Return to home 1945 Jan 12,
Soviet forces began a huge offensive against the Germans in Eastern
1945 Jan 13, The Red Army
opened an offensive in South Poland, crashing 25 miles through the
1945 Jan 17, Soviet troops
liberated the Budapest ghetto, where over 70,000 Jews were confined
near the end of World War II. Jews were forced to move into the
ghetto, set up over more than 20 city blocks in Budapest's
traditional Jewish quarter, from the end of November 1944. Some
50,000 Soviet soldiers lost their lives in the liberation of
1945 Jan 17, Soviet and Polish
forces liberated Warsaw during World War II.
(AP, 1/17/98)(HN, 1/17/99)
1945 Jan 17, Swedish diplomat
Raoul Wallenberg, credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews,
disappeared in Hungary while in Soviet custody. Raoul Wallenberg was
jailed by the Soviets who believed that he was an American spy. He
had saved more than 20,000 Hungarian Jews from Nazi death camps.
Wallenberg was a graduate of the Univ. of Michigan and studied there
from 1931-1935. In 2000 a Kremlin commission believed that he was
shot in a KGB prison.
(SFC, 5/5/96, p.A-7)(AP, 1/17/98)(MT, Spg. ‘99,
p.18)(SFC, 11/28/00, p.A18)
1945 Jan 19, The Red Army
captured Lodz, Krakow, and Tarnow.
1945 Jan 24, A German attempt
to relieve the besieged city of Budapest was finally halted by the
1945 Jan 26, Soviet forces
liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp. [see Jan 27]
(PC, 1992 ed, p.894)
1945 Jan 27, The Soviet army
arrived at Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland, and found the Nazi
concentration camp and crematorium where 1.1 - 1.5 million people
were murdered. It is now believed that 1 million Jews were murdered
here, up to 75,000 Polish Christians, 21,000 Gypsies, and 15,000
Soviet prisoners of war.
(SF E&C, 1/15/1995, A-10)(AP, 1/27/98)
1945 Jan 28, The Red Army
captured Klaipeda, the last German-held Lithuanian city.
1945 Jan, US Staff Sgt. Beyrle
(1923-2004) escaped from the German the Stalag III-C POW camp in Alt
Drewitz and joined Soviet troops. He was wounded as his unit
approached Berlin, was treated in a field hospital and then sent
back to the US Embassy in Moscow. In 2010 a Russian Museum exhibit,
titled "Joseph R. Beyrle — A Hero of Two Nations," presented 260
artifacts from Beyrle's life and military career, including a
collection of his medals, uniform and photographs.
1945 Feb 4-1945 Feb 12,
President Roosevelt, British PM Winston Churchill and Soviet leader
Josef Stalin held a wartime conference in the Livadia Palace at
Yalta, in the southern Ukraine. Roosevelt joked to Stalin that the
only concession he might give to Ibn Saud in Saudi Arabia was "the 6
million Jews in the US." In 2012 Michael Dobbs authored “Six Months
in 1945: FDR, Stalin, Churchill, and Truman – From World War to Cold
(AP, 2/4/97)(WSJ, 3/8/99, p.A16)(SSFC, 11/25/12,
p.F4)(Econ, 10/5/13, p.58)
1945 Feb 6, Russian Red Army
crossed the river Oder.
1945 Feb 11, President
Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet
leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement during World War II
(HN, 2/11/97)(AP, 2/11/97)
1945 Feb 13, During World War
II, the Soviets captured Budapest, Hungary, from the Germans ending
a 50-day siege in which 159,000 people died.
(HN, 2/13/98)(AP, 2/13/98)(MC, 2/13/02)
1945 Feb 14, The siege of
Budapest ended as the Soviets took the city. Only 785 German and
Hungarian soldiers managed to escape.
1945 Feb 18, Soviet Gen. Ivan
Chernyakhovsky (b.1906) died from wounds received outside
Konigsberg. Chernyakhovsky was buried in Vilnius, Lithuania, near a
square named in his honor. After Lithuania declared its independence
from the Soviet Union in 1990 and following the dissolution of the
Soviet Union itself in 1991, Chernyaknovsky's remains were reburied
at the Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow in 1992.
1945 Feb 19, Ivan Kozhedub of
the Ukraine became the only Soviet pilot to shoot down a
Messerschmitt Me-262 jet fighter and, on April 19, 1945, he downed
two Focke-Wulf Fw-190s to bring his final tally to 62--the top
Allied ace of the war. He was the Allies’ top ace and one of only
two Soviet fighter pilots to be awarded the Gold Star of a Hero of
the Soviet Union three times during World War II. Ironically
prevented from fighting because his skill as a pilot made him more
useful as an instructor, Kozhedub did not fly his first combat
mission until March 26, 1943.
1945 Mar 12, USSR returned
Transylvania to Romania.
1945 Mar 30, The Soviet Union
invaded Austria during World War II.
(AP, 3/30/97) (HN, 3/30/98)
1945 Apr 9, The Red Army was
repulsed at the Seelow Heights on the outskirts of Berlin.
1945 Apr 10, In their second
attempt to take the Seelow Heights, near Berlin, the Red Army
launched numerous attacks against the defending Germans. The Soviets
gain one mile at the cost of 3,000 men killed and 368 tanks
1945 Apr 11, After two
frustrating days of being repulsed and absorbing tremendous
casualties, the Red Army finally took the Seelow Heights north of
1945 Apr 13, Vienna fell to
Soviet troops. In the three weeks after Soviet troops took Vienna
some 87,000 women were reported to have been raped.
(HN, 4/13/99)(Econ, 6/18/16, p.46)
1945 Apr 15, The deadly battle
for Berlin began. The Seelow Heights posed the last natural barrier
to Berlin in April 1945 from an advancing Red Army. The rolling
plains and plateaus of the Seelow Heights were only 35 miles from
the German capital and were well defended. The battle, which raged
for a week, was extremely costly to both sides, leaving some 30,000
Red Army soldiers and at least 80,000 Germans killed.
1945 Apr 21, Russian army
arrived at outskirts of Berlin.
1945 Apr 22, Soviet troops
liberated the concentration Camp at Sachsenhausen. Soviet secret
police then used the camp just north of Berlin to imprison many
Nazis as well as critics of the Soviet occupation of eastern Germany
after the defeat of Adolf Hitler's regime. In all, an estimated
60,000 people were sent to "Special Camp No. 1" in 1945-50. In 2008
researchers finished compiling a list of 11,890 Germans who died
(AP, 4/17/05)(AP, 3/6/08)
1945 Apr 23, The Soviet Army
fought its way into Berlin.
1945 Apr 25, During World War
II, U.S. and Soviet forces linked up at Torgau, on the Elbe River,
in central Europe, a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi
(AP, 4/25/97)(HN, 4/25/98)
1945 Apr 30, Red Army opened an
attack on German Reichstag building in Berlin.
1945 Apr 30, The Russian Army
freed the Ravensbrueck concentration camp. They found 3,000 sickly
prisoners who had been unable to make the march north under the SS.
1945 May 2, The Soviet Union
announced the fall of Berlin and the Allies announced the surrender
of Nazi troops in Italy and parts of Austria. The Russians took
Berlin after 12 days of fierce house-to-house fighting. Yevgeny
Khaldei (d.1997 at 80), soldier-photographer, made pictures of
Soviet soldiers hoisting the red flag over the Reichstag in Berlin.
(HFA, '96, p.30)(AP, 5/2/97) (SFC, 10/11/97,
1945 May 8, Germany surrendered
and Victory in Europe was achieved by the allies. Marshal Wilhelm
Keitel surrenders to Marshal Zhukov. The day is commemorated as V-E
Day. President Truman announced in a radio address that World War II
had ended in Europe.
(WSJ, 5/5/95, p.A-12)(AP, 5/8/97)(MC, 5/8/02)
1945 May 9, Soviet citizens
celebrated their WW II victory in Europe at Red Square. This became
an annual holiday to commemorate the 27 million Soviet citizens who
died in the war.
(Econ, 5/7/05, p.45)
1945 May 9, Czechoslovakia was
liberated from Nazi occupation (Nat’l Day). Soviet commander Ivan
Stepanovic Konev (1897-1973) led the Red Army forces that liberated
large parts of Czechoslovakia.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prague_uprising)(SFC, 8/22/18, p.A3)
1945 Jun 4, US, Russia, England
& France agreed to split occupied Germany.
1945 Jun 29, Ruthenia, formerly
in Czechoslovakia, became part of Ukrainian SSR.
1945 Aug 2, President Truman,
Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee
concluded the Potsdam conference.
1945 Aug 8, The Soviet Union
declared war against Japan. 1.5 million Soviet troops launched a
massive surprise attack (August Storm) against Japanese occupation
forces in northern China and Korea. Within days, Tokyo's million-man
army in the region had collapsed in one of the greatest military
defeats in history.
(SFC, 9/9/96, p.A19)(AP, 8/8/97)(AP, 8/6/05)
1945 Aug 16, The communist
dominated Polish government signed a treaty with the USSR to
formally cede eastern territories, including Galicia.
1945 Aug 22, Soviet troops
landed at Port Arthur and Dairen on the Kwangtung Peninsula in
1945 Aug, Some 1,300 Allied
survivors of Japan’s Mukden POW camp in Manchuria were rescued by
Red Army troops.
(SFC, 11/24/17, p.E3)
1945 Sep 8, Korea was
partitioned by the Soviet Union and the United States.
1945 Nov 30, Russian forces
took Danzig, and invaded Austria.
1945 The Red Army took
Koenigsberg, dynamited the city and killed or expelled the German
population. They renamed it Kaliningrad after Mikhail Kalinin, the
Soviet figurehead president.
(Econ, 11/22/03, p.7S)
1945 Russian code clerk Igor
Gouzenko defected to Canada and Elizabeth Bentley changed her role
from Soviet courier to FBI informant. They helped the West gain an
understanding of Soviet spy rings in North America. In 2003 Lauren
Kessler authored "Clever Girl: Elizabeth Bentley, the Spy Who
Ushered in the McCarthy Era."
(WSJ, 9/22/99, p.A22)(SSFC, 8/17/03, p.M2)
1945 Russia’s Operation
Tarantella, designed to reach emigres who fled after the Communist
takeover, turned Viktor Bogomolets back to Moscow. He became a
double agent passing British secrets to top-tier Soviet operatives.
This was made public in 2007.
1945 The Soviet Union seized
the Kurile islands from Japan.
(SFC, 8/14/01, p.A7)
1945 The Soviets presented
American ambassador Averell Harriman a plaque that contained a
listening device designed by Leon Theremin. Harriman hung the seal
over his desk and the implanted device was not discovered until
(ON, 11/01, p.8)
1945 The Soviet Army adopted
the SKS-45, a semi-automatic rifle adopted. It fired the same
7.62x39mm round as the AK-47, which was a shortened, lighter round
that was the standard Soviet cartridge of World War II. This meant
the rifle firing the round could be lighter, and the soldier could
carry more ammunition. Although Viet Cong (VC) and North Vietnamese
Army (NVA) soldiers in Vietnam preferred the fully-automatic AK-47,
the SKS was an effective weapon that many of them carried during the
1945 Some 760,000 Japanese were
imprisoned in Soviet labor camps after WWII. Records of their
internment were discovered in 2009 at a national archive in Moscow.
(SSFC, 7/26/09, p.A4)
1945 The AVO, Hungary’s State
Security Agency, was formed under Soviet masters. Its first leader
was a Hungarian called Gabor Peter. The role of the AVO was to hunt
out anyone who was even vaguely against the rule of Moscow over
1946 Feb 9, Stalin announced
the new five-year plan for the U.S.S.R., calling for production
boosts of 50 percent.
1946 Feb 22, George Kennan
(1904-2005) sent his “Long Telegram," actually 5 separate cables,
from Moscow to the US State Dept. in Washington explaining that the
Soviet regime was among other things fundamentally insecure, opposed
to the US, and held designs on the world for violent
destabilization. This led to America’s redesign of its foreign
policy to contain Soviet hostility firmly over the long term.
(Econ, 3/26/05, p.85)(Econ, 11/12/11, p.97)
1945 Apr 11, The Americans
liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany. Some 250,000
prisoners passed through the camp and 50,000 are known to have died
there. From 1945 to 1950, occupying Soviet forces used the camp to
hold political prisoners.
(AP, 4/11/97)(WSJ, 3/26/99, p.B1)(SFC, 8/3/99,
1946 Jul 8, Aleksander V.
Aleksandrov (63), Russian composer, conductor, died.
1946 Aug 21, Lev Alburt, USSR
International Chess Master (1976), was born.
1946 Oct 28, German rocket
engineers began work in the USSR.
1947 Feb 5, The Soviet Union
and Great Britain rejected terms for an American trusteeship over
Japanese Pacific Isles.
1947 Feb 17, The Voice of
America began broadcasting to the Soviet Union.
1947 Mar 10, The Big Four met
in Moscow to discuss Germany.
1947 Apr 16, Financier and
presidential confidant Bernard Baruch, in a speech given during the
unveiling of his portrait in the South Carolina House of
Representatives, coined the term "Cold War" to describe relations
between the United States and the Soviet Union: "Let us not be
deceived -- we are today in the midst of a cold war."
1947 May 31, Communists grabbed
power in Hungary.
1947 Jun 16, Pravda denounced
the Marshall Plan.
1947 Jul 3, Soviet Union didn't
partake in the Marshall Plan.
1947 Jul 16, Raoul Wallenberg,
Swedish diplomat jailed by the Soviets who believed that he was an
American spy, reportedly died at the Lubyanka prison in Moscow of an
alleged heart attack. He had saved more than 20,000 Hungarian Jews
from Nazi death camps. A 2001 Swedish report failed to confirm his
death. In 2010 Russian Security Services archives said a man
identified as Prisoner No. 7, who was interrogated 6 days after the
diplomat’s reported execution on July 17, was likely Wallenberg. On
Oct 26, 2016, Swedish officials declared Wallenberg officially dead
as of July 31, 1952.
(SFC, 5/5/96, p.A-7)(SFC, 12/23/00, p.A12)(SFC,
1/13/01, p.A14)(WSJ, 2/28/09, p.A7)(SFC, 4/2/10, p.A4)(Econ,
1947 Jul, George Kennan in his
article "The Sources of Soviet Conflict" in the quarterly Foreign
Affairs, which he signed "X," set out the U.S. policy of containment
of the Soviet Union. Kennan, born in Milwaukee on February 16, 1904,
stated in the article: "It is clear the main element of any U.S.
policy towards the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient
but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies…"
(HNQ, 6/17/98)(WSJ, 2/3/04, p.A1)
1947 Nov 26, France expelled 19
Soviet citizens, charging intervention in internal affairs.
1947 In Russia Sgt. Mikhail
Kalashnikov (b.1919) created the AK-47 (Avtomat Kalashnikova)
automatic rifle. Izhmash, a plant in Izhevsk, built the AK-47. In
2008 Michael Hodges authored “AK 47: The Story of a Gun."
(SFC,11/3/97, p.A12)(WSJ, 6/3/08, p.A19)(Econ,
9/12/09, p.54)(AP, 6/23/13)
1947 Isaiah Oggins,
American-born graduate of Columbia Univ. and Soviet spy, was
executed under the direction of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union.
In 2008 Andrew Meier authored “The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin’s
(WSJ, 9/25/08, p.A19)
1948 Jan 16, Anatoli
Yakovlevich Solovyov, cosmonaut (TM-5,9,15,26, STS 71), was born in
1948 Jan 23, The Soviets
refused UN entry into North Korea to administer elections.
1948 Feb 11, Sergei Eisenstein
(b.1898 in Latvia), Russian film director, died. He pioneered the
dialectic montage where 2 films shots were arranged to clash in
order to produce an emotional or intellectual response in the
viewer. In 1999 Ronald Bergan published the biography: "Sergei
Eisenstein: A Life In Conflict."
(SFEC, 5/2/99, BR p.1,10)(MC, 2/11/02)
1948 Mar 31, Soviets, in
Germany, began controlling the Western trains headed toward Berlin.
1948 Jun 7, The Communists
completed their takeover of Czechoslovakia with the resignation of
President Eduard Benes.
1948 Jun 19, USSR blocked
access road to West Berlin.
(SFEC, 5/25/97, p.A10)(DT, 6/19/97)
1948 Jun 24, Communist forces
with 30 military divisions cut off all land and water routes between
West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the United States to
organize the massive Berlin airlift. Gen’l. Lucius Clay, the local
American commander, ordered an air supply effort.
(AP, 6/24/97)(SFC, 5/12/98, p.A12)
1948 Jun 25, The Soviet Union
tightened its blockade of Berlin by intercepting river barges
heading for the city.
1948 July 2, At a meeting in
Paris among the foreign ministers of Great Britain, France and the
Soviet Union, Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov walked out of the
meeting and called the Marshall Plan—an American proposal for
economic aid—an "imperialist" plot for the enslavement of Europe.
Put forward by Secretary of State George E. Marshall, the Marshall
Plan was a comprehensive European recovery program supported by the
U.S. The Soviets and their satellites did not attend the Marshall
Plan Conference that convened July 12 in Paris. It was
attended by 16 European nations and established the Committee for
European Economic Cooperation.
1948 Jul 8, The 500th
anniversary of the Russian orthodox church was celebrated in Moscow.
1948 Jul, In the USSR Solomon
Mikhoels, Yiddish actor and head of the Jewish Anti-Fascist
Committee (JAC), was assassinated on orders from Stalin. In Nov. the
JAC was disbanded.
(WSJ, 5/8/01, p.A24)(WSJ, 1/19/08, p.W8)
1948 Aug 20, The United States
ordered the expulsion of the Soviet Consul General in New York,
Jacob Lomakin, accusing him of attempting to return two consular
employees to the Soviet Union against their will.
1948 Sep 9, The Democratic
People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) emerged out of Soviet
occupation. Kim Il Sung established the Democratic People's Republic
of Korea in the northern half of the Korean peninsula. Kim Du Bong
stood as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly.
The North's first military parade had occurred seven months earlier.
1948 Sep 19, Moscow announced
it would withdraw all soldiers from Korea by the end of the year.
1948 Oct 6, A 7.3 earthquake
hit Ashgebat, Turkeminstan, and killed an estimated 110,000 people.
Stalinist media at the time claimed only 35,000 deaths.
1948 Oct 16, Moscow Jews held a
demonstration honoring Israeli ambassador Golda Meir.
1948 Oct 29, The Russians,
having found out about the US-UK Venona system for breaking Soviet
codes, changed their codes and cipher machines, making this Black
Friday for code-breakers.
