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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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Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?

During World War 2, Hitler was fighting a war with Great Britain and her colonies, but while fighting that war, he attacked the Soviet Union even though they had a non-aggression pact. Everyone knows ...
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Why didn't Imperial Japan attack the Soviet Union during World War 2?

Japan and the Soviet Union shared a common border in Manchuria and the German invasion of the Soviet Union weakened the Soviets greatly. In view of the advantages to Japan in seeing the Soviet Union ...
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71 votes
9 answers
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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 friendship....
Jake Jay's user avatar
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61 votes
7 answers
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How did the USSR manage to innovate in an environment characterized by government censorship and high bureaucracy?

Despite the high bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, some design bureaus still achieved spectacular feats in science and engineering (mostly in defense and aerospace) e.g. Mir space station, Soyuz ...
Kevin Muhuri's user avatar
49 votes
11 answers
19k views

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 ...
I Like Computurs's user avatar
49 votes
4 answers
7k views

During the breakup of the Soviet Union, on what basis was citizenship granted or withheld for each of the fifteen new republics?

The politics and economics of the Soviet Union caused large numbers of people to be transplanted from one region to another, for example: The Crimean Tatars were deported to Central Asia; Ethnic ...
chancellorofpaphos's user avatar
45 votes
12 answers
13k views

Why did the Soviet Union have multiple airplane manufacturers?

Generally, Communism believed in economic central planning, with each field being serviced by one "company" (to avoid waste). Why was it that the Soviet Union had multiple airplane manufacturers, ...
Charles Shiller's user avatar
45 votes
2 answers
7k views

In the Soviet Union, why was the Cheka renamed so many times?

The Cheka was the secret police of the USSR. Wikipedia maintains a list of the Cheka and its subsequent renamings: 1917: Cheka 1922: GPU 1923: OGPU 1934: NKVD 1941: NKGB 1941: NKVD (again) 1943: NKGB ...
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Why did the Soviet Union name their strongest bomb Tsar Bomba?

The Soviet Union has/had the most powerful (Hydrogen) Bomb ever, the Tsar Bomb. Why did they name it Tsar Bomb, when they had freed themself from the Tsars before, and even executed Tsar Nicholas II?
user5339049's user avatar
41 votes
5 answers
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What did Germany do in World War II about the different rail gauge in the Soviet Union?

One reason it was so hard for Germany to invade Russia/the Soviet Union in World War II (and I) was because the Russians had a different (wider) railroad gauge than that of most of the rest of Europe, ...
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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 ...
against very long user names's user avatar
37 votes
4 answers
17k views

What was the internal Soviet reaction to the moon landing?

The Soviet Union was a famously restrictive place when it came to news and ideological spin, and obviously their attitude toward the United States was less than supportive and warm. The Space Race ...
Nerrolken's user avatar
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7 answers
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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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36 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
Tea Drinker's user avatar
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35 votes
5 answers
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Why did the Soviet Union out-pace the US during the space-race?

At the end of World War II, the US Government's Operation Paperclip plucked rocket scientists from Germany and brought them to the U.S. to work on military weapons. Most famous among these scientists ...
vy32's user avatar
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5 answers
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Was the Wehrmacht a mechanized army?

I read random descriptions of Germany's attack on the Soviet Union, and I got the impression that besides tanks, the armies carried with them millions of horses and that the bulk of the soldiers were ...
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32 votes
5 answers
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Given their reputation for fighting to the last man in the Pacific, why did 700,000 Japanese troops surrender in Manchuria?

I just read this. It says: On August 8, 1945 ... the Soviet Union launched the invasion of Manchuria, a massive military operation mobilizing 1.5 million soldiers against one million Kwantung Army ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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32 votes
6 answers
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What was the role of the Soviet Navy during WWII?

Most books about 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 ...
The Byzantine's user avatar
31 votes
5 answers
14k views

Did the U.S. and Soviet Union have a submarine battle in 1968?

There are books and articles about the Soviet submarine K-129 and the USS Scorpion in 1968, with various stories of attempted nuclear attacks and reprisals. Is there a factual narrative about these ...
xpda's user avatar
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6 answers
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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." ...
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30 votes
5 answers
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Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
ihtkwot's user avatar
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30 votes
4 answers
17k views

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 ...
qwaz's user avatar
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30 votes
8 answers
6k views

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 ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
29 votes
5 answers
7k views

Did the Soviet Union or its satellite states have any broadcast propaganda media for an international audience?

Since 1949, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has been a U.S. Government funded broadcasting service aimed at Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. During the Cold War, it mainly targeted ...
gerrit's user avatar
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29 votes
7 answers
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Why did Stalin and the Soviet leadership have Leon Trotsky assassinated?

