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Russia Takes Over the World

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"The Soviet Union will overtake America, and then wave 'bye-bye'."
Nikita Khrushchev (to then-U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon)

A popular trope in Alternate History stories or those set 20 Minutes into the Future. Russia is a global superpower and could possibly take over the Earth, at least in fiction.

Worries about this happening were part of the Red Scare movement during the 1950s. For Cold War versions, this will invariably be a World War III scenario. If they succeed, this will result in the world becoming a Commie Land. For the post-Cold War period, the writers will have to Make the Bear Angry Again.

Expect to see Russia marching into the Invaded States of America at some point. Taking back Alaska may be a motivation.

Subtrope of Take Over the World. Compare America Takes Over the World, China Takes Over the World and Japan Takes Over the World. Unlike those examples, Russia almost always uses its military to take over the world instead of via cultural or economic hegemony.


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     Comic Books  

  • In the Elseworlds story Superman: Red Son, the Soviet Union expands into a global empire under Superman's Big-Brother style leadership, who creates a totalitarian "utopia" to protect humanity from itself. After Superman's "death" it is replaced by Lex Luthor's Global United States.
  • The 2000 AD story Invasion! explores this idea. Written in the 1980s at the end of the cold war, it explored the idea of a Russian invasion and takeover of Western Europe and Britain. (The Russians were thinly disguised as the "Volgans".) This was expanded into the later graphic novel series Savage.
  • A closer example, also from 2000 AD, is Nikolai Dante. In the 27th century, a resurgent Feudal Future Imperial Russia dominates Earth and a good chunk of interstellar space.

  • Red Dawn (1984) depicts a Soviet invasion of the United States, and a bunch of teens forming La Résistance. The backstory, outlined in the intro, has the USSR suffering the worst wheat harvest since the Holodomor and sending troops into Poland to put down an anti-communist revolt, Cuba and Nicaragua leading communist revolutionaries across Central America and Mexico, and a Green government in West Germany demanding the withdrawal of American nuclear weapons and eventually leading to collapse of NATO and mainland Western Europe declaring neutrality. World War III sees Soviet troops push up the Great Plains from Mexico (with help from their Latin American allies) and cross the Bering Strait into Alaska. The UK and China support the US, but are just barely hanging on, with it being strongly implied that China has taken a nuclear pasting for its trouble.

  • Exploited but ultimately subverted in the Ender's Shadow series. Achilles, looking to Take Over the World, sees Russia returning to militarism and allies himself with them promised to make them a great empire. While Russia does increase in power under his command, including forming a New Warsaw Pact, Achilles has his eye on bigger fish, and sells them out to trade himself over to India, and then to China. In the end he's defeated and a global union is formed instead to command the world.
  • In the Dante Valentine novels the Russian-derived Putchkin Alliance is one of the setting's two Space Filling Empires, controlling most of Asia. (The apparently American-derived Hegemony controls the rest.)
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four: One of the world's three superpowers is Eurasia, the Russian-derived successor state that controls the former Soviet Union and continental Europe (while Britain and Ireland are part of Oceania alongside Australia, the South Pacific, the Americas, and Africa south of Brazzaville). They are allied with Oceania against Eastasia until Oceania betrays them by teaming up with Eastasia against Eurasia. Apparently practices "Neo-Bolshevism" and according to the propaganda of Oceania is currently leading a campaign to conquer all of Africa. This is a subversion, since neither Eurasia nor any of the other two superstates really desire world domination, only to control their own peoples.
  • In the future history presented in Cities in Flight, Russia made peace with the (by then just as oppressive) USA in the early 21st century. When the American president was assassinated, the Russian premier declared himself ruler of both countries. The resulting empire grew to become a world government, known as the Bureaucratic State.
  • The Gladiator, one of the novels in Harry Turtledove's Crosstime Traffic series, is set in Italy after the Soviet Union won the Cold War and the whole planet became communist.
  • The infamous KD Rebels from white supremacist David Lane (yes something similar to The Turner Diaries but less famous) has its last chapter named "From Russia, with love" as white nationalists took over Russia and then start conquering The West, naturally prompting the Undefeatable Little Village of the American neo-nazis to happily support them.
  • In Fyodor Berezin's Red Stars books, a parallel world has the USSR becoming extremely powerful after a very different World War II, steadily conquering more territories and pushing the US back. By the early 21st century, the majority of the world is controlled by the Soviets, with only the US itself remaining free, although under tyrannical martial law. Nukes (mostly tactical) have been used freely during the not-Cold War, but that had the side effect of making everyone less twitchy on the red "launch everything" button. Apparently, all it took was for Hitler to delay Barbarossa by a month, allowing Stalin to betray him first. When our world's powers learn of the existence of that reality, they've horrified (yes, Russia included) and try to trigger a global nuclear exchange in the other reality to wipe it out.

