Difference Between Russia and Soviet Union

Russia vs Soviet Union

Russia and Soviet Union are two sovereign states that stretch across two continents: Asia and Europe. However, the Soviet Union, officially Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, is now a defunct government that split into the Russian Federation and several other small countries. Therefore, it is important to have a look at the difference between Russia and Soviet Union.

Soviet Union

The Soviet Union was originally composed of the Russian Empire, which was inaugurated when the Empire was overthrown by Vladimir Lenin in 1917. Referred to as the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, it was not yet named the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republic). In 1922, the USSR was formed by the union of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Transcaucasian Republics. The USSR had one party political system where the Communist Party dominated. During its time, the USSR was the single largest state in the world, and it covered more than 8.6 million square miles. The capital of the USSR was Moscow. Since USSR was stretched over two continents, it had five climatic zones namely tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.


The economy of the Soviet Union started first as a planned economy where the government handled the production and distribution of goods. No one was allowed to own anything. This cumulated in an economic disaster which resulted in a new policy. This New Economic Policy legalized free trade and the ownership of small business. The rise of Stalin, however, saw the end of the New Economic Policy and saw the birth of the Soviet Union as a new industrialized world power. Soviet transportation was technologically backward except for the railway system, which was the best in the world at that time. This is because a good transport system (the railways)was dictated by the centralization of all economic decisions. However, roads and other means of transportation remained underdeveloped. The Soviet Union was ethnically diverseas the ethnicity of the people was sometimes chosen in some cases. At the age of 16, if the child’s parents did not agree on the child’s ethnicity, his ethnicity will be the same as his mother’s. The Soviet Union was an atheist state according to their laws, but there were people that professed religion. Most of them were Russian Orthodox Christians and the rest were divided between Protestants and Muslims and Roman Catholics.


Russia is one of the resulting states from the fallout of the Soviet Union,assuming the duties of the Soviet Union when it dissolved. Russia retained majority of the territories from the Soviet Union including Siberia. Russia has the 10th largest economy in the world as it owns great amounts of natural resources, particularly oil and natural gas. Even though it was wrecked by political unrest, the Russian economy continued to grow over the years.

Difference Between Russia and Soviet Union

Tourism in Russia also experienced massive growth with the economic progress it was experiencing. Moscow and St. Petersburg, the former and current capital cities, are the most visited cities in the world. These cities also feature world renowned museums like the Tretyakov Gallery and the Hermitage, theaters such as the Bolshoi and Mariinsky, and churches such as Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The Kremlin is also a big attraction as it is home to certain important city squares such as the Red Square. The Black Sea coastline is also home to some attractive beaches and resorts and will be the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Tourists also flock to Lake Baikal, the volcanoes and geysers of Kamchatka, the lakes of Karelia and the Altai Mountains. Travelling around the Russian Federation is still done by train since it inherited one of the best railway systems from the dissolved Soviet Union. However, unlike the USSR, the roads in Russia are now developed.

What is the difference between Russia and Soviet Union?

The major difference between the Soviet Union and Russia is the eras in which they existed. The USSR lasted from 1917 to about 1991 while Russia continued from that point in time. Except for economic progress, the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation are the same in terms of people and culture, although the Soviet Union has more ethnic diversity because of the inclusion of Asian states such as Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. Then, government-wise, the Soviet Union, is a communist republic while the Russian Federation is a federation and a semi-presidential republic. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, more political parties have risen in Russia’s government although the Communist Party is still one of the major ones. At its simplest, the Soviet Union and Russia is one and the same. The Soviet Union is the predecessor of the current Russian Federation.


Soviet Union vs Russia

• Soviet Union, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, is a defunct union of countries that spans over Europe and Asia. It had a single-party political system and closed economic policy.

• Russia or the Russian Federation is the successor of the Soviet Union and consists now only of Russia and Siberia for the most part. It has since abandoned the single party political system and is now a federalist republic.

• The tourist spots in Russia and the Soviet Union is still the same, with the major cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg attracting the majority of visitors. However, there are many natural wonders that merits visitation, like Lake Baikal.


Photos By: Dennis Jarvis (CC BY- SA 2.0), Ludovic Hirlimann (CC BY- SA 2.0)

  • swift69

    “small” countries?  How, exactly, does Ukraine, the largest country entirely in Europe, qualify as a “small” country?

    What a lame article.

    • Fuckyou!!!

      Um…Russia, which is in Europe, is a larger country then Ukraine.

      • ANYBODYK52

        Russia is in Asia Asshole!

        • Fuckyou!!!

          @ ANYBODYK52

          “Russia is in Asia Asshole”

          LOL, shows how little you know. Russia is a combined landmass of Europe and Asia, which is called Eurasia.

          Western Russia (i.e. European Russia) is in Europe. Western Russia (i.e. European Russia) is 40% of Europe. Ukraine used to be a part of Russia and at that time the percentage of Western Russia (i.e. European Russia) used to be much higher. Belarus used to be a part of Russia too, specifically a part of Western Russia (i.e. European Russia). The majority of the Russian population lives in Western Russia (i.e European Russia). Russia is a larger country than Ukraine. Russia is the largest country in the world.

          The Soviet Union split into Russia (larger than Ukraine and Belarus) and other small countries such as Ukraine and Belarus.

      • ANYBODYK52

        Russia is in Asia Asshole!

    • Fuckyou!!!

      Ukraine qualifies as a small country because the article is about Russia and the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union split into Russia and other small countries such as Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldavia. Kyrgyzstan was a part of the Soviet Union and is by far larger than Ukraine; though Kyrgyzstan is small compared to Russia.

      The article is NOT about Europe. Ukraine is the largest country that is ENTIRELY in Europe.

      Russia is the largest country that is NOT ENTIRELY in Europe. Western Russia (i.e. European Russia) is larger than Ukraine.

    • Hawaii_Doc

      When compared to US states like Alaska and Texas, Ukraine might be considered as small by some. Now that Russia has stolen Crimea from Ukraine it makes Ukraine only slightly larger than the US states on Nevada and California combined. This just shows how small European nations are, with the exception of Russia.

  • Hawaii_Doc

    Please look up the definition of a continent. Russia lies on one (1) continent, Eurasia. Europe nor Asia are not seperate continents but merely the opposie ends of the same continent. In fact Africa too is part of the same continent. Most people also beieve that North America and South America are two seperate continents, they are in fact a single continent named America. These are facts that are geologically correct despite what you were wrongly taught in school. I invite you to verify these facts for yourself.

  • Brandon

    Their athletes are not as great.