Physical Science - Other

Science and Technology in Soviet Russia

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While the country of Russia was burdened with the all powerful sickle and hammer, there were many advances made in the areas of Science and technology. If anyone doubts this, ask yourself who put the first satellite into orbit?

As time marches on we find more and more out about that period of Russian history. As Americans, we were subject to propaganda that was completely geared toward the fact that the USSR was bad. During the Cold War, they were our enemies and we butted heads (many times indirectly) over the years. Time has told us, with the major exception of the Cuban missile crisis, most of the time they came out ahead. They kept Eastern Europe as well as the southern republics of Asia. We could not stop the spread of communism in Viet Nam or Korea.

There were many instances that the USSR was actually ahead of us in technology. Luckily for us, they didn't treat their scientists very well and many of them defected to the U.S.

Instead of listing the various things that the Soviets may have had technological advantages over us on, like chemical warfare, let's look at why they had the advantage.

When you have a government that is ran on the whim of a single person, things work a little bit differently. Stalin and his successor's simply took what they wanted. If a country happened to be rich in Uranium, they didn't bother with trying to buy it. They would send in massive amounts of troops and set up a puppet regime. They knew that they had the military might to take on the U.S. if need be, so who was going to stop them.

Another important point is the fact that the American government has to answer (more or less) to the people. This wasn't the case with the Soviets. If you disagreed with the government, you got a long vacation to the work camps in Siberia. Environmental concerns didn't even exist. There is still proof of this 50 years later. As with anything they just came in and took what they wanted with no regards to consequences.

An example of this is the fact that there were entire towns that were used to mine particular minerals. Even with populations that exceeded 100,000 people, the towns had no name. The only had a number. The western world didn't even know that they existed untill recently.

The moral to the story is, with out a doubt you can make great leaps and bounds with all types of technology if you have no consequences to consider.

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