Boris Mikhailov, captain of the USSR hockey team, was offered a $1 million contract to leave Russia in 1980 after the Miracle on Ice. However, he declined as the KGB was standing next to him when the offer was made.
At a 1976 Amsterdam chess tournament, Soviet grandmaster Viktor Korchnoi politely asked an English competitor how to spell the words “political asylum.” He then went straight to a police station and announced that he wished to defect.
The famous photo of the Soviet flag being raised during the Battle of Berlin in 1945 was actually doctored. Photographer Yevgeny Khaldei added smoke to make it seem more dramatic, and also removed one of two watches from a Senior Sergeant’s wrist, as it would have implied looting.
In 1944, three American B-29 bombers on missions over Japan were forced to land in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, who did not have a similar strategic bomber, decided to copy the B-29. Within three years, they had developed the Tu-4, a nearly-perfect copy.
In 1966 after failing for 3 years to extinguish a gas well fire Soviet authorities decided to use a 30kt atomic bomb. It was detonated at a depth of 1,500m, crushing the well and extinguishing the flames in seconds. Following this success the same technique was use on 4 other well fires. This was carried out as part of the government’s amusingly named “Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy” program.
The Soviets bugged US Embassy and Consulate typewriters with one of the world’s first keyloggers. It was a long bit of circuitry inside a supporting bar in the typewriter, capturing text by measuring magnetic disturbance as the print head moved. This was sent by radio bursts to the Soviets.
Jānis Pīnups, a Latvian patriot, was conscripted into and then deserted from the Red Army in 1944. Opposing the Soviet occupation of Latvia, he hid in the forest for 51 years and did not emerge until 1995, thereby avoiding ever becoming a Soviet citizen.
A Latvian man evaded the Soviets in bunkers in the woods for the entirety of the 50 year Soviet occupation. He came put when the last Soviet troops left, age 70.
During the Korean War, hundreds of American pilots fought and died in a hot aerial war with the Soviet Union, which flew 75% of all fighter missions in support of North Korea. This was kept secret by both countries until the end of the Cold War to avoid pressure for confrontation.