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Political Lessons From Chernobyl

On April 26, 1986 an explosion occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine that spread mass quantities radioactive particles into the atmosphere.  The plant experienced a power surge and when an emergency shutdown was attempted an even large spike in power occurred which caused the reactor to rupture.  Over 40,000 people had to […]

The Motherland Knows the Comrade Hero

On April 12, 1961 Russia’s Iurii Gagarin became the first ever human being to enter outer space.  The Cosmonaut  instantly became a Soviet hero (he received an actual “Hero of the Soviet Union” medal)  after his successful orbit of the earth in his Votosk 1 spacecraft. Upon reentry to the earth’s atmosphere, Gagarin is said to […]

Khrushchev Cometh

After Stalin’s death on March 1, 1953 a power struggle ensued within the Soviet Presidium of the Central Committee.  Three individuals in particular, Georgii Malenkov, Lavrentii Beria, and Nikita Khrushchev, would form what was to be called a “collective leadership”.  Malenkov became the chairman of the Council of Minister, Beria remained the head of the secret police, and Khrushchev […]

900 Days of Hunger

 In early September 1941 the Siege of Leningrad by the German Army Group North began.  The Germans cut off the city from outside aid by severing it’s main rail line from Moscow, thus leaving the citizens of Leningrad to fend for themselves.  The Germans proceeded to attack other rail lines and bombard various targets within […]

Shock Workers

    The picture above, entitled “V. I. Lenin at the All-Russian Subbotnik in the Kremlin, May Day 1920″, is an iconic depiction of the use of “shock workers” following the implementation of the First Five Year Plan in 1929.  While this specific picture technically depicts an event that occurred 9 years before the First Five Year […]

Let There Be Light

  In February 1920 the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the Soviets set out to provide the entire nation with electrical power with the introduction of the State Electrification Commission (GOELRO).  The commission proposed a network of about 30 regional power stations.The plan was intended to increase the total national power output per year to 8.8 billion kWh. The […]

The Kornilov Betrayal(s)

After his successful repression of uprisings during the April Crisis, General Lavr Kornilov was appointed Supreme Commander of the Russian armed forces by Prime Minister Alexander Kerensky.  Kerensky tasked Kornilov with restoring the fighting capability of the Russian army, an undertaking the Kornilov had no intention of fulfilling as he had no confidence in the […]

Alexander Guchkov and the Octobrists

On October 17 Tsar Nicholas II issued the The Manifesto on the Improvement of the State Order (more commonly known as the October Manifesto).  The Manifesto essentially acted as a predecessor to Russia’s first constitution by promising to grant basic civil liberties, allow more widespread participation in the Duma (Russian parliament), and introduce universal male suffrage. […]

Education Reform Under Alexander II

  This image taken by famous Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii depicts a group of students in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.  Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan (present-day Uzbekistan), which he visited on a number of occasions, including a trip in 1907 that focused on the ancient cities of […]