1948 Nov 30, Communists
completed the division of Berlin, installing the government in the
1948 The Soviet Union under
Stalin cancelled Victory Day celebrations that had marked the May 9,
1945, end of WW II.
(Econ., 5/2/15, p.43)
1948 In the Leningrad Affair a
group of high officials was purged following the death of Andrei
(SFC, 6/10/00, p.A12)
1948 Russian engineers from
Ozersk in the Chelyabinsk region dumped radioactive waste into the
Techa River contaminating 100,000 people in farming villages
(WSJ, 9/26/05, p.A16)
1948 The Mayak plant in the
Chelyabinsk region of the southern Urals began processing weapons
grade plutonium. By 1997 it had released more than 5 times the
radioactivity of all above-ground atomic tests put together.
Substances such as strontium-90 and cesium-137 had seeped into
waterways and ground water and traces were detected in the Arctic
Ocean over 600 miles away.
(SFC,12/27/97, p.A15)(SFC, 5/26/01, p.A8)
1948 The Soviet Union imposed a
“Friendship Treaty" that limited Finnish sovereignty. It was
abandoned in 1992.
(Econ, 7/9/16, p.43)
1949 Jan 25, "Comecon," or the
Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, was the Soviet Union’s
attempt to create a program that would be the Communist equivalent
of the Marshall Plan, an American program to rebuild postwar western
Europe. After the formal division of Germany into east and west, the
Soviets attempted to create the organization to replicate for
Eastern Europe what the Marshall Plan was to do for the west. The
Soviet-backed organization started with Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia,
Hungary, Poland, and Romania becoming founding members (in addition
to the Soviet Union). Albania and East Germany joined shortly
thereafter. Comecon was never able to match the effectiveness of the
American program because of the lack of resources in the weaker
Communist countries and inflexible Soviet leadership concerned
primarily with strengthening the Soviet Union. The organization,
which sought coordination between the nations’ centrally-planned
economies lasted until 1990 when the democratization movements in
eastern Europe made Comecon's purpose moot. In 1991, Comecon was
renamed the Organization for International Economic Cooperation.
(HNQ, 6/30/99)(HNQ, 1/22/01)
1949 Feb 14, The United States
charged the U.S.S.R. with interning up to 14 million in labor camps.
1949 Mar 4, In the USSR foreign
minister V.M. Molotov was replaced by A. Vishinsky and Minister of
Defense Marshal N.A. Bulganin was replaced by Marshal A.M.
Vassilievsky. Molotov and Bulganin continued as members of the
(EWH, 1968, p.1197)(TOH, 1982, p.1949)
1949 Mar 19, The Soviet
People's Council signed the constitution of the German Democratic
Republic, and declared that the North Atlantic Treaty was merely a
1949 Mar 25, Soviet occupiers
of Lithuania began Operation "Priboj," a 2nd major deportation
program (Mar 25-28).
1949 Mar, Some 20,000 Estonian
civilians were rounded up and deported to Siberia under orders from
(SFC, 4/3/04, p.A10)
1949 May 12, The Soviet Union
announced an end to the Berlin blockade. [see Sep 30, 1949]
(WUD, 1994, p.1684)(SFEC, 5/25/97, p.A10)(HN,
1949 May 27, Russians stopped
train traffic to and from West Berlin.
1949 Jul 2, Premier Georgi
Dimitrov, the founding leader of Bulgarian communism, died in Moscow
while undergoing medical treatment. His remains were placed in a
marble mausoleum in Sophia. He was succeeded by Vassil Kolarov. In
2003 Ivo Banac edited "The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov."
(EWH, 1968, p.1194)(SFC, 9/10/99, p.A12)(WSJ,
Aug 29, The USSR successfully detonated its first atomic bomb at
Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan. It was a copy of the Fat Man bomb and
had a yield of 21 kilotons.
1949 Sep 3, A US Air Force B-29
detected a radioactive cloud over the Pacific, which indicated that
the Soviets had detonated an atomic device.
(WSJ, 10/11/05, p.D8)
1949 Sep 12, Irina Rodnina,
USSR, pairs figure skater (Olympic-gold-1972, 76, 80), was born in
1949 Sep 23, US Pres. Truman
announced that the Soviet Union was exploding atomic bombs thus
breaking the US atomic monopoly.
(WUD, 1994, p.1684)
1949 Sep 27, The USSR
repudiated its 1945 treaty of friendship with Yugoslavia.
(EWH, 1968, p.1197)
1949 Sep 30, The Berlin airlift
ended its operation after 277,264 flights. Through accidents 31
Americans lost their lives in support of the airlift. The Berlin
Airlift, which began on June 26, 1948, and lasted 321 days,
consisted of 272,264 flights by British and American airmen. They
transported some 2.3 million tons of food to supply the 2.1 million
residents of the blockaded portion of the city.
(EWH, 1968, p.1180)(AP, 9/30/97)(SFC, 5/12/98,
1949 Oct 2, USSR recognized the
People's Republic of China.
1949 Nov 25, [Boris] Alexander
Godunov, dancer and actor (Die Hard), was born in Sakhalin, USSR.
1949 Dec 16, Chinese Communist
leader Mao Tse-tung was received at the Kremlin in Moscow.
1949 Dec 31, Stalin’s 70th
birthday was the occasion for a world-wide Communist celebration.
Several Stalin "Peace prizes" were announced as part of the Soviet
"peace offensive" of the cold war.
(EWH, 1968, p.1197)
1949 George Orwell wrote his
novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four." He was inspired by the Russian author
Yevgeny Zamyatin, who wrote an antiutopian novel warning against
intoxication with technology.
(TOH, 1982, p.1949)(WSJ, 11/4/98, p.A12)
1949-1951 The Mayak nuclear plant in the
Chelyabinsk region of the southern Urals dumped some 228 million
cubic feet of toxic nuclear waste into the Techa River. People in
the region started dying in the early 1950s and dumping stopped.
(SFC, 5/26/01, p.A8)
1949-1951 In Moldova SSR 2 waves of deportations
were carried out, with some 40,000 Moldovans sent to Siberia and
what is now Kazakhstan.
1949-1956 Four major Soviet nuclear tests were
carried out near Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan. Higher than expected
mutation rates on families in the area and their children were
reported in 2002.
(SFC, 2/8/02, p.A14)
1949-1989 Nuclear tests were carried out by the
Soviets and reportedly contaminated some 500,000 local people. It
was feared that nuclear waste left in boreholes and cavities beneath
the surface may contaminate ground water and affect agriculture.
1950 Feb 15, Joseph Stalin and
Mao Tse-tung signed a mutual defense treaty in Moscow.
1950 Mar 1, USSR issued golden
1950 Mar 8, Marshall Voroshilov
of the USSR announced the Soviet Union had developed an atomic bomb.
[see August 29, 1949]
(PC, 1992 ed, p.922)
1950 Mar 16, Acheson called for
a seven-point cooperation plan with the Russians.
1950 Apr 8, A US Navy Privateer
airplane flew from Wiesbaden, West Germany, to spy over the Soviet
Union with 10 people on board. Soviet reconnaissance spotted the
plane over Latvia and shot it down.
1950 May 8, The US Government
convinced that neither national independence nor democratic
evolution exist in any area dominated by Soviet imperialism,
considers the situation to be such as to warrant its according
economic aid and military equipment to the Associated State of
Indochina and to France in order to assist them in restoring
stability and permitting these states to pursue their peaceful and
1950 Oct 2, Mao Tse Tung sent a
telegram to Stalin. China intervened in Korea.
1950 Nov 1, USSR Communist
forces introduced the MiG-15 to the Korean War.
1950 Joel Barr (d.1998 at 82),
an electronics engineer, defected to Czechoslovakia and later
settled in the Soviet Union. He was linked to Julius and Ethyl
Rosenberg and was suspected of passing secret technology information
to the Soviets. Alfred Sarant, another electronics engineer, also
defected and the two men were instrumental in developing
microelectronics and the computer industry in the Soviet Union.
(SFEC, 8/16/98, p.D10)
1950 The NSC-68 document by
Paul Nitze (1907-2004) called for containment of the Soviet Union
and the building up of American nuclear forces. The 1958 document
laid the foundation for the strategy of global containment.
(WSJ, 1/21/98, p.A20)(SFEC, 11/28/99, BR
p.3)(SFC, 10/21/04, p.B7)
1951 Feb 16, Stalin contended
that the U.N. was becoming the weapon of aggressive war.
1951 May 23, Anatoli Karpov,
world chess champion (1975-85), was born in the USSR.
1951 Jun 23, Soviet U.N.
delegate Jacob Malik proposed cease-fire discussions in the Korean
1951 Jun 23, British diplomats
and Soviet spies Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled to the USSR.
1951 Jun 26, The Soviet Union
proposed a cease-fire in the Korean War.
1951 Jun 29, The United States
invited the Soviet Union to the Korean peace talks on a ship in
1951 Sep 3, On the eve of the
San Francisco conference, Premier Stalin and Mao Tse-tung, in an
exchange of personal messages, reaffirmed the unity and "unbreakable
friendship" of the Soviet Union and Communist China in the "just
cause of the struggle against Japanese imperialism and in defense of
peace in the Far East."
1951 Sep 24, The Soviet Union
conducted its 2nd nuclear test.
1951 Oct 6, Stalin proclaimed
Russia has an atom bomb.
1951 The nuclear weapons
research facility near Nizhzny Novgorod was established by Yuli
(SFC, 12/20/96, p.B6)
1951-1956 There were 9 US reconnaissance aircraft
lost and believed shot down by Soviet forces in and near the Russian
Far East during this period with 77 crew members lost.
1952 Mar 25, The U.S., Britain,
and France rejected the Soviet proposal for an armed, reunified,
1952 Jun 16, Soviet Fighters
shot down a Swedish Catalina reconnaissance flight.
1952 Aug 12, In the USSR 13
former members of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC) were
executed following mock trials.
1952 Aug 20, Russia's Stalin
met China's Chou Enlai.
1952 Oct 7, Vladimir Putin,
president of Russia (2000-), was born in Leningrad. He became aide
to reformist Leningrad Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, then deputy mayor in
1994. Became President Boris Yeltsin's deputy chief of staff in
1996; in 1998 became head of Federal Security Service, KGB's main
successor. Appointed prime minister in August 1999.
1952 Vasily Grossman
(1905-1964), Ukraine-born Russian journalist, published
"Stalingrad," a censored version of his novel later renamed "For A
Just Cause." A new edition in 1956 restored much of his own voice.
In 2019 a new English translation by Robert and Elizabeth Chandler
was published under the original name.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasily_Grossman)(Econ, 6/8/19, p.75)
1952 A trial was held for 15
leading Jewish writers, intellectuals and scientists, who were
associated with the Anti-Fascist Committee. In 2001 Joshua
Rubenstein and Vladimir P. Naumov edited the transcripts and
published "Stalin’s Secret Pogrom."
(WSJ, 5/8/01, p.A24)
1953 Jan, In Russia leaders of
the alleged Jewish "Doctor’s Plot" were arrested. They were accused
of conspiring to murder the Soviet leadership. In 2003 Jonathan
Brent and Vladimir P. Naumov authored "Stalin's Last Crime: The Plot
Against the Jewish Doctors."
(WSJ, 5/8/01, p.A24)(Econ, 7/26/03, p.78)
1953 Feb 12, The Soviets broke
off diplomatic relations with Israel after the bombing of Soviet
1953 Feb 28, Stalin met with
Beria, Bulganin, Khrushchev & Malenkov.
1953 Mar 5, Russian Premier
Joseph Stalin died at age 73 after 29 years in power. After his
death the Chechens were allowed to return home. In 1973 Prof. Adam
B. Ulam of Harvard Univ. authored "Stalin: The Man and His Era." In
2003 Simon Sebag Montefiore authored "Stalin : The court of the Red
Tsar." In 2004 Robert Service authored “Stalin: A Biography."
(AP, 3/5/98)(SFC, 4/1/00, p.A26)(Econ, 7/26/03,
p.78)(Econ, 1/8/05, p.74)
1953 Mar 5, Sergei Prokofiev
(61), Russian composer (Peter and the wolf), died in Moscow.
1953 Mar 6, Georgi Malenkov
(b.1902) took over as premier of the USSR. Leadership was actually
in the hands of a collective presidium that included Lavrenti P.
Beria (b.1899), Vyacheslav Molotov (b.1890), Nikolai A. Bulganin
(b.1895) and Lazar M. Kaganovich (b.1893).
(HN, 3/6/98)(WUD, 1994, p.1684)
1953 Mar 9, Josef Stalin was
buried in Moscow.
Mar 20, In the Soviet Union Nikita Khrushchev became the head of a
five-man group called the Secretariat, although for all intents and
purposes, he is in a leadership role that will gradually push
Malenkov aside. In September Khrushchev was officially given the
title of First Secretary of the Communist Party.
1953 May 30, Jonas Zemaitis
(b.1909), the last Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisan commander, was
captured and transported to Moscow to be interviewed by intelligence
chief Lavrenti Beria. Beria was executed this year. Zemaitis
was executed in 1954.
1953 Jun 26, Lavrenti Beria,
Russian vice-premier, interior minister, intelligence chief, was
arrested. [see Jul 10]
1953 Jul 10, Pravda reported
that Lavrenti P. Beria, Stalin's ruthless chief of intelligence and
member of the Soviet Presidium (1899-1953), had been ousted and
arrested. [see Jun 26]
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)(MC, 7/10/02)
1953 Jul 20, USSR and Israel
recovered diplomatic relations.
1953 Aug 8, In Russia Georgi
Malenkov reported the possession of hydrogen bomb.
1953 Aug 12, The Soviet Union
conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.
1953 Aug 20, The Soviet Union
publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
1953 Sep 12, Nikita Khrushchev
became the 1st Secretary of USSR Communist Party. His glass and
marble Palace of Congresses obliterated the last vestiges of the
17th century palace of Tsarina Natalie Kirilovna Naryshkina, the
mother of Peter the Great.
(MC, 9/12/01)(AM, Jul/Aug ‘97 p.33)
1953 Sep 13, Nikita Khrushchev
(b.1894) was elected First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s
Central Committee. [see Sep 12]
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1953 Dec 23, Lavrenti P. Beria,
Soviet minister of internal security, was executed.
1953 USSR Lt. Gen’l. Pavel
Sudoplatov, spy, was arrested after the death of Stalin and sent to
(SFC, 9/28/96, p.A21)
1953 Olga Ivinskaya was
released from prison and moved near to Boris Pasternak’s dacha in
the writer’s colony Peredelkino and became his secretary and
1954 Feb 19, The Crimea was
ceded to Ukraine as a gift from Russia by Nikita Khrushchev. In 2004
ethnic Russians made up a majority of the population.
1954 Apr 21, Gyorgy Malenkov
became premier of USSR.
1954 May 7, US, Great-Britain
and France rejected Russian membership in NATO.
1954 Jun 27, The 1st atomic
power station opened near Moscow at Obninsk, Russia.
1954 Sep 6, A US plane was shot
down above Siberia.
1954 Nov 2, Andrei Y. Vishinsky
(b. 1883) died. Jacob A. Malik succeeded him as the chief Soviet
delegate to the UN and as First Deputy Foreign Minister of the USSR.
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)
1954 Nov 26, Jonas
Zemaitis (b.1909), a founder of the Lithuanian independence movement
and presidium head, was shot to death in Moscow.
1954 The Soviet Union and Iran
negotiated the Astara-Hosseingholi line to mark their boundary on
the Caspian Sea.
(WSJ, 8/3/01, p.A2)
1954 The Cheka was reorganized
as the KGB.
(SFEC, 1/2/00, BR p.5)
1954 Russian conducted the
Totsk nuclear test involving ground troops.
(SFEC, 10/27/96, p.A17)
1954 In Uzbekistan the Soviet
Union established a biological weapons test site on Vozrozhdeniye
Island in the Aral Sea.
(SFC, 6/2/99, p.A11)
1954 In Australia Evdokia
Petrov (d.2002), Soviet Union spy, was abducted by Soviet agents
after she and her husband Vladimir Petrov (d.1991), the third
secretary at the Soviet embassy in Australia, defected. Australian
police snatched her back as her plane stopped for fuel in
1955 Jan 31, A document thus
dated stated that Yuri Rastvorov, a Soviet defector, told Eisenhower
administration officials in a private Jan 28 meeting that US and
other UN POWs were held in Siberia during the 1950-1953 Korean War.
(SFEC, 5/5/96, World p.1)
1955 Feb 8, Malenkov resigned
as USSR premier. Bulganin replaced him.
1955 Mar 25, E. Germany was
granted full sovereignty by occupying power, USSR.
1955 May 14, Representatives
from eight Communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union,
signed the Warsaw Pact in Poland.
1955 May 26, Khrushchev arrived
1955 Jun 24, Soviet MIG’s down
a lightly armed US Navy patrol plane over the Bering Strait.
Russia’s foreign minister V.M. Molotov expressed his country’s
regrets the next day.
(HN, 6/24/98)(SFC, 6/24/05, p.F7)
1955 Jun 29, The Soviet Union
sent tanks to Pozan, Poland, to put down anti-Communist
1955 Jul 21, During the Geneva
summit, President Eisenhower presented his "open skies" proposal
under which the United States and the Soviet Union would trade
information on each other's military facilities and allow aerial
1955 Aug 25, Last Soviet forces
1955 Oct 26, Austria, under
request by Russia, promulgated a constitutional law of perpetual
(www.britannica.com/eb/article-33385/Austria)(Econ, 11/24/07, SR
1955 Marshal Georgi
Konstantinovich Zhukov (d.1974) was named defense minister. After
Stalin‘s death in 1953 he was brought back to power as deputy
defense minister. He is best known for his overall command of the
Soviet army in World War II. Zhukov played a major role in the
defeat of Germany and was in direct command of the forces that
repulsed German army attacks on Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad,
and the forces that captured Berlin. Zhukov served in the czar‘s
army in WWI and was decorated for bravery. In the civil war that
followed the 1917 Russian Revolution, he served in the Bolsheviks‘
Red Army. After WWII he fell out of Josef Stalin‘s favor and was
given minor commands.
1955 The USSR lifted a ban on
abortion that had been imposed by Stalin in 1936.
(SSFC, 8/24/03, p.A11)
1955-1958 Nikolai Aleksandrovich Bulganin served
(WUD, 1994, p.195)
1956 Jan 25, Khrushchev said
that he believed that Eisenhower was sincere in his efforts to
1956 Feb 8, U.S. banned the
launching of weather balloons because of Soviet complaints.
1956 Feb 14-25, Khrushchev
denounced Stalin at the 20th Communist Party Congress at Moscow.
