The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was a Marxist–Leninist state that started in Russia and became the USSR in 1922 and lasted until 1991. The last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, ruled the Russian Empire until his abdication in March 1917 in the aftermath of the February Revolution. The end of the Second World War established the Soviet Union as a superpower on the world stage. The Cold War that followed led to an arms race and several conflicts that helped bring about the unrest that, in combination with a failing economy, led to the changes that would collapse and dissolve the USSR.
In the late 1980s the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, sought to reform the USSR by introducing the policies of glasnost and perestroika in an attempt to end the period of economic stagnation while democratizing the government. This ultimately pushed the union to dissolve because it restored autonomy to the satellite republics and the Warsaw Pact nations of eastern Europe.
The Soviet collection is not limited to the Soviet Union. Member nations of the Warsaw Pact also make up the collection that highlights the relationship between Moscow and her allies as well as civilian life, the party, state, and military.