The USSR, which had grafted onto the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic several countries that had had short-lived independence (Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the lands of Central Asia), never reconciled itself to having lost West Ukraine, West Belarus, Bessarabia, and the three Baltic states (territories which formerly belonged to the Russian Empire) in the course of 1919-21. Thus they aimed to annex these territories as well as to obtain a buffer zone from Finland in 1939-40 (see Soviet-Finnish War). After the Soviet invasion of Poland following the corresponding German invasion that marked the start of World War II in 1939, the Soviet Union annexed eastern parts (so-called "Kresy") of the Second Polish Republic (see Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact). In 1940 the Soviet Union annexed Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bessarabia and Bukovina (see Occupation of Baltic states).
During the Cold War, the term Eastern Bloc (or Soviet Bloc) was used to refer to the Soviet Union and countries it controlled in Central and Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania). Hungary was invaded by the Soviet Army in 1956 after it had overthrown its pro-Soviet government and replaced it with one that sought a more democratic communist path independent of Moscow; when Polish communist leaders tried to elect Władysław Gomułka as First Secretary they were issued an ultimatum by Soviet military that occupied Poland ordering them to withdraw election of Gomulka for the First Secretary or be "crushed by Soviet tanks". Czechoslovakia was invaded in 1968 after a period of liberalization known as the Prague Spring. The latter invasion was codified in formal Soviet policy as the Brezhnev Doctrine. In 1979 the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan to ensure that a pro-Soviet regime would be in power in the country (see Soviet war in Afghanistan). Poland was afraid of getting invaded by the USSR during the early 1980s due to the strikes associated with Solidarity which called for an end to the communist government there.
Read more about this topic: Invasion, Other Examples of Historically Significant Invasions
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Famous quotes containing the words empire and/or soviet:
“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.”
—Winston Churchill (18741965)
“There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be under a Ford administration.... The United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union.”
—Gerald R. Ford (b. 1913)