Topic: Russia/history of Russia

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The Dyatlov Pass Incident

Soviet Union Russia Death Guild of Copy Editors Russia/physical geography of Russia Russia/history of Russia Russia/sports and games in Russia

The Dyatlov Pass incident (Russian: Гибель тургруппы Дятлова) was an event where nine Russian hikers died in the northern Ural Mountains between 1 and 2 February 1959, in uncertain circumstances. The experienced trekking group, who were all from the Ural Polytechnical Institute, had established a camp on the slopes of Kholat Syakhl, in an area now named in honor of the group's leader, Igor Dyatlov. During the night, something caused them to tear their way out of their tents and flee the campsite, all while inadequately dressed for the heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures.

After the group's bodies were discovered, an investigation by Soviet authorities determined that six had died from hypothermia while the other three showed signs of physical trauma. One victim had a fractured skull; two others had major chest fractures and the body of one of the group was missing both its eyes. One of the victims was missing a tongue. The investigation concluded that a "compelling natural force" had caused the deaths. Numerous theories have been put forward to account for the unexplained deaths, including animal attacks, hypothermia, avalanche, katabatic winds, infrasound-induced panic, military involvement, or some combination of these.

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Katyn Massacre (1940)

Human rights Soviet Union Russia Military history Crime Death Socialism Poland Military history/World War II Military history/Russian, Soviet and CIS military history Russia/history of Russia Military history/Polish military history Military history/European military history

The Katyn massacre (Polish: zbrodnia katyńska, "Katyń crime"; Russian: Катынская резня Katynskaya reznya, "Katyn massacre", or Russian: Катынский расстрел, "Katyn execution by shooting") was a series of mass executions of about 22,000 Polish military officers and intelligentsia carried out by the Soviet Union, specifically the NKVD ("People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs", the Soviet secret police) in April and May 1940. Though the killings also occurred in the Kalinin and Kharkiv prisons and elsewhere, the massacre is named after the Katyn Forest, where some of the mass graves were first discovered.

The massacre was initiated in NKVD chief Lavrentiy Beria's proposal of 5 March 1940 to execute all captive members of the Polish officer corps, approved by the Soviet Politburo led by Joseph Stalin. Of the total killed, about 8,000 were officers imprisoned during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, another 6,000 were police officers, and the remaining 8,000 were Polish intelligentsia the Soviets deemed to be "intelligence agents, gendarmes, landowners, saboteurs, factory owners, lawyers, officials, and priests". The Polish Army officer class was representative of the multi-ethnic Polish state; the murdered included ethnic Poles, Polish Ukrainians, Belarusians, and Polish Jews including the Chief Rabbi of the Polish Army, Baruch Steinberg.

The government of Nazi Germany announced the discovery of mass graves in the Katyn Forest in April 1943. Stalin severed diplomatic relations with the London-based Polish government-in-exile when it asked for an investigation by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The USSR claimed the Nazis had killed the victims, and it continued to deny responsibility for the massacres until 1990, when it officially acknowledged and condemned the killings by the NKVD, as well as the subsequent cover-up by the Soviet government.

An investigation conducted by the office of the Prosecutors General of the Soviet Union (1990–1991) and the Russian Federation (1991–2004) confirmed Soviet responsibility for the massacres, but refused to classify this action as a war crime or as an act of mass murder. The investigation was closed on the grounds the perpetrators were dead, and since the Russian government would not classify the dead as victims of the Great Purge, formal posthumous rehabilitation was deemed inapplicable.

In November 2010, the Russian State Duma approved a declaration blaming Stalin and other Soviet officials for ordering the massacre.

Lenin was a mushroom

Soviet Union Russia Russia/mass media in Russia Television Russia/history of Russia

Lenin was a mushroom (Russian: Ленин — гриб) was a highly influential televised hoax by Soviet musician Sergey Kuryokhin and reporter Sergey Sholokhov. It was first broadcast on 17 May 1991 on Leningrad Television.

The hoax took the form of an interview on the television program Pyatoe Koleso (The Fifth Wheel). In the interview, Kuryokhin, impersonating a historian, narrated his findings that Vladimir Lenin consumed large quantities of psychedelic mushrooms and eventually became a mushroom himself. Kuryokhin arrived at his conclusion through a long series of logical fallacies and appeals to the authority of various "sources" (such as Carlos Castaneda, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky), creating the illusion of a reasoned and plausible logical chain.

The timing of the hoax played a large role in its success, coming as it did during the Glasnost period when the ebbing of censorship in the Soviet Union led to many revelations about the country's history, often presented in sensational form. Furthermore, Soviet television had, up to that point, been regarded by its audience as conservative in style and content. As a result, a large number of Soviet citizens (one estimate puts the number at 11,250,000 audience members) took the deadpan "interview" at face value, in spite of the absurd claims presented.

Sholokhov has said that perhaps the most notable result of the show was an appeal by a group of party members to the Leningrad Regional Committee of the CPSU to clarify the veracity of Kuryokhin's claim. According to Sholokhov, in response to the request one of the top regional functionaries stated that "Lenin could not have been a mushroom" because "a mammal cannot be a plant." Modern taxonomy classifies mushrooms as fungi, a separate kingdom from plants.

The incident has served as a watershed moment in Soviet (and Russian) culture and has often been used as proof of the gullibility of the masses.

