Soviet Top League

The Soviet Top League, known after 1970 as the Higher League (Russian: Высшая лига[1]) served as the top division of Soviet Union football from 1936 until 1991.

Soviet Top League
Высшая лига
Founded22 May 1936 (as Group A)
Folded1991, with the fall of USSR
after 54 seasons
CountrySoviet Union
Number of teamsvaried
Level on pyramidLevel 1
Relegation toSoviet First League
Domestic cup(s)Soviet Cup
USSR Super Cup
League cup(s)USSR Federation Cup
International cup(s)European Cup
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
Last championsCSKA Moscow
Most championshipsFC Dynamo Kyiv (13)
Top goalscorer211 - Oleg Blokhin

The professional top level of football competition among clubs was established in 1936 on proposition of Nikolai Starostin and was approved by the All-Union Council of Physical Culture. Originally it was called as Group A and after the World War II as the First Group. In 1950 after another reform of football in the Soviet Union, the First Group was replaced with Class A. By 1970 the Class A had expanded to three tiers with the top tier known as the Higher Group which in 1971 was renamed into the Higher League.

It was one of the best football leagues in Europe, ranking second among the UEFA members in 1988-1989 seasons. Three of its representatives reached the finals of the European club tournaments on four occasions: FC Dynamo Kyiv, FC Dinamo Tbilisi, and FC Dynamo Moscow. In the same way that the international community widely considers Russia to be the political successor state to the Soviet Union, UEFA considers the Russian Premier League to have succeeded the Soviet Top League.


Introduction and popularization

The league was established on the initiative of head of Spartak sport society, Nikolai Starostin.[2] Starostin proposed to create eight professional club teams in six Soviet cities and hold two championship tournaments per calendar year.[2] With minor corrections, the Soviet Council on Physical Culture accepted the Starostin's proposal creating a league of "demonstration teams of master" which were sponsored by sport societies and factories.[2] Nikolai Starostin de facto became a godfather of the Soviet championships.[3] Numerous mass events took place to promote the newly established competition, among which there was an introduction of football exhibition game as part of the Moscow Physical Culture Day parade, invitation of football team from Basque region which was on the side supported by Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War and others.

In 1936 the first secretary of Komsomol Kosarev came up with an idea of playing an actual football game at the Red Square as part of the Physical Culture Day parade.[4] Stalin never attended any sports events, but the Physical Culture Day was an exclusion to the rule.[4] The 1936 Physical Culture Day parade was directed by Russian theatre director Valentin Pluchek.[4] For the football game, a giant green felt carpet was sewn by Spartak athletes and laid down on the Red Square's cobblestones.[4] A night before the parade, the rug was stitched together in sections, rolled up and then stored in a vestibule of the GUM department store located at the square.[4] Following the 1936 Red Square game, it became a tradition before the World War II and part of the Physical Culture Day parade event.[4]

In the late 1930s Spartak was giving out thousands of tickets per game to members of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks).[2] Among serious football fans was Lavrentiy Beria who proposed to have one team from each of union republics in the league.[2] In July 1937 a conflict erupted following a successful tour to the Soviet Union of a football team from Basque region during which the main governing body of sports in the country, the All-Union Council of Physical Culture, was accused by the party and Komsomol for failing the sports policy.[2] Spartak's leadership and Starostin in particular were accused of corruption and implementing "bourgeoisie methods" in Soviet sport.[2]

The most prominent clubs of the league were FC Dynamo Kyiv, FC Spartak Moscow, and FC Dynamo Moscow. The most popular clubs besides the above-mentioned were PFC CSKA Moscow, FC Ararat Yerevan, and FC Dinamo Tbilisi. The first team that won 10 championships was Dynamo Moscow in 1963, followed by Spartak in 1979. Dinamo Tbilisi became famous for finishing third but never winning the title, the first title they won in 1964. Perceived as exclusively Russian by people from other countries, the league was truly multinational with other republics in the USSR being represented.

Eleven clubs spent over 30 seasons in the league with just under half (five) of them from Moscow. Dynamo Moscow and Dynamo Kyiv were the only clubs that participated in all seasons of the league. Among other prominent Russian clubs were SKA Rostov/Donu (Army team), Zenit Leningrad (Zenith), and Krylia Sovietov Kuibyshev (Wings of the Soviets). Ukraine was also often represented by Shakhtar Donetsk (Miners) and later by Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk who were strong in the 1980s.