Leon Trotsky was killed with a mountaineering ice axe in Mexico. The method of murder chosen was interesting. If he was a political fugitive in far off Mexico, why bother dealing with him? What about ...
0tyranny0poverty's user avatar
29 votes
2 answers
10k views

Why did the Soviet Union get 3 seats in the UN?

Even before the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine and Belarus (which were then officially part of the Soviet Union) had independent seats at the United Nations. Why didn't the US or the UK get the ...
user avatar
29 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
user avatar
28 votes
3 answers
9k views

Were Soviets invited to the Marshall Islands to observe the first hydrogen bomb detonations?

In 1952, did the US invite, or consider inviting, Russian scientist to observe the detonation of the first hydrogen bomb? These were above-ground tests far away from Russian in the Marshall Islands, ...
user312440's user avatar
28 votes
2 answers
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 ...
mart's user avatar
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28 votes
1 answer
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How was titanium transported from Soviet Union to Area 51 for Oxcart?

Oxcart was one of its kind, a sophisticated aircraft designed during the Cold-War era. Its body was made up of titanium. Titanium was only found in substantial quantities in the then Soviet Union. The ...
user avatar
27 votes
6 answers
7k views

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 ...
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27 votes
4 answers
3k views

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 ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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27 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
user avatar
26 votes
4 answers
2k views

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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
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26 votes
3 answers
7k views

Did Stalin offer Hitler peace after Stalingrad?

While reading Winston's War (Max Hastings), I have been repeatedly impressed by the image of Hitler fighting against the Soviet Union, while the latter was supplied by the Allies. A collectivist ...
adam.baker's user avatar
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26 votes
5 answers
5k 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 ...
Evil Washing Machine's user avatar
25 votes
6 answers
7k views

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. ...
Vasily Rxn's user avatar
25 votes
14 answers
44k views

What was the ratio of German to Soviet losses on Eastern front during different stages of the war?

I've read somewhere that the ratio of Soviet to German casualties on the Eastern front was 1.4 for the whole war. But what about data for different stages of the war? (this ratio wasn't constant after ...
RobertLee's user avatar
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25 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why did the USSR stop in the Winter War against Finland in 1940?

To me, this is one of the biggest history mysteries. By the end of February 1940, the USSR breached the Mannerheim line, and the Finnish troops were exhausted and short of ammunition. I have little ...
Sandra's user avatar
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24 votes
3 answers
12k views

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. ...
user avatar
24 votes
9 answers
5k views

Who taught Russian in Eastern-bloc satellite countries?

After the USSR gained many satellites countries in central/eastern Europe in 1945, Russian became obligatory at school. It seems those Russian courses were highly unpopular and only a small minority ...
Bregalad's user avatar
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24 votes
5 answers
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Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union?

Was public transportation free in the Soviet Union? I'm interested in the metros and buses. If not, what did they cost? I'm most interested in the period around the late 1950's, early 1960's, but it ...
DrZ214's user avatar
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24 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why was the Red Army successful against the Japanese in 1939 but perform poorly against Finland 1939-40 and early part of WW2?

The Soviet Union's Red Army had great difficulty overcoming the vastly outnumbered Finns in the 1939-40 Winter War, and suffered disastrous defeats in the early stages of the German invasion in World ...
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24 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
against very long user names's user avatar
23 votes
9 answers
12k 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 ...
Evil Washing Machine's user avatar
23 votes
3 answers
20k views

Were there any attempts to assassinate Joseph Stalin?

Were there any attempts to assassinate Stalin? I haven't learned of any attempt to kill him, was he so brutal that no one tried to kill him?
Rodrigo's user avatar
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22 votes
9 answers
9k views

Why did Stalin push for the Great Purge against the Red Army in 1936?

From what we now know of Stalin, he seemed to have believed in the basics of Marxist-Leninism. As a communist, didn't he fear that killing his own military's leadership would seriously endanger the ...
David Charin's user avatar
22 votes
2 answers
3k views

How and why did e.g. Chechnya differ in status from entities like Armenia?

Chechnya, Dagestan, North and South Ossetia, etc. are Russian republics. In this regard, they differ from "Soviet Republics" like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, etc. (My particular interest ...
Tom Au's user avatar
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22 votes
2 answers
3k views

Did NATO promise Gorbachev not to accept membership applications from former Warsaw Pact nations?

There have been several claims that there was an agreement between NATO and USSR at the end of the Cold War. This agreement supposedly required NATO to reject any membership applications from the ...
Zeick's user avatar
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22 votes
1 answer
5k views

Did the Soviet leadership ever address the American people on American TV?

As part of the détente between the United States and the Soviet Union, American president Richard Nixon made an 18-minute address to the Soviet people, which was broadcast on Soviet state television ...
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