Political map of Russia & the former Soviet Union 21 November 1945 (Soviet Post-War Power): In the aftermath of World War II (Aftermath of World War II), Soviet occupied territory stretched from central and eastern Europe (Eastern bloc) to northern China, North Korea (Division of Korea), and the Kurile Islands. However, its population and economy had been devastated by the war and it was surrounded on all sides by an increasingly hostile alliance led by the United States (Origins of the Cold War), the world's only nuclear power.