Soviet Union | Wilson Center

Soviet Union

Commemorating the Revolution: October 1917

The Kennan Institute hosted its final event marking the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution. Speakers focused on the policies of the Provisional Government, the Bolshevik victory, and the political and military consequences that followed in its immediate aftermath. The seminar was followed by a book talk from 4:00 – 5:30 by William Taubman, who discussed his new biography on Mikhail Gorbachev.

Documenting the Soviet ICBM Program

Seven documents from Russian archives provide a brief and skeletal look into the development of the Soviet post-World War II ballistic missile program that culminated in the creation of the R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile in 1957.

New Sources on Sputnik

Nine documents, all declassified from Russian archives and recently translated into English for publication on, provide a brief and skeletal look at the origins of Sputnik, the first Soviet satellite.[1]

Gorbachev: His Life and Times

In his Gorbachev biography, William Taubman shows how a peasant boy turned into the Soviet system’s gravedigger, why the Communist regime allowed him to destroy it, why Gorbachev’s dream of democratizing the USSR foundered, how he and President Ronald Reagan turned out to be almost perfect partners, and why Gorbachev permitted Eastern Europe to abandon C

Mobilizing the Russian Nation: Patriotism and Citizenship in the First World War

 Why was Russia defeated in the First World War? Melissa K. Stockdale challenges the widespread belief that lack of popular patriotism was a major cause of Russia’s military implosion in 1917.  Exploring massive efforts by state, religious, and civic entities to craft inspiring patriotic narratives, and popular responses to them, she demonstrate the powerful crystallization of patriotism, nationalism, and citizenship in Russia over the course of a devastating total war.   

The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, 1966-1968

The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was, to quote President Johnson’s national security adviser, Walt Rostow, “a constitutional arrangement for the organization of the noncommunist world.” While its negotiations reopened lines of communication between the superpowers that had been closed since Nuremberg, Moscow mostly played a supporting role. Its cooperation, though necessary, was insufficient for the treaty’s success.

Mobilizing the Russian Nation: Patriotism and Citizenship in the First World War

The First World War had a devastating impact on the Russian state, yet relatively little is known about the ways in which ordinary Russians experienced and viewed this conflict. Melissa Kirschke Stockdale presents the first comprehensive study of the Great War's influence on Russian notions of national identity and citizenship.

Four Visits and a Funeral

When Nehru visited the USSR in 1955, he was feted with roses. Personal visits like this cemented India’s relations with the Soviet Union

“Now we say loudly: Indo-Soviet friendship zindabad; world peace zindabad.”

The history of India’s relations with the Soviet Union is often written as a history of crises.