Questions tagged [russia]

The largest country in the world, spanning territory from the eastern edge of Europe to Siberia in northern Asia.

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80
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9answers
26k views

Did Russian winter seriously contribute to German defeat on the Eastern Front in WWII?

When people discuss the causes of Hitler's defeat in Russia, one topic is frequently mentioned: climate. People claim that winter contributed significantly to the problems of German army on the ...
53
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3answers
11k views

Why did Britain not purchase Alaska when Russia had it up for sale?

One thing that comes up often when discussing "what-ifs" with family or friends is why the British government never nabbed Alaska when Russia had placed it up for sale and made it into Canada's fourth ...
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11answers
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Did the Soviets excel in one area of weaponry during World War II?

The Germans had some of the best machine guns and tanks during World War II. Likewise, the Americans had a big advantage with the M1 Garand (which Patton famously called "The greatest battle implement ...
34
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2answers
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Did the Germans purposefully arrange to send Lenin to Russia to start a revolution?

A recent documentary, The World Wars, on the History Channel suggested, strongly, that the Imperial German government secretly arranged safe-passage for Vladimir Lenin to return to Moscow from ...
33
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9answers
25k views

How did Moscow become the Capital/most important city in Russia?

Early in the past millennium, Kiev was probably the largest, most modern city in the former Soviet Union, at least until the Mongols came. One might have expected it to be the capital of the Soviet ...
32
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6answers
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Where does the name of the country “Belarus” come from?

I've read the German and English Wikipedia on this topic as well as the translated Belarussian version and some sites I googled. They all seem to argue that the 'Rus' part stems from the Region called ...
30
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2answers
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Were there ethnic Russians in Alaska when the US purchased it 1867? Did they stay?

How many ethnic Russians, or inhabitants with recent roots in Russia, were there in Alaska when US bought it? Were they hunters, farmers, traders? How many stayed and became Americans?
29
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6answers
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What are the text and subtext of this 1949 Soviet cartoon?

Over on Wikipedia, we find this cover from the March 1949 issue of Soviet satire mag Krokodil: The person who uploaded it to Wikipedia captioned it "Antisemitic caricature of rootless cosmopolitan." ...
27
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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 ...
27
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1answer
3k views

Why was Kaliningrad placed under the Russian SFSR rather than the Lithuanian SSR?

Kaliningrad was (and still is) Russia's only (non-trivial*) exclave. Why did Stalin and the Soviet leaders transfer Kaliningrad to the Russian SFSR rather than the Lithuanian SSR (with which ...
25
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1answer
2k views

Did Catherine the Great really call for the abolition of serfdom?

... like Catherine the Great S01E01 (2019) shows? This would be almost a century before serfdom was actually abolished, and makes one wonder why the Czars didn't just do it, if they were in favor of ...
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2answers
6k views

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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2answers
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Venezuelan crisis of 1902–03: Why is there a Russian flag on the cover of the prominent newspaper 'Le Petit Parisien'?

The Venezuelan crisis of 1902–03[a] was a naval blockade from December 1902 to February 1903 imposed against Venezuela by Britain, Germany and Italy over President Cipriano Castro's refusal to pay ...
24
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1answer
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What is this household object from early 1900s rural Russia?

At the Kalashnikov museum in Izhevsk, one of the exhibits includes this item: It is a yoke-shaped square bar of light, unvarnished wood, roughly 100 cm long, with rounded corners. There is a hole ...
23
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5answers
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How did the Axis intend to hold the Caucasus?

We all know how the Axis offensive in 1942 led to the "turning point" battle of Stalingrad and the eventual defeat of the Third Reich, and that this offensive had been launched in order to capture and ...
23
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5answers
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How popular was the Soviet Union?

How much popular support was there in the Soviet Union? How did this popular support increase and decrease with time? Here is an infographic that sort of summarizes my question. It shows that even at ...
21
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4answers
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Why did the Germans forbid the possession of pet pigeons in Rostov-on-Don in 1941?

