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Soviet Superscience

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"We are fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they will crush us."

The tendency to give those Dirty Commies from the Soviet Union technologies far beyond their Western counterparts in Cold War or futuristic settings (not that the U.S. is left out, as long as both sides are in a Lensman Arms Race). Expect lots of Nikola Tesla technology.

Something of a Discredited Trope and usually only played for laughs. After the end of the Cold War, "abandoned Soviet experiments" was frequently used to Hand Wave the continued appearance of menacing communist super-weapons in a world that suddenly had fewer communists.

It is worth noting that historically the most recognizable disciplines of any superscience — genetics and cybernetics — received a poor start in the U.S.S.R. as the Party proclaimed those "false sciences" for being "bourgeois" (which makes as much sense as Nazis dismissing Einsteinian relativity and the modern theory of the atom as "Jewish physics"). This stance wouldn't be lifted until Nikita Khrushchev took power and U.S.S.R.'s first computer was finished in the mid-1950s.

The Soviet record on science includes astounding triumphs — they put the first human in space and contributed immensely to theoretical physics (there were several Soviet Nobel laureates in physics, including Andrei Sakharov and Lev Landau, and the Landau-Lifshitz textbooks on theoretical physics still remain among the best) — and also laughable failures, such as Lysenkoism and the abuse of psychiatry for "rehabilitation" purposes. The U.S.S.R. pioneered modern corrective eye surgery, yet fell behind in steel manufacturing, despite experimenting with it the longest. The Soviets, however, loved nuclear power — the world's first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid went online in the U.S.S.R. (too bad the Chernobyl accident ruined that reputation). Thus, this trope certainly has some basis in fact. Of course, the inconsistencies can be handwaved by the means of an Alternate Universe, as Command & Conquer: Red Alert testifies.

Historically, this trope owes itself to the Soviet Union's relative international isolation, both self-imposed and external, secrecy (especially about anything military, and a lot of Soviet research was fully or partly military-related) and tendency of its enemies to assume the worst with the absence of information. In the broadest sense, historians of sciencenote  have concluded that even considering the destructive consequences of Lysenkoism and obstacles to publishing research, dialectical materialism — the philosophy that predates contemporary Marxism and serves as its scientific "foundation" — had an overall positive influence on scientific community of the U.S.S.R. 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 superscience.

The common idea nowadays is that The New Russia 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 mass scale war in Ukraine since early 2022 has proven that Russia does have potent modern war technologies about as much as outdated ones as the war drags on). The fall of the Soviet Union is often used as a reason why long-abandoned Soviet Superscience 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.

This trope is a form of Historical Villain Upgrade if the Soviets are portrayed as villains in the story.

Stupid Jetpack Hitler is a Sister Trope, giving Those Wacky Nazis things like Powered Armor and Cool Airships, while Ghostapo could be a "cousin trope", in that it's a more mystical version of Stupid Jetpack Hitler. May be part of a Tesla Tech Timeline as Tesla tech has a sufficiently different aesthetic to the capitalist pigdogs' technology. All of these are culture-specific sub-disciplines of Mad Science. See also Closed Cities, which is where Soviet Superscience is created; they range from ordinary cities declared off-limits to foreigners to full-fledged Black Mesa-style complexes hidden in the lost mountains of Siberia.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Full Metal Panic! is set in an Alternate History where the Cold War never ended and both the United States and the Soviet Union have developed Arm Slave technology.
    • Not only that, the Arm Slave technology is canonically a product of Soviet Superscience... albeit accidentally. The Whispered, from which the technology to build Arm Slaves came from, were created from a certain Russian-funded lab-base involved in superscience of all sorts. Specifically, the Whispered were people born around the world right around the few minutes one of the labs (of the quantum "see into the future" variety) had an accident and went out of control.
  • Apocryphal, but in a panel discussing Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure Battle Tendency, author Hirohiko Araki clarified that the superpowered cyborg Colonel Stroheim fell in the Battle of Stalingrad at the hands of a Soviet Stand user.
