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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What was (if at all) Hitler's Plan B if Molotov-Ribbentrop had not worked out?

As we know, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union amicably agreed to attack Poland and to share it between themselves. Did Hitler and his staff have a detailed or formal contingency plan in case the Nazi-...
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675 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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796 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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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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990 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 ...
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748 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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938 views

What factors discouraged the Nazis from focusing all their forces on the Caucasus region during Operation Barbarossa?

Instead of splitting his invasion force into three groups, it appears to be more sensible to focus on taking over the Caucasus region first. At the time, Baku, a Caucasus oil metropolis accounted for ...
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3k views

How much was the wealthy elite harmed by the Bolshevik revolution?

One of the stated benefits of communism is supposed to be that the property of the extremely wealthy will be seized and redistributed. However, a common criticism states that the extremely wealthy ...
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2k 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.
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193 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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759 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 result,...
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Did Stalin want to restore the Russian Empire's borders?

On one hand, it seems so because the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact defined the border between the two spheres of influence to be the border of the Russian Empire before WWI. On the other hand, the USSR ...
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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 ...
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362 views

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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535 views

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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893 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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368 views

To what extent were religious groups persecuted in the Soviet Union?

I understand that many churches were destroyed and even many priests arrested and executed, but how widespread was the violence across the entirety of the Soviet Union?
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546 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, ...
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224 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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807 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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665 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 ...
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4answers
1k 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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980 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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5answers
280 views

When and how did the West lose its dependency on the USSR for Titanium?

This question was prompted by another one. A long time ago, before I well-documented my internet research, I looked into the history of Titanium, its procurement, refinement, and work-ability. I ...
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859 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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579 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 ...
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385 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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242 views

Did the USSR invite other astronauts of Apollo 11 besides Armstrong?

Sometime after the return of Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong visited the USSR. I wonder why he was alone? Weren't the other astronauts invited or they refused to visit? Was it because Armstrong was an ...
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638 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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2answers
275 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 ...
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1answer
844 views

When did the Great Purge start?

In what month of what year did the Great Purge begin in the Soviet Union? Wikipedia's individual page says it it started in 1934, but if I Google search for "Great Purge" and "1934," nothing much ...
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1answer
274 views

Did Soviet Republics like Kazakstan and Azerbaijan have their own military units?

Were Soviet units typically separated by national origin or were all men from all Soviet nations mixed together in divisions? I'm not talking just through World War II, but from the 1940s all the way ...
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191 views

Did technical managers have to join the Nazi party?

In the Soviet Union a person who was rising in technical management (say, becoming the director of a plant) was usually expected to join the Communist Party as a pre-requisite of getting the job. I ...
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148 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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7answers
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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 ...
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1k views

In the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, was there any secret agreement on the timetable, if any, of taking the spheres of influence?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact included a secret agreement to divide Europe between Germany and USSR. I'm wondering if this secret agreement included timetables for those takeovers, or if they were ...
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447 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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666 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 ...
7
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1answer
760 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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769 views

What was the maximum percent of the Soviet territory that was under Nazi control?

What was the percent of the Soviet territory that was under Nazi control at maximum extent?
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422 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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2answers
837 views

Who was the first Russian in space (not Soviet)?

I know Yuri Gagarin was the first Soviet, and man, in space. Who was the first Russian (not Soviet) in space?
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4answers
331 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 ...
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4answers
3k 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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2answers
292 views

Did Soviet cars have seatbelts or laws enforcing them?

I know in America, the seatbelt has a history involving legislation and Ralph Nader, and didn't really exist before the 1960's. What about in the Soviet Union? Did they go through a similar process? ...
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4answers
256 views

What do citizens of countries that partition do about new anthems? [closed]

I am fascinated with creation and adoption of national anthems. I find it especially intriguing with such countries that were once a union and then broke apart. My interest/question deals with two ...
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2answers
225 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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1answer
644 views

Was electricity free in the Soviet Union?

Did people receive free electricity in their homes in the Soviet Union? If so, how was it rationed out? Were there any quotas on how much you could use?