Warsaw Cross-City Line
Warsaw cross-city line is a 7 km railway line crossing Central Warsaw in the East-West direction. Opened in 1933 and electrified in 1936, it had two tracks, with an additional two added in 1949; the central part of the line is in a tunnel. It crosses the Vistula by the Średnicowy railway bridge long located between Poniatowski Bridge and Świętokrzyski Bridge; the line provided a direct short link between Warszawa Warszawa Zachodnia stations. The pre-1945 Warszawa Główna was located halfway down the line; the station has been replaced by Warszawa Centralna, located to the west of the old station. Since the 1970s, the older pair of tracks is used by regional trains run by Koleje Mazowieckie and Szybka Kolej Miejska; the regional trains use Warszawa Stadion, Warszawa Powiśle, Warszawa Śródmieście PKP and Warszawa Ochota stations, the long distance trains use Warszawa Centralna. A third set of tracks, which extend as far as the Warszawa Śródmieście WKD railway station, are used by the Warszawska Kolej Dojazdowa suburban light rail line
Gdańsk is a Polish city on the Baltic coast. With a population of 464,254, Gdańsk is the capital and largest city of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the capital of Kashubia, it is the centre of the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area. The city is located on the southern edge of Gdańsk Bay, in a conurbation with the city of Gdynia, spa town of Sopot, suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the Tricity, with a population approaching 1.4 million. Gdańsk is the largest city of Kashubia. With its origins as a Polish stronghold erected in the 980s by Mieszko I of Poland, the city's history is complex, with periods of Polish rule, periods of Prussian or German rule, periods of autonomy or self-rule as a "free city". In the early-modern age Gdańsk was a royal city of Poland, it was considered the wealthiest and the largest city of Poland, prior to the 18th century rapid growth of Warsaw. Between the world wars, the Free City of Danzig, having a majority of German population, was in a customs union with Poland and was situated between German East Prussia and the so-called Polish Corridor.
Gdańsk lies at the mouth of the Motława River, connected to the Leniwka, a branch in the delta of the nearby Vistula River, which drains 60 percent of Poland and connects Gdańsk with the Polish capital, Warsaw. Together with the nearby port of Gdynia, Gdańsk is a notable industrial center. In the late Middle Ages it was an important seaport and shipbuilding town and, in the 14th and 15th centuries, a member of the Hanseatic League. In the interwar period, owing to its multi-ethnic make-up and history, Gdańsk lay in a disputed region between Poland and the Weimar Republic, which became Nazi Germany; the city's ambiguous political status was exploited, furthering tension between the two countries, which would culminate in the Invasion of Poland and the first clash of the Second World War just outside the city limits. In the 1980s it would become the birthplace of the Solidarity movement, which played a major role in bringing an end to Communist rule in Poland and helped precipitate the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Gdańsk is home to the University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk University of Technology, the National Museum, the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, the Museum of the Second World War, Polish Baltic Philharmonic and the European Solidarity Centre. The city hosts St. Dominic's Fair, which dates back to 1260, is regarded as one of the biggest trade and cultural events in Europe; the city's name is thought to originate from the Gdania River, the original name of the Motława branch on which the city is situated. The name of a settlement was recorded after St. Adalbert's death in AD 997 as urbs Gyddanyzc and was written as Kdanzk in 1148, Gdanzc in 1188, Danceke in 1228, Gdansk in 1236, Danzc in 1263, Danczk in 1311, Danczik in 1399, Danczig in 1414, Gdąnsk in 1656. In Polish the modern name of the city is pronounced. In English the usual pronunciation is or; the German name, "Danzig", is pronounced as. The city's Latin name may be given as either Gedanum or Dantiscum. Other former spellings of the name include Dantzig and Dantzic.
On special occasions the city is referred to as "The Royal Polish City of Gdańsk". In the Kashubian language the city is called Gduńsk. Kashubians use the name "Our Capital City Gduńsk" or "The Kashubian Capital City Gduńsk"; the first written record thought to refer to Gdańsk is the vita of Saint Adalbert. Written in 999, it describes how in 997 Saint Adalbert of Prague baptised the inhabitants of urbs Gyddannyzc, "which separated the great realm of the duke from the sea." No further written sources exist for the 11th centuries. Based on the date in Adalbert's vita, the city celebrated its millennial anniversary in 1997. Archaeological evidence for the origins of the town was retrieved after World War II had laid 90 percent of the city center in ruins, enabling excavations; the oldest seventeen settlement levels were dated to between 980 and 1308. It is thought that Mieszko I of Poland erected a stronghold on the site in the 980s, thereby connecting the Polish state ruled by the Piast dynasty with the trade routes of the Baltic Sea.