After the league's reorganization number of Ukrainian-based clubs grew and in the last seasons before the breakup of the USSR, Ukraine was often equally represented with the Russian clubs. Among the Soviet sports societies most successful were Dynamo and Army clubs, both of which also were closely associated with state enforcing agencies.


Over the years the league changed, however from the 1970s its competition structure solidified with 16 participants, except from 1979 through 1985 when the number of participants was extended to 18. Because of the dissolution of the Soviet Union the structure of the league also became unstable as more and more clubs lost interest in continuing to participate in the league. Attempts to reorganize the league took place, however practically all of them were not successful.

Until the 1960s the main title contenders in the league were the Moscow clubs of Spartak and Dynamo whose dominance was disrupted for only a brief period after World War II by CSKA Moscow, nicknamed 'The team of lieutenants'.

The 1960s saw the emergence of a new Soviet football elite in Torpedo Moscow and Dynamo Kyiv. While Moscow's automakers did not manage to grow into perennial challengers, the team from the Ukrainian capital became an unofficial feeder for the Soviet national team, replacing Dynamo Moscow. Dynamo Kyiv's success as a Ukrainian club was supplemented in the 1980s with the appearance of Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk led by its striker Oleh Protasov who set a new record for goals scored in a season. In 1984, Zenit Leningrad became Soviet champions for the first time. The Peter's men having a rich history in Russian football but for a long were unable to break the dominance of the Moscow-based clubs, or that of Dynamo Tbilisi and Kyiv.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has been suggested that the competition be re-established along the lines of the Commonwealth of Independent States Cup, but due to a lack of interest on various levels the venture has never implemented. There were various other similar initiatives which ultimately found no support and were discontinued.


Documentation about the league is scarce. Among well-known researchers are Aksel Vartanyan for Sport Express, Andrei Moroz and Georgiy Ibragimov for KLISF Club, Alexandru G.Paloşanu, Eugene Berkovich, Mike Dryomin, Almantas Lauzadis, and Hans Schöggl for RSSSF Archives. Another extensive databases are composed at and FC Dynamo Moscow website.


Since its creation, the Soviet Top League's name changed a quite few times:

1936 – 1941 Group A (Группа А)

Prior to World War II the championship was split into several groups usually of eight teams and named by the letters of the Cyrillic script.

1945 – 1949 The First Group of USSR (Первая группа СССР)

Upon the reestablishment of the league after the war for several years it was numbered sequentially with the top league being the First.

1950 – 1962 Class "A" of USSR (Класс "А" СССР)

Since 1950, the alphabetical classification of the Soviet league hierarchy has resumed. In 1960 through 1962 the league consisted of two groups with the better clubs qualified for the championship pool and less fortunate – the relegation pool.

1963 – 1969 The First Group "A" of USSR (Первая группа "А" СССР)

European representation

The first time the Soviet League was represented in Europe in the 1965-66 European Cup Winners' Cup by Dynamo Kyiv. In its first year the club reached the quarterfinals, eliminating on its way Coleraine and Rosenborg and winning all four matches with those clubs. The Ukrainians also knocked out reigning champions Celtic in the first round in the 1967-68 European Cup. In the 1968-69 season the Soviet clubs withdrew from continental competitions after the invasion of Czechoslovakia. From 1974 (except for the 1982-83 season) to 1984 the league was among the best 10 national competitions in the UEFA rankings (based on continental competitions performance) reaching the 4th place in 1976 and 1977. From 1985 the Soviet Top League was among the best four in Europe, until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In 1987 and 1988 the Soviet Top League was the second best league in Europe, however by the end of the Soviet Union the results of its representatives worsened as top players could now leave and play for foreign leagues in the West. The very last coefficient position that the Soviet League placed was No. 9 in 1992. The 1992/93 season all the results of the Soviet League were transferred to the Russian Premier League. Throughout its history the representatives of the league on four occasions made to the finals of the three primary European competitions being victorious in three. Once a Soviet club was able to win the UEFA Super Cup.

Football championship among city teams (1923–1935)

Before establishment of professional competitions among clubs, in the Soviet Union existed another competition that was conducted among collective teams of various cities or republics.

