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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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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0answers
53 views

Was it possible for Gorbachev to save the country in the 1980s? [on hold]

Was it possible for Gorbachev to save the country in the 1980s if he had tried the same reforms Chinese did--private property, decentralization, etc. Or was it already too late, or impossible from the ...
32
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4answers
6k views

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, ...
16
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4answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
181 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 ...
16
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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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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 ...
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2answers
261 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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373 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
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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
481 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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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
488 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 ...
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3answers
340 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 ...
16
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4answers
4k 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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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
181 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 ...
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5answers
281 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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13answers
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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 ...
8
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0answers
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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
1k 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 ...
6
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2answers
427 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" ...
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1answer
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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 ...
20
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4answers
2k 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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5answers
270 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 ...
6
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2answers
206 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 ...
61
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12answers
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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 ...
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5answers
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Why did the Soviet Union's economy grow fast in the 1950's-1960's?

Communist economic systems self-implode. Today it has been recognized that Communism is bad for economic progress. There is no dispute that Communism makes countries poor based on what has happened in ...
5
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1answer
178 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 ...
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3answers
217 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 ?
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3answers
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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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2answers
241 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 ...
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2answers
219 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
219 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 ...
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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. ...
1
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1answer
125 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 ...
8
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2answers
616 views

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 ...
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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 ...
6
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4answers
262 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
80 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 ...
7
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2answers
388 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 ...
0
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1answer
106 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). ...
10
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3answers
583 views

What sources or documentation exists to indicate Stalin's level of popularity in Russia today?

To what extent is Stalin still loved and/or respected by Russians (and for extra points former USSR states)? While articles like these news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7802485.stm ...
4
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1answer
142 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 ...
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0answers
177 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, ...
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2answers
227 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 ...
6
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4answers
658 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 ...
7
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7answers
853 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 ...
13
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3answers
370 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 'Trostkyism', or some ...