81

The USSR didn't tend to go in for economic competition, but it made good use of intellectual competition and competition for prestige. It was also relatively good at creating organisations that did a specific thing, and kept on doing that. The competition between the MiG and Sukhoi fighter design offices, for example, was quite significant, driven by ...


72

Wikipedia article on the Winter War The 3 top Soviet officers (apart from Stalin): Kliment Voroshilov: died 2 December 1969. Semyon Timoshenko: died 31 March 1970. Kirill Meretskov: died 30 December 1968. Since Stalin died 5 March 1953, it is rather obvious that there were officers (at least three of them!) involved in the Winter War who were not executed ...


53

There are a few recorded instances of Soviet penal troops being intentionally sent over mines, at least according to survivors: It is hard to judge whether there was a deliberate sacrifice of penal soldiers, but Pyl’tsyn describes how Batov, commander of the army to which his penal battalion was attached, deliberately sent its soldiers—all of them ...


52

The Germans were concerned that carrier pigeons would be used to communicate with Soviet forces. Carrier pigeons were used extensively during both World Wars. From the Rostov-on-Don tourism website: Черевичкин Виктор Иванович (1925–1941) – ростовский пионер-герой. Когда немцы в 1941 году взяли Ростов-на-Дону, они приказали городским владельцам ...


37

SHORT ANSWER Jodrell Bank's first 'coup', tracking Sputnik 1 in 1957 (without Soviet assistance), put it in the news and helped secure funding. It also led to a congratulatory telegram from the Soviets. After doubts were expressed about Luna 1 (Jan 1959) being real, the Soviets sent the coordinates for Luna 2 (Sept 1959) to Jodrell Bank head Bernard Lovell ...


33

Actually some of the answer is found on Wikipedia, but in the pan-Mongolism article: In 1943, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office predicted that the Soviet Union would promote the idea of a Greater Mongolia to detach China's Inner Mongolia and East Mongolia from Chinese influence.[46] A year later, the then-Soviet satellite Tuvan People's Republic ...


32

Certainly not "all officers", but some: According to Robert Edwards, the [44th] division's Commander A. Vinogradev managed to escape, but later, on the orders of Stalin's emissary, Lev Mekhlis, he was shot for incompetence following a sham trial. [...] Other records suggest that Commander (kombrig) Alexei Vinogradov was sentenced in January ...


31

Genuinely like John Dallman's answer, but I'll add some to it: Outside of Party political games, one way to live a better life in the USSR was to hold a position prized by the Party. And something that was very much rewarded was anything that allowed the Communist system to get ahead of their enemies in fields that could lead to military advances. So it ...


26

Leonid Brezhnev addressed the American public on radio and television the 24th of June, 1973. His speech can be read here and also here. There is a clip of the speech (seemingly wrongly dated 25th of June) on YouTube. He begins with: I highly appreciate this opportunity of directly addressing the people of the United States on my visit to your country. ...


20

A team of researchers at the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University compiled the "Database on Nuclear Smuggling, Theft, and Orphan Radiation Sources" (DSTO) in 2002. At the time, that database was described as the: "... most reliable currently available data on illicit trafficking of weapons-usable nuclear material" Lyudmila Zaitseva ...


14

The pigeons could have been homing pigeons, used to carry information from spies in Rostov-on-Don back to Soviet-controlled territory. There's no way for ordinary police or soldiers to tell if pigeons are homers: there's nothing obvious about them. Banning pigeon-keeping in occupied territory was fairly normal for the time; murdering children for disobeying ...


14

The text reads АРХАНГЕЛЬСК ПАМЯТНИК ПЕТРУ I. which translates as "Archangelsk – Monument to Peter I." (kudos for translation refinement to @Neith) A similar medal is on ebay as: (click images for larger versions) Commemorative Soviet medal “Arkhangelsk 1584 ”/ Peter the Great Note that the city of Archangelsk was founded in 1584 under a different ...


13

As a Russian who was raised in Russia, I would like to add one theory that is quite popular in Russia, but is apparently almost unknown in the West. The theory attempts to address the root cause of the collapse of the USSR and to explain why communism is fundamentally faulty. In short, the theory says that communism gives rise to "отрицательная селекция" (...


12

Nuclear material actually isn't all that useful, unless you also have the resources to design, build and operate your own power plants or nuclear bombs. Generally only full-blown state actors have that level of resources. For that reason, its generally felt that the only reason a terrorist organization would be looking to acquire that kind of material would ...


