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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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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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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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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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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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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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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308 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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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, ...
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578 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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593 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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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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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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761 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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784 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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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 ...
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230 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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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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661 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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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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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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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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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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372 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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476 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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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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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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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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694 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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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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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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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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142 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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813 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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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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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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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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242 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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217 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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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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687 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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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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602 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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213 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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88 views

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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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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279 views

Did Nikita Krushchev's support of Stalin's purges play a part in his removal from office?

As far as I can tell Krushchev was removed from office because of his erratic policies, and specifically their failures, but did his role in Stalin's purges also play a part in his removal?
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327 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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Why were Soviets so extremely effective snipers in WW2?

I found a top 10 sniper list from 2nd world war which contains 9 soviet soldiers, and only 1 finnish soldier. Namely: Stepan Vasilievich Petrenko Vasilij Ivanovich Golosov Fyodor Trofimovich ...
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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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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 ...