SeasonChampionRunner-Up3rd PositionTop Goalscorer
1923 Moscow Southern Railways (Kharkov) Kolomna / Irkutsk
1924 Kharkov Leningrad Transcaucasian SFSR
no competitions in 1925-27
1928 Moscow Ukrainian SSR Belarusian SSR
no competitions in 1929-30
1931 Russian SFSR Transcaucasian SFSR Ukrainian SSR
1932 Moscow Leningrad Kharkov / Donbass Vasily Smirnov
(Moscow, 4 goals)
no competitions in 1933-34
1935 Moscow Leningrad Kharkov Mikhail Yakushin
(Moscow, 6 goals)

Champions and top goalscorers

Bold text in the "Champion" column denotes that the club also won the Soviet Cup during the same season. The italicized text in the table indicates the other cup champions that made it the Soviet top-3.

Group A

SeasonChampionRunner-Up3rd PositionTop Goalscorer
1936 (spring) Dynamo Moscow Dynamo Kyiv Spartak Moscow Mikhail Semichastny
(Dynamo Moscow, 6 goals)
1936 (autumn) Spartak Moscow Dynamo Moscow Dinamo Tbilisi Georgy Glazkov
(Spartak Moscow, 7 goals)
1937 Dynamo Moscow (2) Spartak Moscow Dynamo Kyiv Boris Paichadze
(Dinamo Tbilisi, 8 goals)
Leonid Rumyantsev
(Spartak Moscow, 8 goals)
Vasily Smirnov
(Dynamo Moscow, 8 goals)
1938 Spartak Moscow (2) CDKA Moscow Metallurg Moscow Makar Honcharenko
(Dinamo Kyiv, 19 goals)
1939 Spartak Moscow (3) Dinamo Tbilisi CDKA Moscow Grigory Fedotov
(CDKA Moscow, 21 goals)
1940 Dynamo Moscow (3) Dinamo Tbilisi Spartak Moscow Grigory Fedotov
(CDKA Moscow, 21 goals)
Sergei Solovyov
(Dynamo Moscow, 21 goals)
1941 Cancelled on 24 June due to World War II (Dynamo Moscow had the best record at that time)
1942-44 Cancelled due to World War II

Performance by club

Club Winners Runners-Up 3rd Position Years Won
Spartak Moscow 3 1 2 1936a, 1938, 1939
Dynamo Moscow 3 1 1936s, 1937, 1940
Dinamo Tbilisi 2 1
CDKA Moscow 1 1
Dynamo Kyiv 1 1
Metallurg Moscow 1

First group

SeasonChampionRunner-Up3rd PositionTop Goalscorer
1945 Dynamo Moscow (4) CSKA Moscow Torpedo Moscow Vsevolod Bobrov
(CSKA Moscow, 24 goals)
1946 CSKA Moscow Dynamo Moscow Dinamo Tbilisi Aleksandr Ponomaryov
(Torpedo Moscow, 18 goals)
1947 CSKA Moscow (2) Dynamo Moscow Dinamo Tbilisi Vsevolod Bobrov
(CSKA Moscow, 14 goals)
Valentin Nikolayev
(CSKA Moscow, 14 goals)
Sergei Solovyov
(Dynamo Moscow, 14 goals)
1948 CSKA Moscow (3) Dynamo Moscow Spartak Moscow Sergei Solovyov
(Dynamo Moscow, 25 goals)
1949 Dynamo Moscow (5) CSKA Moscow Spartak Moscow Nikita Simonyan
(Spartak Moscow, 26 goals)

Performance by club

Club Winners Runners-Up 3rd Position Years Won
CDKA Moscow 3 2 1946, 1947, 1948
Dynamo Moscow 2 3 1945, 1949
Dinamo Tbilisi 2
Spartak Moscow 2
Torpedo Moscow 1

