Questions tagged [soviet-union]

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 two superpowers, opposing the USA in the Cold War. 1980s leader Gorbachev attempted reform with perestroika and glasnost but the country collapsed in 1991.

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Was the assassination of Kirov really that significant in consolidating Stalin's power?

I understand that the assassination of Kirov was what triggered the launch of the Great Purge and therefore, what allowed for Stalin to consolidate his power, but would there be something more ...
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What are some good sources on the everyday life of Soviet troops during WWII?

Imagine I wanted to get a basic understanding what the everyday life of a Soviet soldier (especially infantry, tank units, air force) during WWII was like. What books and other resources in English, ...
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Did the Red Army and German Army clash in Poland in 1939?

I found a youtube lecture by Stephen Kotkin. He is a professor of history, wrote 2 books on Stalin with a 3rd on the way, and has access to certain Russian archives. That's all I know about him, ...
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Analysis of the Cold War, Particularly its Origins [closed]

I have been doing an in-depth study of the Cold War for a while now, and I really want to understand the main reasons why it began. There are a few questions I have regarding a few specifics that I ...
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Were Soviet Union's best trained and equipped forces deployed on the Chinese border and not against NATO?

I heard a scholarly gentleman make this claim (without giving any details of his sources) that after the Sino-Soviet split the most capable forces were not aligned for a war with the West but were ...
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Why did the Soviet Union close its borders and restrict travel abroad?

It was virtually impossible for citizens of Soviet Union to move or travel abroad. Only some ethnic minorities (e.g. Jewish) with family members abroad could move out, yet with great difficulty. Why ...
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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 ...
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Did Yuri Gagarin really mention Anna Magnani in his flight in space?

This NYTimes article about the Italian actress Anna Magnani states: Perhaps the best way to describe her effect on audiences is to quote from a documentary on the Italian actress by the Belgian ...
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What were traffic lights like in the USSR?

I'm interested in the design of illuminated traffic lights (for automobiles) in the USSR, especially the old history. I tried to google this for what year the first illuminated traffic light was ...
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Did the Soviet army intentionally send troops (e.g. penal battalions) running over minefields?

You can hear this story/claim stated in various way, from just regular troops doing it, to just penal battalions, to strenuous denial nobody ever did this in the Soviet army. (Just look at a Quora ...
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Why did the Soviet Union not “grant” Inner Mongolia to Mongolia after World War Two?

In the brief Soviet anti-Japanese campaign of 1945, Soviet and Mongol troops entered Inner Mongolia. Mongolia itself had been essentially a client state of the Soviet Union since 1921. Also the ...
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Is Snyder's claim about Soviet-German friendship propaganda posters (1939‒41) supportible?

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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How much were lottery prizes taxed in Soviet Union?

I was a bit surprised to learn from this YouTube video (about Lottery in Soviet Union) that lottery of the kind where you had to guess like 6 numbers out of 49 or so existed in Soviet Union since ...
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Is there documentary evidence that Stalin intended/prepared to fight Germany after the Nazi-Soviet pact?

It's often said the peace was only both sides buying time. There's ample evidence Hitler always intended to break the pact. Did Stalin? Suvorov's thesis that Stalin was preparing for an offensive ...
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Did the Soviets have an official campaign to remove foreign nationals to Siberia? [closed]

Specifically, in the Ukraine. And more specifically, to remove foreign nationals out of the way of the impending German invasion during WW 2? The intent and impact always intersect. But the question ...
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During the Soviet era, were people charged with crimes able to hire lawyers of their own?

Recently, I watched HBO's mini-series Chernobyl where the accused were brought for justice. But I was wondering why there was no lawyer for them.
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What are the main reasons historians give for the Soviet Union's collapse?

(I thought that How and Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse? is a good question so would like to rephrase it a bit but the question was too far gone to edit) The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 with ...
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Why did Jodrell Bank assist the Soviet Union to collect data from their spacecraft in the mid 1960's?

I've just listened to the short BBC News audio podcast clip How British academics spied on the superpowers: Tim O’Brien from the Jodrell Bank radio telescope discusses 50 year old recordings which ...
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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 are some major military successes the Soviet Union achieved 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?
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Are tech workers in the Siberian city of Tomsk really “descendants of those sent to the gulags”?

I've been listening to the BBC podcast The Hackers of Siberia. The notes on the web page include: Intellectuals banished to an inhospitable land, settled in Siberia and created a pool of talent ...
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Why did Gorbachev go to see “Prince Igor” after the August 1991 coup attempt?

After the 1991 coup attempt in the Soviet Union failed, Mikhail and Raisa Gorbachev arrived back in Moscow in the wee hours of August 21. That night or the night after, it was reported on US news ...
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How did the the Soviet-China near-war in 1969 affect the supply of arms to North Vietnam?

This is a bit of what I am looking for:vietnamwar/chinese-and-soviet-involvement/, but it seems incomplete. Specifically, as the Soviets increased their aid to North Vietnam, where did Soviet weapons ...
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How much oil did the USSR export in the 1930's?

The Grozny-Tuapse Pipeline appears to be the first major crude oil pipeline in the USSR, built in 1927 - 1928. (Note, the Russian version of that article has more information.) Tuapse is a port city ...
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Did Japan ever attack Vladivostok in WW2? Why or why not?

