- "No, this is a dictatorship. You get to call all the shots, and I get to take all the shots."
- —Martin Stein to Valentina Vostok on the Soviet Union[src]
The Soviet Union, also known as the U.S.S.R., was a dictatorship located on the Eurasian continent which existed during the 20th century, defined by its ideology of Communism. The Union fought against the Nazis during World War II, and later opposed the United States during the Cold War. In 1991, the Soviet Union collapsed due to failing economy and crumbling ideology. It was a precursor to capitalist Russia.
Although the Justice Society of America members like Amaya Jiwe believed that fighting Adolf Hitler would unite the United States. and Soviet Union, the two powers ultimately ended up in a world-spanning rivalry called the Cold War. As USA's friendship with the Soviet Union dissolved, the Justice Society continued fighting as what was known as the "Iron Curtain" descended over Central and Eastern Europe. A diplomatic cable from 1956 from the British ambassador warned the JSA about Soviet spies in their midst, leading to President Eisenhower suspecting Todd Rice/Obsidian as the traitor, (a suspicion likely biased due to prejudice towards Rice's homosexuality). The team, lacking Rice, was sent into Leipzig, Germany, now under Soviet military control, on a secret mission. They never made it back.
Prior to 1986, according to the Pentagon of the United States, Vandal Savage had defected to the Soviet Union. Savage sought to "ignite" the Cold War between the superpowers, pushing the world closer to a global nuclear war. To achieve this, he joined Dr. Valentina Vostok and supplied her research with the information he received due to the actions of time traveling members of Rip Hunter's team – the knowledge of meta-humans, particularly, Firestorm.
In 1986, Rip Hunter sent Leonard Snart and Ray Palmer on a spy mission, with the goal of deducing important information on the location of Soviet military research facility from Dr. Vostok. This allowed them to discover information about "Operation Svarog", named after a Slavic god of fire. Later, the facility was visited by Ray, Mick Rory, and Martin Stein on another espionage mission, only for them to be captured by Mikhail Arkadin and his troops. The prisoners were sent to the Koshmar prison.
To save his team members, Rip, Leonard Snart, and Sara Lance contacted Yuri the Bear of Solntsevskaya Bratva in his bathhouse, requesting assistance. After proving their strength to Yuri, the team was assisted by the Bratva in their infiltration of Koshmar. Meanwhile, Mikhail tortured Ray and Mick before the eyes of Martin, all at the behest of Savage, who caught wind of the time-travelers' infiltration. It turned out that Dr. Vostok's plan was the creation of a Soviet Firestorm, which would allow the Soviet Union to destroy the United States in war. Realizing that there was a possibility of a future in which many Firestorm-like meta-humans would destroy Star City cementing, Rip Hunter's team faced a dilemma on whether they should eliminate Martin and prevent such a future, or try to do the impossible and save him from Koshmar.
Deciding on the infiltration solution, the team managed to rescue Ray and Mick and temporarily kill Savage. Although Dr. Vostok was successful in her experiment to conjoin with Martin into a Soviet Firestorm, the appearance of Jefferson Jackson helped Martin Stein to break off Vostok's control. Left without a meta-human half needed to survive the exposure to the Firestorm Matrix, Dr. Vostok melted down in a nuclear explosion that covered the whole of Koshmar prison.
At some point in his life after 1986, Anatoly Knyazev became an operative for the KGB, Soviet secret service. According to Knyazev himself, it "taught him many things", particularly information on the workings of landmines.
On December 8, 1987, the INF Treaty on reducing nuclear arsenals was supposed to be signed between the United States' Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev. The Union's secret service, the KGB, opposed the treaty, and some of its opportunist agents tried to make a deal with H.I.V.E. leader Damien Darhk, who managed to somehow infiltrate the Reagan Adminsitration the day before. The KGB's deal included a transfer of some artifact for Darhk in exchange for the United States (Earth-1) (Earth-1)' nuclear codes. Additionally, Darhk set a bomb to destroy both nations' leaders, as well as the delegations in the White House. When his plan was discovered by the Legends, Darhk and his Ghosts killed the KGB agents, but were ultimately foiled in their schemes by the time traveling team.
- "In 1991, your economy fails, and your empire crumbles. But the truth is the world is better off. In my time, crooks and thieves rule your country, desperate to hang on to power and the riches they divide amongst their cronies. My country is by no means perfect, but at least we are free to criticize our government, vote in fair elections, and love whom we choose. I, uh, hate to break this to you, Dr. Vostok. You are on the wrong side of history."
- —Martin Stein on the legacy of Soviet Union[src]
In 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved due to the crumbling of its ideology and economy. Independent states, such as Ukraine and Markovia had arisen after the Union dissolved. The successor state, Russia, fell under the reign of crooked politicians, with the mafia stronger than ever. Ironically, despite its long existence under the ideology of Communism, by 2013 the situation in Russia was such that, as noted by Anatoly Knyazev, there was nothing in the country that money couldn't buy.
- Anatoly Knyazev
- Joseph Stalin (deceased)
- Mikhail Arkadin (deceased)
- Mikhail Gorbachev (1987)
- Valentina Vostok (deceased)
- Yuri (status unknown)
- Jefferson Jackson
- Kendra Saunders
- Leonard Snart (deceased)
- Martin Stein (deceased)
- Mick Rory
- Ray Palmer
- Rip Hunter
- Sara Lance
- Vandal Savage (deceased)
Places of interest
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
- According to Sara Lance, in 1986 the drinking age in Soviet Union was 12.
- According to Ray Palmer, lack of the last meal for prisoners, particularly turkey and mayo, is the reason "why Communism sucks".
Behind the scenes
- Historically, "Soviet Union" is short for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (abbreviated USSR), which was a socialist state on the Eurasian continent that existed between 1922 and 1991. A union of multiple Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The Soviet Union was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital.
- In DC Comics, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is featured primarily during the stories that deal with the topic of Cold War. Like in , it attempted to create a Firestorm of its own, cloning the meta-human into a creature known as "Svarozhich". Mikhail Arkadin eventually became a true Firestorm, operating as a superhero known as Pozhar.