The Soviet Union or USSR (1922–1991) was a socialist state in Eurasia. After the 1924 death of founding leader Lenin (who led the October Revolution in 1917), Stalin established a planned economy and suppressed political opposition. After World War II, the Soviet Union emerged as one of the world's ...

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Did the Soviets excel in one area of weaponry during World War II?

The Germans had some of the best machine guns and tanks during World War II. Likewise, the Americans had a big advantage with the M1 Garand (which Patton famously called "The greatest battle implement ...
11
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997 views

Why did Stalin push for the Great Purge against the Red Army in 1936?

From what we now know of Stalin, he seemed to believe in the basics of Marxist-Leninism. As a communist, didn't he fear that killing his own military's leadership would seriously endanger the world's ...
7
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372 views

How much of “Russia” was actually occupied by the Germans in World War II?

I am well aware that the German invasion of the Soviet Union, as depicted on maps like these, showed large German gains in 1941, and subsequently on the road to Stalingrad in 1942. My understanding, ...
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141 views

What happened to schizophrenics in the USSR?

I'm looking for information on people who were unable to work because of schizophrenia or other major mental illness. Does anyone know what happened to them in the USSR?
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Did anyone besides Heinz Guderian believe that Germany needed to “liberate” Soviets to prevail on the eastern front?

Germany's Field Marshal Heinz Guderian was quoted as saying: "We lost the war the day we failed to raise the Ukrainian flag over the cathedral in Kiev, that day was when the Ukrainians lost their ...
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How did the US vet Soviet refugees for possible spies/infiltrators?

According to White House tumblr, Google co-founder Sergey Brin's family were refugees from the Soviet Union, coming to the US when Brin was 6. Researching further, Since 1975 more than 500,000 ...
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Why was the Imre Nagy government deported to Romania?

After the 1956 Hungarian upgrising, the KGB briefly deported Imre Nagy and his closest followers (Donáth, Lukács, etc.) to Romania. I understand that the Soviet Union would have wanted to remove Nagy ...
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2answers
194 views

Was Germany's “Fall Blau” plan in the Soviet Union partly aimed at Mediterranean neutrals or Japan (a neutral vis-vis the Soviets)?

In 1942, Germany adopted Fall Blau, a plan for a southward push in the Soviet Union toward the Caucasus, and the borders of Turkey and Iran. (Stalingrad was added to the plan later.) Decrypts by ...
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381 views

Was there any terrorism in the Soviet Union?

Did the USSR ever experience any terrorist attacks within its borders? By this, I do not mean: terrorist acts committed by the USSR against its own people terrorists abroad sponsored by the USSR ...
7
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1answer
114 views

How did the KPD relate to the German state during the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact?

Between August 1939 and June 1941, Germany and the USSR had the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. During this time, many USSR-oriented communist parties in Europe and North America were (forced to be) rather ...
4
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3answers
202 views

What was the dominant Soviet strategy for invading Germany in the 1980's?

Through archives and doctrinal publications, was there any bias towards attacking NATO through the North German Plain, the Fulda Gap, or something else?
3
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1answer
140 views

Identity of 1961 Soviet pilot defector

During the Viet Nam War, a Soviet pilot nicknamed "Victor" defected from an airbase near Baku, crash landing in Iran in an L-29. In the USAF he was named "Defector Source 306". An earlier incident of ...
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8answers
450 views

Why did people in the USSR participate in elections?

It is well known that the elections in the USSR had only one candidate on the list, giving no real choice to the voter. While it was possible to vote against a candidate, there was no realistic ...
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2answers
140 views

What made the generation-switch hard in Soviet Union?

I always wondered, why didn't the Soviet leadership have similar generation changes like Chinese had later with Deng Xiao Ping? Only Gorbachev could get the leadership as second-generation communist ...
6
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1answer
88 views

What role if any did Ligachev play in the 1991 coup attempt against Gorbachev?

Ligachev was the head of the we-love-Brezhnevism club in the last days of the Soviet Union. Was he at all involved in the bring-back-Brezhnevism coup in 1991? If not, what did he do and say in that ...
8
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195 views

Have there been any joint US-Russia/Soviet military engagements post WW II?

Reportedly, now both the USA and Russia are engaged in military combat against Islamic State in Syria. Although contexts are different and it remains debatable exactly whom Russia are targeting, the ...
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3answers
127 views

Why was communism at odds with pan-Arabism?

