There is a theme park in Lithuania that recreates life as a USSR citizen. Visitors have their belongings confiscated, wear gas masks, experience interrogation, and must learn the Soviet anthem. Their reward is a shot of vodka.
A Soviet soccer player was so popular that when he was sent to the Siberian gulags during Stalin’s Great Purge in the 1930s, he was treated rather well as the gulag commanders were also his fans, who gave him better quarters and food rations, and was even asked to coach the local teams.
The soviet military mapped the entire world with an extreme accuracy. They created more than 1 million maps and some are still used today. It remains one of the most ambitious cartography project till today.
The term “Politically Correct” was originally used within the Communist Party in Stalinist Russia to describe which opinions on government were appropriate to hold and which were not.
Nikita Khrushchev made a speech denouncing Stalin that was so shocking it caused heart attacks for some in attendance and others committed suicide afterwards.
During the Civil Rights Movement, the Soviet Union purposely inflamed racial tensions by mailing forged threats from the KKK to black neighborhoods.
In the Soviet Union in 1991, voting “None of the Above” led to new elections with new candidates, eventually leading to the end of the Soviet Union.
The USSR had a televised song contest. Since few people had phones, viewers would turn their house lights ON if they liked a certain song (OFF if they didn’t). The state energy company recorded the size of each power spike and reported the results to the station to determine points for each contestant.
Fifty-five years ago today, astronaut Yuri Gagarin made history, when he got into Soviet Vostok 1 spaceship capsule and launched into space. Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. Reports praised Gagarin for his perfect flight, but in fact he didn’t pilot the Vostok capsule. Psychologists working with the Soviet Space Program were worried that exposure to weightlessness would impact the pilot’s decision-making faculties. And so, the pilot was effectively locked out of controlling his capsule.
In the mid-1980’s the Soviet KGB launched “Operation INFEKTION,” aimed at making people believe that the United States invented HIV.