     Live Action TV  

  • Amerika is a miniseries set some years after the Soviets have taken over the United States and installed a puppet government. References to other parts of the world indicate the Soviets are firmly in charge elsewhere as well, with the Warsaw Pact stretching all of Europe and China ceding Manchuria to the USSR.
  • Sliders: The pilot episode involves an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union took over most of the world, including the United States. When asked, the locals explain that it all started when the US lost The Korean War, and the Domino Theory became reality.

     Video Games  

  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series: The first game is set in an Alternate Timeline where Einstein uses time travel to prevent Hitler's rise to power, leading to a Soviet conquest of Europe. Later games see the Soviets attempt to take their conquest global.
  • Empire Earth: The game's Russian campaign is set 20 Minutes into the Future where the paramilitary group Novaya Russia seizes power and begins a war of expansion against their neighbors. Helped by robotic troops and the US's isolationism, they're able to conquer Asia, Europe, and Africa, and start moving on Cuba when a disillusioned soldier defects to the US and travels back in time to prevent the fascist regime from ever rising, only to find that future soldiers already got there and need to be eliminated with inferior modern troops.
  • Rise of Nations: The expansion campaign Thrones and Patriots has a Cold War campaign where you can diverge heavily from history to ensure that the Soviets dominate the globe.
  • The first Age of Empires III campaign has the Russian Empire secretly allying with the illuminati-like Circle of Ossus and planning a large invasion of North America while Britain and France are fighting each other in the Seven Years' War. The invasion is stopped when John Black triggers an avalanche that buries the Russian army. Unfortunately, at the cost of his own life. Luckily, his beloved Nonahkee is already pregnant with his son Nathaniel. The Russians later support the Circle's search for immortality in South America during the early 19th century Latin American wars of independence, as part of an implied plot to Take Over the World.
  • In Endwar, a potential outcome for World War III is Russia (bloated to a size and strength not seen since the Cold War by the oil crisis - they own most of the world's remaining oil) defeating the United States and the European Federation to become the sole remaining superpower on Earth.

     Web Original  

  • Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72, a story from, accomplishes this by reversing the Soviet Union's fall. Influenced by a clique of Western-trained socialist economists, the USSR starting in The '70s embraces an "MBA communism" similar to the reforms carried out in our own history by China, with much the same result (i.e. economic liberalization and growth while retaining an authoritarian government), helped by the exploitation of its vast natural resources to buy favor in Western Europe. The US, meanwhile, endures economic and political strife during that decade before being taken over by far-right corporate plutocrats in The '80s, and quickly finds itself succumbing to the same pressures that brought down the Soviets in our own history: economic mismanagement at home (in this case by Corrupt Corporate Executives instead of bureaucratic central planners) leads to a collapse in living standards for working-class Americans, and the fact that the US in this timeline won The Vietnam War leads to a bad case of victory disease as it engages in budget-busting military adventurism on multiple continents that only gives Western Europe more reason to leave NATO and engage in their own detente with Moscow. As the US plunges into chaos by the end of the '80s, the Soviet Union emerges as the world's sole superpower.