Class A

SeasonChampionRunner-up3rd positionTop goalscorer
1950 CDKA Moscow (4) Dynamo Moscow Dinamo Tbilisi Nikita Simonyan
(Spartak Moscow, 34 goals)
1951 CDSA Moscow (5) Dinamo Tbilisi Shakhter Stalino Avtandil Gogoberidze
(Dinamo Tbilisi, 16 goals)
1952 Spartak Moscow (4) Dynamo Kyiv Dynamo Moscow Andrey Zazroyev
(Dynamo Kyiv, 11 goals)
1953 Spartak Moscow (5) Dinamo Tbilisi Torpedo Moscow Nikita Simonyan
(Spartak Moscow, 14 goals)
1954 Dynamo Moscow (6) Spartak Moscow Spartak Minsk Anatoli Ilyin
(Spartak Moscow, 11 goals)
Vladimir Ilyin
(Dynamo Moscow, 11 goals)
Antonin Sochnev
(Trudovye Reservy Leningrad, 11 goals)
1955 Dynamo Moscow (7) Spartak Moscow CDSA Moscow Eduard Streltsov
(Torpedo Moscow, 15 goals)
1956 Spartak Moscow (6) Dynamo Moscow CDSA Moscow Vasily Buzunov
(ODO Sverdlovsk, 17 goals)
1957 Dynamo Moscow (8) Torpedo Moscow Spartak Moscow Vasily Buzunov
(CSK MO Moscow, 16 goals)
1958 Spartak Moscow (7) Dynamo Moscow CSK MO Moscow Anatoli Ilyin
(Spartak Moscow, 19 goals)
1959 Dynamo Moscow (9) Lokomotiv Moscow Dinamo Tbilisi Zaur Kaloyev
(Dinamo Tbilisi, 16 goals)
1960 Torpedo Moscow Dynamo Kyiv Dynamo Moscow Zaur Kaloyev
(Dinamo Tbilisi, 20 goals)
Gennady Gusarov
(Torpedo Moscow, 20 goals)
1961 Dynamo Kyiv Torpedo Moscow Spartak Moscow Gennady Gusarov
(Torpedo Moscow, 22 goals)
1962 Spartak Moscow (8) Dynamo Moscow Dinamo Tbilisi Mikhail Mustygin
(Belarus Minsk, 17 goals)

Performance by club

Club Winners Runners-Up 3rd Position Years Won
Spartak Moscow 5 2 2 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1962
Dynamo Moscow 4 4 2 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959
CSKA Moscow 2 3 1950, 1951
Torpedo Moscow 1 2 1 1960
Dynamo Kyiv 1 2 1961
Dinamo Tbilisi 2 3
Lokomotiv Moscow 1
Shakhtor Stalino 1
Spartak Minsk 1

Class A (1st Group)

SeasonChampionRunner-Up3rd PositionTop Goalscorer
1963 Dynamo Moscow (10) Spartak Moscow Dinamo Minsk Oleg Kopayev
(SKA Rostov-on-Don, 27 goals)
1964 Dinamo Tbilisi Torpedo Moscow CSKA Moscow Vladimir Fedotov
(CSKA Moscow, 16 goals)
1965 Torpedo Moscow (2) Dynamo Kyiv CSKA Moscow Oleg Kopayev
(SKA Rostov-on-Don, 18 goals)
1966 Dynamo Kyiv (2) SKA Rostov-on-Don Neftyanik Baku Ilya Datunashvili
(Dinamo Tbilisi, 20 goals)
1967 Dynamo Kyiv (3) Dynamo Moscow Dinamo Tbilisi Mikhail Mustygin
(Dinamo Minsk, 19 goals)
1968 Dynamo Kyiv (4) Spartak Moscow Torpedo Moscow Georgi Gavasheli
(Dinamo Tbilisi, 22 goals)
Berador Abduraimov
(Pakhtakor Tashkent, 22 goals)
1969 Spartak Moscow (9) Dynamo Kyiv Dinamo Tbilisi Nikolai Osyanin
(Spartak Moscow, 16 goals)
Vladimir Proskurin
(SKA Rostov-on-Don, 16 goals)
Dzhemal Kherhadze
(Torpedo Kutaisi, 16 goals)

Class A (Top Group)

SeasonChampionRunner-Up3rd PositionTop Goalscorer
1970 CSKA Moscow (6) Dynamo Moscow Spartak Moscow Givi Nodia
(Dinamo Tbilisi, 17 goals)