  • Vampire in the Garden takes place in a post apocalyptic setting modeled on the Soviet Union with mostly pre 1980's technology as well as mechas.

    Comic Books 
  • The Marvel Universe has its share of Soviet experiments gone awry, particularly from the days of the Cold War.
    • The Red Room basically existed on this trope, being the Soviet answer to Hydra and, arguably, even more terrifying, considering that they gave the world both Black Widows (Natasha Romanoff and Yelena Belova) and the Winter Soldier.
    • Iron Man:
    • The Incredible Hulk: The very first opponent who the Hulk fought (other than the U.S. Army), was the Gargoyle, a Soviet scientist warped into a deformed, large-headed, super-intelligent dwarf by exposure to radiation. His son, the Gremlin, was almost identical in looks and abilities and, among other things, created the high-tech gear (including Powered Armor) used by the Soviet Super-Troopers (precursors to the Soviet Super-Soldiers). While Bullski (above) was missing, the Gremlin built his own Titanium Man armor... and then made the mistake of incorporating Tony Stark's technology into it (although he was given said tech by the Soviet government, who'd presumably acquired it from Justin Hammer, who had it stolen from Stark). As a result, Tony targeted him in Armor Wars, leading to the Gremlin's accidental death.
    • Secret Warps: Weapon Hex has to go up against the Mad Ghost, a Communist supervillain with an army of android apes, who plans to use his super-science to make Weapon Hex and her sister serve the state, one way or another.
    • Wolverine: Omega Red is the Soviet-era counterpart to Wolverine — a mutant whose powers were augmented by government-sponsored super-science, which in Red's case also gave him carbonadium Combat Tentacles.
    • The Ultimate Marvel series Ultimate Nightmare takes place almost entirely in a complex dedicated to this. They worked by disassembling an alien robot found in The Tunguska Event, piece by piece, and grafting its parts to test subjects.
  • Blake and Mortimer: In "SOS Meteors", it's revealed that the Soviet Bloc has developed weather-control technology, which it uses to destabilize the climate of Western Europe in order to prepare for a military invasion. Why the Soviets didn't instead use it to improve their own weather is anyone's guess.
  • The first comic in the Global Frequency series is about a Soviet sleeper agent who loses control of a chip implanted in his brain. The chip was supposed to augment his natural ability to teleport objects. This would have allowed the agent to teleport a hidden nuclear weapon to his location — with himself ground zero. Global Frequency was formed to deal with exactly these kinds of strange Cold War "unexploded bombs".
  • The obscure noir superhero series The Winter Men imagines a massive military-industrial operation throughout Soviet history to build mechanical and biological super-beings. It doesn't work, but not quite for the reason you'd expect.
  • Though it's technically a Fantasy Counterpart Culture, this trope abounds in The Red Star.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm repeatedly references the Red Room as something dark and terrifying enough to scare HYDRA that existed in the shadows with the sole objective of developing better soldiers. They gave the world the Winter Soldier (as per the MCU, his original enhancements were the work of HYDRA and Arnim Zola, but the Red Room took him, refined him and reprogrammed him), the Black Widow program and a number of genetically altered monstrosities, including the Winter Guard. Despite the fact they haven't been active for twenty years, whenever they're mentioned, the characters present tend to, at the very least, get a severe case of the creeps. As of the sequel, Ghosts of the Past, they're back. And they're interested in Harry. With the help of Sinister, they end up successfully taking control of Harry's body and unleashing their intended Superior Successor to the Winter Soldier, the Red Son, a phenomenally powerful Super-Soldier capable of restoring the territorial control they had during the Cold War. Between Harry eventually snapping and going Dark Phoenix, and Loki's later Roaring Rampage of Revenge for what was done to his nephew, most Red Room personnel are either dead or imprisoned.
  • Halloween Unspectacular: The story "Cold War", from the seventh edition, is built around a secret Soviet facility in Siberia. Originally commissioned by Stalin to create a weapon capable of matching the American nuclear arsenal, the experiments at this facility instead created a permanent portal to Another Dimension full of monsters. The base now exists solely to keep these monsters in check, fighting off their constant attacks, in order to keep them from overrunning Siberia (and, it's implied, the rest of the world).
