"This is not Russia, where just because he wears a little metal badge, a man is immune to law."
Statue of Lenin, Riga
Public DomainStatue of Lenin, Riga - Credit: V. Turchaninov

The Soviet Union was formally constituted in 1922 in the wake of the collapse of the Russian Empire during the Revolution of 1917. Initially headed by Lenin and then by Stalin from 1924, it was the world’s first Communist state. The Union was run along Marxist-Leninist principles which advocated a centralized policy of enforced wealth redistribution to be carried out by party elites. The brutal crushing of political adversaries attracted the censure of the U.S., whilst communism’s opposition to liberalism, capitalism and bourgeois democracy engendered deep suspicion in a country founded upon those values.