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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What is the origin of “With an iron fist, we will drive humanity to happiness?”

What is the origin and context of the Marxist/Leninist quote "With an iron fist, we will drive humanity to happiness?" Rather than just the name of the author, some background would be helpful. For ...
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2answers
230 views

Why were Soviets so extremely effective snipers in WW2?

I found a top 10 sniper list from 2nd world war which contains 9 soviet soldiers, and only 1 finnish soldier. Namely: Stepan Vasilievich Petrenko Vasilij Ivanovich Golosov Fyodor Trofimovich ...
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85 views

Why did Russia inherit the USSR status as a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto power?

Russian Federation was certainly the biggest component after the collapse of USSR. However, I don't quite understand why the very valuable geopolitical position as a permanent member of UN Security ...
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51 views

High Quality, Primary Source on Troop Movements and Losses in Operation Barbarossa [closed]

I'm searching for a primary source on troop movements and losses in Operation Barbarossa. I've found one source, but it doesn't give any details about the source for the information, just "Army Doctor ...
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5answers
203 views

Why was there no solution found to Soviet famines and near-famines? [closed]

One thing I never understood about the Soviet Union were the famines and near-famines; those that were not explicitly engineered by the regime like Holodomor. How could a nuclear power suffer from ...
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0answers
76 views

What is the controversy about Kim Il-Sung's early political career?

While reading the Wikipedia article on Kim Il-Sung it states Several sources indicate that the Kim Il-sung name had previously been used by a prominent early leader of the Korean resistance, Kim ...
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11answers
6k views

What was the ratio of German to Soviet losses on eastern front during different stages of the war?

I've read somewhere that the ratio of Soviet to German casualties on the eastern front was 1.4 for the whole war. But what about data for different stages of the war? (this ratio wasn't constant after ...
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1answer
99 views

When did the Great Purge start?

In what month of what year did the Great Purge begin in the Soviet Union? Wikipedia's individual page says it it started in 1934, but if I Google search for "Great Purge" and "1934," nothing much ...
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60 views

What mechanisms made Stalinism triumphant in Russia? [closed]

What mechanisms would you guys think made Stalinism triumphant? Firstly, what do you guys think, was Stalinism totalitarian? Was Stalin the absolute ruler over the totality of society and politics? ...
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3answers
409 views

Why was Stalin so opposed to genetics?

He violently persecuted genetics. Why? Here is one notable example: Vavilov repeatedly criticised the non-Mendelian concepts of Trofim Lysenko, who won the support of Joseph Stalin. As a ...
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2answers
267 views

What aspects of Soviet life were not controlled by Stalin?

Stalinism controlled social life through propaganda, political life through the use of political crime and the politicization of life and the workers life, with proletarianism dominating all aspects ...
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134 views

Were there in the USSR monasteries decorated with Soviet orders?

Were there in the USSR monasteries decorated with Soviet decorations, particularly, the Order of the Red Banner?
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3answers
656 views

How close was the Soviet Union to collapsing during WW2?

Are there any sources or reports which explain how close the country was to collapsing under the Nazi assault? By 'collapse' I mean 'completely lacking either the willpower (as seen by France in 1940 ...
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3answers
159 views

To what extent were religious groups persecuted in the Soviet Union?

I understand that many churches were destroyed and even many priests arrested and executed, but how widespread was the violence across the entirety of the Soviet Union?
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4answers
195 views

What do citizens of countries that partition do about new anthems? [closed]

I am fascinated with creation and adoption of national anthems. I find it especially intriguing with such countries that were once a union and then broke apart. My interest/question deals with two ...
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1answer
147 views

Did the USSR invite other astronauts of Apollo 11 besides Armstrong?

Sometime after the return of Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong visited the USSR. I wonder why he was alone? Weren't the other astronauts invited or they refused to visit? Was it because Armstrong was an ...
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0answers
38 views

What was the Nove / Millar debate, how is it important to the historiography of the Soviet Union?

