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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68
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21answers
11k 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 ...
54
votes
10answers
7k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
394 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
439 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 ...
41
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
582 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
104 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?
17
votes
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
438 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
108 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 ...
15
votes
10answers
4k 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
436 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
191 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
2k 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?
5
votes
4answers
1k 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? ...
10
votes
3answers
726 views

What is the difference between NKVD and OGPU (USSR)

I've been looking at the history of the USSR and while the secret police were fairly straightforward under the Tsarist regime and the USSR under Lenin (Okhrana and the Cheka), for Stalin's rule of the ...
3
votes
3answers
132 views

Timing of Trotsky's Assassination

Stalin's arch rival Trotsky was exiled, but why did Stalin wait until later before sending assassins to finish him off?
1
vote
0answers
44 views

What was Vyshinsky's position about extrajudical repressions in the USSR?

Vyshinsky was the prosecutor-general of the USSR who is mosly known for his participation in the Moscow show trials of the 1930s. But what was his position regarding the extrajudical repressions?
-2
votes
2answers
176 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

What uniform did the Supreme State Arbiter of the USSR wear?

What uniform did the Supreme State Arbiter (главный государственный арбитр) of the USSR wear? I think I saw it on a site before but I cannot find it now.
10
votes
3answers
239 views

Was German ever an official language in the USSR?

What can be said about historical perspective of this document, seemingly composed in German?
10
votes
3answers
691 views

Why did Soviet soldiers who plundered occupied territories during WW2 prefer watches to other valuables?

EDIT: text in bold was added later to not suggest that this practice was common. I'd known from stories told by my Grandmother and other people of Her age, that after entering pre-war Polish ...
-4
votes
3answers
393 views

Did Gorbachev say that his intention was to destroy Communism?

As I remember the 1980s and the Perestroika epoch, the reforms were advertised to the people as "return to Leninist principles", even deeper implementation of Socialism. The posters claimed it was ...
5
votes
1answer
202 views

Who was in charge of the Barysaw massacre (20 October 1941)?

I'm looking for information about the Barysaw Massacre of 20 October 1941. Who preformed it and who was in charge of this operation?
6
votes
4answers
457 views

Was Russo-Polish of 1919-1920 a war of independence?

What evidence is there to call the 1919-1920 conflict between Poland and the Soviet Union a "war of independence"? As for a definition of independence, I would say it is a full political, legal, and ...
12
votes
0answers
142 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
453 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
526 views

In what way and to what extent did the USSR exert influence on Mongolia?

I am asking this in relation to a comment by @Wladimir Palant on my answer to another thread. In his comment, Wladimir compared Mongolia to the Warsaw Pact countries in being heavily influenced by the ...
10
votes
3answers
296 views

Did the poor performance of the Red Army in the Winter War significantly contribute to German underestimation of the USSR's military capacity?

Wikipedia says in the article on the Winter War: Perhaps more importantly, the very poor performance of the Red Army encouraged Hitler to think that an attack on the Soviet Union would be ...
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Where can I find more information on the Katyn massacre?

I want to research the Katyn massacre; I've reviewed the Memo from Beria to Stalin, proposing execution of Polish officers. Are other documents (e.g. protocols of NKVD, logistics) available? Why are ...
2
votes
2answers
343 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

What was the role of the Soviet Navy during WWII?

Most books of WWII speak of the naval battles of allied and axis powers during the war, but none about the Soviet navy. The soviets had an active fleet at the time, why did it not engage the Germans ...
5
votes
2answers
126 views

Why was A.K.Gastev purged in 1939?

Gastev was the chief Soviet proponent of Taylorism, aka scientific management: In the Soviet Union, Taylorism was advocated by Aleksei Gastev and nauchnaia organizatsia truda (the movement for ...
4
votes
2answers
223 views

How high was the morale of non-Soviet Warsaw Pact states' armies and governments in the '80s?

Does anyone with any relevant expertise know the general mood of the armies during the time? Is there documentation of any concerns from high ranking Soviet military officers, or of their Warsaw Pact ...
6
votes
2answers
906 views

Why did the Soviet Union lift the Berlin Blockade?

Between 24th June 1948 and 12th May 1949 land routes into West Berlin were blocked by Soviet forces and West Berliners were supplied entirely by air (the famous Berlin Airlift). No one connected with ...
7
votes
1answer
576 views

Interaction between Ataturk and Lenin

Are there any records related to the relations between Turkey and USSR in 1920's? I know about the letter from Ataturk to Lenin (in Turkish) but nothing more.
10
votes
2answers
536 views

Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
9
votes
3answers
386 views

Why is Finland represented as a Soviet satellite in this 1947 cartoon?

The cartoon is a British one. I found it at http://lenta.ru/articles/2013/05/28/secretwar/ but without any specific attribution.
10
votes
2answers
483 views

What was the situation of homosexuals in the early Soviet Union?

Between 1917 and 1930, homosexuality was decriminalised in the Soviet Union. From the Wikipedia article on LGBT history in Russia: The Russian Communist Inessa Armand publicly endorsed both ...
0
votes
1answer
628 views

Why haven't Russia and Japan signed a peace treaty after WW2?

I have read that Russia and Japan, which had been fighting long before World War I, are still at war, at least technically, since they have not signed a peace treaty at the conclusion of World War II. ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Did Joseph Stalin kill anyone personally?

I read "Stalin: Triumph and tragedy" by Dmitri Volkogonov and (I believe) it said that Stalin didn't kill anyone with his own hands. He signed a lot of "death lists", but those are just pieces of ...
3
votes
3answers
417 views

Stalingrad - the German perspective?

I'm quite interested in Stalingrad and have started reading a bit regarding the battle itself and have seen that weather had played quite a significant factor in halting the German advance. (Reading ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Is this true that the Soviet Army soldiers had no helmets in the beginning of WW2?

Is this true that the Soviet Army was so poorly equipped by the WW2 that soldiers had no helmets?
7
votes
1answer
286 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
283 views

Did American policymakers seriously consider scaling down Lend Lease Aid to the Soviet Union after the battle of Kursk?

In 1941, Senator (and future President) Harry Truman famously said, "If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany." ...
1
vote
1answer
150 views

How many non-partisan (independent) legislature members were in the USA compared to the USSR?

How many legislature members there were who were not members of any party in the USA compared to the USSR during the Cold War and now?
0
votes
2answers
324 views

Was the N.E.P. of Russia successful in terms of economics?

The Soviet's New Economic Plan was indeed a successful plan in establishing a comparatively strong postwar economy for the Soviet Union, but there were many imperfections: food prices fluctuated ...
7
votes
1answer
186 views

What was the Soviet role in Syria during the Cold-War?

It is my understanding that the Soviet Union supported governments in Syria during the cold-war primarily as a counter-balance to American influence over regional powers particularly Saudi Arabia and ...
4
votes
2answers
151 views

Motivation Behind the USSR Assisting China's Nuclear Program

What motivated the USSR to assist China with the development of Nuclear Weapons? Why would the USSR want China to have this technology during the 1950s and early 1960s? What did they get out of this ...