‘We were children thrown into war’: WW2 eyewitnesses recall bravery & horror

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  • Ninety-one-year-old Konstantin Fedotov was a 15-year-old schoolboy when Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941, but he still vividly remembers the “pervasive unease” he and his classmates felt at the time, anxiously listening for snippets of news on the radio, while realizing that their lives had been irrevocably changed.

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    In This Story: Soviet Union

    The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, it was a one-party state (until 1990) governed by the Communist Party, with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian SFSR.

    The Soviet Union had its roots in the October Revolution of 1917 when the Bolsheviks, headed by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew the Provisional Government that had earlier replaced the monarchy of the Russian Empire.

    On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev resigned and the remaining twelve constituent republics emerged from the dissolution of the Soviet Union as independent post-Soviet states. The Russian Federation (formerly the Russian SFSR) assumed the Soviet Union’s rights and obligations and is recognized as its continued legal personality.

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