won several decisive victories during border clashes with the Empire of Japan in 19However, in April 1941, ussr signed the SovietJapanese Neutrality Pact with the Japan, recognizing the territorial integrity of Manchukuo, a Japanese puppet state. 27 The European portion accounted for a quarter of the country's area, and was the cultural and economic center. This resulted in a break throughout the global MarxistLeninist movement, with the governments in Albania, Cambodia and Somalia choosing to ally with China in place of the ussr. These improvements continued into the 1960s, when Soviet statistics indicated that the life expectancy in the Soviet Union briefly surpassed that of the United States. For the first time since the 1920s, it refused to rubber stamp proposals from the party and Council of Ministers. Archived from the original on "Russia". A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War from Stalin to Gorbachev. At the start, this decline grew very rapidly but gradually slowed down between 19From 19, it grew even slower, clarification needed only.6 percent. Brzezinski, Zbigniew; Brzezinski, Zbigniew K; Sullivan, Paige (1997). With the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and with East Germany and West Germany pursuing unification, the Iron Curtain between the West and Soviet-controlled regions came down. Retrieved rdt, John (2003). 162 Petroleum and petroleum-based products, natural gas, metals, wood, agricultural products, and a variety of manufactured goods, primarily machinery, arms and military equipment, were exported. Deffeyes, Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak. Stalin had the support of the majority of the religious people in the Soviet Union even through the late 1980s.