Top League

SeasonChampionRunner-Up3rd PositionTop Goalscorer
1971 Dynamo Kyiv (5) Ararat Yerevan Dinamo Tbilisi Eduard Malofeyev
(Dinamo Minsk, 16 goals)
1972 Zorya Voroshilovgrad Dynamo Kyiv Dinamo Tbilisi Oleg Blokhin
(Dynamo Kyiv, 14 goals)
1973 Ararat Yerevan Dynamo Kyiv Dynamo Moscow Oleg Blokhin
(Dynamo Kyiv, 18 goals)
1974 Dynamo Kyiv (6) Spartak Moscow Chornomorets Odesa Oleg Blokhin
(Dynamo Kyiv, 20 goals)
1975 Dynamo Kyiv (7) Shakhtar Donetsk Dynamo Moscow Oleg Blokhin
(Dynamo Kyiv, 18 goals)
1976 (spring) Dynamo Moscow (11) Ararat Yerevan Dinamo Tbilisi Arkady Andreasyan
(Ararat Yerevan, 8 goals)
1976 (autumn) Torpedo Moscow (3) Dynamo Kyiv Dinamo Tbilisi Aleksandr Markin
(Zenit Leningrad, 13 goals)
1977 Dynamo Kyiv (8) Dinamo Tbilisi Torpedo Moscow Oleg Blokhin
(Dynamo Kyiv, 17 goals)
1978 Dinamo Tbilisi (2) Dynamo Kyiv Shakhtar Donetsk Georgi Yartsev
(Spartak Moscow, 19 goals)
1979 Spartak Moscow (10) Shakhtar Donetsk Dynamo Kyiv Vitali Starukhin
(Shakhtar Donetsk, 26 goals)
1980 Dynamo Kyiv (9) Spartak Moscow Zenit Leningrad Sergey Andreyev
(SKA Rostov-on-Don, 20 goals)
1981 Dynamo Kyiv (10) Spartak Moscow Dinamo Tbilisi Ramaz Shengelia
(Dinamo Tbilisi, 23 goals)
1982 Dinamo Minsk Dynamo Kyiv Spartak Moscow Andrei Yakubik
(Pakhtakor Tashkent, 23 goals)
1983 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Spartak Moscow Dinamo Minsk Yuri Gavrilov
(Spartak Moscow, 18 goals)
1984 Zenit Leningrad Spartak Moscow Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Sergey Andreyev
(SKA Rostov-on-Don, 20 goals)
1985 Dynamo Kyiv (11) Spartak Moscow Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Oleg Protasov
(Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, 35 goals)
1986 Dynamo Kyiv (12) Dynamo Moscow Spartak Moscow Aleksandr Borodyuk
(Dynamo Moscow, 21 goals)
1987 Spartak Moscow (11) Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Žalgiris Vilnius Oleg Protasov
(Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, 18 goals)
1988 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (2) Dynamo Kyiv Torpedo Moscow Yevhen Shakhov
(Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, 16 goals)
Aleksandr Borodyuk
(Dynamo Moscow, 16 goals)
1989 Spartak Moscow (12) Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk Dynamo Kyiv Sergey Rodionov
(Spartak Moscow, 16 goals)
1990 Dynamo Kyiv (13) CSKA Moscow Dynamo Moscow Oleg Protasov
(Dynamo Kyiv, 12 goals)
Valery Shmarov
(Spartak Moscow, 12 goals)
1991 CSKA Moscow (7) Spartak Moscow Torpedo Moscow Igor Kolyvanov
(Dynamo Moscow, 18 goals)

Overall statistics

Performance by club

Club Winners Runners-Up 3rd Position Years Won
Dynamo Kyiv 13 11 3 1961, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1971, 1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1990
Spartak Moscow 12 12 9 1936 (a), 1938, 1939, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1962, 1969, 1979, 1987, 1989
Dynamo Moscow 11 11 5 1936 (s), 1937, 1940, 1945, 1949, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1959, 1963, 1976 (s)
CSKA Moscow 7 4 6 1946, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1970, 1991
Torpedo Moscow 3 3 6 1960, 1965, 1976 (a)
Dinamo Tbilisi 2 5 13 1964, 1978
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 2 2 2 1983, 1988
Ararat Yerevan 1 2 1973
Dinamo Minsk 1 3 1982
Zenit Leningrad 1 1 1984
Zorya Voroshilovgrad 1 1972
Shakhtar Donetsk 2 2
Lokomotiv Moscow 1
SKA Rostov-on-Don 1
Serp i Molot Moscow 1
Neftchi Baku 1
Chornomorets Odesa 1
Žalgiris Vilnius 1

Performance by republic

Republic Winners Runners-Up 3rd Position Appearances Number of
representing clubs
Winning Clubs
 Russian SFSR 34 32 28 416 31 Spartak Moscow (12)
Dynamo Moscow (11)
CSKA Moscow (7)
Torpedo Moscow (3)
Zenit Leningrad (1)
 Ukrainian SSR 16 15 8 191 14 Dynamo Kyiv (13)
Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (2)
Zorya Voroshilovgrad (1)
 Georgian SSR 2 5 13 68 5 Dinamo Tbilisi (2)
 Armenian SSR 1 2 33 1 Ararat Yerevan (1)
 Byelorussian SSR 1 3 39 1 Dinamo Minsk (1)
 Azerbaijan SSR 1 29 3
 Lithuanian SSR 1 11 1
 Kazakh SSR 24 1
 Uzbek SSR 22 1
 Moldavian SSR 7 1
 Latvian SSR 7 1
 Tajik SSR 3 1
 Estonian SSR 2 1

