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 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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1k 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
217 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
642 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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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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414 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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4k 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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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? ...
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1k 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 ...
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155 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?
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52 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?
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125 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.
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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 ...
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555 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 ...
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276 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?
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655 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 ...
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703 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 ...
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500 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 ...
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2answers
111 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 ...
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4answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
167 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 ...
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2answers
326 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 ...
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2k 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 ...
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830 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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640 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.
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604 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 ...
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2k 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. ...
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3answers
2k 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 ...
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586 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 ...
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4answers
2k 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?
9
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407 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." ...
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1answer
163 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?
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453 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 ...
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307 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 ...
5
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2answers
181 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 ...
7
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2answers
112 views

How did the Chinese help Khrushchev?

I read this in the source cited in this answer Initially the Soviet assistance in China’s nuclear programme was limited to the civil nuclear energy field. However, Moscow’s attitude shifted in ...
5
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1answer
68 views

Were members of Soviet Republican Communist Parties also members of the CPSU?

I know that each Soviet Republic X had its own Communist Party of X. Question is: were members of these parties also members of the CPSU? I am interested here only in the formal side of things - I'd ...
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277 views

Why were the Prague Spring leaders treated more leniently than Nagy and his colleagues?

Following the Warsaw Pact's 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia the lead Czech reformer Alexander Dubček was dismissed and given a lowly job with the forestry commission. A decade or so earlier, the ...
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1answer
228 views

Was it Stalin behind the idea of universal elections in the USSR?

Recently I have read an article that claimed that Stalin wanted to introduce competitive, alternative elections in the USSR while the regional secretaries were strongly against the idea and pushed for ...
10
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2answers
361 views

Were Soviet warships allowed to use the Panama canal?

During the Cold War, were Soviet naval vessels allowed to use the Panama canal? I'm aware that no Soviet warships happened to use the canal during the Cold War. Was there a rule aganst them ...
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364 views

Why the difference of opinion about the disappearance of Subhas Chandra Bose

A year back, Harvard professor Sugata Bose released a biography of the Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose which claimed to lay all speculation regarding his death to rest. However, last week, a veteran ...
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348 views

Did Ted Kennedy turn to the Soviet Union for help winning an election?

Reading an interesting article in Forbes, I was dumbfounded by the idea that Ted Kennedy might have sought out Yuri Andropov's help to run for president against Ronald Reagan in 1984. A relevant ...
12
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1answer
754 views

Did the Soviet Union know when DEFCON levels changed?

The US military uses a scale of alert readiness called DEFCON, with DEFCON 5 being the lowest alert level and DEFCON 1 being the highest, preparing for imminent nuclear war. At least once during the ...
10
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1answer
890 views

Austria and Iron Curtain during Cold War

Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech from 1946 contains the following famous passage: From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the ...
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1answer
149 views

How easy one could start an artel in USSR after WW2 1945-1956?

During 1956-1960 all artels (cooperative enterprises) were nationalized in USSR. It was a large amount of artels. How easy was it to organize an artel before that, in the post-war period of ...
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189 views

What are some major military successes achieved by the former Soviet Union against the Western World?

What are some major military successes achieved by the former Soviet Union against the Western World that shook the US and its cold war allies?
5
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1answer
448 views

Was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan one of the major reasons that led to the fall of Soviet Union?

Was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan one of the major reasons that led to the fall of Soviet Union? That is what the world history teacher told me. Please show your sources.
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430 views

Is there any evidence to support the claim that the US Strategic Defense Initiative played any significant role in undermining the USSR?

I have been reading Sorrows of Empire by Chalmers Johnson, and one of the things that stuck me was a quote by Soviet hydrogen bomb creator Andrei Sakharov who was released from political imprisonment ...
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389 views

Why the USSR insisted on ban of the 1943 German film Munchhausen in Nuremberg?

After the war, many German films were shown in the USSR, popularly known as "trophy films", this included the 1944 "The Woman of My Dreams" which was shown until mid-1950s. At the same time the ...
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325 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, ...