The Nove / Millar debate was a debate amongst economic historians in the 1970s, where the Western understanding of Soviet economic development in the 1920 and 1930s was seriously revised. In ...
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4answers
746 views

How true is the statement “Soviet troops got into Berlin riding American trucks, walking in American boots and using American trains”?

In other words, how significant was American lend-lease in helping the Soviet front? Would the Soviets be suffering a lot more had lend-lease not happen, or was it not as significant as people make ...
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11answers
11k views

Why didn't Imperial Japan attack the Soviet Union during World War 2?

Japan and the Soviet Union shared a common border in Manchuria and the German invasion of the Soviet Union weakened the Soviets greatly. In view of the advantages to Japan in seeing the Soviet Union ...
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3answers
309 views

Was German ever an official language in the USSR?

What can be said about historical perspective of this document, seemingly composed in German?
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3answers
366 views

How to explain the Khalkhin Gol outcome in view of Soviet weakness and Japanese strength at that time?

Conventional wisdom says that the USSR was very weak in 1939/40/41, in large part due to the purges of the 1930s, ideological interference in the armed forces, and lack of equipment, preparation and ...
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3answers
427 views

What was the internal Soviet reaction to the moon landing?

The Soviet Union was a famously restrictive place when it came to news and ideological spin, and obviously their attitude toward the United States was less than supportive and warm. The Space Race ...
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4answers
416 views

At what point did Soviet armored units have qualitative parity with Wehrmacht armored units?

Was the T-26 a match for the Panzer II,III, and IV in the early stages of Barbarossa? The T-34 has been given a lot of credit as the tipping point where Soviet technology created a weapons platform ...
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2answers
869 views

How much was the wealthy elite harmed by the Bolshevik revolution?

One of the stated benefits of communism is supposed to be that the property of the extremely wealthy will be seized and redistributed. However, a common criticism states that the extremely wealthy ...
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27answers
18k views

Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?

This has always bothered me. Everyone knows that having to fight on two opposite fronts at once is bad... and it's also a well known fact that every European country which tried to invade Russia has ...
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230 views

How and Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse? [closed]

How did the Soviet Union collapse? (Collapse meaning loss of central power over its member states who declared their independence.) Was it economic, and to what extent? Was it Ronald Reagan and ...
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3answers
192 views

Did Nikita Krushchev's support of Stalin's purges play a part in his removal from office?

As far as I can tell Krushchev was removed from office because of his erratic policies, and specifically their failures, but did his role in Stalin's purges also play a part in his removal?
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270 views

Did the US and Soviet navies really come close to blows in the Indian Ocean in 1971?

In December 1971, Pakistan and India were at war over what would become Bangladesh. President Nixon ordered Task Force 74, led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and ...
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3answers
2k views

Did the U.S. and Soviet Union have a submarine battle in 1968?

There are books and articles about the Soviet submarine K-129 and the USS Scorpion in 1968, with various stories of attempted nuclear attacks and reprisals. Is there a factual narrative about these ...
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2answers
501 views

Did Stalin believe Israel would go communist?

In Anne Applebaum's recent book Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956 she claims the USSR supported the new state of Israel and states "Stalin believed Israel would quickly join the ...
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3answers
873 views

Why did Soviet Union economy grow fast in the 1950's-1960's?

Communist economic systems self-implode. Communism today has been recognized that it is bad for economic progress. There is no dispute that Communism makes countries poor based on what has happened in ...
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2answers
731 views

Who was the first Russian in space (not Soviet)?

I know Yuri Gagarin was the first Soviet, and man, in space. Who was the first Russian (not Soviet) in space?
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2answers
167 views

Was the Soviet Union in 1945 seeking to capture German soldiers and civilians, or drive them west?

The latter part of Prit Buttar's Battleground Prussia deals with the desperate attempts by German soldiers and civilians to escape from the ports and peninsulas of East and West Prussia in early 1945. ...
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1answer
223 views

What happened to Soviet citizens on Finnish territory before and during winter war?