I can't figure this out. Communism was supposed to be against nationalism. This would seem to favor pan-Arabism, which espoused the ideal of uniting the Arab lands instead of remaining divided up more ...
18
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3answers
2k views

What happened to US's Lend-Lease machinery given to the Soviet Union?

Although most sources say that the Russians were supplied with great amounts of equipment and food as part of Lend-Lease program, I have not in all my years living in Russia seen US labeled machinery. ...
3
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2answers
127 views

Why was the Soviet Union unable to stop the violence in Nagorno-Karabakh? [closed]

In 1988, a war began between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority Armenian area within Azerbaijan's borders. The Soviet Union sent in troops to keep the peace, but it didn't work. ...
24
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4answers
5k views

Given their reputation for fighting to the last man in the Pacific, why did 700,000 Japanese troops surrender in Manchuria?

I just read this. It says: On August 8, 1945 ... the Soviet Union launched the invasion of Manchuria, a massive military operation mobilizing 1.5 million soldiers against one million Kwantung Army ...
3
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2answers
197 views

Why did the USSR switch from 1524 mm gauge to 1520 mm gauge in the late 1960's?

This article mentions that Russia started with a 1,524 mm rail gauge, and in the sixties and seventies, switched to a 1,520 mm rail gauge with tighter tolerances. Why do this? If you want tighter ...
1
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1answer
238 views

Is this true that the Russian economy was efficient during war II? [closed]

During the second world war (You remember, the one that America was briefly involved in), the USSR’s “russian system” recovered from being devastated by the advancing Germans, and using a ...
0
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1answer
167 views

What historical analyses are there to say whether or not the USSR really needed a second front (D-Day) in WWII?

I'm only generally familiar with the Eastern Front of WWII. My basic understanding is that the Soviet Union was pushed back to Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad, before finally turning things around ...
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5answers
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Why did the Germans not encircle and besiege Stalingrad?

The Germans spent a large amount of manpower in adverse territory for this city, even after long exhausting continuous combat. After the war, Kliest wrote: The capture of Stalingrad was ...
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4answers
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What did Germany do in World War II about the different rail gauge in the Soviet Union?

One reason it was so hard for Germany to invade Russia/the Soviet Union in World War II (and I) was because the Russians had a different (wider) railroad gauge than that of most of the rest of Europe, ...
8
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2answers
291 views

Why didn't Stalin use force to bring Tito into line?

In 1956 and 1968, the Soviets invaded Eastern European countries because they had deviated from Moscow's model. Why didn't they do this to Tito? His independent inclinations are usually explained by ...
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5answers
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Why did the Soviet Union close its borders and restrict travel abroad?

It was virtually impossible for citizens of the Soviet Union to move or travel abroad. Only some ethnic minorities (e.g. Jewish) with family members abroad could move out, although with great ...
7
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3answers
476 views

Why was Lithuania not colonized by Soviet Union?

During the Soviet occupation of Baltic States, Estonia and Latvia saw their countries settled by Russians who eventually made up more than 30% of their populations. However percentage of Russians in ...
9
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1answer
580 views

What did the Soviets know about the Hunger Plan during WWII?

The Hunger plan was a plan of the Nazis to feed their army and population at the expense of the population of the occupied territories in the east. From the minutes of a meeting in May '42: 1) The ...
16
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1answer
3k views

Why did Stalin keep the famine of 1932 a secret?

The famine of 1932 took millions of lives, before the Soviet authorities took some measures to alleviate the lives of the peasants. During the whole time, and for decades afterwards, the affair was ...
8
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3answers
762 views

What was Finland's role in the siege of Leningrad?

My understanding was that Finland was not really pro Nazi Germany, but merely wanted to recover the lands lost to the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-40. That is, "the enemy of my enemy is my ...
6
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1answer
218 views

What is / are the specific reason(s) for Vyacheslav Molotov's fall from grace with Joseph Stalin?

From the 1930's through World War 2, Vyacheslav Molotov seemed to be the face of the Soviet Union in most diplomatic circles. Sometime after the war he lost favor with Stalin. Some reports say to the ...
4
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2answers
308 views

When did the Soviet Union stop blaming the Entente for WW2?

In the fall 1939 the SU blamed Britain and France for starting WW2 exclusively (i.e., no blame was put on Germany). It shifted the blame to Germany after 1941-06-22 (obviously). When was the last time ...
3
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2answers
301 views

Was the attempt to take Stalingrad a distraction to the original objectives of the German Sixth Army during Case Blue in 1942?