Republics never represented at top-level were the Turkmen SSR and the Kyrgyz SSR

All-time table

Spartak MoscowRussia5319361991145372238534624831467182112129
Dynamo KyivUkraine5419361991148368145634623061566181013113
Dinamo MoscowRussia5419361991148570740437424351457180511115
Dinamo TbilisiGeorgia511936198914246214063972176167716422513
Torpedo MoscowRussia51193819911455601433421205916561613336
CSKA Moscow[5]Russia48193619911326585363378203014511524746
Zenit Leningrad[6]Russia491938198914024644115271725191413281-1
Shakhter Donetsk[7]Ukraine44193819911288434379475152216411241-22
Dinamo Minsk (Spartak Minsk)Belarus33194519911053342319392116212979891-3
Ararat Yerevan[8]Armenia331949199110263522803941150130697212-
Lokomotiv MoscowRussia3819361991100130328940912181431888-1-
Neftchi Baku[9]Azerbaijan27194919888842532703619071141771--1
Chernomorets OdesaUkraine2419651991738244217277777884699--1
Kairat AlmataKazakhstan2419601988780226234320742983678---
Pakhtakor TashkentUzbekistan22196019917222122112998051035629---
SKA Rostov-on-Don[10]Russia2119591985680218194268843911620-1-
Dnipro DnipropetrovskUkraine1919721991554227154173729634604222
Krylya Sovetov Kuybyshev[11]Russia2619461979715185209321675996579---
Metallist Kharkiv[12]Ukraine1419601991438133124181413530390---
Zorya VoroshilovgradUkraine14196719794121251351524164693771--
Dynamo LeningradRussia1719361963397135102160589649372---
Torpedo KutaisiGeorgia1319621986439104129206395655335---
Žalgiris Vilnius[13]Lithuania111953198933010793130349463305--1
Rotor Volgograd[14]Russia11193819902939166136352488248---
Nistru Chişinău[15]Moldova11195619833126984159312534222---
Karpaty LvivUkraine919711980244688591250301218---
VVS MoscowRussia619471952161583271235270148---
Daugava RigaLatvia7194919622035148104198311150---
Krylya Sovetov MoscowRussia619381948143323972145259103---
Metallurg MoscowRussia4193719409140173417317097--1
Lokomotiv KharkivUkraine4194919543423574711217691---
Kuban KrasnodarRussia31980198210229264711114584---
Admiralteyets LeningradRussia3195819618426174112214969---
Pamir DushanbeTajikistan319891991842127367410469---
Elektrik Leningrad[16]Russia5193619398022184011216362---
Fakel Voronezh[17]Russia21961198566201729638357---
Trudovye Rezervy LeningradRussia319541956681623298211355---
Volga Gorky[18]Russia319511964851427445814355---
Spartak TbilisiGeorgia219501951642111328210953---
Spartak VladikavkazRussia21970199162161630648948---
Dinamo OdessaUkraine219381939511613226410245---
SKA OdesaUkraine21965196668419453812127---
Metallurg ZaporizhyaUkraine119911991309714273825---
VMS MoscowRussia119511951287912305023---
Tavriya SimferopolUkraine119811981348719275423---
Selmash KharkivUkraine119381938258611344522---
Uralmash SverdlovskRussia119691969347819193922---
Stalinets MoscowRussia119381938258512364421---
Lokomotyv KyivUkraine119381938258512436421---
Shinnik YaroslavlRussia119641964326917204821---
Dynamo Rostov-on-DonRussia119381938257612394320---
Temp BakuAzerbaijan119381938256811334020---
Spartak LeningradRussia119381938256811303920---
Kalev TallinnEstonia21960196158314414614620---
Dynamo KirovabadAzerbaijan119681968385924255919---
Guria LanchkhutiGeorgia119871987305817183818---
Spartak KharkovUkraine119381938255713436317---
Zenit (Bolshevik) LeningradRussia119381938257315355717---
ODO SverdlovskRussia119561956226412314516---
Pishchevik MoscowRussia119381938255614255316---
Lokomotivi TbilisiGeorgia119381938255515446215---
Kalinin city teamRussia11952195213544191914---
Burevestnik MoscowRussia119381938254417288712---

1Two points for a win. In 1973, a point for a draw was awarded only to a team that won the subsequent penalty shootout. In 1978–1988, the number of draws for which points were awarded was limited.

