The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (or Soviet Union) may sound like a fading name of the past, but it was a reality for a huge amount of people and the world at large for more than 70 years. It was Russia at its worse and at its best simultaneously. It may not seem like it now, but there was a time where Russia was America”s adversary, not only because of our political differences, but also because they were the only contender that could match our strength.
Most people may not know these strange facts about the USSR, but each of them are totally true:
1. The USSR could tell if a passport was fake because the staples in real Soviet passports were of such poor quality they would easily break.
2. Stalins guards were so afraid of him that nobody called a doctor until 12 hours after he had a stroke because he did not order them to do so.
3. The official document that proclaims the collapse of the Soviet Union is dated: February 7, 2013.
4. The USA was supposed to go to space with the USSR, but after Kennedy was assassinated, the Soviets backed out. They didn”t trust President Johnson.
5. In 1933, Stalin deported 6,200 people to a crappy island in Siberia, leaving them only flour for food and no tools to build shelter. When they returned a month later, 4,000 of them were dead.
6. One Soviet executioner, Vasili Blokhin, personally killed 7,000 Polish officers with a pistol in a 28 day period. That”s an average of one person every three minutes for ten hours a day.
7. 80% of males born in the Soviet Union in 1923 died in World War II.
8. The movie The Grapes of Wrath was originally allowed to play in Soviet theaters because of its seemingly negative depiction of the poor in capitalist society. Later, they banned it because Russian audiences were amazed that even the poorest Americans owned a car.
9. The Soviets drilled the Kola Superdeep Borehole basically just to see how far down they could drill.
10. There is a Soviet film version of The Hobbit made in 1985.
11. Prisoners of the Soviets would get tattoos of Lenin and Stalin because guards werent allowed to shoot images of national leaders.
12. The Soviet Union refused to host the 1980 Paralympics because they said none of their citizens had disabilities.
13. When the KGB tried to blackmail Indonesian President Achmed Sukarno with found sex tapes, Sukarno didnt fall for it. Instead, he asked for more copies of the video so he could show people back in his country.
14. Alexey Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, never received any money it because it is technically owned by the Soviet Union.
15. The USSR did not publicly admit to the events of the Chernobyl explosion until three days after when the radiation set off alarms at a nuclear plant in Sweden.
16. One Soviet Marshall asked scientists to create a colorless Coca-Cola that looked like vodka. He wanted to drink Coke in front of his men, but was too embarrassed to.
17. George Koval, a Soviet spy that stole all of Americas nuclear secrets from the Manhattan project, wasnt discovered to be a spy until 2002.
18. In WWII, The Soviets liberated more concentration camps than the rest of the allies combined.
I know 1991 might seem like ancient history now, but it”s still good to know what things were like then so that we may understand geo-politcs of today a little better.