30 December 1922: the Soviet Union is born

On this day in 1922, delegates from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Transcaucus agreed to the formation of the Soviet Union.

The overthrow of the Russian Empire in 1917 brought with it years of chaos. Independent nation states sprung up along the fringes of the old empire, while the newly created socialist republics of Belarus, Ukraine and the Transcaucasus clung on to their ties with Moscow.

No sooner had the Tsar been deposed than a bloody civil war broke out. Foreign armies camped on Russian soil, and to add to the country's misery, the fledgling government in Moscow was at war with Poland from 1919.

War communism' an unpopular economic policy designed to keep the army and factory workers fed was enacted. This required farmers to surrender any crop surpluses to the state. But with peace came the New Economic Policy', and a limited return to capitalism.

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE

Get 6 issues free

Sign up to Money Morning

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Don't miss the latest investment and personal finances news, market analysis, plus money-saving tips with our free twice-daily newsletter

Sign up

A period of relative prosperity and stability followed. The "commissar for nationality affairs", one Joseph Stalin, turned his thoughts to unifying the republics.

In late 1922, Stalin convened a joint session of the Congress of the Soviets in Moscow. Representatives from Ukraine, Belarus and the Transcaucasus agreed to harmonise the judiciary, state funding and most importantly, establish a common Soviet citizenship.

By the end of December, the Treaty on the Creation of the USSR and the Declaration of the Creation of the USSR had been approved by the delegates of all four republics. The Soviet Union was born. Provision was made for other republics to join later, which they did, and the treaty remained in force right up until the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.