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Historical images of the Soviet Union - 1917

Soldiers on their horses are seen riding down a street in St. Petersburg, Russia (called Petrograd during Communist rule), during the outbreak of the 1917 revolution. (AP Photo)

Historical images of the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union was created as a result of the Russian Revolution of 1917.

The Bolsheviks overthrew the Russian czar, paving the way for the birth of the socialist state with the Marxist Vladimir Lenin as the first leader, followed by Joseph Stalin as dictator in 1924.

The Communist Party continued to rule the Soviet Union until 1991, when the last of the 15 Soviet republics separated from the Soviet Union following reforms by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Other eastern European Communist countries had already had mostly peaceful revolutions, falling one by one beginning in 1989.

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