     Western Animation  

  • The American Dad! episode "The Best Christmas Story Never Told" achieves this via the Butterfly of Doom, in a kind of Soviet counterpart to Godwin's Law of Time Travel. After traveling back in time to 1970s Hollywood, Stan meets a young Martin Scorsese and ends up convincing him to quit drugs. In effect, Scorsese never makes Taxi Driver. Without Taxi Driver, John Hinckley Jr never becomes obsessed with Jodie Foster and thus never tries to assassinate Ronald Reagan in order to impress her. Without the sympathy vote that would've occurred as a result of the assassination attempt, Reagan loses re-election to Walter Mondale, who hands over control of the country to the Soviet Union. Everything gets reset to a Close-Enough Timeline at the end of the episode, though.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Petey IV", Vladimir Putin is shown to be controlling the entire politics of the United States with simply pushing buttons at home on a machine that can manipulate US election turnouts and even the NFL. Roger Goodall is simply a puppet of Putin's.

     Real Life  

  • Zigzagging Trope in real life. While the Russian Empire at its height did cover about 1/6 of the Earth's landmass, no Russian state has seriously entertained the notion of taking over even Europe, let alone the world. Historians and foreign relations analysts often characterize Russian expansionism as 'defensive imperialism' because it is driven by a perceived vulnerability to neighbouring states rather than simple desire for conquest. The Eurasian plains are a wide open area with few natural barriers, so Russian leaders have considered it necessary to directly control the numerous access points utilized by invading armies.

    Some of the October revolutionaries did envision a global Soviet Union, but primarily effected through a worldwide revolution of the working classes, not through Russian conquest alone. For a long time Lenin even looked to Germany as the inevitable leader of the worker's revolution (it was, after all, the birthplace of Karl Marx, as well as perceived as the most industrialized western nation) until he realized that it wasn't gonna happen, and Stalin eventually codified the doctrine of "Socialism in one country". As it is an anti-nationalist ideology at its roots (even if practice was... complicated), it's extremely doubtful that the theorized communist world state would privilege any particular nation.

    If you have a rather forgiving definition of "empire", however, and see all Communist states in the Cold War as an extension of Moscow's will, then the Russians came closest to this in the early years of the Cold War with numerous client and satellite states. That is, until the Sino-Soviet split, which also led to greater independence for Yugoslavia and Albania. However, the Soviet Union at the height of its influence was led by Stalin, a Georgian (albeit a Russified one).
  • Foundations of Geopolitics is a book written by the Russian far-right political analyst Aleksandr Dugin that purports to be a blueprint of how Russia can accomplish this, namely by fracturing the United States' international alliance system and building alliances with countries and political movements hostile to American power and values. The content itself, however, is far from deep or insightful, reading more like a Russian neo-imperialistic power fantasy than a serious political work. (Germany, for instance, will supposedly be happy to become Russia's ally if Russia "gives" Germany hegemony over Central Europe. This absurd supposition is just the start.) Dugin himself is an open supporter of fascism with an interest in neopaganism and the occult. Nevertheless, Dugin is influential in Russia, and his work has been warmly received by many high-level Russian military officials, and allegedly even inside the Kremlin. This has led to invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, which in turn has led to every other post-Soviet and former satellite state outside the CSTO not trusting Russia to not declare them a bunch of Nazis LARPing as a non-Russia country and send "little green men" into their borders.
  • This is the premise of the "Pivot theory" in geopolitics developed by the British geographer Halford Mackinder in the early 20th century. Essentially, since Eurasia is the largest landmass in the world, (successful) world conquest would inevitably proceed from the center area and expand outwards into the periphery. Through the German geographer Karl Haushofer, it was relayed to Adolf Hitler, who used it to justify his war against the Soviet Union. However, the theory has since been discredited as, among many other flaws, it critically understates the economic costs of railway systems compared to utilizing natural waterways. There's a reason why the US, and not Russia, is the current world hegemon.note