144 posts tagged with USSR.
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How to buy a car in the U.S.S.R.

It was a bit harder than you might think....
Ronald Reagan told the joke:
a guy in a Soviet country is told he has a 10 year wait for a car.
This man laid down the money, and the fellow in charge said to him:
Come back in 10 years and get your car.
The man answered: Morning or afternoon?
And the fellow behind the counter said: Ten years from now, what difference does it make?
And he said: Well, the plumber is coming in the morning. [more inside]
posted by shockingbluamp on Jul 22, 2016 - 21 comments

Зона

The twitter account Soviet Visuals is on vacation in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation aka the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. You can follow along on Twitter (where they are semi-consistently using the #LiveFromChernobyl tag) or Facebook. And don't worry: "the radiation exposure inside the approved itinerary @ exclusion zone is equal to roughly 1hr of transatlantic flight [...] and this is over 1 whole day of being in the zone."
posted by griphus on Jul 21, 2016 - 21 comments

Макдоналдс

What if modern brands were found in the USSR?
posted by griphus on Jul 20, 2016 - 26 comments

Let's play Global Thermonuclear War: lasting impacts of WarGames

If, after the media dubbed Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (YT video, Wikipedia) as "Star Wars" (transcript) in 1983, you might quesiton his concerns triggered from another movie mere months later. But after watching WarGames, he was informed that "the problem is much worse than you think." WarGames was that accurate thanks in part to input in the script from an engineer named Willis Ware, who had concerns about network security (PDF) for decades before the movie. Reagan's fears lead to the first cybersecurity directive from any U.S. President and the first concerns about the NSA's potential role in "data base oversight" (Google books preview), as well as an attempt to regulate teenagers and teenaged technology (Gbp) that impacts US internet use to this day. And then there was the USSR computer program that nearly triggered WWIII. What a year. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 13, 2016 - 20 comments

Please enjoy the following inglorious parade of folly and nincompoopery

We wrote the Navy: ‘We think it is inadvisable to land the airplane.’ They came back with one paragraph that said ‘We agree.'” The 10 worst US aircraft. [more inside]
posted by T.D. Strange on Jun 1, 2016 - 65 comments

Sink Capitalism

If you can't make it to the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines (previously, previouslier), don't fret, you can experience it in the comfort of your own browser! [more inside]
posted by ckape on May 20, 2016 - 11 comments

When you've got to mail a letter from Leningrad to Stalingrad

Want to send a letter, but also want to express your admiration for the glorious heroes of the revolution? Stamp Russia has got you covered. [more inside]
posted by Krom Tatman on May 12, 2016 - 1 comment

Klingons, Yogurt and Uncle Tom's Cabin

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union. AV Club is commemorating the occasion by having a "Cold War Week", which launches today with a Cold War Pop Culture Timeline.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Mar 28, 2016 - 41 comments

Red Africa

The Calvert Journal's Special Report: Red Africa: When international socialism met the developing world [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 6, 2016 - 6 comments

Making the history of 1989

The night that the Berlin Wall collapsed was certainly one of the most dramatic moments in the cascading events of 1989, events that brought the era of Communist rule in Eastern Europe to a close. What follows is an examination of the intersecting developments that led to the collapse of the Communist regimes in 1989. [more inside]
posted by infini on Dec 24, 2015 - 14 comments

Candid Camera in the Soviet Union

Everyday Soviet citizens, he figured, were more than likely filled not with militant hatred, but with "amusing and identifiable foibles that Americans could relate to." They, too, would surely react with chagrin to someone reading a newspaper over their shoulder, or gallantly try to help a woman carry a suitcase full of concrete. So why not film those reactions and broadcast them to Americans, to show them that Soviet had a vulnerable and hilarious human side?
posted by veedubya on Dec 9, 2015 - 19 comments

USSR v Chile World Cup Qualifier 1973

Pinochet, The Cold War, and the Most Pathetic Match Ever Played
posted by josher71 on Nov 13, 2015 - 6 comments

Cult of the cosmic

How space travel became the unofficial religion of the USSR [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 15, 2015 - 17 comments

The time when the Soviet Union reverse-engineered a B-29.

How difficult would it be to take apart this airplane and use it to manufacture this airplane?

Very difficult.
posted by dfm500 on Sep 26, 2015 - 39 comments

“The Germans were not there; the Lithuanians did it themselves.”

