History Main / SovietSuperScience

26th Apr '17 9:08:59 PM JulianLapostat
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All in all, the Soviets had a mixed record as far as science goes - they [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin put the first man in space]] and contributed immensely to theoretical physics (there were several Soviet Nobel laureates in physics, including Andrei Sakharov and Lev Landau), but also brought the world [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism Lysenkoism]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punitive_psychiatry_in_the_Soviet_Union the abuse of psychiatry for "rehabilitation" purposes]]. The USSR pioneered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radial_Keratotomy modern corrective eye surgery]], yet fell behind in steel manufacturing, despite experimenting with it the longest. The Soviets, however, [[ILoveNuclearPower loved Nuclear Power]], the world's first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid went online in USSR. Too bad [[{{UsefulNotes/Chernobyl}} a certain accident]] [[NeverLiveItDown ruined that reputation]]. So, there are some roots for the trope to grow from. Of course, the inconsistencies can be [[HandWave handwaved]] by the means of an AlternateUniverse, as ''Videogame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'' testifies.

Historically, this trope owes itself to the Soviet Union's relative international isolation, both self-imposed and [[DirtyCommies external]], secrecy (especially about any thing military, and a lot of Soviet research was fully or partly military-related) and tendency of its enemies to assume the worse with the absence of information. In the broadest sense, historians of science [[note]]distinct from the history of arts and humanities, termed the ''history of scholarship''[[/note]] have concluded that even considering the destructive consequences of Lysenkoism and obstacles to publishing research, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_materialism dialectical materialism]]--the philosophy that predates contemporary Marxism and serves as its scientific "foundation"--had an overall positive influence on scientific community of the USSR and the world as a whole. ''Science'' is certainly a thing with acknowledge-able accomplishments attributed to the state, but it's a far cry from the entertaining medium of Soviet ''super''science.

The common idea nowadays is that TheNewRussia won't be able to have anything vastly superior for awhile either due to economic problems and lack of funding, or the resulting lack of personnel. While there is some truth in this, Russia is still a huge industrially developed nation more-or-less tied with Germany as the largest economy in Europe, so it might be able to keep up though, which is largely what the Soviet Union did.

The fall of the Soviet Union is often used as a reason why long-abandoned SovietSuperscience is once again rearing its ugly head, it having been forgotten about, lost in the confusion or sold off by corrupt handlers in the post-Soviet restructuring of Russian society. Admittedly, the same story was used by many a charlatan in Russia as well.

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All in all, the Soviets had a mixed The Soviet record as far as on science goes - includes astounding triumphs -- they [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin put the first man in space]] and contributed immensely to theoretical physics (there were several Soviet Nobel laureates in physics, including Andrei Sakharov and Lev Landau), but Landau) -- and also brought the world laughable failures, such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lysenkoism Lysenkoism]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punitive_psychiatry_in_the_Soviet_Union the abuse of psychiatry for "rehabilitation" purposes]]. The USSR pioneered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radial_Keratotomy modern corrective eye surgery]], yet fell behind in steel manufacturing, despite experimenting with it the longest. The Soviets, however, [[ILoveNuclearPower loved Nuclear Power]], the world's first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid went online in USSR. Too bad [[{{UsefulNotes/Chernobyl}} a certain accident]] [[NeverLiveItDown ruined that reputation]]. So, there are this certainly has some roots for the trope to grow from.basis in fact. Of course, the inconsistencies can be [[HandWave handwaved]] by the means of an AlternateUniverse, as ''Videogame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'' testifies.

Historically, this trope owes itself to the Soviet Union's relative international isolation, both self-imposed and [[DirtyCommies external]], secrecy (especially about any thing military, and a lot of Soviet research was fully or partly military-related) and tendency of its enemies to assume the worse with the absence of information. In the broadest sense, historians of science [[note]]distinct from the history of arts and humanities, termed the ''history of scholarship''[[/note]] have concluded that even considering the destructive consequences of Lysenkoism and obstacles to publishing research, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_materialism dialectical materialism]]--the philosophy that predates contemporary Marxism and serves as its scientific "foundation"--had "foundation" -- had an overall positive influence on scientific community of the USSR and the world as a whole. ''Science'' is certainly a thing with acknowledge-able accomplishments attributed to the state, but it's a far cry from the entertaining medium of Soviet ''super''science.

The common idea nowadays is that TheNewRussia won't be able to have anything vastly superior for awhile either due to economic problems and lack of funding, or the resulting lack of personnel. While there is some truth in this, Russia is still a huge industrially developed nation more-or-less tied with Germany as the largest economy in Europe, so it might be able to keep up though, which is largely what the Soviet Union did.

did. The fall of the Soviet Union is often used as a reason why long-abandoned SovietSuperscience is once again rearing its ugly head, it having been forgotten about, lost in the confusion or sold off by corrupt handlers in the post-Soviet restructuring of Russian society. Admittedly, the same story was used by many a charlatan in Russia as well.
26th Apr '17 7:40:45 PM Gregzilla
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** Within the game, there's the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Gauss Rifle]][[SchizoTech (albeit with Western-style furniture)]], the game's InfinityPlusOneSword. Made by Soviet/Russian/Ukrainian scientists, it'll kill just about anything with one or two shots, but it's hellishly heavy, only available very late in the game, and getting ammo for it is difficult (in Shadow of Chernobyl, finding ammo means looting it off dead bodies, in Clear Sky it doesn't appear, and in Call of Pripyat you can buy substandard ammunition from one of the technicians).