[see Feb 23, 25]
(WUD, 1994, p.1685)(TOH, 1982, p.1956)(EWH, 1968,
1956 Feb 23, Russian party
leader Nikita Khrushchev attacked the memory of Stalin. [see Feb 14,
1956 Feb 25, Soviet leader
Nikita Khrushchev harshly criticized the late Josef Stalin in a
speech before a Communist Party congress in Moscow. Stalin was
secretly disavowed by Khrushchev at a party congress for promoting
the "cult of the individual." [see Feb 14, 23]
(AP, 2/25/98)(HN, 2/25/01)
1956 Mar 20, Mount Bezymianny
on Kamchatka Peninsula, USSR, exploded.
1956 Mar 23, Soviet students
protested the campaign to desanctify Stalin.
1956 Apr 22, Soviet authorities
exposed a secret Allied spy tunnel built a year earlier from Rudow
in West Berlin to Alt-Glienicke in East Berlin. It had tapped into
underground cables and operated for 11 months and 11 days
intercepting Red Army communications.
(SFC, 8/21/12, p.A3)
1956 Jun 4, A speech by
Khrushchev blasting Stalin was made public.
1956 Oct 23, An anti-Stalinist
revolt began in Hungary. As the revolution spread, Soviet forces
started entering the country, and the uprising was put down within
weeks. Bela Kiraly (1912-2009), recently released from prison, was
named as the military commander of the Budapest and head of the
national guard. In 2001 Bela Liptak authored "A Testament of
Revolution." In 2006 three books were published that covered
Hungary’s October Revolution: “Failed Illusions" by Charles Gati;
“Journey to a Revolution" by Michael Korda; and Viktor Sebestyen’s
“Twelve Days: The Story of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution."
(SFC, 10/23/96, p.A8)(WSJ, 6/19/01, p.A20)(WSJ,
10/20/06, p.W4)(Econ, 10/21/06, p.94)(AP, 10/23/07)(SSFC, 7/5/09,
1956 Oct 24, Soviet troops
invaded Hungary and Imre Nagy became PM of Hungary.
1956 Nov 2, Hungary appealed
for UN assistance against Soviet invasion. The Soviets chose Janos
Kadar to form a counter-government.
1956 Nov 4, Russian troops and
tanks attacked Budapest and crushed the Hungarian revolt under
Premier Imre Nagy. Soviet troops marched into the country. Martial
law was proclaimed and mass arrests followed. The UN censured the
USSR. The repression was organized by Yuri Andropov who later became
Chief of the KGB in 1967. 25,000 people were killed. Janos Kadar was
installed by the Soviet Union as head of Hungary's Communist Party.
(WSJ, 12/14/95, p.A-12)(SFC, 10/23/96, p.A8)(WSJ,
12/27/96, p.A5)(AP, 5/22/98)
1956 Nov 8, UN demanded USSR
1956 Nov 17, Soviet Sec. Gen.
Nikita Khrushchev told Western diplomats "We will bury you." A later
translation of his statement quoted the phrase as “be present at the
funeral" of the West.
(SSFC, 6/9/02, p.F3)(Econ, 8/11/07, p.14)
1956 Khrushchev unveiled the
city of Dubna and its Joint Institute for Nuclear Studies as the
locus of basic research into atomic physics.
(SFC, 12/31/00, p.B5)
1956 Yuri Andropov organized
the repression of the Hungarian Revolution.
(WSJ, 12/14/95, p.A-12)
1956-58 The Soviet Union provided
intermediate-range ballistic missile to China for study.
1957 Feb 15, Andrei Gromyko
replaced Dmitri T. Shepilov as the Soviet Foreign Minister.
1957 Mar 12, German DR accepted
22 Russian armed divisions.
1957 May 4, It was reported
that NATO has warned the Soviet Union that it would meet any attack
with all available meads including nuclear weapons.
(SFC, 5/4/09, p.B2)
1957 Jul 14, Soviet steamer
"Eshghbad" sank in Caspian Sea and 270 drowned.
1957 Jul 28, The 6th World
Youth Festival opened in Moscow with the motto “For Peace and
Friendship." Some 34,000 participated from 131 countries. The 1st
such conference was held in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in 1947. This
festival also marked the international debut of the song "Moscow
Nights", which subsequently went on to become perhaps the most
widely recognized Russian song in the world.
1957 Aug 26, The Soviet Union
announced it had successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic
1957 Sep 29, The USSR’s Mayak
nuclear plant in the Chelyabinsk region saw one of the world's worst
nuclear accidents when a waste tank exploded. 20 million curies of
deadly strontium and cesium were released. This was about 40% of the
amount later released at Chernobyl. Some 23,000 sq. km. (9,200 sq.
miles) were contaminated and prompted authorities to evacuate 10,000
residents from neighboring regions.
(SFC, 5/26/01, p.A8)(SFC, 8/18/01, p.E1)(AP,
1957 Oct 4, The Space Age and
"space race" began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik (traveler),
the first man-made space satellite. The satellite, built by Valentin
Glushko, weighed 184 pounds and was launched by a converted
Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Sputnik, developed under
the chief scientist Sergei Korolyov, orbited the earth every 96
minutes at a maximum height of 584 miles. The event was timed to
celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution. In 1958,
it reentered the earth's atmosphere and burned up. It was followed
by 9 other Sputnik spacecraft.
(WSJ, 10/7/96, p.B4)(SFC, 8/2/97, p.A12)(SFEC,
9/28/97, p.A14)(WSJ, 10/3/97, p.A8)(AP, 10/4/97)(HN, 10/4/98)(AP,
1957 Oct 26, The Russian
government announced that Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the nation's most
prominent military hero, had been relieved of his duties as Minister
of Defense. Khrushchev accused Zhukov of promoting his own "cult of
personality" and saw him as a threat to his own popularity.
(AP, 10/26/97)(HN, 10/26/98)
1957 Nov 3, The Soviet Union
launched into orbit Sputnik Two, the second manmade satellite; a dog
on board named Laika, the first animal in space, was sacrificed in
the experiment. Sputnik 2 remained in orbit another 162 days before
burning up. Safe reentry process had not yet been developed.
(TMC, 1994, p.1957)(AP, 11/3/97)(HN, 11/3/98)(MC,
1957 Nov 15, Soviet Premier
Khrushchev asserted Soviet superiority in missiles, challenging the
U.S. to a rocket-range shooting match.
1957 Nov, Communist bosses
gathered in Moscow. Mao Zedong predicted that between a third and a
half of the world’s population might be killed in a nuclear
conflagration, but that most survivors would be living in the
socialist block and “imperialism would be razed to the ground."
1957 Dmitri Shostakovich
composed his 11th Symphony: "The Year 1905," a reflection on the
brutality leading to the 1905 revolution.
(WSJ, 5/7/02, p.D7)
1957 The Flerov Laboratory of
Nuclear Reactions was founded in the Joint Institute for Nuclear
Research in Dubna, Russia.
1957 East-West Games were held
(SFC, 9/21/04, p.B7)
1957 Soviet leader Nikita
Khrushchev allowed the Chechens back to the Caucasus and the
Checheno-Ingush republic was set up.
(SFC, 5/13/97, p.A12)
1957 The US began its Corona
project, a secret attempt to put a reconnaissance satellite into
orbit. Pres. Eisenhower put it on fast track in 1959. The first 12
launch attempts failed. In 1960 a successful flight photographed a
large part of the Soviet Union. In 1998 2 books were published on
the project: "Eye in the Sky" a collection of essays edited by 3
experts and "The Corona Project" by Curtis Peebles. Details on
corona were declassified in 1995.
(WSJ, 7/6/98, p.A13)(SFC, 8/15/12, p.C8)
1958 Jan 6, Moscow announced a
reduction in its armed forces by 300,000.
1958 Jan 21, The Soviet Union
called for a ban on nuclear arms in Baghdad Pact countries.
1958 Mar 31, Moscow declared a
halt on all atomic tests and asked other nations to follow.
1958 Apr 13, Van Cliburn became
the first American to win the Tchaikovsky International Piano
Contest in Moscow. Lev Vlasenko (1929-1996) took 2nd place. Liu Chi
Kung came in 2nd. [see China 1959] In 2016 Nigel Cliff authored
“Moscow Nights: The Van Cliburn Story – How One Man and His Piano
Transformed the Cold War."
(SFC, 7/6/96, p.E3)(TMC, 1994, p.1958)(SFC,
8/27/96, p.A17)(AP, 4/13/97)(SFEC, 10/22/00, Z1 p.1)(Econ, 10/15/16,
1958 Apr 14, Sputnik 2 (with
dog Laika) burned up in the atmosphere.
1958 May 1, Russia’s new steel
mill at Cherepovets produced its 1st ingot.
(WSJ, 6/9/04, p.A8)
1958 May 15, Sputnik III, the
first space laboratory, was launched in the Soviet Union.
1958 Jun 16, Imre Nagy
(b.1896), former Hungarian premier (1956) and symbol of the 1956
uprising against Soviet rule, was hanged by the Communist government
of Janos Kadar.
1958 Jul, Soviet fighter planes
shot down an RB-50G US reconnaissance plane over the east coast of
the USSR. In 2002 William E. Burrows authored "by Any Means
Necessary: America’s Secret Air War in the Cold War."
(AH, 6/02, p.70)
1958 Aug 27, USSR launched
Sputnik 3 with 2 dogs aboard.
1958 Oct 23, Boris Pasternak
won the Nobel Prize in literature. However, Soviet authorities
pressured Pasternak into relinquishing the award.
(SFC,11/27/97, p.B3)(AP, 10/23/99)
1958 Oct 23, USSR lent money to
UAR to build Aswan High Dam.
1958 Oct 29, Boris Pasternak
refused the Nobel prize for literature. Pasternak's novel "Dr.
Zhivago" was on the best seller list in the west.
(WSJ, 10/10/95, p.A-14)(MC, 10/29/01)
1958 Nov 21, A Soviet-East
German commission met in East Berlin to discuss the transfer to East
German control of Soviet functions and end its occupation status in
1958 Dec 14, The United States,
Britain and France rejected Soviet demands that they withdraw their
troops from West Berlin and agreed to liquidate the Allied
occupation in West Berlin.
1958 Alexander Solzhenitsyn
(1918-2008), Russian writer, completed the first draft of "In the
First Circle," a novel, set during Stalin's rule. It was about the
effects of incarceration and forced labor on the minds and souls of
innocent and intelligent men. He immediately put it through two
revisions. He wrote 4th draft in 1962. In 1968 it was first
published in the West. A Russian edition came out in 1978. A new
edition in 2009 included parts left out in earlier editions.
1958 Dmitry Shostakovich's 1958
operetta, "Moscow, Cheryomushki," celebrated the first five-storey
buildings in Moscow -- nicknamed khrushchevki after the Soviet
leader. They rehoused people living in communal flats -- where
entire families were squeezed into one room -- and were celebrated
as a symbol of social progress. In 2017 residents faced plans to
demolish more than 4,500 apartment blocks and relocate hundreds of
thousands of Muscovites.
1958 Russia’s Premier Nikita
Khrushchev decided to establish a town devoted entirely to science.
This resulted in the construction of Akademgorodok, 20 miles from
(WSJ, 3/20/07, p.B10)
1958 In central Moscow Detsky
Mir (Children's World), a new huge toy store, opened. In 2008 the
hulking block-long building across from the KGB's notorious Lubyanka
headquarters closed for a 3-year, $200 million renovation project.
1959 Feb 24, Khrushchev
rejected the Western plan for the Big Four meeting on Germany.
1959 Mar 20, In SF Harry
Bridges spoke to a crowd at the Commonwealth Club luncheon regarding
his recent trip to Russia. The Longshore Union president gave his
audience the challenge he received in Russia: Within 10 years the
Soviet Union will give its workers the highest standard of living in
the world, the highest wages, the shortest work week, the best free
medical care, the best education, and no unemployment.
(SSFC, 3/15/09, DB p.50)
1959 May 25, Soviet First Sec.
Nikita Khrushchev visited Angola.
1959 May 28, The Afghan prime
minister, while an official visit to Moscow, signed an agreement on
the expansion of Soviet-Afghan economic and technical cooperation
following talks with Nikita Khrushchev. Among other things, it
provided for Soviet assistance in the construction of the
Kushka-Herat-Kandahar motor road, more than 740 km long. The
reconstruction of the Kabul airport started with Soviet help.
1959 Jun 4, The Soviet Union’s
Bolshoi Ballet company arrived in San Francisco following
performances in New York and Los Angeles. They were scheduled for 4
performances at the War Memorial House. In LA troupe members bought
furs, rugs, china and curtain rods.
(SSFC, 5/31/09, DB p.50)
1959 Jul 23, Vice President
Richard M. Nixon flew to Moscow to open the US Trade and Cultural
Fair in Sokolniki Park, organized as a goodwill gesture by the USSR.
1959 Jul 24, During a visit to
the Soviet Union, VP Richard M. Nixon got into a "kitchen debate"
with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev at a US exhibition. Nixon
correctly said that the $100-a-month mortgage for the model ranch
house was well within the reach of a typical American steelworker.
(AP, 7/24/97)(Econ, 5/26/07, p.33)
1959 Sep 12, The Luna 2, a
Soviet space probe, was launched for the moon.
(SFEC, 9/28/97, p.A14)
1959 Sep 14, The Soviet space
probe Luna 2 became the first man-made object to reach the moon as
it crashed onto the lunar surface.
1959 Sep 15, Soviet Premier
Nikita Khrushchev arrived in the United States to begin a 13-day
1959 Sep 19, Soviet leader
Nikita Khrushchev reacted angrily during a visit to Los Angeles upon
being told that, for security reasons, he wouldn't be allowed to
1959 Sep 22, Soviet Premier
Nikita Khrushchev visited San Francisco and dropped in at the ILWU
union hall near Fisherman’s Wharf.
(SSFC, 9/20/09, DB p.50)
1959 Sep 25, President
Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Khrushchev began Camp David talks.
1959 Sep, Khrushchev visited
the US and debated with Richard Nixon. He saw the filming of Can Can
and the found the dance immoral.
(TMC, 1994, p.1959)(SFEC, 9/15/96, C10)
1959 Sep, Nikita Khrushchev
visited the San Francisco Bay Area.
(SFC, 4/24/97, p.26)
1959 Oct 15, Stepan Bandera
(b.1909), a Ukrainian nationalist, was assassinated in Munich by a
KGB agent who used a spray gun to fire cyanide gas into his face. In
2010 Ukraine Pres. Yushchenko issued a decree posthumously awarding
the nation's highest award to Bandera weeks before his term ended in
February. Yushchenko called Bandera patriot, but the Simon
Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish rights group, said Bandera's
followers were linked to the deaths of thousands of Jews. In April
2010 a court overturned the decree.
(WSJ, 11/21/96, p.A10)(AP,
1959 Oct 31, The USSR and Egypt
signed contracts for building the Aswan Dam.
1959 In Russia Alexander I.
Ginzburg (1936-2002), poet, attracted the attention of the
authorities with a typewritten magazine called Syntax, that
reflected anger and disillusionment with the Soviet Union. It became
the 1st samizdat (self-published journal). After 3 issues Ginzburg
was put into Lubyanka Prison.
(SSFC, 7/21/02, p.A27)
1959 Prokofiev’s opera "War and
Peace" was performed in its entirety for the 1st time.
(WSJ, 2/21/02, p.A16)
1960 Feb 26, Soviet premier
Khrushchev voiced support for Indonesia.
1960 Feb 27, The U.S. Olympic
hockey team defeated the Soviets, 3-2, at the Winter Games in Squaw
Valley, Calif. The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.
1960 Mar 9, San Francisco Mayor
George Christopher visited Moscow and accepted lavish gifts from
Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
(SSFC, 3/7/10, DB p.46)
1960 Apr 2, Cuba bought oil
1960 May 1, A Soviet missile
shot down an American U-2 spy plane near Sverdlovsk with pilot
Francis Gary Powers (1929-1977). Powers was held in the Soviet Union
for 21 months.
(SFC, 8/8/96, p.A11)(AP, 5/1/97)(SFC, 6/16/12,
1960 May 7, Leonid Brezhnev
replaced Marshal Kliment Voroshilov as president of the Presidium of
the Supreme Soviet.
1960 May 7, Fidel Castro
announced Cuba’s resumption of diplomatic relations with the Soviet
(AH, 4/07, p.18)
1960 May 9, US sent a U-2 over
1960 May 16, A Big Four summit
conference in Paris collapsed on its opening day as the Soviet Union
leveled spy charges against the United States in the wake of the U-2
(HN, 5/16/98)(AP, 5/16/99)
1960 May 26, UN Ambassador
Henry Cabot Lodge accused the Soviets of hiding a microphone inside
a wood carving of the Great Seal of the United States that they
presented to the U.S. embassy in Moscow.
1960 May 30, Boris Pasternak
(b.1890), Russian poet, novelist (Dr Zhivago) and translator, died
at age 70.
(WUD, 1994, p.1055)(MC, 5/30/02)
1960 Jul 1, USSR shot down a US
RB-47 reconnaissance plane.
1960 Jul 8, The Soviet Union
charged Francis Gary Powers, whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over
the country, with espionage.
1960 Jul 9, Khrushchev
threatened to use rockets to protect Cuba from the US.
(PC, 1992, p.973)
1960 Jul 17, Francis Gary
Powers pleaded guilty to spying charges in a Moscow court after his
U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union.
1960 Aug 10, The first
successful US Corona spy satellite mission was launched after 12
previous failures [see 1957]. The flight photographed 1.6 million
square miles of the Soviet Union.
(WSJ, 7/6/98, p.A13)(SFC, 8/15/12, p.C8)
1960 Aug 13, The Soviet Union
withdrew advisors, aid and other support from China.
(SFC, 10/1/99, p.A14)(MC, 8/13/02)
1960 Aug 17, American Francis
Gary Powers pleaded guilty at his Moscow trial for spying over the
Soviet Union in a U-2 plane.
1960 Aug 19, A tribunal in
Moscow convicted American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers of espionage.
About 18 months later, the Soviets agreed to release him in exchange
for Rudolph Abel, a Soviet spy convicted 5 years earlier. The
CIA and the Senate cleared Powers of any personal blame for
1960 Aug 19, Korabl-Sputnik-2
(Spaceship Satellite-2), also known as Sputnik 5, was launched. On
board were the dogs Belka ( Squirrel) and Strelka (Little Arrow).
Also on board were 40 mice, 2 rats and a variety of plants. After a
day in orbit, the spacecraft's retrorocket was fired and the landing
capsule and the dogs were safely recovered. They were the first
living animals to survive orbital flight.
