Soviet Union

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Crews Solve Mystery of Plane Downed by Soviets in 1940

American courier aboard was one of the first US casualties of World War II

(Newser) - The World War II mystery of what happened to a Finnish passenger plane after it was shot down over the Baltic Sea by Soviet bombers appears to finally be solved more than eight decades later. The plane was carrying American and French diplomatic couriers in June 1940 when it was...

Russians, Western Diplomats Honor Victims of Soviet Terror

Limited event takes place during prosecutions over war dissent

(Newser) - Russians commemorated the victims of Soviet state terror on Sunday while the Russian government continues its crackdown on dissent in the country. The Returning of the Names event was organized by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights group Memorial, the AP reports. The commemoration has traditionally been held in Moscow...

Ukraine Pulls Soviet Emblem
Ukraine Pulls Soviet Emblem

Ukraine Pulls Soviet Emblem

Kyiv museum proclaims change in coat of arms as representative of a 'sovereign, independent' nation

(Newser) - Ukraine on Sunday replaced the Soviet emblem that once adorned one of the nation's most recognizable landmarks with the country's coat of arms. The symbolic move is part of a wider shift throughout Ukraine to reclaim the country's cultural identity from the Soviet past after Russia's...

Robert Hanssen, Spy for Russia, Dies in Prison

FBI agent sold US secrets for years for $1.4M

(Newser) - Robert Hanssen, the notorious FBI agent who sold national security secrets to Russia for years—making dead drops in a Virginia park—in one of the most harmful espionage cases in US history, died Monday in a Colorado prison. He was found unresponsive in his cell, the Federal Bureau of...

Tributes Pour in for Gorbachev
Tributes Pour in
for Gorbachev

Tributes Pour in for Gorbachev

Kissinger, Schwarzenegger were among those praising late Soviet leader

(Newser) - Tributes and message of condolence poured in for Mikhail Gorbachev Tuesday after the death of the Soviet Union's last leader —including from Vladimir Putin, who has often referred to the fall of the Soviet Union as a "tragedy" and a "catastrophe." According to a Kremlin...

Russian Media: Gorbachev Dead at 91
Russian Media:
Gorbachev Dead at 91

Russian Media: Gorbachev Dead at 91

He was the Soviet Union's final leader

(Newser) - Mikhail Gorbachev, who as the last leader of the Soviet Union waged a losing battle to salvage a crumbling empire but produced extraordinary reforms that led to the end of the Cold War, has died at 91, Russian media reported Tuesday. News organizations quoted a statement from the Central Clinical...

Independent Ukraine's First President Dies
Independent Ukraine's
First President Dies

Independent Ukraine's First President Dies

Leonid Kravchuk played a key role in disbanding the Soviet Union

(Newser) - Leonid Kravchuk, who led Ukraine to independence amid the collapse of the Soviet Union and served as its first president, has died, Ukrainian officials said Tuesday. He was 88. Andriy Yermak, head of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, confirmed Kravchuk’s death on the social media app Telegram without...

New Book Examines Hitler's Fatal Miscalculation

Declaring war on US wasn't just madness, authors say

(Newser) - The fates of nations could have gone in various directions in early December 1941. Japan might have attacked British installations in Asia instead of Pearl Harbor. Italy and the Vichy government of France could have followed through on negotiations to form a close alliance. And Adolf Hitler might have avoided...

Thousands of Stalin Victims Found in Mass Grave

Up to 8K bodies were buried at site near airport in Odessa, Ukraine

(Newser) - The horrors of the first half of the 20th century left plenty of mass graves scattered across Ukraine—and historians believe they have uncovered one of the largest yet. Researchers say between 5,000 and 8,000 bodies are in 29 graves at a site detected during work to expand...

Last of Soldiers Who Freed Auschwitz Dies at 98

Soviet Union's David Dushman flattened the death camp's fence with his tank

(Newser) - David Dushman, the last surviving Soviet soldier involved in the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, has died. He was 98. The Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria said Sunday that Dushman had died at a Munich hospital on Saturday, per the AP . “Every witness...

