"Soyuz" is a transliteration of the Cyrillic text "Союз", the Russian and Ukrainian word for "Union". It was often used as an internal abbreviation for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics during the period of that country's existence. The term was used officially by both the Soviet State and the citizenry as a whole. As terminological shorthand it was often used interchangeably with each of the slightly longer terms "Сове́тский Сою́з", and the initialism "ссср". This use was primarily confined to the Soviet Union itself, since elsewhere the name of the country was typically translated into the native language, and abbreviated accordingly. Internationally, it most commonly refers to elements of the Soviet/Russian space program.