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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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 ...
5
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2answers
155 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
163 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
2k 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
341 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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3answers
469 views

Why did America not know about Soviet espionage in manhattan project

I was watching PBS documentary Behind Closed doors. According to that documentary Churchill and Roosevelt were not really sure if Stalin really understood about 'the new kind of weapon' when they ...
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3answers
784 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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1answer
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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5answers
2k views

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 ...
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3answers
394 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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1answer
267 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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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 ...
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4answers
942 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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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 ...
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2answers
198 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
4k 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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1answer
3k 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

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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4answers
1k 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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2answers
499 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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3answers
3k 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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2answers
779 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
819 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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1answer
153 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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1answer
584 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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2answers
388 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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1answer
79 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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852 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
566 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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3answers
837 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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1answer
298 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 ...
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4answers
3k 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?
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2answers
133 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 ...
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1answer
738 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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2answers
209 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 ...
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0answers
64 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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1answer
166 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?
11
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2answers
491 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 ...
12
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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4answers
3k 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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1answer
1k 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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3answers
577 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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1answer
1k 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.
3
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3answers
751 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

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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3answers
476 views

How many people were affected by the Golodomor [Famine-Genocide in Ukraine]

How many people were affected during the famine? Are there any sources for Soviet records on the Golodomor?
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7answers
12k 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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1answer
166 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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3answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
278 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?