Photograph made by Max Alpert shows a dead boy holding a pigeon. It seems that the child has been tortured before he was killed. Source: Federal Archive Agency of Russia, Russian state archive of ...
21
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6answers
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How compare the rights and conditions of the American slaves to those of Russian serfs?

How compare the rights and conditions of the 19-th century American slaves to those of the 19-th century Russian serfs?
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2answers
3k views

What made the Russian Fleet suspect Japanese Torpedo boats were in North Sea in 1904/5?

I'm finding several references that during the Russia - Japanese war of 1904/1905 that the Russians had intelligence that suggested the Japanese either had torpedo boats present in the North Sea or ...
21
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2answers
5k views

When was slavery abolished in Russia?

It is usually agreed that the Russian serfdom which was abolished in the mid-19th century originated in the 16th century as a form of martial law needed for armed campaigns and was especially ...
20
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2answers
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Why did no other empire contest Russia's colonization of North-Asia?

As far as I know, no 18/19th century empire tried to colonize Siberia or the northern Far East besides Russia. That sounds implausible to me and I'm curious how could that be?
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Why did Stalin push for the Great Purge against the Red Army in 1936?

From what we now know of Stalin, he seemed to believe in the basics of Marxist-Leninism. As a communist, didn't he fear that killing his own military's leadership would seriously endanger the world's ...
20
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1answer
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Could the Russians Have Done Better at the Battle of Tsushima Straits Than They Actually Did?

In 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War, a Russian fleet sailing all the way from the Baltic was annihilated by the Japanese fleet in the Tsushima Straits. The Russian fleet was larger, with thirteen ...
20
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2answers
562 views

Was Kaliningrad offered to the Lithuanian SSR; was this offer rejected; and if so, why?

This is a follow up to this other question Why was Kaliningrad placed under the Russian SFSR rather than the Lithuanian SSR? Semaphore's answer states: ... a similar offer was made to give ...
19
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3answers
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What does Russia want with Chechnya

I have heard that Russia has been fighting with the Chechens on and off for about 300 years, occasionally losing control and reconquering. What exactly does Russia have to gain by retaining control of ...
19
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1answer
714 views

Six pregnant maidens from Kamchatka

Yuri Semyonov's history "The Conquest of Siberia: An Epic of Human Passions" says: Journeys to Siberia were always measured in years. In an old book the author, in order to make clear how long a ...
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2answers
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Why did Napoleon march to Moscow instead of Saint Petersburg?

When Napoleon decided to invade Russia in 1812, why did he target Moscow instead of Saint Petersburg? At the time, Saint Petersburg was the Capital of Russia, not Moscow (although Moscow may have had ...
18
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9answers
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Why were the Germans and Russians so fixated on an unlikely “separate peace” in 1945?

Anyone familiar with the history of WW2 will know that the Germans hoped for and the Russians feared the British and Americans in 1944/45 might make a separate peace with Hitler and even join together ...
18
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3answers
5k views

Did the Germans use the V1 and V2 missile system on the Eastern Front in World War 2?

Did the Germans use the V1 and V2 missile system on the Eastern Front in World War 2? We have heard the legendary use of these missile systems on the Western Front, which in my opinion were counter-...
18
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5answers
2k views

Isn't there any positive legacy of the Mongolian occupation in Russia?

In the BBC radio 4 series The Wild East, the history of Russia after the Mongolian occupation is described as if all the bad things happend subsequently had been caused by the legacy of that era. Isn'...
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3answers
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Did Yuri Gagarin really hear a ticking sound during his journey into outer space?

In the movie, Another Earth, Rhoda told John that Yuri Gagarin heard a ticking sound during his journey into outer space. He couldn't find the source, and eventually came to love that ticking sound. ...
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3answers
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Did Japan ever pay Russia war reparations after WW2? Why or why not?

Russia had the largest number of casualties during WW2, and Russia had taken many Japanese prisoners. So, why didn't Russia receive a reparation from Japan to help boost Russia's economy after the war?...
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3answers
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Did Peter the Great promote rights for women? If so, how?