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Potemkin Village

Russia History Skepticism Sociology Russia/language and literature of Russia Russia/history of Russia

In politics and economics, a Potemkin village is any construction (literal or figurative) whose sole purpose is to provide an external façade to a country which is faring poorly, making people believe that the country is faring better, although statistics and charts would state otherwise. The term comes from stories of a fake portable village built solely to impress Empress Catherine II by her former lover Grigory Potemkin, during her journey to Crimea in 1787. While modern historians claim accounts of this portable village are exaggerated, the original story was that Potemkin erected phony portable settlements along the banks of the Dnieper River in order to impress the Russian Empress; the structures would be disassembled after she passed, and re-assembled farther along her route to be viewed again as if another example. The term is a translation of the Russian: потёмкинские деревни (IPA: /pɐˈtʲɵmkʲɪnskʲɪɪ dʲɪˈrʲɛvnʲɪ/; romanization: potyómkinskiye derévni).

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Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks

Russia Russia/demographics and ethnography of Russia Ukraine Visual arts Russia/history of Russia Russia/visual arts in Russia

Reply of the Zaporozhian Cossacks to Sultan Mehmed IV of the Ottoman Empire, also known as Cossacks of Saporog Are Drafting a Manifesto (Russian: Запорожцы пишут письмо турецкому султану), is a painting by Russian artist Ilya Repin. The 2.03 m (6 foot 7 inch) by 3.58 m (11 foot 9 inch) canvas was started in 1880 and finished in 1891. Repin recorded the years of work along the lower edge of the canvas. Alexander III bought the painting for 35,000 rubles, at the time the greatest sum ever paid for a Russian painting. Since then, the canvas has been exhibited in the State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.

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Russian political jokes

Russia Russia/demographics and ethnography of Russia Russia/language and literature of Russia Russia/politics and law of Russia Russia/history of Russia

Russian political jokes are a part of Russian humour and can be grouped into the major time periods: Imperial Russia, Soviet Union and finally post-Soviet Russia. Quite a few political themes can be found among other standard categories of Russian joke, most notably Rabinovich jokes and Radio Yerevan.

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Soyuz 11

Russia Russia/technology and engineering in Russia Spaceflight Russia/science and education in Russia Russia/history of Russia

Soyuz 11 (Russian: Союз 11, Union 11) was the only crewed mission to board the world's first space station, Salyut 1 (Soyuz 10 had soft-docked but had not been able to enter due to latching problems). The crew, Georgy Dobrovolsky, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev, arrived at the space station on 7 June 1971 and departed on 29 June. The mission ended in disaster when the crew capsule depressurized during preparations for reentry, killing the three-man crew. The three crew members of Soyuz 11 are the only humans known to have died in space.

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Sputnik is 60 today

Soviet Union Russia Russia/technology and engineering in Russia Spaceflight Russia/science and education in Russia Russia/history of Russia

Sputnik 1 ( or ; "Satellite-1", or "PS-1", Простейший Спутник-1 or Prosteyshiy Sputnik-1, "Elementary Satellite 1") was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on 4 October 1957, orbiting for three weeks before its batteries died, then silently for two more months before falling back into the atmosphere. It was a 58 cm (23 in) diameter polished metal sphere, with four external radio antennas to broadcast radio pulses. Its radio signal was easily detectable by radio amateurs, and the 65° inclination and duration of its orbit made its flight path cover virtually the entire inhabited Earth. The satellite's unanticipated success precipitated the American Sputnik crisis and triggered the Space Race, a part of the Cold War. The launch was the beginning of a new era of political, military, technological, and scientific developments. The name "Sputnik" is Russian for spouse/traveling companion or satellite when interpreted in an astronomical context.

Tracking and studying Sputnik 1 from Earth provided scientists with valuable information. The density of the upper atmosphere could be deduced from its drag on the orbit, and the propagation of its radio signals gave data about the ionosphere.

Sputnik 1 was launched during the International Geophysical Year from Site No.1/5, at the 5th Tyuratam range, in Kazakh SSR (now known as the Baikonur Cosmodrome). The satellite travelled at about 29,000 kilometres per hour (18,000 mph; 8,100 m/s), taking 96.2 minutes to complete each orbit. It transmitted on 20.005 and 40.002 MHz, which were monitored by radio operators throughout the world. The signals continued for 21 days until the transmitter batteries ran out on 26 October 1957. Sputnik burned up on 4 January 1958 while reentering Earth's atmosphere, after three months, 1440 completed orbits of the Earth, and a distance travelled of about 70 million km (43 million mi).

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Stalin's Poetry

Soviet Union Russia Russia/language and literature of Russia Russia/history of Russia Georgia (country)

Before he became a Bolshevik revolutionary and the leader of the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin was a promising poet.

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Subutai – Primary military strategist of Genghis Khan

Biography Russia Military history China Military history/Military biography Central Asia Russia/Russian, Soviet, and CIS military history Russia/history of Russia Mongols Military history/Medieval warfare

Subutai (Classical Mongolian: Sübügätäi or Sübü'ätäi; Tuvan: Сүбэдэй, [sybɛˈdɛj]; Modern Mongolian: Сүбээдэй, Sübeedei. [sʊbeːˈdɛ]; Chinese: 速不台 1175–1248) was an Uriankhai general, and the primary military strategist of Genghis Khan and Ögedei Khan. He directed more than 20 campaigns in which he conquered 32 nations and won 65 pitched battles, during which he conquered or overran more territory than any other commander in history. He gained victory by means of imaginative and sophisticated strategies and routinely coordinated movements of armies that were hundreds of kilometers away from each other. He is also remembered for devising the campaign that destroyed the armies of Hungary and Poland within two days of each other, by forces over 500 kilometers apart.

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