Shortly after the end of the conflict, started a rivalry beteen western powers and USSR, called “Cold War”.
After Stalin's death in 1953, Soviet heavy industry and military might continued to grow under Georgy Malenkov (1953-1955) and Nikita Khrushchev (1955-1964), as General Secretary of the Communist Party.
In addition to forced collectivization of agriculture and renationalisation of industries, Stalin introduced a ruthlessly centralized economic system ("socialism in one country") that rapidly industrialized the USSR.
Stalin's rivals to succeed Lenin, as well as critics arising thereafter, typically ended up as victims of the purges.
Russian identity can be traced to the Middle Ages, with first eastern Slavic state known as Kievan Rus and its religion rooted in Byzantine Christianity adopted from Constantinople. Peter The Great established the Russian Empire in 1721, although the Romanov dynasty had been in power since 1613.