1960 Oct 10, The Mars 1960A
Probe failed to reach Earth orbit.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1960 Oct 12, Soviet Premier
Nikita Khrushchev disrupted a UN General Assembly session by
pounding his desk with a shoe when a speaker criticized his country.
1960 Oct 14, The Mars 1960B
Probe failed to reach Earth orbit.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1960 Dec 4, The USSR vetoed
Mauritania's application for UN membership.
(EWH, 4th ed., p.1233)
1960 Vasily Grossman
(1905-1964), Ukraine-born Russian journalist, completed "Life and
Fate," his epic novel of the battle Stalingrad and its aftermath.
The manuscript was confiscated by the KGB, but it reached the West
via microfilm and was published in Switzerland in 1980. In 1985 it
was translated into English. In 2006 a revised translation by Robert
Chandler was published.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasily_Grossman)(Econ, 6/8/19, p.75)
1960s-1970s Vladimir Soloukhin, writer, published
a series of essays lamenting the loss of ancient monuments. His
essays sparked a grassroot interest in preserving the past and the
formation of the All-Russian Society for the Protection of Monuments
of History and Culture (VOOPIK).
(AM, Jul/Aug ‘97 p.34)
1961 Feb 5, The Soviets
launched Sputnik V, the heaviest satellite at 7.1 tons.
1961 Feb 9, Grigory Levenfish
(70), Int’l. chess grandmaster from Russia, died.
Mar 9, Korabl-Sputnik-4, also known as Sputnik 9, was launched with
a dog named Chernushka (Blackie) on a one orbit mission. Also
onboard the spacecraft was a dummy cosmonaut, mice and a guinea pig.
1961 Mar 10, Olga Ivinskaya
(d.1995 at 83), the woman who was the model for Lara in Pasternak’s
"Dr. Zhivago" wrote a letter to authorities in her own defense while
a prisoner in a Soviet gulag. She was arrested for smuggling foreign
currency shortly after Pasternak’s death and served 4 years.
1961 Mar 25, Sputnik 10 carried
a dog into Earth orbit; later recovered.
1961 Apr 14, The Soviet Union
made its first live television broadcast.
1961 Apr 12, Yuri Alexeyevich
Gagarin, Russian cosmonaut, experienced the weightlessness of space
for 108 minutes. He orbited the Earth once before making a safe
landing. The Russians rocketed Yuri Gagarin, the first man into
space. His ship, Vostok I, was guided entirely from the ground.
(SFEC, 2/16/97, Z1 p.6)(AP, 4/12/97)(HN,
4/12/98)(NPub, 2002, p.20)
1961 Apr 30, Premier Fidel
Castro of Cuba received the Lenin Peace Prize.
1961 Jun 3, JFK and Khrushchev
met in Vienna.
1961 Jun 4, A Soviet K-19
nuclear submarine with 139 crew members experienced a nuclear
accident. 22 later died from radiation poisoning. In 2001 the US
film "K-19: The Widowmaker" loosely depicted the accident.
(SFC, 4/20/01, p.A14)(WSJ, 4/3/02, p.A20)
1961 Jun 17, Soviet ballet star
Rudolf Nureyev (d.1993) defected from the Soviet Union at the Paris
Le Bourget airport while traveling with the Leningrad Kirov Ballet.
In 1998 Diane Solway covered this event in her biography: "Nureyev."
(WSJ, 10/1/98, p.A20)(SFEC, 11/1/98, p.A17)(AP,
1961 Aug 7, Soviet premier
Khrushchev predicted that the USSR economy would surpass that of the
1961 Aug, The Soviets launched
Vostok-2 with cosmonaut Gherman Titov (d.2000 at 65). He circled the
planet 17 times in a 25-hour flight.
(SFC, 9/22/00, p.D7)
1961 Sep 1, The Soviet Union
ended a moratorium on atomic testing with an above-ground nuclear
explosion in central Asia.
1961 Sep, Yevgeny Yevtushenko
(b.1933), Russian poet, published his poem “Babi Yar" at the height
of the Khrushchev thaw. It recalled the 1941 massacre of over 33,000
Jews at ravine in Kiev, Ukraine.
1961 Oct 30, The Soviet Union
tested a hydrogen bomb, the "Tsar Bomba," with a force estimated at
about 50 megatons. This was the largest explosion ever recorded and
broke a 3-year nuclear test moratorium.
(AP, 10/30/06)(SFC, 2/24/98, p.A22)
1961 Oct 30, The Soviet Party
Congress unanimously approved a resolution ordering the removal of
Josef Stalin's body from Lenin's tomb.
1961 Nov 11, Molotov, Malenkov
& Kaganovich were kicked out of Russia's communist party.
1961 Nov 11, Stalingrad was
1961 Nov 30, Soviets vetoed a
UN seat for Kuwait, pleasing Iraq.
1961 Svyatoslav Richter,
concert pianist, was named a People’s Artist of the USSR, the
highest Soviet honor for a performing artist.
(SFC, 8/2/97, p.A21)
1961 Albanian leader Enver
Hoxha broke with Nikita Khrushchev over Khrushchev’s repudiation of
Stalin’s legacy. Diplomatic relations were severed and Soviet aid to
Albania was ended. For a time Albania found an ally in China.
(www, Albania, 1998)
1961 Polish defector Michael
Goleniewski exposed British agent George Blake (b.1922) as a spy for
Russia. He was convicted on spying charges in Britain and sentenced
to 42 years in prison. In October 1966, he made a dashing escape
with help from several people he met while in custody and settled in
Russia. He said he volunteered to work for the Soviet Union after
witnessing relentless US bombing of North Korea.
1962 Jan 23, British spy Kim
Philby defected to USSR.
1962 Feb 4, Russian newspaper
Izvestia reported baseball is an old Russian game.
1962 Feb 10, The Soviet Union
exchanged captured American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers for Rudolph
Ivanovich Abel, a Soviet spy held by the United States.
1962 Feb 22, A Soviet bid for
new Geneva arms talks was turned down by the U.S.
1962 Mar 17, Moscow asked the
U.S. to pull out of South Vietnam.
1962 Jul 20, Dmitri
Shostakovitch completed his 13th Symphony.
1962 cAug 5, Russia set off a
40-megaton atomic bomb as part of a new test series.
(SFC, 8/6/99, p.A1)(SFC, 11/24/99, p.E9)
1962 Aug 11, The Soviet Union
launched cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev on a 94-hour flight.
1962 Aug 12, A day after
launching Andrian Nikolayev into orbit, the Soviet Union launched
Vostok 4 with cosmonaut Pavel Popovich; both men landed safely on
1962 Aug 25, USSR
performed a nuclear test at Novaya Zemlya, Eastern Kazakh,
1962 Oct 14, The American CIA
U-2 mission detected Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba.
(SFC, 9/17/97, p.A3)
1962 Oct 16-1962 Oct 29, The
Cuban missile crises. Russia under Khrushchev removed its missiles
from Cuba. The 13-day missile crises was in part recorded by Kennedy
on tape and published in 1997: "The Kennedy Tapes," ed. by Ernest R.
May and Philip D. Zelikow.
(SFEC, 8/25/96, Parade p.6)(TMC, 1994,
p.1962)(WSJ, 9/23/97, p.A20)
1962 Oct 18, JFK met Russian
minister of Foreign affairs Andrei Gromyko.
1962 Oct 22, President John F.
Kennedy announced that missile bases had been discovered in Cuba and
they had the potential to attack the United States with nuclear
warheads. Kennedy ordered a naval and air blockade on further
shipment of military equipment to Cuba. The Russians had previously
agreed not to bring new offensive weapons into Cuba, but after
hearing Kennedy's announcement, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev
refused to cooperate with the quarantine. Following a confrontation
that threatened nuclear war, Kennedy and Khrushchev agree on October
28 on a formula to end the crisis. On November 2 Kennedy reported
that Soviet missile bases in Cuba are being dismantled.
(AP, 10/22/97)(HNPD, 10/22/98)(HN, 10/22/02)
1962 Oct 24, The Mars 1962A
Flyby failed to leave Earth orbit after the final rocket stage
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1962 Oct 25, U.S. ambassador
Adlai E. Stevenson presented photographic evidence of Soviet missile
bases in Cuba to the UN Security Council. Ambassador Adlai E.
Stevenson demanded USSR and Zorin answer regarding Cuban missile
bases saying "I am prepared to wait for my answer until hell freezes
(AP, 10/25/97)(MC, 10/25/01)
1962 Oct 26, JFK warned Russia
that the US would not allow Soviet missiles to remain in Cuba.
1962 Oct 26, Nikita Khrushchev
sent note to JFK offering to withdraw his missiles from Cuba if US
closed its bases in Turkey. The offer was rejected.
1962 Oct 26, The USS Beale
tracked and dropped practice depth charges on a Soviet Foxtrot-class
submarine which was armed with a nuclear torpedo. Running out of
air, the Soviet submarine was surrounded by American warships and
desperately needed to surface to recharge its batteries. An argument
broke out among three officers on the B-39, including submarine
captain Valentin Savitsky, political officer Ivan Semonovich
Maslennikov, and chief of staff of the submarine flotilla, Commander
Vasiliy Arkhipov. A totally exhausted Savitsky became furious and
ordered that the nuclear torpedo on board be made combat ready.
Accounts differ about whether Commander Arkhipov convinced Savitsky
not to make the attack, or whether Savitsky himself finally
concluded that the only reasonable choice left open to him was to
come to the surface.
1962 Oct 27, Soviet Premier
Nikita Khrushchev offered to remove Soviet missile bases in Cuba if
the U.S. removed its missile bases in Turkey. It was later learned
that JFK had secretly offered this option to Khrushchev.
(HN, 10/27/98)(MC, 10/27/01)(NPR, 2002)
1962 Oct 27, With its batteries
running low, Soviet submarine B-59/C-19 was forced to surface and
headed east. Although surrounded by US ships, submarine captain
Vitali Savitsky realizes that they are not in a "state of war; one
of the destroyers has a lively band playing jazz. The Cony
communicates with it via flashing lights; Savitsky identifies the
submarine as "Ship X" ("Korablx") and declines assistance. B-59
identifies itself to other nearby ships as "Prinavlyet" (by the
U.S.S. Murray), and "Prosnablavst" (by the Bache and the Barry).
Aircraft illuminate and photograph it.
1962 Oct 28, Soviet leader
Nikita Khrushchev informed the United States that he had ordered the
dismantling of Soviet missile bases in Cuba. Radio Moscow reported
nuclear missiles in Cuba deactivated. Kennedy and Khrushchev agreed
on a formula to end the Cuban missile crisis: the Russians would
dismantle their bases and the United States would publicly promise
not to invade Cuba.
(AP, 10/28/97)(HN, 10/22/98)(HNPD, 10/22/98)(MC,
1962 Nov 1, The Russian Mars 1
Flyby was launched but communications failed en route.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1962 Nov 2, Pres. Kennedy
reported that Soviet missile bases in Cuba were being dismantled.
1962 Nov 4, The Mars 1962B
Lander failed to leave Earth orbit.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1962 Nov 19, Fidel Castro
accepted the removal of Soviet weapons.
1962 Nov 20, USSR agreed to
remove bombers from Cuba and US lifted its blockade.
1962 Alexander Solzhenitsyn
(43) published "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch." It first
appeared in the Soviet magazine Novy Mir. In 1998 D.M. Thomas
published the biography: Alexander Solzhenitsyn: A Century in His
Life." In 1985 Michael Scammell published his biography:
(SFEC, 3/8/98, BR p.9)
1962 The Russian film
"Bootleggers" starred Georgy Vitsin and was directed by Leonid
(SFC, 10/25/01, p.A25)
1962 In Russia Alexander Lebed
(12) recalled seeing troops shoot striking laborers while growing up
in Novocherkassk. Workers there protested against falling wages and
rising prices with placards that read: “Cut up Khrushchev for
(SFC, 10/18/96, A15)(Econ, 4/15/06, p.85)
1963 Jan 16, Soviet Premier
Nikita Khrushchev made a visit to the Berlin Wall from the East
Berlin side, then delivered an address to the Communist leadership
of East Germany at the SED Party Congress.
1963 Jan 16, Nikita Khrushchev
claimed the USSR had a 100-megaton nuclear bomb.
1963 Feb 19, The Soviet Union
informed President Kennedy it would withdraw "several thousand" of
an estimated 17,000 Soviet troops in Cuba.
1963 Feb 20, Moscow offered to
allow on-site inspection of nuclear testing.
1963 Feb 22, Moscow warned the
U.S. that an attack on Cuba would mean war.
1963 Feb 27, The U.S.S.R. said
that 10,000 troops would remain in Cuba.
1963 Mar 13, China invited
Khrushchev to visit Peking.
1963 Apr 13, Gary Kimovich
Kasparov, world chess champion (1985-2000), was born in the USSR.
(MC, 4/13/02)(SFC, 1/16/04, p.D19)
1963 Apr 27, Cuban premier
Fidel Castro arrived in Moscow.
1963 Jun 16, The world's first
female space traveler, Valentina Tereshkova, was launched into orbit
by the Soviet Union aboard Vostok VI.
1963 Jun 19, Soviet cosmonaut
Valentina Tereshkova returned to Earth after spending nearly three
days as the first woman in space.
(DTnet, 6/19/97)(HN, 6/19/98)
1963 Jun 20, The United States
and Soviet Union signed an agreement in Geneva to set up a hot line
communications link between the two superpowers and a treaty was
signed limiting nuclear testing. It came about because of the Cuban
missile crises, which began on October 22, 1962. The Hot Line was
not used until the Six-Day War of 1967.
(TMC, 1994, p.1963)(AP, 6/20/97)(HN,
1963 Jul 25, The United States,
the Soviet Union and Britain initialed a treaty in Moscow
prohibiting the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, in
space or underwater.
1963 Jun 28, Khrushchev visited
1963 Jul 30, British spy Kim
Philby was discovered in Moscow. Philby, writer for The Economist,
who spent six years filing dispatches from the Middle East, was
discovered to be a spy and defected to the Soviet Union.
(WSJ, 6/6/95, p.A-14)(MC, 7/30/02)
1963 Aug 5, The United States,
Britain and the Soviet Union signed a Limited Test Ban Treaty in
Moscow banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, space and
underwater. Public pressure helped JFK signed the ban on atmospheric
atom bomb tests.
(AP, 8/5/97)(SFC, 11/26/01, p.A10)(SSFC, 7/15/07,
1963 Aug 30, The hot line, a
rapid communications link between Washington, D.C., and Moscow went
into operation to avoid miscalculations during an emergency.
(AP, 8/30/97)(HNPD, 10/30/99)
1963 Aug 30, Guy Burgess
(b.1911), British spy for the USSR, died in Moscow.
1963 Sep 18, USSR orders 58.5
million barrels of cereal from Australia.
1963 Oct 7, President Kennedy
signed the documents of ratification for a nuclear test ban treaty
with Britain and the Soviet Union.
1964 Jan 28, The Soviets downed
a U.S. jet over East Germany killing three.
1964 Feb 9, The U.S. embassy in
Moscow was stoned by Chinese and Vietnamese students.
1964 Feb, Yuri Nosenko
(1927-2008), Soviet KGB officer, defected under CIA guidance in
Geneva. He had begun passing information in June, 1962. He was
incarcerated for his first 3 years in the US and settled there under
a new name in 1969.
1964 May 9, Khrushchev visited
1964 May 14, Soviet Premier
Nikita Khrushchev joined United Arab Republic President Gamel Abdel
Nasser in setting off charges, diverting the Nile River from the
site of the Aswan High Dam project.
1964 May 19, The State
Department announced the U.S. embassy in Moscow had been bugged. A
network of more than 40 microphones embedded in the walls had been
(AP, 5/19/97)(DTnet, 5/19/97)
1964 Sep 14, Vasily Grossman
(b.1905), Ukraine-born journalist and writer, died in Moscow. His
eyewitness reports of a Nazi extermination camp, following the
discovery of Treblinka, were among the earliest accounts of a Nazi
death camp by a reporter. His novels included "Stalingrad) (1952)
and "Life and Fate" (1960). In 2019 Alexandra Popoff authored Vasily
Grossman and the Soviet Century."
1964 Oct 12, The Soviet Union
launched a Voskhod space capsule with a three-man crew on the first
manned mission involving more than one crew member. Spaceship
designer Konstantin Feoktistov (1926-2009), the only non-Communist
space traveler in the history of the Soviet space program, traveled
aboard the Voskhod as part of the first group space flight in
(AP, 10/12/97)(AP, 11/22/09)
1964 Oct 15, It was announced
that Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev had been removed from
office. He was succeeded as premier by Alexei N. Kosygin and as
Communist Party secretary by Leonid I. Brezhnev. When he became
First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1964, Leonid
Brezhnev shared power in a "collective leadership" with Premier
Aleksei Kosygin and President Nikolai Podgorny. By the early 1970s
Brezhnev had consolidated his power as the Party General Secretary
and President of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. Born in the
Ukraine in 1906, Brezhnev died while still in office in 1982.
(TMC, 1994, p.1964)(AP, 10/15/97)(HNQ, 6/26/98)
1964 Nov 30, The ZOND 2 Flyby
lost contact enroute to Mars.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1964 Soviet Union engineers
completed the 2.6 miles Salang tunnel connecting Kabul, Afghanistan,
to Central Asia. At 11,034 feet it was the world’s highest tunnel
until 1973, when the US built the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel in the
(SFC, 12/13/01, p.A10)(SFC, 2/7/02, p.A20)(Econ,
1964 The Sergei Courtyard in
Jerusalem, part of a compound that had belonged to Moscow
patriarchy, was sold for $3.5 million in oranges. In 2008 Israel
agreed to transfer it back to Russia.
1964 Charles H. Townes
(1915-2015) of UC Berkeley won the Nobel Prize in Physics. He shared
the prize for work in quantum electronics with Nikolai Basov (d.2001
at 78) and Alexander Prokhorov, Soviets who did parallel work.
(SFC, 10/10/96, p.A1)(SFC, 7/5/01, p.D2)(SFC,
1965 Mar 3, USSR performed a
nuclear test at Eastern Kazakhstan, Semipalitinsk, USSR.
1965 Mar 18, The first
spacewalk took place as Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov (30) left
his Voskhod 2 capsule and remained outside the spacecraft for 20
minutes, secured by a tether.
(SFC, 5/27/00, p.A26)(AP, 3/18/97)
1965 May 1, USSR launched Luna
5; later lands on Moon.
