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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Bitter Harvest

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While everybody knows about the Holocaust, there was another major genocide in Europe in the 20th century that is almost unknown.

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The Holodomor, Stalin’s manufactured famine/genocide, is believed to have killed up to ten million people in Ukraine in the 1930s. Still denied by Moscow, this genocide has received little to no attention from the West, and none whatsoever from Hollywood.

A new film is due out now which tackles this topic, focusing on a Ukrainian Cossack couple. Keep an eye out for Bitter Harvest this month.

On this day: the birth of Aleksandr Shaparenko

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Ukrainian sprint canoeist Aleksandr Shaparenko was born in Stepanivka on the 16th of February, 1946.

Competing for the Soviet Union, he won Olympic gold in 1968 and 1972, as well as a silver in the 1968 Games.

Shaparenko also won thirteen World Championship medals, including the gold seven times.

Soviet stamp of Ukraine

This Soviet stamp featuring Ukraine was issued in 1991, the year the USSR collapsed and Ukraine declared its independence.

Despite heavy restrictions on religion, Christmas was celebrated in various capacities during Soviet years, as this depiction of a wintry Christmas scene in a Ukrainian village shows.

Vintage Christmas decorations from Soviet Ukraine can be found for sale now.

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