Traces of buildings and housing from 10th century have been found in archaeological excavations of the city. The site was ruled as a duchy of Poland by the Samborides, it consisted of a settlement at the modern Long Market, settlements of craftsmen along the Old Ditch, German merchant settlements around St Nicholas's church and the old Piast stronghold. In 1186, a Cistercian monastery was set up in nearby Oliwa, now within the city limits. In 1215, the ducal stronghold became the centre of a Pomerelian splinter duchy. At that time the area of the city included various villages. From at least 1224/25 a German market settlement with merchants from Lübeck existed in the area of today's Long Market. In 1224/25, merchants from Lübeck were invited as "hospites" but were soon forced to leave by Swantopolk II of the Samborides during a war between Swantopolk and the Teutonic Knights, during which Lübeck supported the latter. Migrat
Poland the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With a population of 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin. Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast and Lithuania to the north and Ukraine to the east and Czech Republic, to the south, Germany to the west; the establishment of the Polish state can be traced back to AD 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin; this union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system which adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
More than a century after the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, Poland regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. More than six million Polish citizens, including 90% of the country's Jews, perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic. Poland is regional power, it has the fifth largest economy by GDP in the European Union and one of the most dynamic economies in the world achieving a high rank on the Human Development Index. Additionally, the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw is the largest and most important in Central Europe. Poland is a developed country, which maintains a high-income economy along with high standards of living, life quality, safety and economic freedom.
Having a developed school educational system, the country provides free university education, state-funded social security, a universal health care system for all citizens. Poland has 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, the Visegrád Group; the origin of the name "Poland" derives from the West Slavic tribe of Polans that inhabited the Warta river basin of the historic Greater Poland region starting in the 6th century. The origin of the name "Polanie" itself derives from the early Slavic word "pole". In some languages, such as Hungarian, Lithuanian and Turkish, the exonym for Poland is Lechites, which derives from the name of a semi-legendary ruler of Polans, Lech I. Early Bronze Age in Poland begun around 2400 BC, while the Iron Age commenced in 750 BC. During this time, the Lusatian culture, spanning both the Bronze and Iron Ages, became prominent; the most famous archaeological find from the prehistory and protohistory of Poland is the Biskupin fortified settlement, dating from the Lusatian culture of the early Iron Age, around 700 BC.
Throughout the Antiquity period, many distinct ancient ethnic groups populated the regions of what is now Poland in an era that dates from about 400 BC to 500 AD. These groups are identified as Celtic, Slavic and Germanic tribes. Recent archeological findings in the Kujawy region, confirmed the presence of the Roman Legions on the territory of Poland; these were most expeditionary missions sent out to protect the amber trade. The exact time and routes of the original migration and settlement of Slavic peoples lacks written records and can only be defined as fragmented; the Slavic tribes who would form Poland migrated to these areas in the second half of the 5th century AD. Up until the creation of Mieszko's state and his subsequent conversion to Christianity in 966 AD, the main religion of Slavic tribes that inhabited the geographical area of present-day Poland was Slavic paganism. With the Baptism of Poland the Polish rulers accepted Christianity and the religious authority of the Roman Church.
