World Country USSR or Russia

About the world country USSR or Russia, its location, size, population, and who is in power.



Location: Eastern Europe and northern Asia, from the Baltic Sea to the Bering Sea. Size: 8,649,498 sq. mi. (22,402,200 sq. km.). Population: 269,302,000 (72% Slavic).

Who Really Rules: The U.S.S.R. consists of 15 union republics, 20 autonomous republics, and numerous smaller political divisions. Each entity is governed by the Communist party, headed by a politburo made up of older male civilians, predominantly of Russian nationality. In theory a federation, U.S.S.R. political authority and economic planning are centralized, with Russians playing an important role even in homelands of other nationalities.

Most of the economy is state-owned, though an underground commerce persists in border republics. The economy, like the government, is run by party bureaucrats, whose material and social privileges increase with performance and promotion. Under the leadership of Leonid Brezhnev, party general secretary and Presidium chairman, the ruling group has delegated decision-making authority to lower-level bureaucrats. Interest groups, based upon industrial affiliation, have emerged, but they remain subordinate to the top party men.

While centralizing the economy and politics, the Russian leadership has protected and promoted the culture and language of the diverse Soviet nationalities. In many regions this had led to a revival of nationalism, but there is no current threat of secession. However, with a much higher birthrate in Muslim central Asia than in the European zones, the country's demographic balance is changing. Ethnic Russians will soon make up less than half of the population, while the Muslim share is 20% and rising.

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