On this day: the Khodynka Tragedy

Chodynka The Khodynka Tragedy (Russian Ходынская трагедия) was a human stampede that occurred on 30 May [O.S. 18 May] 1896, in Moscow Russia during festivities after the

The Khodynka Tragedy was a deadly stampede that happened during coronation celebrations for Russia’s last emperor, Nicholas II, in 1896.

Falling on the 18th of May on the old calendar (which equates to the 30th of May on the new calendar), 1389 people were trampled or suffocated to death when panic broke out in a crowd of many thousands.

Kratky,_Frantisek_-_Tragedie_na_Chodynskem_poli_(1896) Victim of the Khodynka Tragedy in Moscow Russia 1896

People crowd around one of the victims.

Evidence of the tragedy was cleared away before many at the event in Moscow became aware of it, and Nicholas and his wife Alexandra continued with their schedule, including attending a ball with French diplomats that evening. It was decided it was more important to have good relations with the French than to appease the people of the Russian Empire.

The minor imperial response to the disaster did no favours for the family’s public image.

On this day: Persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses

The 24th of April, 1933 is considered to be the day Nazi Germany began their persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses, as it is the date the Bible Student headquarters in Magdeburg were seized by police. This came only a few months after Adolf Hitler came to power.

If Jehovah’s Witnesses were willing to renounce their religion they were promised freedom from persecution. Below is a Nazi renouncement document.

If Jehovah's Witnesses were willing to renounce their religion they were promised freedom from persecution. Nazi renouncement document.

From 1935 onwards, many people who kept their religion were sent to concentration camps.

The persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses continues today, with Russia outlawing the religion only days ago.

On this day…

People magazine cover from the 1st of April, 1985. Featured are English actress Jacqueline Bisset and her then partner Alexander Godunov. Godunov was a Soviet ballet star who defected in the late 1970s, becoming a featured actor in Hollywood until his shock death a decade after this picture was taken.

Alexander Godunov People 21st April 1985 Cover

On this day: Russia’s mass deportations of the Baltic peoples began.

Estonian children who had been forcibly deported to Siberia by Russian authorities. 1952.

Estonian children in Siberia in 1952

Operation Priboi (“Coastal Surf”) was the code name for the Soviet mass deportation from the Baltic states on 25–28 March 1949. The action is also known as the March deportation by Baltic historians. More than 90,000 Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, labeled as enemies of the people, were deported to forced settlements in inhospitable areas of the Soviet Union.

Over 70% of the deportees were women and children under the age of 16.

On this day: the end of the Winter War

Finnish_ski_troops The Winter War, which began in November 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded Finland, ended on the 13th of March, 1940.

Finnish ski troops in 1940.

The Winter War, which began in November 1939 when the Soviet Union invaded Finland, ended on the 13th of March, 1940.

Despite being victorious, Finland was still required to hand over some of their land to Russia at the end of the war.

The invasion of Finland was deemed illegal by the League of Nations, and was the cause of Moscow’s expulsion from the League in December of 1939.

The style of hybrid warfare used by the Kremlin in Finland has been replicated a number of times since, most recently in Ukraine.

On this day: Svetlana Alliluyeva defects

On the 6th of March, 1967, Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, approached the US embassy in New Delhi and asked for political asylum.

She is seen below arriving in the United States the following month.

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