  • In The Return, we have a group of nuclear-powered cyborg Soviet female mercenary assassins.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Dr. Strangelove the Soviets build a Doomsday Device after the U.S. had already considered a similar device ("Our source was the New York Times"). They neglected to tell anyone about it. Strangelove subverts the trope when he explains that the Doomsday Machine is not a great feat because it's within the means of even the smallest nuclear power — very much Truth in Television, because setting off enough nukes anywhere on Earth would easily cause The End of the World as We Know It, and both sides had dozens of times that amount.
  • In Leviathan (1989) the Russians conduct an experiment aimed at breeding a new species - the aquatic man. The "volunteers" are soldiers, never informed of the fact, and the original experiment predictably turns out to have Gone Horribly Wrong, but when several Americans accidentally discover its remnants and mess with them, it eventually ends up Gone Horribly Right.
  • Firefox has the Soviets build a new superplane, the MiG-31 (not to be confused with the Real Life MiG-31). This plane is capable of Mach 6 and has thought-launched weapons, technologies that still don't fully exist today.
  • Goldeneye has a satellite-launched EMP weapon taken over by criminal elements in the Soviet space program command.
    • In Real Life, electronic warfare, including EMP weapons, was and still is a very active area of Russian military research, and theatre ballistic missiles with EMP warheads are actually in the field testing right now.
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has Irina Spalko and her fellow Communists searching for the Crystal Skulls. It is mentioned that Stalin has a program investigating psychics, which isn't actually all that far-fetched; the US investigated possible paranormal things themselves. Also, the Soviet search party in the jungle rides a huge sci-fi-ish truck that clears its path by mowing down trees like grass.
  • The Hunt for Red October is a thriller about, well, the hunt for the Red October, a highly-advanced Soviet ballistic missile submarine, the so-called "stealth-bomber" of submarines. Instead of the traditional propeller-driven sub, this one had one that sucked in water, compressed it, and shot it out, like a jet engine. The result is a sub with nearly zero-sound, meaning active Sonar will be almost the only thing able to detect it; making it virtually impossible to track, due to the danger of using active Sonar often. That doesn't stop Seaman Jones from inventing a way to track it though.
  • The 2005 Russian mockumentary Pervye Na Lune (First on the Moon) shows "proof" that the Soviets actually sent a man to the Moon and back... in 1938...
  • In WarGames, the simulated war at one point includes twenty-two Typhoon-class submarines departing Petropavlovsk. In fact, the Soviets only ever built six Typhoon-class submarines, only one of which was in existence at the time the film was made. Also, none of them was ever based in Kamchatka. Given U.S. intelligence's tendency to overestimate Soviet military strength (see Real Life), it could be Joshua making the mistake in-universe.
  • Iron Man 2: Anton Vanko, a Soviet defector, co-developed the arc reactor technology with Tony's father in the 1960s. Otherwise generally averted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as projects that were examples of this in the comics are either Soviet or superscience, but not both: the Black Widow program was simply Training from Hell, while the Winter Soldier was a HYDRA project as opposed to Russian.
  • In the X-Men Film Series, the telepathy-blocking helmet that stymies Xavier in every movie is apparently of Russian make according to X-Men: First Class.
  • Harbinger Down opens with a Soviet LK moon lander Coming in Hot after an experiment to make a cosmonaut immune to radiation has Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • The Russian superhero film Guardians (2017) 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 werebear, a speedster, an earth elemental, and a woman who has invisibility, flexibility, temperature resistance, and doesn't need air. And the Big Bad is a former Soviet superscientist, who has turned himself into a cyborg and can manipulate any technology he sees and has a clone army.
  • The Training Montage in Rocky IV contrasts Rocky's Improvised Training with Ivan Drago using advanced technology, supervised by a group of scientists and doctors, and at one point gets injected with steroids.
  • The "Kolossus" (a Colossal Titan Expy as a self-aware Humongous Mecha) from Mega Shark vs Kolossus are said to be a forgotten Soviet superweapon.