1965 May 9, The USSR resumed
Victory Day celebrations to commemorate its WW II victory over Nazi
(Econ., 5/2/15, p.43)
1965 Aug, In Vietnam Soviet
supplied SAM missiles shot down at least two US jets.
1965 Sep 14, Dmitry Medvedev
was born in Leningrad. In 2008 with the backing of Vladimir Putin,
he became prime minister of Russia.
(WSJ, 2/28/08, p.A14)
1965 Sep 14, Vasily Grossman
(b.1964, Soviet writer, died in Moscow. In 1961 his novel “Life and
Fate," a book about Nazis and Soviets at war, was confiscated. A
copy was smuggled to the US and published in English 1985. In 2011
the BBC dramatized the book on Radio 4.
1965 Dec 5, Several dozen
activists gathered in central Moscow to demand that the trial of two
Soviet writers charged with anti-Soviet activity in their
yet-unpublished writings, Andrei Sinyavsky (d.1997) and Yuliy
Daniel, be open. They were tried in 1966 and sentenced to 6 years in
prison for publishing anti-Soviet works. The rally, which was
quickly dispersed, was later regarded as the first pro-democracy
demonstration in the Soviet Union's history.
(SFC, 2/26/97, p.A16)(WSJ, 2/26/97, p.A1)(AP,
1965 Dec 9, Nikolai V. Podgorny
replaced Anastas I. Mikoyan as president of the Presidium of the
1965 The Russian film
"Operation Y and Other Adventures of Shurik" starred Georgy Vitsin
and was directed by Leonid Gaidai.
(SFC, 10/25/01, p.A25)
1966 Jan 10, The Tashkent
Agreement, was signed in the Soviet city of Tashkent, and officially
ended a 17-day war between Pakistan and India. It required that both
sides withdraw by February 26, 1966, to positions held prior to
August 5, 1965, and observe the cease-fire line agreed to on June
30, 1965. The agreement was brokered by Soviet premier Aleksey
Kosygin and signed by Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and
Pakistan President Ayub Khan. The Indian prime minister died the day
after signing the agreement.
1966 Jan 31, The Soviets
launched Luna 9, the first spacecraft to land softly on the moon.
(HC, 2003, p.64)
1966 Feb 3, The Soviet probe
Luna 9 became the first manmade object to make a soft landing on the
1966 Mar 1, Moscow reported
that a space probe had crashed on Venus. Venera 3 became the 1st
man-made object to impact on a planet (Venus).
(HN, 3/1/98)(SC, 3/1/02)
1966 Mar 5, Anna Akhmatova,
Russian poet, died in Leningrad. She was born in 1889 as Anna
Gorenko near Odessa, Ukraine. In 2005 Elaine Feinstein authored
“Anna of All the Russias: A Life of Anna Akhmatova.
(www.poetryconnection.net/poets/Anna_Akhmatova)(SSFC, 4/2/06, p.M3)
1966 Mar 29, Leonid Brezhnev
became First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. He denounced
the American policy in Vietnam and called it one of aggression.
1966 Apr 8, Leonid Brezhnev was
elected secretary-general of communist party. [see Mar 29]
1966 Sep 25, Dmitri
Shostakovitch's 2nd Cello Concert premiered in Moscow.
1966 Oct 22, The Soviet Union
launched Luna 12 for orbit around the moon.
1966 Dec 21, USSR launched Luna
13. It soft-landed on the Moon’s Oceanus Procellarum.
1966 Dec 24, Soviet research
station Luna 13 soft-landed on the moon.
(HN, 12/24/98)(MC, 12/24/01)
1966 The Russian film "Shadows
of Forgotten Ancestors" was directed by Sergei Paradjanov and
featured in the SF film festival.
(SFEC, 4/13/97, DB p.42)
1966 The Russian film “Andrei
Rublev" was made by Andrei Tarkovsky. It was an epic tale based on
the story of Rublev, a 15th century icon painter.
(DVD, Criterion, 1998)
1966 The 7-hour Russian film
"War and Peace" was directed by Sergey Bondarchuk.
(SFC, 5/21/19, p.E1)
1967 Jan 27, The US signed a
space treaty with Russia. More than 60 nations signed a treaty
banning the orbiting of nuclear weapons. All weapons of mass
destruction were banned from orbit, as was military activity on the
moon and other celestial bodies. On October 10 the Outer Space
Treaty went into effect.
p.A1)(AP, 1/27/98)(SSFC, 7/15/07, p.D1)
1967 Feb 26, USSR performed an
underground nuclear test at Eastern Kazakhstan, Semipalitinsk, USSR.
1967 Mar 6, Svetlana
Alliluyeva, the daughter of Josef Stalin, appeared at the US Embassy
in India and announced her intention to defect to the West. She
arrived at New York in April and held a press conference during
which she denounced her father's regime.
1967 Mar 31, President Lyndon
Johnson signed the Consular Treaty, the first bi-lateral pact with
the Soviet Union since the Bolshevik Revolution.
1967 Apr 23, Soyuz 1 was
launched, and Vladimir Komarov became the first in-flight casualty.
1967 May 19, The Soviet Union
ratified a treaty with the United States and Britain banning nuclear
weapons from outer space: "Treaty on Principles Governing the
Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space,
including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies." The Int’l. Outer
Space Treaty barred nations from appropriating celestial bodies but
did not mention individuals.
(AP, 5/19/97)(SFC, 6/25/97, p.A15)(SFEC, 7/13/97,
1967 Jun 12, Venera 4, a space
probe of the Soviet Union, was launched. It transmitted information
on the atmosphere of Venus.
1967 Jun 23, President Lyndon
Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexi Kosygin began a 3-day meeting at
Glassboro State College in New Jersey to talk through similarly
turbulent times following the Six-Day War between Israel and Arab
(AP, 6/23/07)(AP, 6/24/17)
1967 Aug 31, Ilya G. Ehrenburg
(76), Russian poet and propagandist ("Russians, get your
1967 Sep 23, Soviets signed a
pact to send more aid to Hanoi.
1967 Sep 27, Felix Yusupov
(b.1887), Russian aristocrat, died in Paris. He is best known for
participating in the 1916 assassination of Grigori Rasputin. In 1927
Yusupov published his memoir detailing the killing of Rasputin.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Yusupov)(Econ, 12/24/16, p.115)
1967 Oct 18, A Russian unmanned
spacecraft made the first landing on the surface of Venus.
1967 Author Alexander
Solzhenitsyn met with Olga Andreyev Carlisle in Moscow. She agreed
to get smuggled copies of "The First Circle" and "The Gulag
Archipelago" published in the West. The novel, completed in 1964,
was banned by Soviet officials. A shortened version came out in
English in 1968. After some years a feud ensued when Solzhenitsyn
accused Carlisle of being motivated only by profit and personal
acclaim. An unedited English version was scheduled for publication
(SSFC, 1/25/04, p.A1)(SFC, 7/16/08, p.E6)
1967 The Russian film "Prisoner
of Caucasus" starred Georgy Vitsin (d.2001 at 83) and was directed
by Leonid Gaidai.
(SFC, 10/25/01, p.A25)
1967 The Ostankino television
tower was erected in Moscow to mark the 50th anniversary of the
(SFC, 8/29/00, p.A7)
1967 Yuri Nikulin (1921-1997)
starred in the comedy film "Caucasian Prisoner" as the leader of an
incompetent bunch of crooks.
(SFC, 8/22/97, p.A24)
1967 Yuri Andropov became the
Chief of the Soviet KGB.
(WSJ, 12/14/95, p.A-12)
1967 David Burliuk, Russian
artist, died. His work included "A Cup of Sake" (1921), which
fetched $60,375 for the IRS in a 2003 auction.
(SSFC, 2/2/03, Par p.A19)
1968 Mar 2, USSR launched space
probe Zond 4. It failed to leave Earth orbit.
1968 Mar 2, In Switzerland the
World Ice Pairs Figure Skating Championship in Geneva was won by
Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov (USSR). The Ladies Figure
Skating Championship was won by Peggy Fleming (USA). The Men's
Figure Skating Championship was won by Emmerich Danzer (Austria).
1968 Mar 8, The Russian K-129,
a Golf-II class, diesel-electric submarine armed with nuclear
missiles and 98 seamen aboard, sank in 16,000 feet of water
northwest of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Russian officials
suspected that the K-129 was struck by an American submarine, the
USS Swordfish. The US Navy said the vessel suffered a catastrophic
internal explosion. A US sub, the Halibut, found the Soviet vessel 6
months later and recovered 3 missiles with nuclear warheads, Soviet
code books and an encryption machine. In August 1974 the CIA
attempted to recover the sub. A 100 foot section was pulled in by
the Glomar Explorer with 2 nuclear tipped torpedoes and the bodies
of 6 Russian sailors.
(SFC, 7/15/96, p.A6)(SFC, 7/5/96, p.A19,21)(AP,
1968 Mar 27, Yuri Gagarin
(b.1934), Soviet cosmonaut (Vostok I) and the first man to orbit the
Earth, died while on a routine training flight out of Chkalovsky Air
1968 Apr, Soviet dissidents
began publishing the "Chronicle of Current Events" and continued to
1982. It was one of the longest-running samizdat periodicals of the
post-Stalin USSR. The final issue of the Chronicle was dated 31
December 1982, but it was never circulated in the USSR or translated
abroad. All but two were smuggled out and then translated and
circulated by Peter Reddaway (b.1939). In 2020 Reddaway's book "The
Dissidents" was published.
1968 May, The USSR KGB head
Yuri Andropov, worried about the “Prague Spring," ordered 15 agents
to target the intellectual elite in Czechoslovakia. This was the
first such KGB action against a Warsaw Pact ally. This was reported
after documents were released in 2014, copies of KGB files smuggled
out of Russia in 1992 by senior KGB official Vasili Mitrokhin.
1968 Jun 4, Alexandre Kojeve
(b.1902), French-Russian philosopher, died in Brussels. He was
suspected of serving as a Soviet spy from 1938 to his death.
1968 Jul 1, The United States,
Britain, the Soviet Union and 58 other nations signed the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty. India refused to sign.
(AP, 7/1/97)(SFC, 5/28/98,
1968 Jul 15, Commercial air
travel began between US & USSR.
1968 Aug 3, The Bratislava
statement conceded Czechoslovakia’s right to pursue its own path.
The conference was held in Bratislava, Slovakia, for representatives
of the communist and workers' parties of the People's Republic of
Bulgaria, the Hungarian People's Republic, the German Democratic
Republic, the Polish People's Republic, the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics, and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
1968 Aug 20, Some 650,000
Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact troops began invading
Czechoslovakia to crush the "Prague Spring" liberalization drive of
Alexander Dubcek's regime. In 2015 Czech historians Prokop Tomek and
Ivo Pejcoch authored “Black Book of the Soviet Occupation" in which
they documented all known victims of the Soviet-led invasion and
crackdown on the Prague Spring. A total of 135, more than originally
thought, were killed in the 1968 in military operations. In
following years, road accidents involving military vehicles killed
248, while 12 were murdered.
(AP, 8/20/97)(SFC, 8/25/04, p.B7)(AP, 8/20/15)
1968 Aug 21, After 5 years
Russia once again jammed Voice of America radio.
1968 Aug 21, The Soviet Union
and other Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the
"Prague Spring" liberalization drive led by Alexander Dubcek.
1968 Aug 25, In Moscow’s Red
Square eight dissidents (the "Magnificent Eight"), including
Konstantin Babitsky, Larisa Bogoraz (d.2004), Vladim Delaunay,
Vladimir Dremliuga, Viktor Fainberg, Natalia Gorbanevskaya
(1936-2013), Pavel Litvinov and Tatiana Baeva, came out in the Red
Square to protest against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and
paid for it with years of lagers, exile and "special" mental
4/8/04, p.B7)(Econ, 12/7/13, p.94)(AP, 6/8/18)
1968 Sep 11, The Soviet troops
started leaving Prague for the countryside. At the beginning of
October, the Czechoslovak leadership went to Moscow to negotiate
"normalization". As an outcome, the political leaders remained in
office and submitted to the Soviet demands.
1968 Sep 13, Albania officially
withdrew from the Warsaw Pact. Albania had condemned the August
Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.
1968 Sep, The Soviet spacecraft
Zond ("Probe") 5 became the first to loop around the moon and return
to Earth. The L-1, given the name Zond, was a spacecraft designed to
carry two cosmonauts on a single loop around the moon. The L-1
suffered repeated failure and never flew with a crew. The unmanned
L-1s traveled to the moon five times under the Zond name.
1968 Nov 18, Soviets recovered
the Zond 6 spacecraft after a flight around the moon.
1968 Dec 31, The Soviet Union's
TU-144, similar in appearance to the Concorde, made its 1st flight.
The first Tu-144S production aircraft crashed at the 1973 Paris Air
1968 Edison Denisov
(1929-1996), Russian composer, composed his "Ode for Instrumental
Ensemble," and "Romantic Music for Oboe, Harp and String Trio."
1968 Alfred Schnittke
(1934-1998), Russian composer, composed his "2nd Violin Concerto."
It marked a major shift into eclecticism for the composer.
1968 Yuri Nikulin (1921-1997)
starred in the comedy film "Diamond Arm" as a mild-mannered man
caught in a diamond smuggling scheme.
(SFC, 8/22/97, p.A24)
1968 The Russian film "The
Shield and the Sword," covered the exchange of Soviet undercover
agent Rudolf Abel convicted in the US for downed American spy plane
pilot Francis Gary Powers. Russian President Vladimir Putin later
said the film inspired him to join the KGB.
1968 Russia launched its
Juliett 484 submarine. The diesel sub carried 4 nuclear missiles. In
1994 it was taken from the Liepaja naval base in Latvia to Helsinki,
Finland, for use as a restaurant and bar. In 1998 it was towed to
St. Petersburg but failed as a tourist attraction. In 2001 she taken
to Halifax for use in the movie "K-19: The Widowmaker." In 2002 she
was sold and taken to Provincetown, Rhode Island, as an attraction
to raise money for a museum centered on the carrier USS Saratoga,
yet to be acquired.
(WSJ, 5/24/02, p.A1)
1969 Jan 15, The Russian Soyuz
5 went into orbit. The crew then maneuvered to dock with Soyuz 4 and
Yevgeny Khrunov (d.2000 at 67) became the first astronaut to
transfer between linked capsules.
(SFC, 5/27/00, p.A26)
1969 Feb 17, Russia and Peru
signed their first trade accord.
1969 Mar 2, Dmitri
Shostakovich, Russian composer, completed his 14th Symphony.
1969 Mar 2, Chinese and Russian
soldiers clashed on Damansky Island and approximately 70 died. The
Soviet and Chinese border troops had been skirmishing since 1959
along the 2,500 mile border. Recent skirmishes were along the Ussuri
River border. The Soviets used a full scale tank assault to repulse
a Chinese attack on the island of Damansky. A border treaty in the
1990s gave the island to China.
p.A1)(SFC, 12/28/96, p.A13)(WSJ, 12/16/05,
1969 Mar 15, A violent
Chinese-Russian border dispute left 100s dead.
1969 Mar 26, Soviet weather
Satellite Meteor 1 was launched.
1969 May 16, Russia’s Venera 5
landed on Venus and returned data on atmosphere.
1969 Jun 11, Soviet and Chinese
troops clashed on Sinkiang border.
1969 Jun 12, Alexander Deyneka
(b.1899), Soviet Russian artist, died. he came from a family of
railroad workers and started out as a police photographer after
graduating from art school. He made mosaics in the 1930s for
Mayakovskaya metro station in central Moscow.
1969 Jun 21, The 14th Symphony
by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) premiered in Moscow.
1969 Jul 4, The USSR performed
nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR.
1969 Nov 4, Author Alexander
Solzhenitsyn was expelled from Soviet Writers Union.
1969 Dec 2, Kliment J.
Voroshilov (b.1881), president USSR (1953-60), died.
1969 The Soviet film "The White
Sun of the Desert" featured the music of Isaac Schwartz (1923-2009).
1969 In the Soviet Union
Rostislav Belyakov (d.2014 at 94) became the MiG chief designer,
succeeding the firm's founder, Artyom Mikoyan. He led the
development of a family of MiG fighters, including MiG-23, MiG-25,
Mig-29 and their versions, which have been the backbone of Soviet
and then Russian air force.
1970 May 27, USSR performs an
underground nuclear test.
1970 Jun 11, Alexander F.
Kerensky (b.1881), Russian premier (1917), died.
1970 Jun 19, A. Nikolayev and
V. Sevastyanov returned after 18 days in Russia’s Soyuz 9.
1970 Aug 17, Venera 7 was
launched by USSR for a soft landing on Venus.
1970 Sep 12, The Soviet Union
launched its unmanned Soviet Luna 16. It was the first robotic probe
to land on the Moon and return a sample to Earth.
1970 Sep 20, The Soviet Luna 16
landed on Moon’s Mare Fecunditatis and drilled a core sample.
1970 Sep 24, The Soviet Luna 16
landed in Kazakhstan, completing the first unmanned round trip to
1970 Oct 8, Soviet author
Alexander Solzhenitsyn was named winner of the Nobel Prize for
1970 Nov 4, Andre Sakharov,
Russian nuclear physicist, formed a Human Rights Committee.
1970 Nov 10, The Soviet Union
launched Luna 17, an unmanned space mission of the Luna program,
towards the moon.
1970 Nov 17, The Soviet Union
landed an unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle on the moon, the
Lunokhod 1. The spacecraft which carried Lunokhod 1 was named Luna
1970 Sep 4, Natalia Makarova
(b.1940), Russian ballet dancer, requested asylum while on tour in
1971 Feb 14, Moscow publicized
a new five-year plan geared to expanding consumer production.
1971 Mar 23, USSR performed
underground nuclear test.
1971 Apr 6,
Igor Stravinsky (b.1882), Russian-born composer, died in NYC.
1971 Apr 19, The Soviet Union
launched Salyut 1, the world’s first space station into orbit.
1971 Apr 23, The Soviet Union
launched Soyuz 10; the cosmonauts became the first in Salyut 1 space
1971 May 10, The KOSMOS 419
Probe failed to leave Earth orbit.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1971 May 19, The Mars 2 Orbiter
and Lander made it to Mars but the Lander crashed when braking
rockets failed. The orbiter returned in 1972.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1971 May 25, USSR performed a
nuclear test at Eastern Kazakhstan, Semipalitinsk.
1971 May 28, The Mars 3 Orbiter
and lander was launched successfully.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1971 Jun 7, Soviet Soyuz 11
crew completed the 1st transfer to orbiting Salyut.
1971 Jun 27, T. Smirnova,
Russian born astronomer, discovered asteroid #2121, Sevastopol.