If the objective of Sixth Army was to close the Volga to Russian shipping while simultaneously protecting the left flank of the Caucasus forces, then attacking Stalingrad could be seen as a ...
11
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1answer
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How was titanium transported from Soviet Union to Area 51 for Oxcart?

Oxcart was one of its kind, a sophisticated aircraft designed during the Cold-War era. Its body was made up of titanium. Titanium was only found in substantial quantities in the then Soviet Union. The ...
1
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1answer
158 views

Tamerlane and Operation Barbarossa

While going through Tamerlane's article on Wikipedia I found It is also said that when Gerasimov exhumed Timur's body, an additional inscription inside the casket was found reading, "Who ever ...
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2answers
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Soviet-German friendship propaganda posters (1939‒41)

Upon reading Putin’s New Nostalgia article by Timothy Snyder, I was specifically intrigued by one particular historical point he mentioned. Given the charged nature of current events, and Snyder’s ...
0
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1answer
91 views

Did the USSR use trotskyism as a bogeyman in the post Stalin period?

In Stalin's time the USSR used Trotskyist as a byword for subversion, sabotage, and all things nasty. In his 'secret speech', Khrushchev continued to condemn Trotskyist ideas, but depicted Stalin's ...
4
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3answers
247 views

Did Hitler, or any non USSR residents in the 30s-40s know about Stalin's purges?

In Downfall, Hitler laments about how he should have purged the military officers like Stalin did, so my question is: would people have actually2 known about Stalin's purges during that time ?
6
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4answers
301 views

Why did the USSR preserve the national republics?

Ever since the inception of the Soviet Union, the central government continued to maintain the existence of national republics such as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. What was the reason behind ...
0
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1answer
156 views

How far did the Cold war have an impact on the effectiveness of the UN? [closed]

I currently have in mind: Korean war, which was kind of a part of the cold war, dragging the UN in, proving to an extent effective since communism was contained in Korea. (despite MacArthur's moves). ...
5
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1answer
179 views

What was the role of the Russian Orthodox church in Soviet Russia?

Considering that Soviet Union was officially atheistic and Bibles and most "Christian" denominations were banned, it is interesting to me that the government left the Russian Orthodox churches ...
5
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0answers
197 views

Was there a secret side-agreement between the USSR and Nazi Germany to summarily execute the Polish officer corp? [closed]

In a recently published novel by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth, IV, The Assassination Option, the authors tell a story of a dinner conversation at the Tehran Conference. The story, ...
5
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2answers
328 views

During the Second World War, did the Germans expect that Japan would declare war on Russia?

As I understand it, Germany did not make war with America on the condition that Japan joined the war against Russia. Was this because they thought that Japan would attack Russia anyway? If so, what ...
8
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2answers
252 views

Did the U.S. actively encourage discord between the Soviets and Chinese?

According to historian Lorenz M. Lüthi, one of the defining events of the Cold War, the Sino-Soviet split (1960 to 1989) was principally fueled by Mao's interpretation of Communist ideology and his ...
4
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2answers
151 views

What was the American response to the Sino-Soviet border conflict? [closed]

In 1969, detente with either the PRC or USSR lay in the future. All three countries were hostile towards one another. Was the USA pleased its two rivals were tearing lumps out of each other, or were ...
15
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3answers
451 views

In the USSR, what if any was the formal, ideological response to the Cultural Revolution in China?

How did the USSR parse and explain an ostensibly uber-communist movement which was dedicated to overthrowing the leadership of the country's communist party? Did they see this as 'Trotskyism', or some ...
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3answers
195 views

In the USSR, did they ever stop 'officially' believing in the future Communist utopia?

Karl Marx taught of a state which 'withered away' until 'communism' had been achieved: that is a stateless, communal society of prosperity and perpetual peace. To begin with at least, the Soviet Union ...
6
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2answers
624 views

How close did Germany come to interdicting Soviet oil shipments from the Caucasus in 1942?

In 1942, the Germans captured a relatively small oil complex at Maikop in the North Caucasus, and got within 25 miles of a larger one at Grozny. But the biggest prize was at Baku, on the "far" ...
4
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2answers
362 views

Did the USSR have a more positive relationship with France than other west european countries after 1945?

France and the USSR were allies before World War 2. A number of things intervened before then and 1945, not limited to the war itself. After the war, did Soviet officials publicly (or privately) ...