Best coaches

Place Name Medals Champion clubs
gold silver bronze
1 Valeriy Lobanovsky 8 4 2 Dynamo Kiev
2 Mikhail Yakushin 6 6 1 Dynamo Moscow
3 Boris Arkadiev 6 2 2 CDKA Moscow (5), Dynamo Moscow (1)
4 Viktor Maslov 4 4 - Dynamo Kiev (3), Torpedo Moscow (1)
5 Nikita Simonyan 3 2 2 Spartak Moscow (2), Ararat Yerevan (1)
6 Konstantin Beskov 2 7 2 Spartak Moscow (2), Dynamo Moscow (0)
7 Aleksandr Sevidov 2 2 2 Dynamo Kiev (1), Dynamo Moscow (1)
8-9 Nikolay Gulyayev 2 2 1 Spartak Moscow
Konstantin Kvashnin 2 2 1 Spartak Moscow (1), Dynamo Moscow (1)
10-11 Vasily Sokolov 2 1 - Spartak Moscow
Pavel Sadyrin 2 1 - Zenit Leningrad (1), CSKA Moscow (1)


  • Clubs are shown those with which the listed coaches made the top-3, i.e. Beskov won two Top league titles and all with Spartak, but he also managed Dynamo with which he was a league runner-up.

Awards and prizes

Starting since 1958 beside medals of the regular Soviet championship, participants were awarded number of prizes (~ 18 regular prizes) that were established by various sports and public organizations, editorial offices of newspapers and magazines.

  a prize that had different name and created by someone else
  a prize that was superseded by another
  brief-lasting awards, less than 5 seasons
Prize Creator Years
The best footballer of the Year"Futbol" weekly1964—1991
The best goalie of the Year"Ogonyok" magazine1960—1991
The best topscorer"Trud" newspaper1958—1991
The Knight of the Attack"Sovetskiy voin" magazine1984—1991
Loyalty to the club"Prapor kommunizma" Kiev newspaper1986—1989
The best debutant of the season"Smena" magazine1964—1975
The best newcomer"Sportivnye igry" magazine1986—1991
To the attack setter"Stroitelnaya gazeta"1988—1989
With both squadsFootball Federation (Section) of the USSR1958—1991
Grigoriy Fedotov prizeCSKA1958—1991
For the fair play"Sovetskiy sport" newspaper1958—1969
Fair Play"Chelovek i zakon" magazine1974—1991
The big score"Futbol" weekly1961—1991
For the will to victory"Sovetskaya Rossiya" newspaper1962—1991
For the best difference in goals"Start" Ukrainian magazine1966—1991
The challenging guest"Komsomolskoye znamya" Kiev newspaper1966—1991
The trouble for the elites[lower-alpha 1]"Sportivnaya Moskva" weekly1976—1991
Honor to the flagAlma-Ata newspaper "Leninskaya smena"1969—1978
Cup of the progressKiev "Rabochaya gazeta"1971—1991
Together with a teamPresidium of the Football Federation of sport societies trade unions1978—1990
The First heightNewspaper "Sotsialisticheskaya industriya"1983—1991
For nobility and courageLeningrad magazine "Avrora"1987—1989
For the most beautiful goal of the seasonNewspaper "Moskovskiy komsomolets"
television program "Futbolnoye obozreniye"