Tolkien Fans Go Bananas Over Unearthed Soviet Version of LOTR

They're watching 'Khraniteli,' which aired just once on TV in 1991, with fascination, amusement

(Newser) - If you're a JRR Tolkien fan who can't wait for the next project based on his work , take a trip back in time to a bizarre, previously made adaptation you've likely never seen. A full 10 years before Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring, the...

There's Finally a Plan for the Abandoned House of Soviets

After 42 years, it'll be demolished and reconstructed

(Newser) - For 42 years, a giant head-like building has loomed large over Kaliningrad, Russia. For 42 years, it's also been empty. Now, the House of Soviets is set to be demolished—and then reconstructed. Writing for the New York Times , Andrew E. Kramer has the fascinating story of the building,...

British-Soviet Double Agent Dead at 98
Famed British Double Agent
Dead at 98

Famed British Double Agent Dead at 98

George Blake had lived in Russia since his daring escape from a British prison in 1966

(Newser) - George Blake, a former British intelligence officer who worked as a double agent for the Soviet Union, has died in Russia, per the AP . He was 98. Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, known as SVR, announced his death Saturday in a statement, which didn't give any details. Russian President...

'He Handed Them the Formula for the A-Bomb'

Oscar Seborer was part of a family of spies

(Newser) - Three Soviet spies were at Los Alamos during World War II, stealing atomic secrets—that we know. Now the CIA journal Studies in Intelligence reports on Oscar Seborer, a fourth, previously unknown figure who may have "handed" Soviets the A-bomb formula before defecting to the USSR. Born in New...

He Was the First to Walk in Space
First Human to Walk
in Space Is Dead

First Human to Walk in Space Is Dead

Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov was 85

(Newser) - The first-ever spacewalk had an unexpected snag when Alexei Leonov was unable to get back in his space capsule. As the AP reports, Leonov's suit had ballooned in the vacuum of space so much that he needed to vent oxygen through a valve in his suit in order to...

Family of 'Sweden's Schindler' Wants Answers
Family of
'Sweden's Schindler'
Wants Answers
in case you missed it

Family of 'Sweden's Schindler' Wants Answers

Nearly 75 years after he disappeared, Raoul Wallenberg's family is still in the dark

(Newser) - Raoul Wallenberg is called "Sweden's Schindler," and is thought to have saved as many as 30,000 Hungarian Jews during World War II—and his family has no idea when or how he died. This week, some of his descendants are traveling to Stockholm to demand the...

Rosenberg Accomplice Dead at 101
Dead at 101

Rosenberg Accomplice Dead at 101

Morton Sobell admitted to stealing military secrets for Soviets

(Newser) - "When you write my obituary, please don't say that I was accused of treason," Morton Sobell told the New York Times in 1998. Wish granted. The third figure in the famous 1951 spying case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg—found guilty of conspiracy against the US, a...

JFK to Girl Afraid for Santa: 'I Talked With Him... He is Fine'

The former president told a girl during the Cold War that Russian nukes won't harm St. Nick

(Newser) - A little girl who feared for the safety of Santa Claus amid reports of Russian nuclear testing in the North Pole voiced her concern all the way to President Kennedy in 1961 and, astonishingly, got a personal response that would make her a viral sensation of her day. Per The...

Secret Russian Order Could Be 'Catastrophic' for Historians

A museum studying Soviet prison camps uncovers 2014 directive

(Newser) - A museum studying Soviet prison camps said Friday it has discovered a secret Russian order in 2014 instructing officials to destroy data on prisoners—a move it said "could have catastrophic consequences for studying the history of the camps." Up to 17 million people were sent to the...

His Poise Under Pressure May Have Stopped Nuclear War

This Man May
Have Saved
World From
Nuclear War

in case you missed it

This Man May Have Saved World From Nuclear War

Former Soviet officer Stanislav Petrov credited with averting global catastrophe

(Newser) - A former Soviet officer by the name of Stanislav Petrov has died, and the key point surfacing in obituaries about him is a pretty remarkable one: His poise under pressure may have saved the world from a nuclear war. As USA Today and the New York Times report, Petrov was...

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