However, the transition from paganism was not a smooth and instantaneous process for the rest of the population as evident from the pagan reaction of the 1030s. Poland began to form into a recognizable unitary and territorial entity around the middle of the 10th century under the Piast dynasty. Poland's first documented ruler, Mieszko I, accepted Christianity with the Baptism of Poland in 966, as the new official religion of his subjects; the bulk of the population converted in the course of the next few centuries. In 1000, Boleslaw the Brave, continuing the policy of his father Mieszko, held a Congress of Gniezno and created the metropolis of Gniezno and the dioceses of Kraków, Kołobrzeg, Wrocław. However, the pagan unrest led to the transfer of the capital to Kraków in 1038 by Casimir I the Restorer. In 1109, Prince Bolesław III Wrymouth defeated the King of Germany Henry V at the Battle of Hundsfeld, stopping the Ge
The Vistula is the longest and largest river in Poland and the 9th longest river in Europe, at 1,047 kilometres in length. The drainage basin area of the Vistula is 193,960 km2; the remainder is in Belarus and Slovakia. The Vistula rises at Barania Góra in the south of Poland, 1,220 meters above sea level in the Silesian Beskids, where it begins with the White Little Vistula and the Black Little Vistula, it flows over the biggest cities including Kraków, Warsaw, Płock, Włocławek, Toruń, Bydgoszcz, Świecie, Grudziądz, Tczew and Gdańsk. It empties into the Vistula Lagoon or directly into the Gdańsk Bay of the Baltic Sea with a delta and several branches; the name was first recorded by Pliny in AD 77 in his Natural History. Mela names the river Vistula, Pliny uses Vistla; the root of the name Vistula is Indo-European *u̯eis-'to ooze, flow slowly' and is found in many European rivernames. The diminutive endings -ila, -ula, were used in many Indo-European languages, including Latin. In writing about the Vistula River and its peoples, Ptolemy uses the Greek spelling Ouistoula.
Other ancient sources spell it Istula. Ammianus Marcellinus refers to the Bisula. Jordanes uses Viscla. 12th-century Polish chronicler Wincenty Kadłubek Latinised the rivername as Vandalus, a form influenced by Lithuanian vanduõ'water', while Jan Długosz in his Annales seu cronicae incliti regni Poloniae called the Vistula'white waters' referring to the White Little Vistula: "a nationibus orientalibus Polonis vicinis, ob aquae candorem Alba aqua... nominatur." Over the course of history the river possessed several names in different languages such as Low German: Wießel, Dutch: Wijsel, Yiddish: ווייסל Yiddish pronunciation: and Russian: Висла. The Vistula river is formed in the southern Silesian Voivodeship of Poland from two sources, the Czarna Wisełka at an altitude of 1,107 m and the Biała Wisełka at an altitude of 1,080 m on the western slope of Barania Góra in the Silesian Beskids; the Vistula can be divided into three parts: upper, from its sources to Sandomierz. The Vistula river basin covers 194,424 square kilometres.
In addition, the majority of its river basin is 100 to 200 m above sea level. The highest point of the river basin is at 2,655 metres. One of the features of the river basin of the Vistula is its asymmetry—in great measure resulting from the tilting direction of the Central European Lowland toward the northwest, the direction of the flow of glacial waters, considerable predisposition of its older base; the asymmetry of the river basin is 73–27%. The most recent glaciation of the Pleistocene epoch, which ended around 10,000 BC, is called the Vistulian glaciation or Weichselian glaciation in regard to north-central Europe; the river forms. The delta starts around Biała Góra near Sztum, about 50 km from the mouth, where the river Nogat splits off; the Nogat starts separately as a river named Alte Nogat south of Marienwerder, but further north it picks up water from a crosslink with the Vistula, becomes a distributary of the Vistula, flowing away northeast into the Vistula Lagoon with a small delta.
The Nogat formed part of the border between interwar Poland. The other channel of the Vistula below this point is sometimes called the Leniwka. Various causes have caused many severe floods of the Vistula down the centuries. Land in the area was sometimes depopulated by severe flooding, had to be resettled. See for a reconstruction map of the delta area as it was around year 1300: note much more water in the area, the west end of the Vistula Lagoon was bigger, nearly continuous with the Drausen See; as with some aggrading rivers, the lower Vistula has been subject to channel changing. Near the sea, the Vistula was diverted sideways by coastal sand as a result of longshore drift and split into an east-flowing branch and a west-flowing branch; until the 14th century, the Elbing Vistula was the bigger. 1242: The Stara Wisła cut an outlet to the sea through the barrier near Mikoszewo where the Vistula Cut is now. 1371: The Danzig Vistula became bigger than the Elbing Vistula. 1540 and 1543: Huge floods depopulated the delta area, afterwards the land was resettled by Mennonite Germans, economic development followed.
1553: By a plan made by Da