The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) had a major role in the world history for more than seven decades after it was founded in 1922. During the Soviet era, the life of the people in the 15 countries of the bloc was quite different than today, controlled entirely by the party rules and dictated by the state.

Almost a century later, there are still some things that we can’t explain, while others will remain a mystery forever. Here are 7 things you may not know about the Soviet Union:


#1 In 1970 Soviet scientists started drilling on the Kola Peninsula to explore the Earth’s secrets and see how deep they could reach. The drilling continued more than 20 years, until 1992 when the project was stopped at a depth of 12.262 kilometers (7.5 miles).

The scientific experiment is known as the Kola Superdeep Borehole and resulted in creating the deepest hole ever made by humankind. The Russian scientist reached even further than the deepest point of the ocean, which is about 11 kilometers (nearly 6.8 miles).

#2 About 80 percent of the males born in the Soviet Union in 1923 did not survive by the end of the World War II.

#3 To influence the public opinion about the West, the Soviet Bloc Intelligence used different mechanisms to manipulate and mislead the people i.e. the so-called aktivinyye meropriatia.

In the early 1980’s, the KGB launched a campaign aimed at making people believe that the United States invented AIDS. The operation was called “INFEKTION”.

#4 The most luxurious transistor radio was the VEF made in Riga. Owning one of these was every family’s goal as it was their only source of news and entertainment. 

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#5 The Soviet Union deliberately fabricated all public maps of Moscow for more than 50 years to keep government building in secrecy. Actual maps were classified as state secrets since the time of Stalin.

Back then, the most accurate street map of Moscow was made by the CIA in the United States.

#6 Countries in from the USSR had very limited access to foods and consumer goods and import was restricted. Distribution was controlled, supermarkets were non-existent and citizens were shopping mostly from the universal store (Glavnyi Universainyi Magazin known as G.U.M). 

Even if Soviet households had money to spend, there was nothing to buy or they had to wait for months for it.

#7 Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech addressed to party members in 1956, in which he denounced Stalin’s crimes, was so shocking to some people that they suffered heart attacks and committed suicides.

It’s known as the secret speech that changed the world and provided frightening details about Stalin’s crimes, including murdering and torturing of party members.

#7 In Soviet Russia, prisoners often tattooed Lenin and Stalin on their chest or back, because they believed guards would never shoot at the image of the national leaders.

You know more interesting facts about the Soviet Union? We would love to learn more. Share with us in the comments below!

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