Soviet football championship among reserves

SeasonChampionRunner-Up3rd PositionTop Goalscorer
1945 Dinamo Moscow (1) ? ?
1946 Spartak Moscow (1) Dinamo Tbilisi Dinamo Moscow
1947 CDKA Moscow (1) Dinamo Moscow Dinamo Kiev
1948 CDKA Moscow (2) Spartak Moscow VVS Moscow
1949 Dinamo Kiev (1) CDKA Moscow Spartak Moscow
1950 CDKA Moscow (3) VVS Moscow Spartak Moscow
1951 CDKA Moscow (4) Dinamo Moscow VVS Moscow
1952 Dinamo Moscow (2) Dinamo Kiev Krylia Sovetov Kuibyshev
1953 Spartak Moscow (2) Lokomotiv Moscow Dinamo Kiev
1954 Spartak Moscow (3) CDSA Moscow Lokomotiv Moscow
1955 Spartak Moscow (4) Dinamo Tbilisi CDSA Moscow
1956 Spartak Moscow (5) Dinamo Moscow Lokomotiv Moscow
1957 Dinamo Moscow (3) Spartak Moscow CSK MO Moscow
1958 Spartak Moscow (6) Dinamo Moscow Zenit Leningrad
1959 Torpedo Moscow (1) CSK MO Moscow Spartak Moscow
1960 CSKA Moscow (5) Dinamo Moscow Dinamo Kiev
1961 Spartak Moscow (7) SKA Rostov-na-Donu Dinamo Kiev
1962 Spartak Moscow (8) Dinamo Kiev Dinamo Moscow
1963 Dinamo Kiev (2) CSKA Moscow Dinamo Tbilisi
1964 Dinamo Tbilisi (1) Dinamo Kiev CSKA Moscow
1965 Dinamo Kiev (3) Lokomotiv Moscow CSKA Moscow
1966 Dinamo Kiev (4) Dinamo Tbilisi Dinamo Moscow
1967 Shakhter Donetsk (1) Dinamo Kiev Dinamo Moscow
1968 Dinamo Kiev (5) Shakhter Donetsk Dinamo Moscow
1969 Shakhter Donetsk (2) Dinamo Moscow CSKA Moscow
1970 Dinamo Moscow (4) Spartak Moscow CSKA Moscow
1971 Dinamo Moscow (5) SKA Rostov-na-Donu CSKA Moscow
1972 Dinamo Kiev (6) Torpedo Moscow Karpaty Lvov
1973 Dinamo Moscow (6) Kairat Alma-Ata CSKA Moscow
1974 Dinamo Kiev (7) Dinamo Moscow Chernomorets Odessa
1975 Torpedo Moscow (2) Spartak Moscow Dinamo Kiev
1976 Dinamo Kiev (8) Shakhter Donetsk Karpaty Lvov
1977 Dinamo Kiev (9) Shakhter Donetsk Torpedo Moscow
1978 Dinamo Tbilisi (2) CSKA Moscow Dinamo Kiev
1979 CSKA Moscow (6) Neftchi Baku Dinamo Kiev
1980 Dinamo Kiev (10) Dinamo Moscow Spartak Moscow
1981 Dinamo Kiev (11) Dinamo Tbilisi Zenit Leningrad
1982 Dinamo Kiev (12) Spartak Moscow Dinamo Minsk
1983 Dinamo Kiev (13) CSKA Moscow Dinamo Moscow
1984 Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk (1) Dinamo Kiev Dinamo Tbilisi
1985 Dinamo Kiev (14) Spartak Moscow Torpedo Moscow
1986 Spartak Moscow (9) Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk Dinamo Kiev
1987 Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk (2) Spartak Moscow Zalgiris Vilnius
1988 Dinamo Moscow (7) Dinamo Kiev Spartak Moscow
1989 Dinamo Minsk (1) Spartak Moscow Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk
1990 Dinamo Kiev (15) Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk Spartak Moscow
1991 Dnepr Dnepropetrovsk (3) Dinamo Minsk Spartak Moscow

See also

National Leagues of the former Soviet republics


  1. Fear-striker to the famed (favourites)


  1. Ukrainian: Вища ліга; Belarusian: Вышэйшая ліга
  2. Keys, B.J. Globalizing Sport: National Rivalry and International Community in the 1930s.
  3. Vartanian, A. 1936. A child of "Spartak" and Komsomol (ГОД 1936. ДЕТИЩЕ "СПАРТАКА" И КОМСОМОЛА). Sport-Express. 2005
  4. Edelman, R. Spartak Moscow: A History of the People's Team in the Workers' State.
  5. Includes appearances as CDKA Moscow, CDSA Moscow, and CSK MO Moscow, see club history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  6. Includes appearances as Stalinets Leningrad, see club history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  7. Includes appearances as Stakhanovets Stalino, see club history Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  8. Includes appearances as Dynamo Yerevan and Spartak Yerevan, see club history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  9. Includes appearances as Neftyanik Baku, see club history at KLISF
  10. Includes appearance as SKVO Rostov-on-Don, see club history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  11. Includes appearance as Zenit Kuybyshev, see club history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  12. Includes appearances as Avangard Kharkov, see club history Archived 27 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  13. Includes appearances as Spartak Vilnius, see club history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  14. Includes appearances as Traktor Stalingrad and Torpedo Stalingrad, see club history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  15. Includes appearances as Burevestnik Kishinev and Moldova Kishinev, see club history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  16. Includes appearances as Krasnaya Zarya Leningrad, see club history at KLISF
  17. Includes appearance as Trud Voronezh, see club history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
  18. Includes appearances as Torpedo Gorky, see club history Archived 25 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine at KLISF
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