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** Within the game, there's the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin [[MagneticWeapons Gauss Rifle]][[SchizoTech Rifle]] [[SchizoTech (albeit with Western-style furniture)]], the game's InfinityPlusOneSword. Made by Soviet/Russian/Ukrainian scientists, it'll kill just about anything with one or two shots, but it's hellishly heavy, only available very late in the game, and getting ammo for it is difficult (in Shadow of Chernobyl, finding ammo means looting it off dead bodies, in Clear Sky it doesn't appear, and in Call of Pripyat you can buy substandard ammunition from one of the technicians).



* The ''[[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlertSeries Command & Conquer: Red Alert]]'' series gives those DirtyCommunists mind-controlled squids, cloning vats, Weaponized Tesla Coils, six-legged amphibious boats with double Tesla coils, armored [[BearsAreBadNews war bears]], huge zeppelins with megaton bombs, nuclear [[NegativeSpaceWedgie vacuum]] [=ICBMs=], weapon-stealing tanks, magnetic satellites [[SerialEscalation AND MORE]].

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* The ''[[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlertSeries Command & Conquer: Red Alert]]'' series ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlertSeries'' gives those DirtyCommunists mind-controlled squids, cloning vats, Weaponized Tesla Coils, six-legged amphibious boats with double Tesla coils, armored [[BearsAreBadNews war bears]], huge zeppelins with megaton bombs, nuclear [[NegativeSpaceWedgie vacuum]] [=ICBMs=], weapon-stealing tanks, magnetic satellites [[SerialEscalation AND MORE]].
6th Apr '17 7:32:13 AM Theharbo
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StupidJetpackHitler is a SisterTrope, giving ThoseWackyNazis things like PoweredArmor and {{Cool Airship}}s, while {{Ghostapo}} could be a "cousin trope", in that it's a more mystical version of StupidJetpackHitler. All of these are culture-specific [[{{subtrope}} sub-disciplines]] of MadScience. See also UsefulNotes/ClosedCities, which is where Soviet Superscience is created; they range from ordinary cities declared off-limits to foreigners to full-fledged [[VideoGame/HalfLife Black Mesa]] style complexes hidden in the lost mountains of Siberia.

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StupidJetpackHitler is a SisterTrope, giving ThoseWackyNazis things like PoweredArmor and {{Cool Airship}}s, while {{Ghostapo}} could be a "cousin trope", in that it's a more mystical version of StupidJetpackHitler. May be part of a TeslaTechTimeline as Tesla tech has a sufficiently different aesthetic to the capitalist pigdogs' technology. All of these are culture-specific [[{{subtrope}} sub-disciplines]] of MadScience. See also UsefulNotes/ClosedCities, which is where Soviet Superscience is created; they range from ordinary cities declared off-limits to foreigners to full-fledged [[VideoGame/HalfLife Black Mesa]] style complexes hidden in the lost mountains of Siberia.
31st Mar '17 5:17:51 AM ChronoLegion
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* Partly justified in ''Literature/AxisOfTime'', as, just like the Allies, Imperial Japan, and Nazi Germany, the Soviets get their hands on some 21st century tech. While they're still far behind the Allies due to the fact that the Allies have "uptimers" helping them and freely sharing tech, and the Soviets tortured their "uptimer" captives to death, by the third book (taking place ten years after the end of this version of UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo), the Soviets are in the lead in the field of consumer appliances (e.g. toasters, microwaves), having obtained a treasure trove of designs for them, exporting them all over the world. In addition, the title of the book (''Stalin's Hammer'') refers to a KillSat developed by Soviet scientists in the early 50s that drops tungsten rods from space. The Allies have nothing of the sort.
30th Mar '17 8:19:01 PM igordebraga
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[[caption-width-right:300:[[ResistanceIsFutile Resistance is futile]], Capitalist Pig-Dog!]]

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[[caption-width-right:300:[[ResistanceIsFutile Resistance is futile]], [[caption-width-right:300:ResistanceIsFutile, Capitalist Pig-Dog!]]



* One of the levels in ''VideoGame/TombRaiderLegend'' was Telsa's secret laboratory in Kazakhstan.

