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.
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.
Soviet ballerina Maya Plisetskaya, one of only a handful of dancers in history to hold the title of Prima Ballerina Assoluta, died on the 2nd of May, 2015.
Born into a prominent family of Lithuanian Jews, Plisetskaya completed her ballet training in Moscow, first performing at the Bolshoi Theatre at the age of eleven.
Despite being one of the most respected dancers in history, she was treated badly by the anti-Semitic Russian authorities. For the first sixteen years of her career she was banned from leaving the country.
Plisetskaya followed in the footsteps of another great Soviet ballerina: Galina Ulanova, and took over her position as the Bolshoi’s star dancer upon Ulanova’s retirement. Plisetskaya was a member of the Theatre until 1990.
Succumbing to a heart attack, she was eighty-nine at the time of her death.
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.
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.
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 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.