Soviet Union

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

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
OBITUARY

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
Rosenberg
Accomplice
Dead at 101
OBITUARY

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...

Trump Wanted to Be Ambassador to USSR: Report

Nobel Prize winner met with Trump in 1986 to talk about Soviet leader

(Newser) - Donald Trump, already showing signs of "Russia mania," planned to ask President Reagan for an ambassadorship to the Soviet Union so he could negotiate nuclear disarmament. Or so a 95-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner tells the Hollywood Reporter in an exclusive interview. Bernard Lown, who invented the defibrillator,...

Taste for Beer May Be Saving Lives of Russian Men

Brief booze crackdown in 1980s got young men to shift away from vodka

(Newser) - Russian men have an unfortunate tradition of drinking themselves to an early death. As bleak as the number are—life expectancy for Russian men was 65 in 2012, compared with 76 in the US and 74 for China, notes Quartz —researchers have spotted improvement of late. And oddly, they...

Sharapova Used Same Drug as Soviet Troops in the '80s

Soldiers took meldonium for stamina while fighting in Afghanistan

(Newser) - The drug at the center of Maria Sharapova's doping case was regularly given to Soviet troops in the 1980s to boost their stamina while fighting in Afghanistan, the AP reports. The tennis star said Monday she failed a doping test at the Australian Open in January for meldonium, which...

Putin Bashes 'Delirious' Soviet Founder Lenin

Says Lenin placed 'time bomb' under Russian state

(Newser) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday criticized Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, accusing him of placing a "time bomb" under the state and sharply denouncing brutal repressions by the Bolshevik government. The harsh criticism of Lenin, who's still revered by communists and many others in Russia, is unusual (though...

US Releases 'Grim' List of Nuclear Targets

US would have targeted population centers in war with Soviet Union

(Newser) - "Grim and frankly appalling." That's how one expert describes a recently declassified list of potential US targets in a nuclear war with the Soviet Union, the New York Times reports. The list titled “Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959" was written by the Air Force in...

How 1st Woman in Space Nearly Never Returned

Her spacecraft was programmed to go up but not come down

(Newser) - Fifty-two years after becoming the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova reflected on her historic trip and how she very nearly never returned. When the Soviet Union launched Vostok 6 in 1963, cosmonaut Tereshkova exclaimed, "Hey sky, take off your hat, I'm on my way!" the BBC...

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