The practice of focusing on disasters elsewhere when one occurs in the Soviet Union was so common that after watching reports on Soviet television about a catastrophe abroad, Russians would call Western friends to find out whether something had happened in the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union allowed theaters to play The Grapes of Wrath movie because of its depiction of the plight of the poor under capitalism, but it was later withdrawn because Russian audiences were amazed that even the poorest Americans could afford a car.
Nikita Khrushchev made a speech denouncing Stalin that was so shocking it caused heart attacks for some in attendance.
The US and the USSR’s only direct military confrontation happened in October 1944, over the Serbian town of Niš. It is considered top secret by both governments, and the exact number of casualties is unknown.
In 1933 Soviet Russia dumped 6200 people on an island in Siberia and left them to their fate. A month later 4000 of them were dead. “People were dying everywhere; they were killing each other…. On the island there was a guard named Kostia Venikov, a young fellow. He was courting a pretty girl who had been sent there. He protected her. One day he had to be away for a while, and he told one of his comrades, “Take care of her,” but with all the people there the comrade couldn’t do much…. People caught the girl, tied her to a poplar tree, cut off her breasts, her muscles, everything they could eat, everything, everything…. They were hungry, they had to eat. When Kostia came back, she was still alive. He tried to save her, but she had lost too much blood.“
Stalin’s guards were so afraid of him that no one called a doctor until 12 hours after he had a stroke. They feared he might recover and execute anyone who had acted outside of his orders.
During the Cold War, the USSR was able to tell a Soviet passport was a forgery because the staples in real passports would corrode due to the poor quality of metal.
The Soviet Union under Lenin and Trotsky was the world’s first country that decriminalized homosexuality and abortion. Stalin, however, recriminalised homosexuality in 1933 and abortion in 1936.
During WW2 one Russian pilot was shot down by Germans and dragged himself 18 days to Soviet controlled territory. After having his legs amputated, he learned how to fly with prosthetics, returned to flying combat missions and shot down 7 more German planes. He also lived to be 84 (died literally an hour before his 85 birthday party), received Golden Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union, got a PhD in History, also served in the supreme soviet which was a legislative body for the USSR.
In 1956 Soviets proposed a joint project to build a dam across Bering Strait in order to warm the Arctic Ocean but it wasn’t found practicable by the US.