1971 Jun 30, A Soviet space
mission ended in tragedy when three cosmonauts (Georgi Dobrovolsky,
Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev) aboard Soyuz 11 were found
dead inside their spacecraft after it returned to Earth.
(AP, 6/30/97)(SFC, 10/2/07, p.A6)
1971 Sep 3, The Quadripartite
Agreement on Berlin, between the United States, the Soviet Union,
the United Kingdom and France. ended a long time source of tension.
(WUD, 1994, p.
1971 Sep 11, Former Soviet
leader Nikita Khrushchev died at age 77. In 2003 William Taubman
authored "Khrushchev: The Man and His Era." In 2006 Aleksandr
Fursenko and Timothy Naftali authored “Khrushchev’s Cold War: The
Inside Story of an American Adversary."
(WUD, 1994, p. 1688)(AP, 9/11/97)(SSFC, 4/27/03,
M3)(Econ, 11/18/06, p.88)
1971 Sep 25, Over 100 Russian
officials were expelled from Britain for spying. Information from
Oleg Lyalin, supposedly a member of the USSR's trade delegation in
the UK, led to the expulsion of 105 Soviet officials from Britain.
1971 Dec 2, The Mars 3 landed
on Mars and failed after 20 seconds of video data. The orbiter
returned date until August 1972.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1971 A Soviet field test of
weaponized smallpox caused an outbreak that killed 2 young children
and a woman at the port of Aralsk in the Kazak Republic. This was
not made public until 2002.
(SFC, 6/15/02, p.A8)
1971 Syria allowed Russia to
establish its only naval facility in the Mediterranean.
(Econ., 4/18/15, p.42)
1972 Feb 26, Soviets recovered
Luna 20 with a cargo of moon rocks.
1972 Apr 10, The United States
and the Soviet Union joined some 70 nations in signing an agreement
banning biological warfare: The Biological and Toxins Weapons
Convention (BWC). A defector in 1990 revealed that the Soviet
biological weapons program was twice the size of the highest US
intelligence estimates. The convention banned the development,
production, and stockpiling of bacteriological and toxic weapons. In
1973 the Soviet Union created Biopreparat, an ultra secret
biological weapons program that involved laboratories at a minimum
of 47 sites across Russia.
(AP, 4/10/97)(WSJ, 7/21/97, p.A22)(SFEC, 8/10/97,
p.A3)(SFC, 8/28/97, p.C2)
1972 Apr, Iraq and the USSR
signed a Treaty of Friendship.
1972 May 26, President Richard
M. Nixon and Soviet Communist Party chief Leonid Brezhnev signed in
Moscow the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, an arms reduction
agreement that became known as SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation
Talks). The US withdrew from the treaty in 2002.
(SSFC, 8/8/04, p.B5)(AP, 5/26/07)
1972 Jun 5, Yugoslav president
Tito (1892-1980) visited the USSR and received the Order of Lenin,
the highest national order of the USSR.
1972 Jul 8, The US signed an
agreement to sell grain to USSR for $750 million. Soviet grain
buyers over 6 weeks purchased the US grain. This was later called
the "great grain robbery" and the privately-held agribusiness giant
Cargill played a major role. The story of Cargill was told in the
1998 book "Cargill Going Global" by Wayne Broehl Jr.
(http://tinyurl.com/5qvx8c)(PC, 1992, p.1040)
1972 Jul 18, Egypt’s President
Sadat demanded that the USSR withdraw all military advisors
1972 Aug 3, The US Senate
ratified the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM treaty). It banned
the construction of systems to defend against ballistic missile
attacks. It had been signed in Moscow on May 26 and entered into
force on October 3.
1972 Aug 31, Olga Korbut
(b.1955) of Belarus, USSR, won Olympic gold medal in floor exercises
and the balance beam.
1972 Sep 1, American Bobby
Fischer won the international chess crown in Reykjavik, Iceland,
defeating Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union. In 2004 David Edmonds
and John Eidinow authored "Bobby Fischer Goes to War: How the
Soviets Lost the Most Extraordinary Chess Match of All Time."
(AP, 9/1/97)(SSFC, 2/07/04, p.M1)
1972 Sep 10, At the Munich
Summer Olympics, the US Olympic basketball team lost to the Soviets,
51-50, in a gold-medal match marked by controversy because officials
ordered the final three seconds of the game replayed, enabling the
Soviets to win. The US protested, to no avail. Frank Shorter of the
United States won the men's marathon at the Munich Olympics.
1972 Oct 13, Aeroflot Il-62
crashed in large pond outside Moscow and 176 died.
1972 Vasili Motrokhin, a KGB
agent sympathetic to prominent dissidents, began his personal
archive on the KGB.
(SFEC, 1/2/00, BR p.5)
1972 The Soviets introduced the
Tu-154 airplane. It was their version of the Boeing 727. The
three-engine Tupolev 154 first flew passengers and has since become
a workhorse of fleets in Russia, the former Soviet bloc and China.
The jet can carry between 156 and 180 passengers and has a range of
2,400 miles at a maximum speed of 560 mph.
(SFC, 7/4/01, p.A10)(AP, 7/2/02)
1972 The Soviet Union began
producing more private cars than trucks.
(Econ, 7/12/08, p.94)
1973 Feb 15, The USSR launched
Prognoz 3 at Baikonur, Kazakhstan, to study solar flares.
1973 May 18, Russian party
leader Brezhnev visited West Germany.
1973 Jun 3, A Soviet supersonic
Tupelov 144, nicknamed Concordski, exploded in flight at the Paris
Air Show and crashed into a nearby village, killing the six-man crew
and seven people on the ground. The plane beat the French and
English through the sound barrier.
(SFEC, 10/10/99, p.T4)(AP,
1973 Jun 19, Pres. Nixon met
with Russia’s leader Leonid Brezhnev at the White House.
1973 Jul 4, Leonid Stein
(b.1934), Soviet Grandmaster chess player from the Ukraine, died of
a heart attack.
1973 Jul 21, The Russian Mars 4
Orbiter braking engine malfunctioned and it failed to go into orbit
1973 Jul 25, Russia launched
its Mars 5 Orbiter.
1973 Jul, Russia experienced a
weak harvest. Commodity prices were sent soaring as spot prices for
wheat rose by 24% and by more than 50% between the start of June and
(Econ, 8/14/10, p.62)
1973 Aug 5, Russia launched its
Mars 6 Orbiter.
1973 Aug 9, The Mars 7 Orbiter
and lander failed to go into orbit around Mars. The lander missed
the planet and both went into solar orbit.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1973 Aug 28, Princess Anne
became the first member of the British royal family to visit the
Soviet Union when she arrived in Kiev for an equestrian event.
1973 Nov 11, The Soviet Union
was kicked out of World Cup soccer for refusing to play Chile.
1973 Dec 21, Israel, Egypt,
Syria, Jordan, US and USSR leaders met in Geneva. The Geneva
Conference of 1973 was an attempt to negotiate a solution to the
Arab-Israeli conflict as called for in UN Security Council
Resolution 338 which was passed after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.
1973 Dec 28, Alexander
Solzhenitsyn published "Gulag Archipelago" in Paris. It was an
expose of the Soviet prison system.
(AP, 12/28/97)(WSJ, 12/11/98, p.W15)
1974 Feb 12, The Mars 5 Orbiter
entered orbit around Mars and relayed imaging data for the Mars 6
& 7 missions.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1974 Feb 13, Alexander
Solzhenitsyn was exiled from the USSR. He wrote his novel "First
Circle" based on experiences in a Moscow prison camp, where he met
Lev Kopelev (d.1997 at 85), a dissident author and Communist
idealist. The character Rubin in "First Circle" is based on Kopelev.
(TMC, 1994, p.1974)(SFC, 6/21/97, p.A18)(MC,
1974 Mar 12, The Mars 6 went
into orbit and the lander transmitted atmospheric data during
descent before failing.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.B1)
1974 May, Major Abdel Jalloud,
Libya's second in command, traveled to Moscow and concluded the
first in a series of arms sales agreements that remain the largest
ever reached by the Soviets.
1974 Jun 29, Russian ballet
dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov defected in Toronto, Canada.
1974 Jun, Members of the Joint
Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, USSR, reported their
discovery of Element 106, which they reported to have synthesized.
Glenn Seaborg was part of this group, and the element was named in
his honor. Ervin Hulet and Albert Ghiorso of UC Berkeley were also
members of the team.
1974 Jul 25, T. Smirnova,
Russian astronomer, discovered asteroid #2345 Fucik.
1974 Aug, The CIA in Project
Azorian recovered part of a Soviet submarine that had sunk in the
Pacific on March 8, 1968. A 100 foot section of K-129 was pulled in
by the Hughes Glomar Explorer with 2 nuclear tipped torpedoes and
the bodies of 6 Russian sailors. The US Navy’s fully
submersible dry dock, called the Hughes Mining Barge, was used under
the Glomar Explorer to position a claw to recover the submarine.
Claude Barnes Capehart worked on the Howard Hughes’ deep-sea
research vessel, Glomar Explorer, that under CIA sponsorship raised
part of the Soviet submarine. Later in Chowchilla, Ca., he told his
girlfriend that he was in Texas when Kennedy was assassinated, and
that "Oswald wasn’t the only one involved." Just before a scheduled
interview in 1989, Capehart dropped dead of a heart attack. In 1996
the Glomar Explorer began under going remodeling for work as a
deep-sea drilling ship. The barge was later used to house the Navy’s
$195 million Sea Shadow, an experimental stealth ship made public in
1993. In 2006 the barge and Sea Shadow were put to rest in Suisun
Bay, near San Francisco.
(SFC, 7/15/96, p.A6)(WSJ, 2/24/09, p.A6)(AP,
1974 Oct 24, David Oistrach
(b.1908), virtuoso Russian violinist, died of a heart attack in
1974 Nov 15, The 15th String
Quartet by Dmitri Shostakovitch (1906-1975) premiered in Leningrad.
1974 Nov 23-1974 Nov 24, US
Pres. Gerald Ford attended a summit in Vladivostok, USSR, with
Soviet Pres. Brezhnev. They reached a tentative agreement to limit
the number of nuclear weapons.
(SFC, 12/26/06, p.A11)
1974 Nov 28, Konstantin
Melnikov (b.1890), Russian architect, died. His Melnikov House in
Moscow was built from 1927-1931 with fees from commissions.
1974 Alexander Solzhenitsyn
published "The Gulag Archipelago." [see Dec 28, 1973]
(SFEC, 11/10/96, Z 1 p.2)
1974 Pepsi entered the market
of the Soviet Union.
(WSJ, 2/14/97, p.A9C)
1974 Soviet and Czech
technicians began carrying out what they called “chemical mining"
for uranium below the town of Straz pod Ralskem. By 1996 some 4.2
million tons of sulphuric acid and other toxic chemicals were pumped
in to leach out the uranium. In 2008 a cleanup firm estimated that
the site should be stabilized by 2035.
(Econ, 5/31/08, SR p.11)
1975 Jan 3, President Gerald
Ford signed the Jackson-Vanik amendment into law, after both houses
of the United States Congress unanimously voted for its adoption.
Congress had passed the Jackson-Vanik amendment for economic
sanctions on Russia to pressure the Soviet Union to allow unfettered
emigration for Soviet Jews. Pres. Bush in 2001 proposed that it be
1975 Apr 19, India announced it
had launched its 1st satellite, from the Soviet Union atop a Soviet
1975 Jul 15, Three American
astronauts blasted off aboard an Apollo spaceship hours after two
Soviet cosmonauts were launched aboard a Soyuz spacecraft for a
mission that included a linkup of the two ships in orbit.
1975 Jul 17, A US Apollo
spaceship docked with a Soyuz spacecraft in orbit in the first
superpower linkup of its kind. Soviet cosmonauts Valery Kubasov
(1935-2014) and lt. Col. Alexei A. Leonov spent 44 hours with Brig.
Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, Deke Slayton and Vance D. Brand.
(AP, 7/17/97)(SFC, 3/3/14, p.D2)
1975 Jul 19, The Apollo and
Soyuz space capsules that were linked in orbit for two days
1975 Aug 1, A 35-nation summit
in Helsinki, Finland, concluded with the signing the Helsinki
Accords, dealing with European security, human rights and East-West
contacts. The Helsinki Final Act, signed by 35 states, was an
attempt to improve the relations between the Communist bloc and the
West. The Soviet Union reluctantly signed as a token of East -West
8/1/00)(www.hri.org/docs/Helsinki75.html)(Econ, 4/11/20, p.66)
1975 Aug 9, Dimitri D.
Shostakovitch (b.1906) Soviet composer of 15 symphonies, died. His
work included Sun Over Motherland and the Violin Concerto No. 2.
Symphony No. 13, "Babi Yar," written to commemorate the massacre of
Jews during WW II. It premiered in the US in 1970. Symphony No. 12,
"The Year 1917," was dedicated to the memory of Lenin. In 2004
Solomon Volkov authored Shostakovich and Stalin: The Extraordinary
Relationship Between the Great Composer and the Brutal Dictator."
(WUD, 1994, p.1320)(SFC, 1/30/98, p.E5)(HN,
9/25/98)(WSJ, 6/29/99, p.A12)(SSFC, 3/28/04, p.M3)
1975 Oct 9, Soviet scientist
Andrei Sakharov was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1975 Nov 7, On the eve of the
anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution Capt. Valery Sablin
(1939-1976) seized control of the Storozhevoy (Vigilant), a Russian
destroyer in the Baltic, intending to proclaim a new revolution. The
Russian air force managed to disable the vessel and Sablin was
executed for the mutiny. This incident inspired Tom Clancy’s novel
and the film “The Hunt for Red October."
1975 Dec 26, The Soviet Union
inaugurated the world's first supersonic transport service with a
flight of its Tupolev-144 airliner from Moscow to Alma-Ata.
1975 The Soviet film "The
Captivating Star of Happiness" featured the music of Isaac Schwartz
1975 Victor Astafyev (d.2001 at
77) won the State Prize of Russia for his novel "The Damned and the
(SFC, 11/30/01, p.A27)
1975 In Russia Vladimir Putin
joined the Soviet KGB.
(WSJ, 2/23/05, p.A14)
1975 In 2005 Christopher Andrew
and Vasili Mitokhin, a former KGB officer, authored “The Mitokhin
Archive II: The KGB and the World," and said a high-ranking KGB
officer used agents to persuade PM Indira Gandhi to declare a state
of emergency in India in 1975. The officer was identified as Leonid
Shebarshin, who served in New Delhi in the mid-1970s.
1975 A Russian SL3 rocket body
began orbiting the Earth. It re-entered the atmosphere in 2001.
(SFC, 9/7/01, p.A12)
1975 Soviet scientist Vladimir
Uglev first synthesized A-234, an odorless liquid deadlier than any
other chemical weapons that existed at the time. A-234 is from a
class of nerve agents known as "Novichok".
1976 Aug 3, Valeri Sablin,
Soviet Navy officer, was executed for mutiny. He was a
character in the 1990 Hollywood film “Hunt for Red October."
1976 Aug 6, Gregor Piatigorsky
(b.1903), Russian cellist, died.
1976 Aug 22, A Soviet probe
called Luna 4 brought back to Earth 170 grams of lunar matter. It
was the third Soviet mission to return lunar soil samples from the
Moon (the first two sample return missions were Luna 16 and Luna
1976 Sep 6, A Soviet pilot
landed his MIG-25 in Tokyo and asked for political asylum in the
1976 Nov 20, Trofim Denisovich
Lysenko (b.1898), Soviet agronomist and biologist, died in Moscow.
Lysenko was a strong proponent of soft inheritance and rejected
Mendelian genetics in favor of pseudoscientific ideas termed
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trofim_Lysenko)(Econ., 7/18/20, p.70)
1976 In Russia Eduard Khill
(1934-2012), a popular Soviet singing star, was featured in a video
of his performance of Arkady Ostrovsky's 1966 "I Am Glad, 'Cause I'm
Finally Returning Back Home." Khil sang "trololo" instead of
censored lyrics. The original lyrics—about an American cowboy riding
across a prairie—didn't sit well with Soviet censors, so Khil
changed them in the quirky, vocalized version. In 2010 the video an
Internet sensation in 2010.
1976 The film "Blue Bird"
starred Elizabeth Taylor. It was shot in Russia and was the 1st film
collaboration between the US and the Soviet Union.
(SFC, 10/29/01, p.A18)
1976 The Supreme Soviet passed
legislation for the preservation of archeological sites.
(AM, 11/00, p.33)
1977 May 24, In a surprise
move, the Kremlin ousted Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny from the
Communist Party's ruling Politburo.
1977 May 29, USSR performed a
nuclear test at Eastern Kazakhstan, Semipalitinsk, USSR.
1977 Jun 1, The Soviet Union
formally charged Jewish human rights activist Anatoly Shcharansky
with treason. In 1978 he was convicted and imprisoned. In 1986 he
was released to the West.
1977 Jun 16, Soviet Communist
Party General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev was named president of the
USSR, becoming the first person to hold both posts simultaneously.
(AP, 6/16/98)(HN, 6/16/98)
1977 Jun, The Inuit Circumpolar
Council, a multinational non-governmental organization (NGO), met
for the first time. Originally known as the Inuit Circumpolar
Conference, the ICC represented the 150,000 Inuit (often referred to
as Eskimo) people living in the United States, Canada, Greenland,
1977 Sep 18, Cosmos, a Soviet
nuclear-powered satellite, was launched. It fell onto Northern
Canada on Jan. 24, 1978.
(SSFC, 3/18/01, p.A1)
1977 Dec 10, On UN Human Rights
Day, the Soviet Union placed 20 prominent dissidents under house
arrest, cutting off telephones and threatening to break up a planned
silent demonstration in Moscow’s Pushkin Square.
1977 Yuri Nikulin (1921-1997)
starred in the Russian film "Twenty Days Without War."
(SFC, 8/22/97, p.A24)
1977 The Soviet constitution
adopted article 72, which granted each republic the right to secede
from the USSR.
1977 The Soviet Politburo
approved adjustments to the 1943 national anthem, where Sergei
Mikhalkov replaced references to Stalin with phrases glorifying
Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin, who "led us on to Communism's
1977 Soviet dissident Anatoly
B. Sharansky was arrested. [see Jul 14, 1978]
(SFC, 5/4/02, p.A21)
1977 The Soviet Union
introduced the Shkval torpedo and hailed it as an “aircraft carrier
killer," but its design proved less threatening than hope for. Its
speed depended on the supercavitation principle. In 2016 Russian
plans emerged for a new supercavitating torpedo called Khishchnik
(Econ, 1/21/17, p.68)
1977 Somalia and Ethiopia
engaged in battle. The Soviet Union provided tanks to both sides.