How many Soviet citizens were on Finnish territory immediately before the Winter War? Other than diplomats. I suppose there would have been trading officials, some engineering personnel etc. What ...
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3answers
296 views

What was (if at all) Hitler's Plan B if Molotov-Ribbentrop had not worked out?

As we know, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union amicably agreed to attack Poland and to share it between themselves. Did Hitler and his staff have a detailed or formal contingency plan in case the ...
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2answers
125 views

Was COMECON involved in economic imperialism and if so, to what extent?

Disclaimer: I am not 100% sure if it was COMECON, it might be another Soviet apparatus. I recall reading about how the Soviet Union forced her Eastern European satellites into very lucrative and ...
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2answers
112 views

Did technical managers have to join the Nazi party?

In the Soviet Union a person who was rising in technical management (say, becoming the director of a plant) was usually expected to join the Communist Party as a pre-requisite of getting the job. I ...
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1answer
107 views

What are some examples of historiography regarding the reasons for the Soviet Union's collapse?

(I thought that How and Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse? is a good question so would like to rephrase it abit but the question was too far gone to edit) The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 with many ...
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2answers
531 views

How did Finland treat Jewish locals during WWII?

First, what facts do I know. There was no prosecution of Jews in Finland Jewish POWs were separated in special POW camps for Jews. They were told that Finnish people hate them and they are to be ...
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6answers
11k views

Why did the USSR give Crimea to Ukraine?

In 1954 Soviets transferred Crimea from Russian Soviet Republic to Ukrainian Soviet Republic. Why is this strange? The whole act, at least officially, was meant to be "a gift", a token of ...
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4answers
188 views

Effects of the successful defense of the Soviet Union against Germany on the opening of the western front in WW2

I remember reading somewhere that the Allies (USA/UK) was not really keen on opening a second front to help the Soviet Union until the Soviets started to make progress in defeating Germany around ...
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4answers
916 views

What was the reason for Soviet troops to withdraw from Yugoslavia in World War II?

For all these countries that the Red Army entered (Poland, Romania, part of Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary), the procedure was straightforward. Once the Soviets beat the Germans they become de facto ...
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1answer
1k views

Why did the Soviet Union get 3 seats in the UN?

Even before the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine and Belarus (which were then officially part of the Soviet Union) had independent seats at the United Nations. Why didn't the US or the UK get the ...
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3answers
950 views

How did the Soviets decide what to annex in WW2?

During and after World War II Soviet Union annexed some countries while others eventually became member states of the Warsaw Pact. What is known about how the Soviets made the decisions about which ...
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2answers
206 views

Who were the first democratically elected leaders of Russia in history?

On Boris Yeltsin's page in Wikipedia there's the fact that on 12th June, 1991, he was elected by popular vote to the newly created post of President of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic ...
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5answers
609 views

What is the historical evidence behind the claim that the Soviet armies perpetrated mass rapes during their stay in Germany?

Besides accounts from Anthony Beevor's book and research done by Sander & Johr, which some members of the amateur historian community dismiss as biased and revisionist, are there any other source ...
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3answers
2k views

What was the role of Nikita Khrushchev during the battle of Stalingrad?

In the movie Enemy at the Gates there is a moment when Nikita Khrushchev comes to take control over the Soviet forces defending Stalingrad, even making previous commander commit suicide (is this ...
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3answers
374 views

Post-war plan for Nazi Germany in Russia?

Do we have any records about what Nazi Germany planned to do if the Soviet Union had surrendered? I can't imagine they wanted to swallow that entire country whole, all the way to the Pacific. They'd ...
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3answers
3k views

Were there any attempts to assassinate Joseph Stalin?

Were there any attempts to assassinate Stalin? I haven't learned of any attempt to kill him, was he so brutal that no one tried to kill him?
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4answers
2k views

Why did Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Breznev wear military uniforms when Lenin and the later Soviet leaders did not?

I know that dictators often wear uniforms to appear intimidating. Why did Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev wear military uniforms when Lenin and the later Soviet leaders did not? ...