Between a Rock and a Red Place

Opera censorship in 1936The cultural reformation in Soviet culture during 1936 caused controversy and contradictions, as the government castigated the creativity and innovation that it once supported. The primary victims…

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False Mourning

Joseph Stalin was, if nothing else, an opportunist, and that can be seen clearly in the tactics he used to come to power in the decade following Lenin’s death. A…

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On the right track: The Moscow Metro

While Stalin called for a “passion for construction” in the First Five-Year Plan, he wanted a “passion for mastering technology” to come out of the Second Five-Year Plan. The construction…

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Yaks, Camels, & Bears…Oh my!

Party’s Over

Last post highlighted the immediate effects of Mikhail Gorbachev’s governmental reforms. As the 1980s came to a close, Gorbachev struggled to maintain control of the crumbling Soviet Union. One of the most popular men in the country during his first … Continue reading

The Rise of Vladimir Putin

There is no shortage of infamous characters in Russian history. Recently, one figure has appeared determined to insert his name, Vladimir Putin, to the list. Putin first came to power in 1999 when he was appointed Prime Minister by Boris Yeltsin. Shortly after, Yeltsin resigned as President, appointing Putin as his successor. In a matter […]

The End of Soviet Afghanistan

By the mid-1980′s, the Soviets were struggling in Afghanistan.  Troops were no longer deployed outside of urban areas, which left the Afghan countryside to the control of the West- and foreign-funded militants.  These militants would end up fighting each other after the Soviets eventually withdrew from Afghanistan, they managed to band together and fight the […]

Demise of the Aral Sea

A wild ninth post has appeared! Previously considered to be one of the largest lakes in the world, in modern times the Aral Sea has shrunk to less than 10% of its original size of 68,000 square kilometers. Just this … Continue reading


26 April 1986- The Number 4 reactor in the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine explodes after a power surge, releasing tons (figuratively, not literally) of radiative dust and radiation into the air.  38 people were killed as a result of the explosion, and an estimated 100,000 more were killed or suffered sever health degeneration in […]

A Sobering Topic for a Drunken Nation

There are many jokes made about the amount of alcohol a Irish, German, or Russian can drink and many people, college students in particular, rant and rave that they can drink just as much as a Russian can. The manhood … Continue reading