The Kronstadt Rebellion in the Early Soviet Union

The rebellion had a startling effect on Lenin, because the Kronstadt sailors had been among the strongest supporters of the Bolsheviks. Introduction The Kronstadt rebellion was an unsuccessful uprising of Soviet sailors, led by Stepan Petrichenko, against the government of the early Russian SFSR. The rebellion took place in the first weeks of March, 1921[…]

Pawns of History: The Poetics of Russian Revolutionary Politics

The repression of political dissent in Czarist Russia led many future revolutionaries to literature as a gateway to political thought. I don’t know about the others, but I was in awe of the tenacity, durability, and fearlessness of human thought, especially that thought within which—or rather, beneath which—there loomed something larger than thought, something primeval[…]

Facing Down Khrushchev: The Cuban Missile Crisis

Russians refer to the event as the “Caribbean Crisis.” Cubans refer to it as the “October Crisis.” Introduction The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States regarding the Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles in Cuba. The missiles were placed to protect Cuba from attacks[…]

A History of the Soviet Union, 1927-1991

The use of forced labor and the development of labor camps to “re-educate” anyone deemed as “bourgeois” began in 1921. Stalinist Development Planning At the Fifteenth Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in December 1927, Josef Stalin attacked the left by expelling Leon Trotsky and his supporters from the party and[…]

Betrayal in Berlin: Soviet Disinformation and the Berlin Crisis in 1958

On November 10, 1958, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev fired the opening salvo of what would become known as the Berlin Crisis. Fears that Russian intelligence is actively working to undermine Western democracy—in the United States, Europe and around the globe—are running high. Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III documented multiple systemic interferences[…]

A History of the Soviet Union-Afghan War, 1979-1989

The war over-extended the capabilities of the Soviet empire, as other military engagements have helped to bring various empires down throughout history. Introduction The Soviet War in Afghanistan was a nine-year period involving the Soviet forces and the Mujahideen insurgents that were fighting to overthrow Afghanistan’s Marxist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government. The[…]

Communism, from Karl Marx to the Fall of the Soviet Union

Communism has been one of the most influential economic theories of all times; recognizing its influence is key to understanding both past and current events. The Rise Overview Communism has been one of the most influential economic theories of all times; recognizing its influence is key to understanding both past and current events. Moreover, the[…]

Zhores Medvedev and the Battle for Truth in Soviet Science

Medvedev’s critical portrayal of the Soviet Union was powerful, persuasive and principled. Zhores Medvedev was not crazy. But the prolific Russian scientist and author who died at the end of last year, a day after his 93rd birthday, made many powerful enemies who repeatedly claimed otherwise. By 1961, Medvedev had established a strong reputation both[…]

The Housing Question and Anti-Semitism: Soviet Authorities in Kyiv after World War II

Kyiv was abandoned by the Nazis in November 1943, allowing the Soviet authorities to return to the city, and the Jewish people continued to be silenced. By the mid-1940s, scholars agree, the Soviet Union’s fundamental problem at home was a paradoxical need to stabilize a regime noticeably strengthened by the Second World War.[1]  One way the[…]

Maidan in Soviet Designs, 1943-1945

In 1943, a propagandistic ideal meant creating a modern Ukraine through Soviet industrialization, even as the republic lay in ruins. Only a few months after Kyiv as retaken from the Nazis in November 1943, the returning Stalinists started avoiding public mention of what had happened at places like Babyn Yar. The anti-Semitism that had emerged[…]

The Soviet Union’s Aging Leadership in the 1980s and Fall in 1991

The aging Soviet leadership of the 1980s was ill-equipped to deal with ongoing economic stagnation and worsening foreign conflicts such as the Soviet-Afghan War. Aging Leadership Overview By 1982, the stagnation of the Soviet economy was evidenced by the fact that the Soviet Union had been importing grain from the U.S. throughout the 1970s. However,[…]

Life before the Collapse of the Soviet Union: The Photography of Henry Sara

Sara’s images defined the Soviet Union at its ‘base line’. What was life like in early Soviet Union? As Russians established the USSR after the Great War, British left-wing activist Henry Sara visited the country and, during his time there, took photographs of the people, landscape and the emerging Soviet State. Those photographs went on[…]