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 Germany's “Fall Blau” plan in the Soviet Union partly aimed at Mediterranean neutrals or Japan (a neutral vis-vis the Soviets)?

In 1942, Germany adopted Fall Blau, a plan for a southward push in the Soviet Union toward the Caucasus, and the borders of Turkey and Iran. (Stalingrad was added to the plan later.) Decrypts by "...
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Was there any terrorism in the Soviet Union?

Did terrorist attacks ever occur within the borders of the USSR? By this, I do not mean: terrorist acts committed by the USSR against its own people terrorists abroad sponsored by the USSR acts of ...
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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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What was the dominant Soviet strategy for invading Germany in the 1980's?

Through archives and doctrinal publications, was there any bias towards attacking NATO through the North German Plain, the Fulda Gap, or something else?
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Who were these two 1961 Soviet pilot defectors?

During the Viet Nam War, a Soviet pilot nicknamed "Victor" defected from an airbase near Baku, crash landing in Iran in an L-29. In the USAF he was named "Defector Source 306". An earlier incident of ...
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Why did people in the USSR participate in elections?

It is well known that the elections in the USSR had only one candidate on the list, giving no real choice to the voter. While it was possible to vote against a candidate, there was no realistic ...
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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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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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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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Why was communism at odds with pan-Arabism?

I can't figure this out. Communism was supposed to be against nationalism. This would seem to favor pan-Arabism, which espoused the ideal of uniting the Arab lands instead of remaining divided up more ...
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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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Why was the Soviet Union unable to stop the violence in Nagorno-Karabakh? [closed]

In 1988, a war began between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority Armenian area within Azerbaijan's borders. The Soviet Union sent in troops to keep the peace, but it didn't work. ...
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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 ...
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Why did the USSR switch from 1524 mm gauge to 1520 mm gauge in the late 1960's?

This article mentions that Russia started with a 1,524 mm rail gauge, and in the sixties and seventies, switched to a 1,520 mm rail gauge with tighter tolerances. Why do this? If you want tighter ...
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Is this true that the Russian economy was efficient during war II? [closed]

During the second world war (You remember, the one that America was briefly involved in), the USSR’s “russian system” recovered from being devastated by the advancing Germans, and using a '...
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What historical analyses are there to say whether or not the USSR really needed a second front (D-Day) in WWII?

I'm only generally familiar with the Eastern Front of WWII. My basic understanding is that the Soviet Union was pushed back to Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad, before finally turning things around ...
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Why did the Germans not encircle and besiege Stalingrad?

The Germans spent a large amount of manpower in adverse territory for this city, even after long exhausting continuous combat. After the war, Kliest wrote: The capture of Stalingrad was ...
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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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When did the Soviet Union stop blaming the Entente for WW2?

In the fall 1939 the SU blamed Britain and France for starting WW2 exclusively (i.e., no blame was put on Germany). It shifted the blame to Germany after 1941-06-22 (obviously). When was the last time ...
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Was the attempt to take Stalingrad a distraction to the original objectives of the German Sixth Army during Case Blue in 1942?

If the objective of Sixth Army was to close the Volga to Russian shipping while simultaneously protecting the left flank of the Caucasus forces, then attacking Stalingrad could be seen as a ...
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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 ...
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Tamerlane and Operation Barbarossa

While going through Tamerlane's article on Wikipedia I found It is also said that when Gerasimov exhumed Timur's body, an additional inscription inside the casket was found reading, "Who ever opens ...
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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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Did the USSR use trotskyism as a bogeyman in the post Stalin period?

In Stalin's time the USSR used Trotskyist as a byword for subversion, sabotage, and all things nasty. In his 'secret speech', Khrushchev continued to condemn Trotskyist ideas, but depicted Stalin's ...
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Did Hitler, or any non USSR residents in the 30s-40s know about Stalin's purges?

In Downfall, Hitler laments about how he should have purged the military officers like Stalin did, so my question is: would people have actually known about Stalin's purges during that time ?
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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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What was the role of the Russian Orthodox church in Soviet Russia?

Considering that Soviet Union was officially atheistic and Bibles and most "Christian" denominations were banned, it is interesting to me that the government left the Russian Orthodox churches ...
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Was there a secret side-agreement between the USSR and Nazi Germany to summarily execute the Polish officer corp? [closed]

In a recently published novel by W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth, IV, The Assassination Option, the authors tell a story of a dinner conversation at the Tehran Conference. The story, ...
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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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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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What was the American response to the Sino-Soviet border conflict? [closed]

In 1969, detente with either the PRC or USSR lay in the future. All three countries were hostile towards one another. Was the USA pleased its two rivals were tearing lumps out of each other, or were ...
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In the USSR, what if any was the formal, ideological response to the Cultural Revolution in China?

How did the USSR parse and explain an ostensibly uber-communist movement which was dedicated to overthrowing the leadership of the country's communist party? Did they see this as 'Trotskyism', or some ...
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In the USSR, did they ever stop 'officially' believing in the future Communist utopia?

Karl Marx taught of a state which 'withered away' until 'communism' had been achieved: that is a stateless, communal society of prosperity and perpetual peace. To begin with at least, the Soviet Union ...
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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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Did the USSR have a more positive relationship with France than other west european countries after 1945?

France and the USSR were allies before World War 2. A number of things intervened before then and 1945, not limited to the war itself. After the war, did Soviet officials publicly (or privately) ...
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What is the origin of “With an iron fist, we will drive humanity to happiness?”

What is the origin and context of the Marxist/Leninist quote "With an iron fist, we will drive humanity to happiness?" Rather than just the name of the author, some background would be helpful. For ...
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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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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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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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What mechanisms made Stalinism triumphant in Russia? [closed]

What mechanisms would you guys think made Stalinism triumphant? Firstly, what do you guys think, was Stalinism totalitarian? Was Stalin the absolute ruler over the totality of society and politics? ...
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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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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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Why was there no solution found to Soviet famines and near-famines? [closed]

One thing I never understood about the Soviet Union were the famines and near-famines; those that were not explicitly engineered by the regime like Holodomor. How could a nuclear power suffer from ...