  • Firebase. The River God has cybernetic modifications from NVA surgeons. It's implied this technology (and that of the American characters) was developed by stealing it from more advanced realities, as an American soldier witnesses an alternate reality of Soviet forces invading the United States with advanced VTOL aircraft and massive land crawlers.

  • In Dale Brown's books, while the former-Soviets-now-Russians needed to reverse-engineer American tech for most of their new toys, they did come up with powerful anti-satellite lasers on their own.
  • Pops up in some of Charles Stross' stories.
    • Discussed and averted in The Laundry Files. Unlike the Nazis and the West, the Soviets never really got into the occult intelligence business because of counterproductive state policies. State-sponsored atheism contradicts the requirement of believing in demonic intelligences beyond our spacetime, and preventing development of computers makes "magic" (which is really applied higher mathematics, physics, and computer science) much more difficult. After the fall of communism, however, the Russians caught up fast.
    • One of the MacGuffins at the core of The Jennifer Morgue is a "Gravedust" rig on a sunken Russian submarine that British intelligence believe was used to seek guidance from recently-deceased Politburo members in case the West struck first. It turns out to be built to dial up something much, much older...
    • In the novelette A Colder War, set in an Alternate History where the Cold War was fought with the powers of the Great Old Ones, the Soviets not only weaponize shoggoths and deploy them in Afghanistan, but they have an ultimate doomsday weapon called 'K-Thulu' in a giant concrete bunker in the Ukraine.
    • The short story "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 ekranoplan.
  • Largely averted in The Hunt for Red October. The titular submarine has an experimental drive system that is extremely stealthy by Soviet standards, but an American submarine still manages to detect it because their sonar is just that good. By the end, it almost qualifies as a Deconstructed Trope with more than one character remarking how overrated the new drive system turned out to be.
  • In the Necroscope books the Soviets have an advanced Psychic intelligence service (almost as advanced as the UK's one, the US doesn't get a look in). Their attempt at a Star Trek style Deflector Shield bubble to cover The Entire USSR and protect it from nuclear attack doesn't go well and in fact accidentally blows a hole in the fabric of space-time, creating a gateway to a vampire ridden hellhole. Erm, oopsie.
  • Oleg Divov's Zombie Trail trilogy is all about Soviet "psychotronic" weapons and their Gone Horribly Wrong side effects. The original Project came to be after an American misinformation campaign led the Soviet leadership to believe that the US was experimenting with Psychic Powers. Unintentionally, the resulting Soviet psychic program bore fruit. A "psychotronic cannon" was built that could be used to mind-control people on a massive scale. However, it had to be operated by an extremely powerful psychic. In order to create one (or more), the Children's Program was set up that involved subjecting 1000 children to radiation, hoping the resulting mutation would be psychic in nature. It was a near-complete disaster, as all but 5 children died. Some of the survivors, though, did become the coveted super-psychics, although they refused to fire the cannon. Additional experiments were conducted on metropolitan scale by building powerful mind-control generators in major Soviet cities that would eliminate all dissent. They worked for a while, until interdimensional holes started opening, letting in Energy Beings that took over humans and became so-called "zombies" (of the fast variety). You'd think the experiments would stop in a What Have I Done fashion. No such luck. The third novel reveals that the modern-day Russian version of the Project succeeded in subliminally influencing the world population into thinking that everything Russian is cool.
  • Red Plenty by Francis Spufford is an partly nonfictional, partly novelistic work, exploring how the Soviet Union tried to harness computers and cybernetics which, coupled with central planning, seemed to offer a way for the country to catch up with and even surpass America in providing its citizens with a good standard of living. note  The story ends when the idea died out in Brezhnev's day, when cynical realism triumphed over communist idealism; the USSR limped on through the Brezhnev era, coasting on petrodollars instead of actually putting its massive industrial potential to good use.
  • The Russian multi-writer series called Death Zone is about the aftermath of a strange event involving a Negative Space Wedgie that wipes out several major Russian cities and creates five anomalous areas roughly 50 kilometers in diameter separated from the rest of the world by gravity bubbles. One of the novels eventually reveals that the so-called Catastrophe was, in fact, caused by the second activation of a device that was originally developed by a Soviet scientist to allow instantaneous hyperdimensional transportation. The first activation of the device on April 26, 1986, caused the 4th reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant to meltdown.
