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 ...
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8answers
451 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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5answers
998 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 ...
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3answers
373 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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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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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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1answer
197 views

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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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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28answers
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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 ...
4
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1answer
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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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 ...
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2answers
155 views

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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2answers
197 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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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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13answers
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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 ...
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 ...
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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 ...
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 ...
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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4answers
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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 ...
7
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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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. ...
3
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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 ...
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0answers
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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
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. ...
9
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1answer
583 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 ...
20
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4answers
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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 ...
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. ...
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 ...
19
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5answers
5k 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 ...
52
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8answers
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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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1answer
239 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 ...
8
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5answers
2k 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 ...
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 ...
4
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1answer
180 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. This is an example of a person in this ...
9
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2answers
495 views

How Successful Were the International Brigades?

During the Spanish Civil War (1936 to 1939) to what extent did the International Brigades play a role in fighting the fascists coup? My understanding is that they were a relatively minor element, ...
33
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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, ...
18
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4answers
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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 ...
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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3answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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) ...
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1answer
415 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 performed it and who was in charge of this operation?
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6answers
5k views

Why hasn't Russia maintained significant numbers of aircraft carriers?

The United States has 11 aircraft carriers in total. Russia has only one. This is reflective of the past, in which we saw that the USSR also didn't put much importance on constructing aircraft ...
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4answers
633 views

Did The Soviet Union Need Both Prongs to Succeed At the Battle of Stalingrad?

In November, 1942, three months after the battle of Stalingrad began, the Soviet Union, launched Operation Uranus, a counterencirclement of the German forces in and around the city, in two prongs. ...
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2answers
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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 ...