11

The Nuremberg Trials Project has so far only provided access to 5 out of the 12 Nuremberg Military Tribunals. From the Introduction page on their website: The Nuremberg Trials Project currently provides access to the document record for five and transcripts for four of the United States Nuremberg Military Tribunals: NMT 1 (Medical Case: U.S.A. v. Karl ...


11

According to Trotsky (excrept from Коминтерн и ГПУ, published in Бюллетень оппозиции (большевиков-ленинцев) № 85, translation mine): In 1928 […] not only the shooting squad, but even arrest would be inconceivable: the generation, alongside which I went thorugh the October Revolution and the civil war, was still alive. Politburo felt it was under ...


11

At the beginning of Fall Blau the Caucasus was not very well defended, as the rapid advance might show. The army was approaching and the Luftwaffe had a large bomber and fighter force on intact forward airfields. The biggest flaw in all of this is that the speculation "take Baku – get oil" was not even an option at the time. As the Germans knew in the ...


11

The complete transcript of all the communication of Yuri Gagarin with the command center during the flight on April 12, 1961, as well as the transcript of everything Gagarin recorded with the tape recorder he had on board the space ship was published in the Russian language in the official journal of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in April 1991. ...


10

Actually, there was a famous Soviet movie from 1966, Береги́сь автомоби́ля, whose plot centers around car insurance: The main character sells car insurance during the day and steals the insured cars at night and, after selling stolen cars, donates the proceeds to orphanages. (No, he is not crazy, he even has a document certifying his sanity.) The movie is ...


9

Minimal, it would seem. Hype and temporary 'bragging rights' aside, the championship was politically (not to mention economically) insignificant compared to events which happened just before, during or shortly after, such as Nixon's visit to Moscow in May 1972, SALT I / II, and the 1973 oil crisis. A period of US - Soviet detente was already underway and ...


9

Lawyers always existed in Soviet period and theoretically could be hired. However the Soviet period lasted more then 70 years and the situation changed many times. For example, in 1934 penal code, the "terrorists" were deprived of their right of defense. And in general, the Soviet state was famous for systematically violating its own laws. In many political ...


9

USSR did allow private property over personal-use items, which included cars and even houses or apartments. What was not allowed was private property over commercial or industrial assets ("means of production"), or private business (they turned a blind eye towards self-employed stuff like tutoring or handyman services) There was personal insurance in Soviet ...


8

The Soviets were always extremely paranoid, in no small part because they expected NATO (and specifically the USA) to have the same aggressive attitude towards them as they had towards NATO. In other words, the Soviets fully expected the USA and its allies to launch a first strike on the USSR at the earliest opportunity when the USA considered it a fight ...


8

At USSR times, there was so called GosStrakh system (short form of Gosudarstvennoe Strakhovanie, aka Government Insurance). From 1946, it started car insurance program as well. However, as any other insurance company, it had very contradictory reputation.


8

German Plans for amphibious landings in the Black Sea at Taman and Tuapse in support of Fall Blau in 1942. Kriegsmarine Marinefährprahme (MFP) in the Black Sea. (from Kriegsmarine: The Forgotten Service) Fuhrer Directive 43, issued on 11th July 1942, which detailed Plan BLUCHER, the proposed operations of the German 11th Army in crossing the Kerch Strait ...


7

The German campaign in the Caucasus had no real 'campaigning season'. Although typically the Soviet defenders were better equipped for the seasons earlier, the German troops adapted quickly as well. As can be seen from the dates of fighting, the contest lasted through all the beginning of winter. While in the mountains the conditions of 'fall season' start ...


7

First, there was no real notion of a first strike as it is known today. That's tied to ICBMs and the declared intention of both the US and USSR at the time (and Russia now) to allow an attacker to get a strike in before retaliation, in the very real interest of avoiding launching a counterstrike based on a mistake in the surveillance radars. This would not ...


7

Russian Federation initially proposed very liberal conditions to the national Republics When Boris Yeltsin came into power he made several steps to render himself as a big proponent of local autonomy. In some cases Federal Government even signed Declarations with local governments. The idea was to renew this documents periodically but when Putin came into ...


6

Question: Why did Jodrell Bank assist the Soviet Union to collect data from their spacecraft in the mid 1960's?....... He (BBC's Tim O’Brien) does indeed describe something more like assistance than spying..... Was this purely scientific camaraderie (pardon the pun), or inter-government cooperation or something else? Clearly the Soviet Union's space ...


6

Yes, the soviet defeat in Afghanistan was a major contributor to the fall of the Soviet Union. The Red Army was the institutional guarantee of the Soviet Unions stability; it brought together draftees from all of the member republics into a single organization under Russian domination which could be used to control those same republics and could be used to ...


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