  • In The Day of the Triffids, the narrator/protagonist advances the theory that the eponymous killer plants were created by Soviet bioengineers, but whether he is correct or not is never revealed.
  • The Scrambler (a radio-wave weapon that destroys voluntary muscle control) in Ralph Peters' The War in 2020.
  • In MARZENA, according to Marian, the Russian government of 2033 wants to use advanced psychology, along with a reborn and self-aware neuroscience and anti-Manchurian Agents, to destroy the cultural independence of the Balkans and create a giant invincible super-Russian state.
  • In the novel sci-fi novel Who? by Algis Budrys, the Soviets kidnap an American scientist after he was horribly injured in an accident. To help him recover, they perform extensive surgery on him. When he returns to the west he has a robotic face, head and arm, which makes him difficult to identify and extremely suspicious.
  • Partly justified in Axis of Time, 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 World War II), 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 Kill Sat developed by Soviet scientists in the early 50s that drops tungsten rods from space. The Allies have nothing of the sort.
  • Clive Cussler's Deep Six (1984) presents some neat and almost miraculous Soviet psycho-tech, although it then subverts it by showing that this is actually the worst psycho-tech around.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played straight in the Fringe episode "Earthling".
    • Well, not exactly. Walter does mentions the Russians were up to their own Fringe Science during the Cold War, but the Monster of the Week in the episode was NOT their creation, but rather something that infected and bonded with one of their cosmonauts.
  • In the first episode of The Tick (2001), the Tick and Arthur must thwart the Red Scare, a robot made in the 1970s by the Soviet Union, programmed to destroy the US President. Unaware of the present year however, the Red Scare seeks to destroy former President Carter.
  • The JAG episode "Iron Coffin" features the supercavitating Russian torpedo VA-111 Shkval (see real life below), which for an uninformed viewer might come across as pure fiction. However, the Shkval in the episode has a serious design flaw as it re-targets the submarine which launched it. The Americans have observed it before, but the Russians think the Americans are interfering.
  • Subverted in The Americans, where the Soviet scientists are clearly struggling to catch up to their American counterparts, to the point that they're resorting to industrial espionage, theft, kidnapping, and an extremely ill-advised venture into developing biological weapons (because they've realized that they'll never close the gap with the US when it comes to nuclear weapons).
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Go Fish" involves the coach of Sunnydale High's swim team feeding his athletes an experimental Soviet steroid that they developed for their Olympic swim team, which got leaked to the West at the end of the Cold War. Unfortunately, it has the nasty side-effect of turning its recipients into Fish People.
  • Taken: In "Jacob and Jesse", Owen Crawford believes that the successful launch of Sputnik 1 is due to the Soviets capturing an alien ship and managing to determine how it works.
  • Subverted in Chernobyl, where mining crew chief Glukhov makes a joke about the backward state of Soviet technology. Also played with in the design of the RBMK reactors. It's not that they couldn't make them safer, it's that it was cheaper to design them this way.
    Andrei Glukhov: Comrades, what's as big as a house, takes 20 liters of fuel every hour, puts out a shitload of smoke and noise, and cuts an apple in three pieces? [Beat] A Soviet machine made to cut apples into FOUR PIECES!
  • A major plot point in season three of Stranger Things concerns the Soviet Union's efforts to study and enter the Upside Down, presumably for the same reasons the Americans were doing so: to spy on their enemies. In a subversion, the American program wound up far ahead of theirs (at least, before things went horribly wrong) owing to the town of Hawkins, Indiana having very favorable conditions for accessing the Upside Down, causing the Soviets to send spies to Hawkins to piggy-back off the Americans' research. Through a front company and with the assistance of the corrupt mayor of Hawkins, they built the Starcourt Mall as a cover for an Elaborate Underground Base on US soil, where they attempt to open their own portal to the Upside Down. While exploring their base, Erica, a young girl filled with Reagan-era Patriotic Fervor and love of capitalism, mocks the base's design (particularly there being only one way in or out, via elevator) as a safety hazard, suggesting that they cut corners. The Stinger at the end of the season, showing that the Soviets have captured a live Demogorgon, implies that they have managed to open their own gate at a facility in Kamchatka, since creatures from the Upside Down cannot survive in our world without a direct link to their home dimension via an open portal.