Double Genocide: Lithuania wants to erase its ugly history of Nazi collaboration - by accusing Jewish partisans who fought the Germans of war crimes.
"After Lithuanians got independence,” he told me, “we hoped that Lithuania would give us help.” But it was not to be. In one of its very first independent actions, before even fully breaking free of Moscow, Lithuania’s parliament formally exonerated several Lithuanian nationalists who had collaborated in the Holocaust and had been convicted by Soviet military courts after the war. The right-wing paramilitaries who had carried out the mass murder of Lithuania’s Jews were now hailed as national heroes on account of their anti-Soviet bona fides.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jul 30, 2015 - 52 comments

Ukraine's newest city

Slavutich was built starting in 1986 to house misplaced inhabitants of Pripyat and the surrounding area of the Chernobyl disaster, including workers of the plant. More modern than many of Ukraine's other cities, it enjoyed a historical high birth rate and standard of living. Since the start of decommissioning of the plant, the city of over 25,000 connected by Chernobyl via railway has lost 2,000 people "and more are following. In 2015, the new sarcophagus over the infamous reactor No. 4 will be finished, further slashing jobs in the exclusion zone. Is Slavutich set to be the final victim of Chernobyl?"(from 1st link) [more inside]
posted by daninnj on Jul 22, 2015 - 3 comments

Let me hear your balalaika's ringing out...

Life in USSR showcases in photos the daily life of the Soviet people.
posted by griphus on Jun 30, 2015 - 14 comments

Filming everyday life near the end of the Soviet Union

Former TV cameraman Rick Suddeth has posted numerous videos of everyday life in the former Soviet Union in the 1980s and early 1990s. These are mostly raw footage or lightly edited, some are silent. Moscow traffic ca. 1986. Moscow grocery store ca. 1990. Universam Department Store, Moscow, 1990. Queuing for wine at a state liquor store. In the Cosmos Night Club. [more inside]
posted by Rumple on May 29, 2015 - 18 comments

Cybernetics Behind the Curtain

"Computers, once vilified and now championed, were constant in one thing: They amplified the virtues and deficits of the system that implemented them." The Tangled History of Soviet Computer Science. [more inside]
posted by Kadin2048 on Apr 9, 2015 - 15 comments

For days, the only thing on state TV was a continuous loop of Swan Lake.

Amelia Schonbek considers Swan Lake's place in Soviet politics for Hazlitt. [more inside]
posted by mynameisluka on Mar 30, 2015 - 6 comments

A hundred eighty-six thousand miles!

It wasn’t easy to buy a car in the Soviet Union. Usually, the first thing to do was to sign up on a decade-long waiting list to register your interest in owning a vehicle. Secondly, you needed to save what was then a huge sum of money; a new Zaphorozhets cost the equivalent of about 30 times the average monthly salary. A few people found a different way, however – assembling cars with their own hands. [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Feb 11, 2015 - 17 comments

Playing the bones, Soviet style

In the days before tape recorders and magnitizdat (previously), vinyl was a state-controlled resource in the Soviet Union. So how were dissidents and bootleggers to meet the demand for forbidden music? Write it "on the bone". [more inside]
posted by EvaDestruction on Dec 28, 2014 - 16 comments

Moscow, we have a problem

The First Spacewalk. How the first human to take steps in outer space nearly didn't return to Earth.
posted by gottabefunky on Oct 13, 2014 - 13 comments

Atom Town Krasnoyarsk-26

This town in Russia is called Zheleznogorsk, read the initial post. Their flag and coat of arms is a bear splitting the atom. That is all.

But that certainly wasn't all: Um, so. My grandfather actually built this town, and helped run it for many years.. [more inside]
posted by daisyk on Oct 9, 2014 - 21 comments

A typical Russian winter

The recovery of Salyut 7 In 1985, the Soviet Union's space station Salyut 7 was crippled by an total electrical failure. Reactivating it would require a manual docking and working in bitter cold, 130 miles above the planet.
posted by bitmage on Sep 16, 2014 - 18 comments

Veto bunnies

Who uses their veto in the UN Security Council the most, and what for?
posted by tavegyl on Jul 31, 2014 - 16 comments

