The United Soviet Socialists Republic, or Soviet Union, was made up of many different States, the largest of which was Russia. These states were originally four in number, but had grown to fifteen by 1956. When the USSR collapsed, these fifteen states became separate countries. Its borders constantly changed throughout the period. At some points it was the approximate size of the old Imperial Russia, but at others it was much larger. Its symbol, the Sickle and Hammer, represents equality for all, although this was far from the truth. The most renowned leader of the USSR was Joseph Stalin (1878-1953), who led Russia through World War 2. He began office in 1922, but after 1928 he increased his control over the Communist party and ended up dictator of the entire nation.