The Soviet Union was a peaceful place. The rate of violent crime was relatively low. Though the Union encompassed 11 time zones and vastly different cultural backgrounds, the people did not engage in civil wars. It was directly engaged in few "hot" wars over decades. They often declared that they were a nation of peace. That fits the definition of peace as the absence of war and violent crime. Anyone who knows the history of the Soviet Union, however, recognizes that this definition twists the truth beyond recognition. The Soviet Union was an extremely violent, often-terrifying place where people were seized in the middle of the night by government agents, never to be seen again. The Gulag system became the permanent, though usually short-lived, home for millions of miserable individuals who had become enemies of "the people", which really meant they did something that someone didn't like or that wasn't politically acceptable.