Holy moly Soviet cars

Soviet concept vehicles. "GAZ-A-Aero, designed by Alexei Nikitin Osipovich, 1934" is the first in the line-up, but I like the "Cyclops-like ZIS-112 with a single headlamp and an experimental 6005 cc engine, that could run the car with 126 mph (204 kmh) in 1951," and the Moskvitch G2, which once reached the speed of 139 mph and looks like it will bite whatever's in front of it. [more inside]
posted by goofyfoot on Jul 7, 2014 - 27 comments

Soviet Bear For Student Council

N KAPITALIST AMERICA YOU RUN FROM BEAR...SOVIET BEAR RUN FOR YOU Tired of Soviet Bear making front page? Crimea River.
posted by Cookiebastard on May 7, 2014 - 66 comments

“Without Mercy” –U.S. Strategic Intelligence and Finland in the Cold War

Finland and American Intelligence: A Secret History
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 31, 2014 - 4 comments

Richard Nixon and Donald Kendall: Pepsi in Russia and South America

It has been said in half-jest that Pepsi was the official soda of the Cold War. Vice President Richard Nixon shared a Pepsi with Soviet Russia's Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, at the opening of the "American National Exhibition" in Moscow on July 24, 1959, after the famous "Kitchen Debate" (CBS newscast on Archive.org; transcript with two photos from the day). But how was it that Pepsi was the only Western soda-pop available there that day? Look to Donald Kendall, a long-time pal of Richard Nixon, who starting out in 1947 selling fountain syrup in New York, and rose through the ranks to be President of Pepsi Cola International by 1957. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 11, 2014 - 13 comments

Technology concentrates power.

Our Comrade the Electron. Maciej Cegłowski (previously) delivered a talk at Webstock in Wellington, New Zealand on theremin inventor Lev Termen (previously), futurism, the Dutch Golden Age, and the modern surveillance state.
posted by Cash4Lead on Feb 26, 2014 - 14 comments

Nuke 'em till they glow, shoot 'em in the dark

The Littlest Boy - Twenty years after Hiroshima, elite American troops trained to stop a Soviet invasion -- with nuclear weapons strapped to their backs. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 3, 2014 - 39 comments

"Felled by your gun, felled by your gun ...."

Eleanor Roosevelt and the Soviet Sniper
"Lyudmila Pavlichenko was a Soviet sniper credited with 309 kills—and an advocate for women's rights. On a U.S. tour in 1942, she found a friend in the first lady." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 12, 2014 - 31 comments

Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States

"Untold History of the United States challenges the basic narrative of the U.S. history that most Americans have been taught.... [Such history] is consoling; it is comforting. But it only tells a small part of the story." Instead of clips of modern people pondering the past, Oliver Stone's ten-part series relies heavily on archival footage and clips from old Hollywood films, with narration by Stone. Towards the end, he gets into the assassination of JFK, "but that should not detract from a series that sets out to be a counterweight to the patriotic cheerleading and myth-making." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 23, 2013 - 66 comments

Secret Soviet Space Ships

Today marks 25 years since Buran, the enigmatic Soviet Space Shuttle clone, made her single unpiloted 2-orbit flight before an inglorious retirement like her known siblings.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on Nov 15, 2013 - 21 comments

one of the fastest decimations of an animal population in world history

The Most Senseless Environmental Crime of the 20th Century [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 13, 2013 - 41 comments

PLUTONIUM MOUNTAIN

From 1949 onwards, the closed city of Semipalatinsk (now Semey, Kazakhstan) was the test site for 456 nuclear devices. The test site was known as "The Polygon." Testing was stopped in 1989, but the long term effects remained. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 6, 2013 - 11 comments

What if it decides to fire?

Полигон (Polygon), also called Firing Range, is a Soviet short film from 1977. It concerns a tank that is able to read the brain impulses of enemy soldiers, and the man who designed it. The generals have great plans for this tank, but the designer, and the tank, have other plans. [more inside]
posted by jiawen on Oct 17, 2013 - 13 comments

Tyrant, mass-murderer ... editor.