That's a screenshot from Battlefield Season 4 Episode 3. I added the location of Vladivostok. In all my readings, I have never found a Japanese attack on Vladivostok during or right before WW2. You ...
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Confusion on the Tabulation of Casualties on the Eastern Front of WW2, Particularly at the Battle of Kursk

I've been reading a good bit on the Soviet-Axis war of World War 2 as of late. Something that continually strikes me is the large variation in casualties for any given operation or battle that ...
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What were the international space arrangements and scientific purposes Eisenhower spoke of in October 1957?

Background: Explorer 1 was successfully launched into orbit by the US 1958-02-01 about four months after Sputnik 1 was successfully launched by the Soviet Union 1957-10-04, and Vanguard 1 wasn't ...
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How strongly defended was Baku in 1942?

Baku was the single largest source of oil in the Soviet Union in World War II. The Germans captured Maikop and seemed on the verge of capturing Grozny. But Baku was much larger than either of the ...
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What happened to US's Lend-Lease machinery given to the Soviet Union?

Although most sources say that the Russians were supplied with great amounts of equipment and food as part of Lend-Lease program, I have not in all my years living in Russia seen US labeled machinery. ...
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What is the context for Glennon's intelligence gathering trip to Russia in 1956

In 1956 my father, John J. Glennon (Librarian for the what is now the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), was one of the few fluent Russian speakers in the US, as I was given to ...
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Did it matter that the Red Army clung on to Stalingrad's West bank in 1942?

All histories of the Stalingrad battle emphasize the heroic defense of the west bank of the Volga by the Red Army in 1942. It implies that if the German 6th Army had just managed to oust the last ...
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Did the Germans attempt the easier or harder of two possible objectives in the Caucasus?

During the summer and fall of 1942, German Army Group A advanced into the Caucasus pursuant to Fall Blau. This consisted of two armies, the First Panzer Army and the Seventeenth Army. The advanced ...
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Did Stalin kill all Soviet officers involved in the Winter War?

Did Stalin kill all of the Soviet officers involved in the Winter War, when it ended? A documentary called "Warlords: Hitler vs Stalin" made this claim, but Wikipedia doesn't seem to mention this. ...
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When planning Barbarossa, did Germany conceive of the Soviet migration of heavy industry?

Wikipedia has a very tiny article on this. Basically, when Barbarossa was launched, the Soviet Union started evacuating the factories. They were migrated to places beyond the Ural Mountains. I'm ...
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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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Does this CIA report describe the Soviet T-54 tank?

This CIA report from March 1954 describes an "Improved T-34 Tank" at the "V.I. Lenin Works at Pilsen". The report lists Czechoslovakia as the country of origin. This logically makes since as the T-34 ...
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How accessible was the port of Archangelsk from the east?

During World War II, something like one half of Lend Lease supplies reached Russia via Vladivostok and the Trans Siberian railroad (what I call the eastern route); one quarter to south Russia from the ...
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What was the impact of Fischer vs. Spassky 1972 on the relationship between the USA and the Soviet Union?

In 1948, the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) organized the first Chess World Championship after WW2. Its winner was Mikhail Botvinnik. Further Chess World Champions were Vasily Smyslov, ...
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How many troops did Hitler send back from the Eastern front to face the Allies' assault?

After the Battle of Kursk, Hitler called back a lot of his forces to defend against the British and American invasion. My question is how much of his forces did he call back from the Eastern front?
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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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Did people on the Bridge of Death in Pripyat actually die?

It is a long-circulating claim that the Pripyat residents and policemen who watched the Chernobyl explosion from a railway bridge, mostly (or even all) died. Sometimes even a dose of 500 rem (which is ...
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Why would chickens be blue in the Soviet Union?

A 2017-12-30 NYRB article mentions "blue chickens sold in state grocery stores". An anecdote about life in the Soviet Union also mentions that "[b]lue chickens would sometimes be sold outside" the "...
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Was Frisbee criticized in the Soviet Union?

In the U.S. of the 1950s, the Space Age and molded plastic flying discs (Frisbees) were both novel. New materials and a supposed resemblance to UFOs made this linkage irresistible for early disc ...
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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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What happened to all the nuclear material being smuggled after the fall of the USSR?

I'm currently on my lunch break and deep in the Wikipedia hole which brought me to this article that details thwarted nuclear smuggling incidents in 1993/6. Many of the incidents involve elements that ...
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How many rapes did the Wehrmacht commit in the Soviet Union during World War II?

German Wikipedia says that until 1944 5394 German soldiers were convicted for "moral crimes", but the Wehrmacht leadership regarded that sexual crimes in accordance with the racial ideology (...
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How old was the Pripyat hospital МСЧ-126 at the time of Chernobyl disaster?

After seeing praises (both in general and about the historically accurate display of Soviet Union) on the Chernobyl series, I decided to watch it. In the first episode we see a hospital. What striked ...
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How long might the campaigning season in the Caucasus have lasted for the Germans?

The Caucasus Mountains included some of the most southerly points in the former Soviet Union, but also some of the highest altitude points. The book, "Marching Orders" referred to "ice and snow" for ...
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Identification of a badge with Russian text

Here's a curious badge that I found somewhere years ago, but didn't know whom to ask. (click to enlarge) Could someone please identify it? I learnt the Cyrillic script and tried googling it, but ...
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Looking for good documentation about daily life under Stalinist USSR

I am contemplating the idea of making a role playing game set in USSR under Stalin, specifically the period between when he gained full power (roughly 1930) and operation barbarossa (June 1941). I am ...