    Professional Wrestling 
  • Subverted in Kaiju Big Battel. Mota Naru was part of a Soviet experiment to send fire ants to Mercury, which failed. It was then picked up by Team Space Bug.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Contested Ground Studios' Hot War is a Spiritual Successor to their earlier game Cold City in which all the powers were trying to get their hands on "Twisted Technology" created by the Germans during World War II; in Hot War, the Soviets seem to have gained the upper hand in this, and decide to use it to send the Cold War hot in 1963. After a nuclear strike, the Soviets send all manner of nightmares, from armies landed by ships that simply carry portals into arsenals in the Soviet Union (and some say much weirder locations...) through the simplest enemies, the Bayonet Troopers, up to Servitors (well, ok, Shoggoths) wandering around through the London tube tunnels (though London was spared a direct hit, the Tube, understandably, doesn't work and is largely no-mans-land). North of London, there is a zone where reality is starting to dissemble itself, and the parts are falling together in new ways. This was clearly marked, but is getting slowly larger. Welcome to the Special Situations Group; this stuff is now your job.
  • Conspiracy X: Project Rasputin was the Soviet answer to American research projects on national and global paranormal threats, with the real historical early 1950s Soviet research into extrasensory perception being fully incorporated into canon.
  • In Sentinel Comics: The RPG, Soviet Super Science is responsible for the villain team Perestroika. To wit:
    • Proletariet got his powers from Soviet experimentation with an Obliv Aeon shard.
    • Same thing with a soviet villain named Iron Curtain, minus the Obliv Aeon shard thing. His daughter proceeded to inherit his powers.
    • Marxman (cue rimshot) has been alive for years, also due to Soviet Superscience.
    • And finally there's, of all things, Mecha Stalin. Whether or not he's the actual Stalin is ambiguous but the main point is that he is a Cyborg made by Soviet Superscience.

    Video Games 
  • In Genshin Impact, the Russia-inspired country Snezhnaya is noted to be the most technologically advanced in Teyvat.
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. features the Soviet C-Consciousness project, which was an elaborate attempt to manipulate mankind's consciousness to eliminate suffering and wars. Needless to say, the experiment had Gone Horribly Wrong.
    • Within the game, there's the Gauss Rifle (albeit with Western-style furniture), the game's Infinity +1 Sword. 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).
    • There are also various psychic devices (most of which serve to either brainwash you or just burn out your higher cognitive functions) in the games, the most famous of which is known as Brain Scorcher. They're developed by the same scientists behind the C-Consciousness project and used as defense devices to prevent anyone finding out the truth behind the project and the Zone.
  • The Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series gives those Dirty Communists mind-controlled squids, cloning vats, weaponized Tesla Coils, six-legged amphibious boats with double Tesla coils, armored war bears, huge zeppelins with megaton bombs, nuclear vacuum ICBMs, weapon-stealing tanks, magnetic satellites AND MORE.
    • Don't forget the mancannon-equipped amphibious transports, which also function as AA support. They are quite capable of shooting the aforementioned armored war bears. Talk about Abnormal Ammo...
    • A mention should also be made of the mind-control radio towers that drive the plot of Red Alert 2.
    • This is far less noticeable in the first Red Alert, without expansions, partially because it has far less superscience overall, and partly because the Allies aren't far behind in superscience, their teleporter balancing out a Soviet invincibility generator, leaving only the weaponized Tesla coil to shift the balance in the Soviets' favor (and even then, the Allied GPS system is arguably far enough into the future of the period for it to count as a sort of super-tech). The expansions added a lot more super-science, but on both sides, setting the trend for the future games: the Soviets have Superscience, but only slightly more than the Alliesnote .