Stalin's Blue Pencil (via).
Djugashvili (later Stalin) was a ruthless person, and a serious editor. The Soviet historian Mikhail Gefter has written about coming across a manuscript on the German statesman Otto von Bismarck edited by Stalin's own hand. The marked-up copy dated from 1940, when the Soviet Union was allied with Nazi Germany. Knowing that Stalin had been responsible for so much death and suffering, Gefter searched "for traces of those horrible things in the book." He found none. What he saw instead was "reasonable editing, pointing to quite a good taste and an understanding of history."
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 15, 2013 - 21 comments

Over the Abyss in Rye

If you truly would like to hear this story, first of all you will probably want to find out where I was born, how I spent my stupid childhood, what my parents did before my birth—in a word, all that David Copperfield rot. But truthfully speaking, I don’t have any urge to delve into that. "If Holden Caulfield Spoke Russian" (SLNYer)
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Sep 16, 2013 - 15 comments

Soviet Storm

If you're curious about the Eastern Front in World War II, the Russian produced, English spoken Soviet Storm: World War II in the East is obligatory viewing and now all eighteen episodes are available on Youtube. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 8, 2013 - 56 comments

Stalin's Rope Roads

The decaying cable car network of Chiatura, Georgia.
posted by Artw on Aug 26, 2013 - 56 comments

TP-AJAX

In 2011, the CIA declassified documents admitting its involvement in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's elected government and installed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, details of which were first first disclosed by the New York Times in 2000. Timeline. However, they refused to release them to the public. Today, the National Security Archive research institute has (after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit) obtained and made the 21 documents public. "Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States' role in the controversial operation. American and British involvement in Mosaddeq's ouster has long been public knowledge, but today's posting includes what is believed to be the CIA's first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 19, 2013 - 33 comments

A is for ... aah you guessed

So back in the early thirties the Soviets had a problem: how to combat adult illiteracy in a country where millions of peasants had never had been to so much as primary school? How do you get these people to learn the alphabet? Well, by making an adult illiteracy campaign into an adult illiteracy campaign using an erotic alphabet book designed by Sergei Merkurov.
posted by MartinWisse on Jul 25, 2013 - 48 comments

Nadezhda Popova "Night Witch" Dies at 91

The Nazis called them “Night Witches” because the whooshing noise their plywood and canvas airplanes made reminded the Germans of the sound of a witch’s broomstick. Ms. Popova was a member of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment of the Soviet Air Forces during WWII. Composed entirely of women, most in their teens and early 20's, the Night Witches flew over 23,000 missions with only 40 2-woman crews. Popova herself flew over 850 missions and was shot down several times.
posted by bluejayway on Jul 15, 2013 - 69 comments

Soviet Futurism

Tekhnika Molodezhi was the Popular Mechanics of the Soviet Union. The magazine, whose name means Technology for the Youth, had illustrations of everything from space stations, computerized farming, transport of the future, friendly robots, to more abstract images. If you don't want to hunt through the archive, Mythbuster's Tested website has a gallery of 201 great images from the magazine.
posted by Kattullus on Jul 15, 2013 - 24 comments

James Lloydovich Patterson

Black Soviet Icon's Lonely American Sojourn: For decades Jim Patterson was arguably the most famous black man in the Soviet Union, a debonair homegrown poet whose childhood role in an iconic film cemented his celebrity and who later roamed the vast country reading his work to adoring audiences. These days Patterson, whose African-American father emigrated to the Soviet Union in 1932, is convalescing in a threadbare subsidized apartment in downtown Washington, where he has led a reclusive life plagued by illness and depression since his Russian mother died more than a decade ago.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jul 1, 2013 - 16 comments

Found: unused space shuttle

No big deal, just found an abandoned space shuttle.
posted by latkes on Apr 18, 2013 - 43 comments

The game that puts you on a first-name basis with third-world dictators

"Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle [...]"
- John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address

TWILIGHT STRUGGLE is a card-driven board game simulation of the Cold War. It has been called a game of crisis management; dealing with them yourself, creating them for your opponent, and their proper timing. There is a extensive blog about the game, Twilight Strategy. This is that site's article on starting out play. This page could help you decide if it's for you. ("Do you enjoy games that are extremely tense and nerve-wracking?") Here's a YouTube video on how to play it. And, although I suggest learning to play with a physical set, the online multiplayer wargaming client Warroom has a Java Twilight Struggle client/server program available. There is also a VASSAL module, but it currently doesn't work with VASSAL 3.2 or later. There's a lot more on the game after the break.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Mar 24, 2013 - 48 comments

When Nikita met Marilyn

Khrushchev Tours America - His shoe banging incident at the UN and the the Kitchen Debates with Nixon are well known but less attention has been given to the time Nikita Khrushchev went to Hollywood. He met Marilyn Monroe and other film luminaries but he was denied a trip to Disneyland (previously). [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 19, 2013 - 16 comments

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