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A spetsnaz senior lieutenant, just after a parachute jump. Due to the covert nature of their operations, spetsnaz units wore the uniforms of the units to which they were attached — in this case, the Vozdushno-Desantniye Voyska (trans. Russian: 'airborne forces'). [Image: Leonid Yakutin.]
Союз Советских Социалистических Республик
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, also called the Soviet Union and USSR, was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991.
Initially established as a union of four Soviet Socialist Republics, the USSR grew to contain 15 constituent or 'union republics' by 1956: Armenian SSR, Azerbaijan SSR, Byelorussian SSR, Estonian SSR, Georgian SSR, Kazakh SSR, Kirghiz SSR, Latvian SSR, Lithuanian SSR, Moldavian SSR, Russian SFSR, Tajik SSR, Turkmen SSR, Ukrainian SSR, and Uzbek SSR. (From annexation of the Estonian SSR on 6 August 1940 up to the reorganisation of the Karelo–Finnish SSR into the Karelian ASSR on 16 July 1956, the count of 'union republics' was 16.)