I read somewhere that Peter the Great wanted that women participated more actively in the society. But I can not find a reliable source to confirm this, nor why or how he did this. I think this is ...
15
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4answers
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What role did the space race play in reducing the nuclear threat during the 1960s?

Today I visited again the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, a space flight history museum, and noticed for the first time the claim that part of John F. Kennedy's motivation for pushing for a ...
15
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3answers
713 views

Authenticity of the Russian birch bark manuscripts

More than 1000 birch bark manuscripts have been found in Novgorod and other Russian cities in last 50 years. Many of them stayed in the soil for more than 700 years. In the same time, no special ...
15
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3answers
593 views

Were British fears of Russia using Afghanistan as a staging post for an invasion of India unfounded?

I know that "The Great Game" was originally concerned with Russian-British competition in Central Asia, but my question is was this competition and British fear founded on anything? My understanding ...
15
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3answers
7k views

When did Josef Wissarionowitsch become “sexy” Stalin?

According to KnowYourMeme, among others, a relatively young Stalin is so good looking in a certain picture that he is often referred to as "sexy Stalin": This is indeed a pretty picture of a ...
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5answers
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Why was the standoff on the Ugra river the end of the Tatar-Mongol yoke in Russia?

This is a very layman question, since my only source of knowledge is Wikipedia. I'm sure there are works that cover this subject in more details, please mentioned them in your answer. Wikipedia says: ...
14
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2answers
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What did Yuri Gagarin do while waiting for his ride?

So I found out from a post on skeptics:SE that when Yuri Gagarin landed from being the first human in space during the Vostok 1 mission, he parachuted down and landed in the Soviet Union near the ...
14
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5answers
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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. ...
14
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2answers
587 views

Why is Russian far east less populated than Chinese north east regions?

I was comparing the Russia's Far Eastern zone with the equivalent Northeast China. Anyway the two regions have many difference but by comparing regions at the same latitude I found vast difference to ...
14
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2answers
736 views

Three rings (wreaths?) symbol in XIX century Russia

On some buildings in Moscow (and other cities in European part of Russia) there are carvings of three interconnected wreaths. For example, some are on the Pushkin Museum building on Prechistenka: ...
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5answers
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Is the “Katyusha” scene from Deer Hunter historically accurate?

In the movie Deer Hunter we can see Russian-Americans sing the song "Katyusha" during a wedding. One can clearly see that this song fits well into the movie's themes (the groom on this wedding is ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Are these Red Army uniforms authentic?

This image attributes all three uniforms to the Red Army of 1918-1922. I wonder whether the proposed time frame and/or details authentic. For me the first one looks like it was taken from the 1940s ...
13
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3answers
1k 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 news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/...
13
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1answer
360 views

How long was a journey “from the Varangians to the Greeks?”

Textbooks about Russian history often discuss the importance of trade routes "from the Varangians to the Greeks," which allowed ships to pass from the Baltic to the Black Sea using a network of ...
13
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1answer
638 views

Who were the target audiences of this propaganda lithograph?

What was the main purpose of the image below, who was the audience (except Japanese people themselves)? It is a Japanese lithograph depicting the capture of Blagoveshchensk, Siberia, by the Imperial ...
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6answers
4k views

Why didn't Russia help Saddam Hussein as it is helping Syria now?

Wasn't Saddam an ally of Russia? If Russia wasn't his ally, who was his ally? Syria is looking like a strong ally of Russia as it was the case of Serbia. Russians played direct roles to save these ...
12
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2answers
3k views

Are there ways to measure “how much power did ”Russia“ lose when the Soviet Union broke up?”

Russia today is the largest country in the world (by a fairly wide margin). That is true after the other 15 or so "Socialist Republics" left and went their separate ways in 1991, leaving Russia with a ...
12
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3answers
622 views

What was the program of the Mensheviks in their later years? How did they hope to achieve it?

The Mensheviks were an important force in Russia during the February Revolution of 1917. Within Russia proper, they were gradually sidelined after the Bolshevik October Revolution. The Menshevik ...