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* One of the levels in ''VideoGame/TombRaiderLegend'' was Telsa's Tesla's secret laboratory in Kazakhstan.
12th Mar '17 4:38:06 PM mindbound
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* In the end, we cannot forget the example of Soviet Superscience that quite possibly defined the latter half of the 20th century: The plutonium-implosion bomb that detonated at 7:00 am on the 29th of August, 1949, at Semipalatinsk in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. The bomb, developed five years quicker than the Anglo-US intelligence services believed possible, turned out to be 50% more destructive than the Soviet scientists had believed possible, as it destroyed one of the most elaborate nuclear test sites (a small mockup city, complete with metro system and a "garrison" of heavy military equipment and animals, was annihilated). Notably, the Soviet science teams made little use of the data they received from the Manhattan Project; their "Prince of Science", Igor Kurchatov, restricted the team to using the US designs only to check their work. The Soviet detonation had many names: RDS-1. Article 501. Joe-1. But it was the name the science teams gave to the test that will live in history: ''Pervaya molniya - "First Lighting" ''.

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* In the end, we cannot forget the example of Soviet Superscience that quite possibly defined the latter half of the 20th century: The plutonium-implosion bomb that detonated at 7:00 am on the 29th of August, 1949, at Semipalatinsk in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. The bomb, developed five years quicker than the Anglo-US intelligence services believed possible, turned out to be 50% more destructive than the Soviet scientists had believed possible, as it destroyed one of the most elaborate nuclear test sites (a small mockup city, complete with metro system and a "garrison" of heavy military equipment and animals, was annihilated). Notably, the Soviet science teams made little use of the data they received from the Manhattan Project; their "Prince of Science", Igor Kurchatov, restricted the team to using the US designs only to check their work. The Soviet detonation had many names: RDS-1. Article 501. Joe-1. But it was the name the science teams gave to the test that will live in history: ''Pervaya molniya ''Первая молния, Pervaya molniya'' - "First Lighting" ''.Lightning".
27th Feb '17 7:58:53 AM ChronoLegion
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* The upcoming Russian superhero film ''Film/{{Guardians}}'' has the titular four-person team be composed of representatives of four of the former Soviet republics, all of which were subjects to experimentation by Soviet scientists not long before the collapse of the USSR (a newspaper is shown with the headline "Genetics in service of the people"). The team includes a [[EverythingIsWorseWithBears werebear]], a KnifeNut [[SuperSpeed speedster]], an [[DishingOutDirt earth elemental]], and a woman, who has {{Invisibility}}, flexibility, temperature resistance, and doesn't need air.

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* The upcoming Russian superhero film ''Film/{{Guardians}}'' has the titular four-person team be composed of representatives of four of the former Soviet republics, all of which were subjects to experimentation by Soviet scientists not long before the collapse of the USSR (a newspaper is shown with the headline "Genetics in service of the people"). The team includes a [[EverythingIsWorseWithBears werebear]], a KnifeNut [[SuperSpeed speedster]], an [[DishingOutDirt earth elemental]], and a woman, who has {{Invisibility}}, flexibility, temperature resistance, and doesn't need air. And the BigBad is their creator, who has turned himself into a cyborg and can manipulate any technology he sees and has a clone army.
27th Feb '17 7:26:37 AM Malchus
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Added DiffLines:

** Speaking of space stations, one can't forget ''Mir''. Despite the reputation for being an unsafe rust bucket, that was only because it was forced to operate far longer that its original planned operation life due to the fall of the USSR and subsequent space funding limits. Within its original planned lifespan, it was the most sophisticated space station in orbit. In fact, the Russian Orbital Segment, the first Russian-made modules around which the International Space Station was built, was the base configuration of the cancelled ''Mir-2'' program.
19th Feb '17 3:48:07 PM rainbowdash59
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** Except for the one chap called Sergei Korolev... and hence we get Tsiolkovsky [http://www.orbit.zkm.de/files/orbit/iss008e21921.jpg sharing the prime spot on the ISS Zvezda bulkhead with none less than Gagarin].

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** Except for the one chap called Sergei Korolev... and hence we get Tsiolkovsky [http://www.orbit.zkm.de/files/orbit/iss008e21921.jpg sharing the prime spot on the ISS Zvezda bulkhead with none less than Gagarin].
19th Jan '17 5:07:23 AM Morgenthaler
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* Pops up in some of Charles Stross' stories. In the novelette ''A Colder War'', set in an AlternateHistory where the Cold War was fought with the powers of the [[{{CthulhuMythos}} Great Old Ones]], the Soviets not only weaponize shoggoths and deployed them in Afghanistan, but they have an ultimate doomsday weapon called 'K-Thulu' in a giant concrete bunker in the Ukraine. ''Missile Gap,'' set in a world where Earth of 1962 was duplicated and laid on a gigantic disc, has the Soviet Union exploring the new world in a giant nuclear-powered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_effect_vehicle ekranoplan]].

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* Pops up in some of Charles Stross' stories. In the novelette ''A Colder War'', set in an AlternateHistory where the Cold War was fought with the powers of the [[{{CthulhuMythos}} [[Franchise/CthulhuMythos Great Old Ones]], the Soviets not only weaponize shoggoths and deployed them in Afghanistan, but they have an ultimate doomsday weapon called 'K-Thulu' in a giant concrete bunker in the Ukraine. ''Missile Gap,'' set in a world where Earth of 1962 was duplicated and laid on a gigantic disc, has the Soviet Union exploring the new world in a giant nuclear-powered [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ground_effect_vehicle ekranoplan]].
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