Author: Andy Young

Russian Revolution facts

While we are all aware that the Russian Revolution of 1917 changed the face of the country’s history, how much do we really know about these dramatic events? If you’ve ever wanted to know more about this pivotal part of Russia’s past, here are some interesting facts. Was the Russian Revolution in 1905 or 1917? Whenever anyone thinks of the Russian Revolution, they immediately bring to mind the events of 1917 which led to the removal of the Tsar and the start of the Soviet Union. In fact, the term Russian Revolution could relate to two uprisings and while 1917 is far more common, it could refer to the events of the failed Russian Revolution of 1905. What happened in 1905? Very briefly, in 1905 Russia lost a war with Japan and initially there were some peaceful protests by workers in the streets. However, when one group were mercilessly gunned down on the orders of the Tsar (an incident that later become known as Bloody Sunday), a full scale rebellion began. Ultimately, very little changed in Russia but the Tsar reacted by bringing in the Duma – an elected parliament. Bloody Sunday While the events of 1905 had little effect at the time, the victims of the massacre were remembered in the years that followed. On January 9th 1917, the Bolsheviks organised a mass strike to remember Bloody Sunday...

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How did Joseph Stalin die

When you consider the controversial life of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, it’s perhaps no surprise that his death itself is shrouded in myth and mystery. Was Stalin murdered, or did he die of natural causes? There is evidence to suggest both and while historians lean towards the explanation that foul play was involved and that Stalin was killed, we may never really know for sure. What do we know about Stalin’s death? While cold hard facts may be a little scarce, we do know that Stalin died on the 5th of March 1953 after a few agonising days spent on his deathbed. He was believed to have suffered a stroke on the 1st of March before finally succumbing to a brain haemorrhage five days later. In the United Kingdom, the BBC reported on the 5th of March that Stalin was close to death and then the news of his demise was confirmed the very next day. As the dictator had suffered from ill health for several years, the whole scenario seemed completely plausible but the alternative theories were quick to materialise and slow to go away. Was Stalin Poisoned? Back in 1953, it would have been much easier to carry out a poisoning and get away with it. Forensic methods were much less advanced and in the case of Stalin, there was no shortage of willing accomplices to...

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How many people died at Chernobyl?

The Chernobyl disaster is known all across the world and the events of 26th April 1986 have made a permanent mark on history. The events surrounding the explosion and fire at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine are well known, but the official death toll is open to some conjecture and a great deal of controversy. The Background On the day in question, a routine systems test was carried out on nuclear reactor number 4. After an unexpected power surge, an emergency shutdown was attempted but this only led to an extreme power spike that in turn resulted in a series of explosions. Crucially, this led to the reactor’s graphite moderator being exposed to the air and it ignited, sending clouds of radioactive smoke into the atmosphere. The initial impact in Chernobyl and the nearby city of Pripyat was devastating and it sent shock waves all around the world. Initial Casualties There were many instant deaths in the wake of the explosion both at the plant itself and in the immediate vicinity. Several employees of the plant died as a result of their injuries or of radiation sickness and there were several deaths amongst the emergency services who were called to the scene. Firemen and helicopter pilots died either while on duty or as a result of the injuries and sickness they sustained. Overall, the initial death...

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Alexandra Romanov

The events of 1917 marked the end of a Royal Family in Russia and the fate of the last Tsar has been well documented ever since. But what do we know about the last Tsarina, Alexandra Romanov? It is often said that she played a major part in the downfall of the Royal Family because of her relationship with the mystic Grigory Rasputin but how much of this is true? Early Life Alexandra was born on the 6th of June 1872 in Darmstadt, as Princess Alix Viktoria Helena Luise Beatrice of Hesse and by Rhine. She was born into a grand duchy which was at that point part of the German Empire. Throughout her early life she mixed in Royal Circles across Europe and as she reached adulthood, it is said that she turned down a proposal from Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence. At this point it is quite possible that she had already fallen in love with her future husband, Grand Duke Nicholas, heir to the Russian throne. Marriage As a German national, there was much resistance to any prospect of marriage between Alix and Nicholas but when Tsar Alexander III died on the 1st of November 1894, Nicholas took the throne. With the main object of opposition now deceased, there was no reason to delay the union any further and Alix and Nicholas were married just...

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What year did the Cold War start?

Anybody who lived through the Cold War years will remember a continuing state of tension between the Soviet Union and the West but how and when did it all start? Historians may differ on this point to some extent and when you ask them what year did the cold war start, some will say 1945 and others 1946. The 1940’s After fighting as Allies in World War II, relations soured very quickly after the conflict had ended. The alliance between the USA and the Soviet Union during the war was generally seen as a temporary one, united only by their opposition to Nazi Germany and essentially, both nations had very different political views that were never going to coincide. Many observers have suggested that the start of the cold war occurred with the death of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945. His successor, Harry S. Truman immediately rounded on the Soviets and informed Josef Stalin that he would take a much harder line with them. The Marshall Plan Relationships continued to deteriorate with the inception by the US of the Marshall Plan which was intended to rebuild parts of Europe that were damaged during the war. The USSR refused to allow any Eastern Bloc countries to take part and for many this was a clear indication that the alliance forged in the war was only ever going...

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