      • One could argue that the Soviets are actually lagging behind technologically — a large amount of the "super-science" is more or less a redux of the prior game's technology — compared to the Allies, who between Red Alert 1 and 2, developed lasers, cloaking devices, and weather control. Red Alert 1 might play it straight, but essentially every game from 2 onwards might just count as a subversion. The Soviet super-tech is just crazier and more memorable than the Allies one.
      • It crosses over with Truth in Television, actually. The Allied tech is more advanced, but far more fragile, while the Soviet technology seems to be crazier, but also far more simple and sturdy. Allies use a highly precise laser, highly-advanced power plants, and a modular Macross Missile Massacre IFV, the Soviets use giant Tesla Coils, nuclear power plants, and a flak halftrack.
    • It should be noted that the Soviets were the first to have advanced cybernetics. They had Volkov and Chitzkoi, a pair of cyborgs who are devastating when micromanaged properly. Unfortunately, the Allies capturing and sabotaging them caused the Soviets to discontinue their cyborg program. Then in Red Alert 2, they got back into cybernetics with the Terror Drone, a small robot which is pure scary for ground forces. The Allies still didn't have any form of cybernetics. Its only until Yuri's Revenge that they finally get the Robot Tank and even then its primitive, as evident by the tank's need of a control center to keep it functional as opposed to the independent Terror Drone (which can eat the Robot Tank inside out easily).
    • Red Alert 3 removes the nuclear aspect (in a game involving Imperial Japan...). Now their huge reactors function with chemical power, and their superweapon is now the Vacuum Imploder, which sucks up units and deals large amounts of damage.
      • Their support powers involve dumping toxic waste, sucking up vehicles into space with a satellite, and dumping old satellites from orbit (and any vehicles sucked up by the aforementioned magnetic satellite).
      • Averted in Uprising, which gives the Soviets another Powered Armor that squirts toxic waste from the Super Reactors that can eat infantry or vehicles, a motorcycle with a mortar sidecar, and a clunky Spider Tank that spits rockets and grenades. Meanwhile, the Allies get floating artillery, freeze-gun equipped Powered Armor, and a gunship firing a miniature version of their superweapon. Justified here as the Allies canonically won the previous war and the Soviets are just scrounging for whatever they can get their hands on, not having the spare resources to invest in anything particularly out there any more.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals:
    • While leaning more towards realism than the Red Alert series, it still features this trope with the Chinese faction, with its nuclear reactors, More Dakka and Kill It with Fire policies applied to tanks and aircraft, towers broadcasting propaganda that heals troops, nuclear-powered tanks, nuclear artillery, and twin-barreled tanks so big they can run over lesser tanks, mount gatling guns, the aforementioned propaganda towers, and entire bunkers.
    • The totally-not-Al-Qaeda GLA faction uses old Soviet weapons like SCUD missiles modified to carry anthrax, both from trucks (as artillery) and launch sites that fire a dozen at a time (as their superweapon). The more exotic weaponry involves dune buggies with rocket launcher racks, tractors that spray anthrax, and vehicles that scavenge enemy weaponry to improve their guns.
  • Singularity has quite a bit of this. The game's setting is a 1950s Soviet Area 51-like area with quite a bit of super-science, including a weapon that can progress/rewind space-time.
  • War Front: Turning Point has the Soviet Union using "canned Siberian weather" Freeze Rays and Freeze Bombs, as well as house-sized tanks with five turrets and building-sized artillery guns. They even steal a German Exoskeleton at one point and jury-rig it with a freeze ray.
  • Freedom Force features Nuclear Winter, who is a Soviet spy dunked in his own chemicals. Freedom Force Vs. The Third Reich introduces Red October, who for some unexplained reason is a witch.
  • In Destroy All Humans!, the Soviets have a secret moon base and an alliance with aliens.
    • "Alliance" perhaps isn't the right way to put it; it's more like all of the Soviet Union's leaders since the Russian Revolution were actually aliens manipulating them for their own aims.