Somalia tried and failed to push into the Ogaden area of Ethiopia.
The Somalis managed to reach the walled city of Harer, a center for
Islam in Ethiopia. An Ethiopian counter-offensive backed by Cuban
troops wrecked Somalia’s army and led to the 1991 of the Somali
(Econ, 8/12/06, p.19)(Econ, 10/14/06, p.49)(Econ,
1977 Donald Trump first
appeared on the Russians’ radar when he married his first wife,
Ivana Zelnickova, a Czech model. Trump became the target of a spying
operation overseen by Czechoslovakia’s intelligence service in
cooperation with the KGB.
(The Guardian, 1/29/21)
1977-1986 Oleg Troyanovsky (1919-2003) served as
the Soviet Ambassador to the United Nations.
1978 Jan 10, The Soviet Union
launched two cosmonauts aboard a Soyuz capsule for a rendezvous with
the Salyut VI space laboratory.
1978 Jan 11, Two Soviet
cosmonauts aboard the Soyuz 27 capsule linked up with the Salyut 6
orbiting space station, where the Soyuz 26 capsule was already
1978 Jan 24, Cosmos 954, a
4-month-old nuclear-powered Soviet satellite plunged through Earth's
atmosphere and disintegrated, scattering radioactive debris over
parts of northern Canada.
(SSFC, 3/18/01, p.A1)(AP, 1/24/08)
1978 Mar 2, Soyuz 28 carried 2
cosmonauts to Salyut 6. Czech pilot Vladimir Remek became the first
non-Russian, non-American in space.
1978 Apr 10, Arkady Shevchenko,
a high-ranking Soviet citizen employed by the United Nations, sought
political asylum in the United States.
1978 Apr 20, A South Korean Air
Lines Boeing 707 crash-landed in northwestern Russia. Flight 902 was
fired on by a Soviet interceptor after entering Soviet airspace. 107
passengers and crew survived after the plane made an emergency
landing on a frozen lake and 2 passengers were killed.
1978 May 1, Aram Khachaturian
(b.1903), Georgia-born Armenian composer, died in Moscow.
1978 May 18, Russian dissident
Yuri Orlov was sentenced to 7 years in a strict-regime labor camp.
The Russian physicist was arrested Feb 10, 1977.
1978 May 20, US
counterintelligence authorities reported that the Soviet consulate
in San Francisco's Pacific heights has become a major base for
(SFC, 5/16/03, p.E8)
1978 May 29, The USSR performed
a nuclear test at Semipalatinsk in Eastern Kazakhstan.
1978 Jun 27, Soyuz 30 carried 2
cosmonauts (1 Polish) to the Salyut 6 space station.
1978 Jul 5, A Soviet Soyuz
spacecraft touched down safely in Soviet Kazakhstan with its
two-member crew, including the first Polish space traveler -- Major
1978 Jul 14, Soviet dissident
Anatoly B. Sharansky was convicted of treasonous espionage and
anti-Soviet agitation, and sentenced to 13 years at hard labor. He
was released in 1986.
1978 Aug 26, Sigmund Jahn
became the first German in space when he blasted off aboard Russia’s
1978 Sep 21, Two Soviet
cosmonauts set a space endurance record after 96 days in space.
1978 Oct 18, Jaume Ramon
Mercader del Rio Hernandez (b.1914), aka Jacques Mornard, Spanish
Communist and murderer of Leon Trotsky, died in Cuba. Declassified
archives showed that he was a Soviet agent. In 1940 Mercader fatally
wounded Trotsky with an ice axe in his study at his home in
Coyoacan, then a village on the southern fringes of Mexico
City. Joseph Stalin presented him with an Order of Lenin in
absentia. Mercader was awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union
after his release in 1961. He divided his time between Cuba and the
1978 Dec 5, Afghan Pres. Nur
Mohammad Tarakai, head of People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan
(PDPA), signed a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union.
1978 Isaiah Berlin (1909-1997),
Latvia-born Jewish political philosopher and historian, published
"Russian Thinkers." He was the first person of Jewish descent to be
elected to a prize fellowship at the elite All Souls College,
1978 In Russia Alexander I.
Ginzburg (1936-2002), poet, was sentenced to 8 years in prison for
his dissident activities. He served 8 months and then was then
exchanged with 4 others for 2 Soviet spies in the US.
(SSFC, 7/21/02, p.A27)
Sayano-Shushinskaya hydroelectric plant in southern Siberia, the
largest in the country, went into operation.
1978 US Marines discovered
Soviet agents burrowing a tunnel under the US Embassy.
1979 Jan 15, The Soviet Union
vetoed a United Nations resolution and called for the withdrawal of
all Vietnamese troops from Cambodia.
1979 Mar 30, Anthrax spores
leaked from a secret germ-warfare plant and spread over Sverdlovsk
(Yekaterinburg), Russia. Over the course of 2 months at least 105
people died of anthrax poisoning. [see Apr 2] Reports did not emerge
1979 Apr 2, Anthrax was found
to have leaked from the secret lab of Compound 19 in Sverdlovsk
(later renamed Yekaterinburg) in the Ural Mountains. It caused a
local epidemic that killed at least 64/66 people. Pres. Yeltsin
acknowledged the leak in 1992 and allowed a team of researchers to
investigate the site. In 2000 Jeanne Guillemin authored "Anthrax:
The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak." [see Mar 30]
(SFC, 2/19/00, p.A14)(SFEC, 8/13/00, BR p.7)(WSJ,
1979 Apr 25, N. Chernykh,
Soviet-Russian, discovered asteroids #2656: Evenkia & #3653.
1979 Jun 18, President Carter
and Soviet President Leonid I. Brezhnev signed the SALT II strategic
arms limitation treaty in Vienna. The agreement set a ceiling on
long-range bombers and missiles and limited development to only one
new land-base missile system for the duration of the treaty.
(AP, 6/18/97)(HNQ, 11/15/99)
1979 Jul 19, Alexander I.
Ginzburg (1936-2002), Russian-born poet, was flown to the US as part
of an exchange for Soviet spies.
(SSFC, 7/21/02, p.A27)
1979 Aug 18, USSR performed a
nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh, Semipalitinsk, USSR.
1979 Aug 28, Konstantin Simonov
(b.1915), Russian war correspondent and poet, died in Moscow. His
poems included “Wait For Me" (1942).
1979 Sep 18, Bolshoi Ballet
dancers Leonid & Valentina Kozlov defected to the US.
1979 Sep 24, Russian ice
skaters Protopopov and Belousova asked for asylum in Switzerland.
1979 Dec 25, Large numbers of
Soviet airborne forces joined stationed ground troops and began to
land in Kabul, Afghanistan.
1979 Dec 27, Soviet forces
seized control of Afghanistan after a 2nd leftist coup. A Soviet
backed coup ousted leftists and put a more pro-Moscow regime in
power in Kabul. Babrak Karmal (1929-1996) became the new puppet
leader and Soviet troops bolstered his rule against Muslim
resistance fighters. Hafizullah Amin, who was overthrown and
executed, was replaced by Babrak Karmal. Some 15,000 Soviet soldiers
(SFC, 9/23/96, A9)(SFC, 9/28/96, p.A8)(WSJ,
12/6/96, p.A1)(WA, 1997,p.737)(AP, 12/27/97)
1979 The Soviet film “Stalker"
was directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. In 2012 Geoff Dyer authored “Zone:
A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room."
(SSFC, 3/11/12, p.F4)(SFC, 9/7/17 p.E7)
1979 Researchers at Moscow’s
Institute of Nanotechnology began working on an additive to improve
fuel efficiency in car engines. Italians moved the project forward
by using serpentine nanopowders and a product named Clap was
expected to hit markets in December, 2005.
(Econ, 10/8/05, p.88)
1979 The Soviet Union
established a brigade in Cuba.
(SSFC, 1/20/02, p.A7)
1979 Stig Bergling (1937-2015),
a former Swedish security officer who sold secrets to the Soviet
Union, was caught in Israel. He had given Moscow details on the
location of coastal defense sites and weapon systems, forcing
neutral Sweden to revamp much of its defense system. In Sweden he
was sentenced to life in prison, but fled while on leave in 1987. He
and his wife returned to Sweden in 1994. He went back to prison, but
was released in 1997 after his life sentence was commuted.
1979 Vietnam leased its Cam
Rhan Bay naval facility to Russia for 25 years.
1979-1985 Victor Cherkashin served as the KGB
chief at the Soviet embassy in Washington. In 2004 he authored “Spy
Handler: The True Story of the Man Who Recruited Robert Hanssen and
(WSJ, 12/30/04, p.D8)
1980 Jan 2, President Carter
asked the Senate to delay the arms treaty ratification in response
to Soviet action in Afghanistan.
1980 Jan 14, UN voted 104-18 to
deplore the Soviet Afghan acts.
1980 Jan 20, President Jimmy
Carter announced the US boycott of Olympics in Moscow.
1980 Jan 22, Russian dissidents
Andrei Sakharov (b.1921) and his wife Jelena Bonner were banished
from Moscow to Gorky.
1980 Jan 24, In an action
obviously designed as another in a series of very strong reactions
to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, US officials announce that
America is ready to sell military equipment (excluding weapons) to
communist China. The surprise statement was part of the US effort to
build a closer relationship with the People's Republic of China for
use as leverage against possible Soviet aggression.
1980 Feb 22, In a stunning
upset, the U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviets at Lake
Placid, N.Y., 4-3.
1980 Mar 21, President Carter
announced to the U.S. Olympic Team that they would not participate
in the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow as a boycott against Soviet
intervention in Afghanistan.
1980 Apr 12, The US Olympic
Committee endorsed a boycott of Moscow games.
1980 Jun 22, The Soviet Union
announced a partial withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan.
1980 Jul 19, The Moscow Summer
Olympics began, minus dozens of nations that were boycotting the
games because of the Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan.
1980 Aug 3, Closing ceremonies
were held in Moscow for the 1980 Summer Olympic Games, which had
been boycotted by dozens of countries, including the United States.
1980 Oct 23, The resignation of
Soviet Premier Alexei N. Kosygin was announced.
1980 Dec 14, After four days of
meetings, members of NATO warned the Soviets to stay out of the
internal affairs of Poland, saying that intervention would
effectively destroy the detente between East and West.
1980 Dec 18, Former Soviet
Premier Alexei N. Kosygin (1964-80) died at age 76 of a heart
(AP, 12/18/97)(MC, 12/18/01)
1980 Dec 20, The government of
the Soviet Union confirmed that former Premier Alexei N. Kosygin had
died two days earlier at the age of 76.
1980 Dec 23, A state funeral
was held in Moscow for former Premier Alexei N. Kosygin, who had
died Dec. 18 at age 76.
1980 Suzanne Massie authored
“Land of the Firebird: The Beauty of Old Russia," a history of
Russia from 987-1917. Massie later served as an unofficial advisor
to Pres. Reagan and carried back channel messages between Reagan and
(Econ, 2/28/09, p.88)
1980s Semyon Yukovich
Mogilevich, a small-time thief and counterfeiter, made millions from
Jews leaving the Soviet Union. He later ran a prostitution ring in
Budapest and in 1991 set up a company, Arigon in the Channel
Islands, to launder money. Arigon acquired YBM Magnex which became a
public corp. in 1994.
(SFEC, 7/25/99, p.A20)
1980-1982 Alexander Lebed commanded a Russian
battalion fighting in Afghanistan.
(SFC, 10/18/96, A18)
1980-1989 During the 1980s the US purchased
millions of Type 56 rifles from China to arm the Afghan Mujahedeen
in their war against the Soviet army. The rifles were copycats of
the AK-47s used by Russian soldiers. The US gave an average of $500
million in military aid annually to the Mujahedeen. The US also
purchased Chinese and Polish AK-47s to supply the Contra guerillas
(SFC, 5/27/96, p.A9)(SFC, 9/23/96, A9)
1981 Apr 24, The US ended a
16-month grain embargo against the USSR.
1981 May 13, John Paul II was
shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter's Square by Turkish
assailant Mehmet Ali Agca. The shots hit the pope’s hand and
penetrated his abdomen. John Paul forgave Agca 4 days later. In 2006
an Italian report said the Soviet Union was behind the attempted
(TMC, 1994, p.1981)(AP, 5/13/97)(SFC, 6/14/00,
1981 May 26, Russia’s Soyuz
T-4, launched on March 12, landed.
1981 Aug 19, Two U.S. Navy F-14
jet fighters shot down a pair of Soviet-built Libyan SU-22s in a
dogfight over the Gulf of Sidra.
1981 Nov 30, The United States
and the Soviet Union opened negotiations in Geneva aimed at reducing
nuclear weapons in Europe.
1981 Dec 29, President Reagan
curtailed Soviet trade in reprisal for its harsh policy in Poland.
1981 Soviet authorities
arrested Russian historian Arseny Roginsky. He was jailed for
publishing a samizdat almanac entitled “Pamyat" (Memory). Roginsky
was released in 1985 and founded Memorial to commemorate victims of
state repression. In 2017 the government declared Memorial a
(Econ, 11/5/16, p.43)
1981 Russian Archeologist Yuri
Mochanov of the Yakutish Academy of Sciences announced the discovery
of human habitation in northern Siberia that dated back to at least
30,000 years. More precise techniques later measured the stone
artifacts at the site to 250k-300k BC.
(SFC, 2/28/97, p.A15)
1982 Jan 17, Varlan Shalamov,
Russian writer, journalist, poet and Gulag survivor, died in Moscow.
1982 Jan 22, President Reagan
formally linked progress in arms control to Soviet repression in
1982 Mar 1, Russian spacecraft
Venera 13 landed on Venus and sent back data.
1982 Mar 5, Russian spacecraft
Venera 14 landed on Venus and sent back data.
1982 Mar 8, The U.S. accused
the Soviets of killing 3,000 Afghans with poison gas.
1982 May 13, Soyuz T-5
was launched at Baikonur. Berezovoi & Lebedev spent the next 211
days in space.
1982 Jun, "Farewell," a C.I.A.
campaign of computer sabotage, stayed secret because the blast,
estimated at three kilotons, took place in the Siberian wilderness,
with no casualties known. "The pipeline software that was to run the
pumps, turbines and valves was programmed to go haywire," writes
Reed, "to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures
far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds. The
result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever
seen from space." "At the Abyss," by Thomas C. Reed, was published
by Random House in 2004.
1982 Jul 2, Soyuz T-6 returned
1982 Jul 4, USSR performed
nuclear test at Eastern Kazakh/Semipalitinsk USSR.
1982 Aug 19, Soviet cosmonaut
Svetlana Savitskaya became the second woman to be launched into
1982 Nov 3, In Afghanistan a
Soviet tank engine exploded in the Salang Tunnel and 178 Soviet
soldiers were killed along with as many as 800 Afghans.
1982 Nov 10, In Russia Soviet
leader Leonid I. Brezhnev died at age 75 and the Kremlin command
passed to Yuri Andropov. Brezhnev had suffered from arteriosclerosis
of the brain. See the 1997 book by Michel Dobbs "Down with Big
Brother, The Fall of the Soviet Empire."
(TMC, 1994, p.1982)(SFEC, 2/2/97, BR. p.1)(AP,
1982 Nov 12, Yuri V. Andropov
was elected to succeed the late Leonid I. Brezhnev as general
secretary of the Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee.
1982 Nov 15, Funeral services
were held in Moscow's Red Square for the late Soviet President
Leonid I. Brezhnev.
1982 The Friendship Bridge over
the Amu Darya River, connecting Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, was
built by the Soviets during the Soviet occupation of that country.
The bridge was closed in May 1997 when the Taliban forces took
control of the city of Mazari Sharif, forcing Uzbek rebels to
retreat back to Uzbekistan. It reopened on December 9, 2001.
(http://tinyurl.com/2qbrbd)(WSJ, 11/21/01, p.A11)
1983 Jan 23, Cosmos 1402, a
Russian nuclear powered satellite launched in 1982, fell into the
1983 Mar 2, The USSR launched
spacecraft "TKS-M" to "Salyut-7" space station, which was named
1983 Mar 8, Pres Reagan called
the USSR an "Evil Empire."
1983 Apr 5, France threw out 47
Soviet diplomats accusing them of espionage..
1983 May 14, Fyodor Abramov
(b.1920), Russian playwright, died in Leningrad. His plays included
“Brothers and Sisters."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fyodor_Abramov)(Econ, 10/21/06, p.96)
1983 May 23, Radio Moscow
announcer Vladimir Danchev (35) praised Afghanistan Muslims standing
up to Russia. He was removed from the air. Soviet sources said that
Vladimir Danchev, the Radio Moscow news announcer who twice in six
days described Soviet troops in Afghanistan as an occupying force,
had been dismissed and was under investigation.
1983 Jun 16, Yuri Andropov
(1914-1984, USSR party leader, was elected president.
1983 Jun 27, The Russian Soyuz
T-9 spacecraft launched from Baikonur carrying 2 cosmonauts to the
Salyut 7 space station.
1983 Jul 7, Samantha Smith (11)
of Manchester, Maine, left for a visit to the Soviet Union at the
personal invitation of Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov.
1983 Jul 22, Samantha Smith
(11) and her parents returned home to Manchester, Maine, after
completing a whirlwind tour of the Soviet Union.
1983 Aug 25, The US and USSR
signed a $10 billion grain pact.
1983 Sep 1, The KAL flight 007
was downed by a Soviet jet fighter after the airliner entered Soviet
airspace. 269 people were killed aboard the Korean Air Lines Boeing
747 including sixty-one Americans, among them Georgia Representative
Larry McDonald. The order was given by Soviet Gen’l. Anatoly
Kornukov who held that the plane was part of a hostile US operation.
In 2005 the History Channel featured a TV documentary on the
(SFC, 5/29/96, A3)(AP, 9/1/97)(WSJ, 1/23/98,
1983 Sep 6, The USSR admitted
to shooting down KAL 007 on Sep 1.
1983 Sep 12, The USSR vetoed a
UN resolution deploring its shooting down of South Korea’s KAL
flight 007 plane.
1983 Sep 26, The Soviet Union's
early warning system wrongly signaled the launch of a US Minuteman
intercontinental ballistic missile. Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov (44),
in charge of the system, decided the alarm was false and did not
launch a retaliatory strike. Because of military secrecy and
international policy, Petrov's actions were kept secret until 1998.
In 2004 the San-Francisco-based Association of World Citizens
presented Petrov a World Citizen Award.
1983 Sep 26, Cosmonauts Titov
and Strekalov were saved by their escape system when the rocket that
was to carry their Soyuz T-10-1 mission into space caught fire on
1983 Colin Thubron authored
"Among the Russians."
(Econ, 9/30/06, p.93)
1983 The Soviet psychiatrists
were forced out of the World Psychiatric Association thanks to
papers smuggled out by dissidents who had been dragged off to mental
hospitals overseen by state psychiatrists and the KGB.
(Econ, 4/11/20, p.66)
1984 Jan 29, The Soviets issued
a formal complaint against alleged U.S. arms treaty violations.
1984 Jan, The Soviet KGB
reaffirmed a priority that was set by the Kremlin after the second
world war: “Our chief task is to help frustrate the aggressive
intentions of American imperialism… We must work unweariedly at
exposing the adversary’s weak and vulnerable points."
(Econ, 12/17/16, p.24)
1984 Feb 9, Soviet leader Yuri
V. Andropov (69) died, less than 15 months after succeeding Leonid
Brezhnev. He was succeeded by Konstantin U. Chernenko. US Pres.
Ronald Reagan said he wouldn’t go to any memorial for Andropov: “I
don’t want to honor that prick."
(AP, 2/9/99)(Econ, 2/4/06, p.75)
1984 Feb 13, Konstantin
Chernenko was chosen to be general secretary of the Soviet Communist
Party's Central Committee, succeeding the late Yuri Andropov.
(HN, 2/13/98)(AP, 2/13/98)
1984 Feb 19, The USSR
performed a nuclear test at Eastern Kazakhstan, Semipalitinsk.
1984 Mar 21, A Soviet submarine
crashed into the USS Kitty Hawk off the coast of Japan.
1984 Apr 11, Konstantin U.
Chernenko (1911-1985) was named Chairman of the Presidium of the
1984 May 8, USSR announced it
would not participate in Summer Olympics planned for Los Angeles.
1984 Jul 10, Andrei Tarkovsky
(1932-1986), Russian film maker, defected from the USSR.
(DVD, Criterion, 1998)
1984 Jul 25, Soviet cosmonaut
Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space. She
carried out more than 3 hours of experiments outside the orbiting
space station Salyut 7.
1984 Aug 11, President Reagan
sparked controversy when he joked during a voice test for a paid
political radio address: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to
tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia
forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."
1984 Aug 25, The USSR
performed an underground nuclear test.
1984 Nov 18, The Soviets helped
deliver U.S. wheat during the Ethiopian famine.
1984 In Russia Alexander
Pajitnov, a computer programmer at the Moscow Academy of Science,
invented the game "Tetris" on an old Electronica 60 computer. He
gave up the rights to the game to the State for ten years. In 1985
it was introduced on the IBM and Commodore 64 and ported to handheld
devices in 1989. In 1996 rights for the game reverted back to
Pajitnov. He and Henk Rogers soon founded Blue Planet Software to
manage the Tetris rights.
(SFC, 7/7/96, C5)(SFC, 6/3/09, p.C5)(SFC, 6/6/14,
1985 Feb 15, The World Chess
Championship match in Moscow between Anatoly Karpov and Garry
Kasparov was abandoned due to psychological strain. The match was
resumed in September.
1985 Mar 10, Konstantin U.
Chernenko (b.1911), Soviet leader for just 13 months (1984-1985),
1985 Mar 11, The Soviet Union
announced the death the day before of its leader, Konstantin U.
Chernenko. Politburo member Mikhail S. Gorbachev was chosen to
succeed him and became general-secretary of the Communist party and
the Premier of the Soviet Union. He liberated the Soviet Union from
old Communist structures and opened the door for Russian democracy.
(TMC, 1994, p.1985)(SFEC, 12/22/96, BR p.7)(AP,
3/11/98) (HN, 3/11/98)(WSJ, 9/3/98, p.A6)
1985 Mar 11, Soviet
leader Mikhail Gorbachev visited Lithuania.
1985 Mar 12, The US and the
USSR began arms control talks in Geneva.
1985 Mar 13, Konstantin
Chernenko was buried near the Kremlin Wall in Moscow. Mikhail
Gorbachev became the new leader of the Soviet Union. He oversaw the
dismantling of the Soviet nuclear arms stockpile and the end of the
Soviet Union itself.
1985 Apr 23, Russia’s Communist
Party Sec. Gen. Mikhail Gorbachev (b.1931) announced economic
reforms known as perestroika (reconstruction and opening). This
Gorbachev era in the Soviet Union (1985-1992) is covered in the 2007
book “Seven Years That Changed the World: Perestroika in
Perspective" by Archie Brown.
(Econ, 5/12/07, p.88)(WSJ, 12/1/07,
1985 May 20, FBI arrested John
A. Walker. US Navy Chief Petty Officer Walker began spying for the
Soviet Union in 1968 for $1,000 per week. Walker’s ex-wife turned
him into the FBI.
1985 Jun 15, In St. Petersburg,
Russia, a middle-aged Lithuanian man pulled out a knife and slashed
the stomach and thigh of the nude woman, Danaë, depicted in the
Rembrandt masterpiece. He then hurled a jar of acid at the picture
and splashed a militiaman in the face. He was overpowered by guards
who found explosives strapped to his legs and trousers. The painting
was restored and put back on exhibit in 1997.
(SFC, 10/14/97, p.B5)
1985 Jul 10, A Soviet Tu-154
crashed in Uzbekistan and all 200 people aboard were killed.
1985 Jul 19, British agents
helped Oleg Gordievsky (b.1938) escape from Moscow to Finland. He
was the highest ranking KGB defector in its history.
1985 Nov 19, President Reagan
and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev met for the first time as
they began their summit in Geneva.
1985 Nov 25, Ronald W. Pelton,
a former employee of the National Security Agency, was arrested on
espionage charges. Pelton was later convicted of selling secrets
about signals intelligence to Soviet agents between 1980-1985 for
$35,000 plus expenses. Pelton was released in 2015.
(AP, 11/25/05)(SFC, 11/25/15, p.A8)
1985 Russia’s Communist Party
Sec. Gen. Mikhail Gorbachev told Communist leaders in Eastern Europe
that Moscow would not interfere in their domestic affairs.
(Econ, 11/7/09, p.25)
1985 Vladimir Putin, Soviet KGB
officer, was assigned to recruit spies in Dresden, East Germany.
(WSJ, 2/23/05, p.A14)
1985 Hans-Joachim Tiedge
(d.2011), a top West German counterintelligence officer, defected to
East Germany. Tiedge left East Germany for the Soviet Union in 1990.
1985 In the military town of
Bolshoy Kamen near Vladivostok a nuclear explosion at the Zvesda
nuclear submarine factory occurred and was hushed up. Waste from the
area has tainted an old landfill and the Primorye state government
forced the military to close the area in 1988.
(SFC, 4/28/97, p.A12)
1985 The United States leased
buildings in Moscow for a US embassy under a twenty-year contract
valued at 72,500 rubles a year, about $60,000 at the time. In 1999
the United States proposed writing off the WW II “lend-lease debt"
in exchange for buildings used by the U.S. embassy, including an
elegant residence for the ambassador. An unnamed official said the
United States should pay $870,000 a year for the buildings.
1985-1986 In Afghanistan Soviet soldiers
failed to subdue the rebels. An alliance of 7 factions received US
arms. Moscow installed a new leader, Dr. Najibullah.
(SFC, 9/28/96, p.A8)
1985-1994 Aldrich H. Ames, a CIA
counterintelligence official, passed information over this time to
the Soviet Union that included the names of US agents. The deaths of
at least 9 agents were blamed on his disclosures. In 1994 Ames and
his wife, Rosario, pleaded guilty to spying for the Soviet Union.
(SFC, 11/19/96, p.A17)
1986 Feb 11, Activist Anatoly
Scharansky was released by USSR, and left the country after nine
years of captivity as part of an East-West prisoner exchange.
1986 Feb 19, The Soviet Union
launched the first component of its Mir space station. Mir meant
(WSJ, 6/27/97, p.A1)(WSJ, 11/5/98, p.W14)(SFC,
1986 Mar 6, USSR's Vega 1 flew
by Halley's Comet at 8,890 km.
1986 Apr 20, Following an
absence of six decades, Russian-born pianist Vladimir Horowitz
performed in the Soviet Union to a packed audience at the Grand Hall
of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.
1986 Apr 26, The world's worst
nuclear accident occurred in Pripyat, Ukraine, north of Kiev, at
1:23 a.m. as the Chernobyl atomic power plant exploded. A
300-hundred-square-mile area was evacuated. 41 men died from the
explosion as unknown thousands were exposed to radioactive material
that spread in the atmosphere throughout the world. The plant burned
for 10 days. About 70% of the fallout fell in Belarus. Damage was
estimated to be up to $130 billion. By 1998 10,000 Russian
"liquidators" involved in the clean-up had died and thousands more
became invalids. It was later estimated that the released
radioactivity was 200 times the combined bombs dropped on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki. It was later found that Soviet scientists were
authorized to carry out experiments that required the reactor to be
pushed to or beyond its limits, with safety features disabled.
(WSJ, 11/8/95, p.A-1)(SFC, 4/27/98, p.A14)(SFC,
12/18/99, p.C4)(AP, 4/26/05)(Econ, 10/6/07, p.18)(Econ, 4/30/15,
1986 Apr 28, The Soviet Union
informed the world of the Apr 26 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl,
saying the accident damaged a reactor and that aid was being
rendered to "those affected."
1986 May 1, Tass News Agency
reported the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.
1986 Jun 5, A federal jury in
Baltimore convicted Ronald W. Pelton of selling secrets to the
Soviet Union. Pelton was sentenced to three life prison terms plus
1986 Jun 15, Pravda announced
that the high-level Chernobyl staff in Ukraine was fired.
1986 Aug 23, Gennadiy Zakharov,
a Soviet physicist employed at the UN Secretariat, was arrested In
NYC as he handed classified documents to a US defense contractor.
1986 Aug 30, Soviet authorities
arrested Nicholas Daniloff, the Moscow correspondent for U.S. News
and World Report, after he was handed a package by a Russian
acquaintance. He was later released.
1986 Aug 31, The Soviet
passenger ship Admiral Nakhimov collided with a merchant vessel in
the Black Sea, causing both vessels to sink; up to 448 people
1986 Sep 12, The United States
released Soviet physicist Gennady Zakharov. On Sep 29 the Soviet
Union released journalist Nicholas Daniloff. Both had been accused
1986 Sep 29, The Soviet Union
released Nicholas Daniloff, an American journalist confined in
Moscow on spying charges.
1986 Sep 30, The US released
accused Soviet spy Gennady Zakharov, one day after the Soviets
released Nicholas Daniloff.
1986 Oct 3, The Soviet nuclear
submarine K-219 suffered an explosion and fire in a missile tube
northeast of Bermuda; the vessel sank three days later.
1986 Oct 4, The Soviet
submarine, K-219, began experiencing problems while on routine
patrol in the Atlantic. The submarine had collided with an American
submarine just days before a US-Soviet summit between Gorbachev and
Reagan in Reykjavik, Iceland.
(SFEC, 11/24/96, p.A14)(WSJ, 7/24/97, p.A16)
1986 Oct 6, The Soviet
submarine, K-219, with 16 ballistic missiles each carrying 2
warheads, sank about 600 miles east of Bermuda. One of its nuclear
reactors had overheated and seaman Sergey Preminin manually shut it
down, but sealed his death in the process. It was later revealed
that highly radioactive plutonium 239 was released in the mishap.
(SFEC, 11/24/96, p.A1,5)
1986 Oct 11, President Reagan
and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev opened two days of talks
concerning arms control and human rights in Reykjavik, Iceland.
1986 Oct 12, The superpower
meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, ended in stalemate, with President
Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev unable to agree on
arms control or a date for a full-fledged summit in the United
1986 Nov 8, Former Soviet
official Vyacheslav M. Molotov (96), whose name became attached to
the incendiary bottle bomb known as a "Molotov Cocktail," died.
1986 Dec 12, Russian
Tupolev-134 crashed in East Berlin and 70 of 82 people were killed.
1986 Dec 19, The Soviet Union
announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal
exile, and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner.
1986 Dec 29, Andrei Tarkovsky
(b.1932), Russian film maker, died and was buried in Paris.
(DVD, Criterion, 1998)
1986 David Joravsky authored
"The Lysenko Affair," an account of the 30-year reign of the
fanatical Soviet agronomist.
(WSJ, 4/5/02, p.A13)
1986 Vladimir Voynovich
(b.1932), Russian dissident writer, wrote his satirical dystopian
novel "Moscow 2042."
1986 The Soviets built a
half-mile concrete span, the Friendship Bridge, connecting
Afghanistan and Uzbekistan.
(SFC, 12/10/01, p.A12)
1986 Mustafa Dzhemilev, a
leader of the Tatar community in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, was
released from a Soviet prison. He was jailed in 1983 for trying to
execute the will of his father to be buried in Crimea.
(Econ, 6/20/15, p.59)
1986 Lazar Khidekel (b.1904),
Russian artist and architect, died. He sustained a radical utopian
vision and avant-garde aesthetic during decades of Soviet control of
(SFC, 2/22/05, p.E1)
1987 Feb 12, Friends of the
poet Boris Pasternak and of Russian culture agreed that the 1958
resolution expelling Pasternak from the Writers' Union had to be
rescinded. People met and voted in the same ornate conference room
where, thirty years earlier, the great poet had been cast out of the
1987 Feb 26, USSR resumed
nuclear testing at Semipalitinsk in Eastern Kazakhstan.
1987 Apr 14, Secretary of State
George P. Shultz met at the Kremlin with Soviet leader Mikhail S.
Gorbachev, who proposed the elimination of short-range nuclear
missiles in East Germany and Czechoslovakia as part of an arms
control agreement with the United States.
1987 Apr 20, The United States
deported Karl Linnas to the Soviet Union, where he had been
convicted in absentia of Nazi war crimes and faced a death sentence.
Linnas, who maintained his innocence, died of heart disease in
Leningrad the following July.
1987 May 15, The Soviet space
booster Energia took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan
carrying a black container labeled Polyus with the Skif-DM inside.
The Skif-DM was a model a future weapon. Energia performed
flawlessly, but the Polyus, which was supposed to fire engines to
reach a higher orbit, shot back down to Earth and into the Pacific
Ocean. The Skif project came to a halt and Pres. Gorbachev did not
(SSFC, 9/27/09, p.A24)
1987 May 28, Mathias Rust, a
19-year-old West German pilot, stunned the world as he landed a
private plane in Moscow's Red Square after evading Soviet air
1987 May 30, Soviet Defense
Minister Sergei L. Sokolov and the chief of Soviet air defenses were
fired, two days after West German pilot Mathias Rust entered Soviet
airspace in a small plane and flew all the way to Moscow's Red
1987 Jun 12, President Reagan,
during a visit to the divided German city of Berlin, publicly
challenged Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev at the Brandenburg
Gate: "Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this
(AP, 6/12/97)(WSJ, 10/18/02, p.AW17)
1987 Jul 4, Bill Graham took
Santana, the Doobie Brothers and Bonny Rait to Moscow for an
American-Soviet peace concert.
1987 Jul 12, For the first time
in 20 years, a delegation of Soviet diplomats arrived in Israel for
what was described as a "technical mission" to document Soviet
citizens and make an inventory of Soviet property.
1987 Aug 7, Lynne Cox became
the 1st to swim from US to Russia across the Bering Strait.
1987 Aug, Magomedali Magomedov
(b.1930) became chairman of Dagestan’s State Council. Under his rule
(1987-2006) the government was run as a family business and police
served clan interests.
1987 Sep 2, West German pilot
Mathias Rust, who flew a private plane from Helsinki, Finland, to
Moscow's Red Square, went on trial in the Soviet capital. Rust, who
was convicted and given a four-year sentence, was released Aug. 3,
1987 Sep 3, A Soviet prosecutor
accused West German pilot Mathias Rust of seeking "cheap popularity"
by landing a private plane in Moscow's Red Square, and demanded that
Rust be sentenced to eight years at hard labor. Rust was convicted,
but freed the following August.
1987 Sep 13, Soviet Foreign
Minister Eduard Shevardnadze arrived in Washington for talks aimed
at a possible superpower summit; Shevardnadze carried with him a
letter from Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to President Reagan.
1987 Sep 18, US President
Reagan announced that he and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev
would meet later in the year to sign a treaty banning medium and
shorter-range nuclear missiles.
1987 Oct 22, Nobel prize for
literature was awarded to Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996). At an
interview in the Stockholm airport, to a question: "You are an
American citizen who is receiving the Prize for Russian-language
poetry. Who are you, an American or a Russian?" He responded: "I am
1987 Nov 11, Boris Yeltsin
(1931-2007), who had criticized the slow pace of Soviet leader
Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms, was dismissed as Moscow Communist Party
chief for criticizing the slow pace of reform.
1987 Nov 24, The United States
and the Soviet Union agreed to scrap shorter- and medium-range
missiles in the first superpower treaty to eliminate an entire class
of nuclear weapons.
1987 Nov 30, In an interview
broadcast by NBC, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged that
his country was engaged in "Star Wars"-related research, but said
there were no plans to build a space-based system against nuclear
1987 Dec 6, In Moscow security
agents roughed up Jewish activists and journalists during
demonstrations over Kremlin policy one day before the arrival of
Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to the US where hundreds of
thousands of demonstrators pressing for free emigration of Soviet
Jews marched in Washington.
1987 Dec 7, Soviet leader
Mikhail S. Gorbachev set foot on American soil for the first time,
arriving for a Washington summit with President Reagan.
1987 Dec 8, President Reagan
and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty under which
the superpowers agreed to destroy their arsenals of
intermediate-range nuclear missiles.
1987 Dec 9, On the second day
of their White House summit, President Reagan and Soviet leader
Mikhail S. Gorbachev grappled with differences over Afghanistan and
cutbacks in long-range nuclear arms.
1987 Dec 10, President Reagan
and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev concluded three days of
summit talks in Washington.
1987 An English edition of “The
Mind of a Mnemonist" by Russian psychologist Alexander Luria
(1902-1977) was published.
1987 Shabattai Kalmanovitch was
arrested in Tel Aviv and charged with being a KGB spy and sentenced
to nine years in prison for spying for the Soviet Union. He was
released from prison after five years and returned to Russia.
1987 The Soviet Oka car was
(Econ, 7/12/08, p.94)
1987 Russia recorded its first
case of AIDS. By 1997 the number rose to 7,000. By 2008 the number
(Econ, 11/29/08, p.14)