Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world’s first constitutionally socialist state. The Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, and emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War. The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world’s first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space.
By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world’s second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the partition of the Soviet Union in 1991, fourteen independent republics emerged from the USSR; as the largest, most populous, and most economically developed republic, the Russian SFSR reconstituted itself as the Russian Federation and is recognized as the continuing legal personality and sole successor state of the Soviet Union. It is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic.