The Russian Federation—formerly the Russian SFSR—assumed the Soviet Union's rights and obligations and is recognized as the successor state of the Soviet Union. 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 initially named as the Union of Soviet Republics of Europe and Asia (Russian: Stalin initially resisted the proposal, but ultimately accepted it, although – with Lenin's agreement – he changed the name of the newly proposed state to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, although all the republics began as Socialist Soviet and did not change to the other order until 1936.
In summing up the international ramifications of these events, Vladislav Zubok stated: "The collapse of the Soviet empire was an event of epochal geopolitical, military, ideological and economic significance." and all ultimately deriving from the Proto-Slavic verbal stem of *vět-iti "to inform", related to Slavic "věst" ("news"), English "wise", the root in "ad-vis-or" (which came to English through French), or the Dutch "weten" (to know; cf. In addition, in the national languages of several republics the word "Council/Conciliar" in the respective language was only quite late changed to an adaptation of the Russian "Soviet" – and never in others, e.g., Ukraine.
The Soviet Union was officially established in December 1922 with the union of the Russian, Ukrainian, Byelorussian, and Transcaucasian Soviet republics, each ruled by local Bolshevik parties.
In the 1970s, there was a brief détente of relations with the United States, but tensions resumed with the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979.
In the mid-1980s, the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform and liberalize the economy through his policies of glasnost and perestroika.
The Soviet Union was one of the five recognized 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 (OSCE) and the leading member of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) and the Warsaw Pact.