  • DUSK-12 revolves around a top-secret Russian Super-Soldier project, the titular "Dusk-12" mutagenic strain, being researched underneath the (fictional) city of Chernozersk. The player character, Gorin, is one of its results, but unfortunately the strain quickly leaks and mutates the entire population of Chernozersk into deformed, mindless abominations.
  • One of the levels in Tomb Raider: Legend is Nikola Tesla's secret laboratory in Kazakhstan.
  • In Team Fortress 2, Soviet Sandviches are powerful analgesics.
  • Snatcher has the Soviets develop biological weapons, cryogenic sleep, and androids so advanced that the West didn't have an equal even decades later.
  • A rare non-Soviet example in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2; the Russians reverse-engineer an American satellite component, which allows them to launch a massive trans-oceanic invasion of the US Mainland with complete surprise. Subverted in that they don't have tech beyond the Americans, they just cracked the American encryption codes.
  • In the 1998 remake of Battlezone, The Space Race between the USA and the Soviet Union was really about the Applied Phlebotinum, featured hovertanks and was fought over most of the solar system... in The '60s. In keeping with this trope, the Soviets are the first to make the major technological advances, including one that shifts the entire tone of the plot.
  • Parodied in the Wii version of Punch-Out!!, where Soda Popinski's Title Defense intro shows Soviet scientists working with all their might to produce... grape soda. Grape soda that makes Soda Popinski strong enough to drag a truck with his teeth.
  • Averted in Resistance, where the Russians were never Communists (the 1917 revolution was crushed) and were wiped out by aliens, who did have superscience.
  • The Metal Gear series often employs this in the games focused on Big Boss during the Cold War.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 3, the presence of the infrared and night-vision goggles in 1964 is explained as being due to the Russians being more advanced technologically (your tech support even asks you to return the items to America for reverse engineering). Thanks to Volgin's use of the funds from the Philosophers' Legacy to advance weapons research, he has working prototype Mi-24 helicopters and ground-effect planes years before they showed up in real life, the prototype sneaking suits worn by The Boss and another which Snake can find and wear, guards on Hover Boards (based on a real concept) not to mention the Shagohod in this game.
    • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker continues with some minor examples - Professor Galvez, a.k.a KGB agent Vladimir Zadornov has an advanced cybernetic prosthetic hand with a cigarette lighter in the thumb and a Rocket Punch attack. In the introduction cutscene, Snake and Miller marvel at his portable cassette player (the game is set in 1974 and Sony wouldn't release the first Walkman until 1979). Despite Zadornov claiming it was invented by the Soviets, it has "SONY" branding on it.
    • In Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Venom Snake is given a similar robotic prosthetic due to losing his left hand at the end of the previous game. One of his early missions in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan sees him rescue the imprisoned Soviet "bionics" engineer who had invented said prosthetics; after doing so, Snake can upgrade the hand to feature bonuses such as sonar detection, a shock attack, and rocket attacks like Zadornov's. The engineer reveals he was also working on Sahelanthropus, a new model of Metal Gear being built by the Soviets in Afghanistan, while the Soviet Red Army also utilise the smaller Walker Gears. However, although Ocelot recognises these as Soviet projects and technology, the truth is they were both developed in secret conjuction with Cipher by Huey Emmerich and for Skull Face's own ends. With Cipher's resources, Skull Face seems to have enough pull with the Soviets to allow American XOF soldiers into their Afghan facilities — the rank-and-file of the Red Army, although aware of this, are otherwise kept in the dark about who they are.
      • The titular Metal Gears that came later in the timeline were all developed based off the theories of a Soviet scientist from Metal Gear Solid 3 — in particular, Huey's and Otacon's Metal Gears were directly derived from Granin's design concepts, while the Metal Gears from the first two MSX games were designed from the ground up by another Russian scientist. In Metal Gear Solid 2, former Spetsnaz GRU Colonel turned mercenary Sergei Gurlukovich claims the moral high-ground when stealing Metal Gear RAY from the US Marines as "Even the technology which gave birth to these weapons is Russian, developed by us!"
  • This trope is Recycled In Space in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, which brings in a University of Planet faction, ostensibly just following a For Science! ideology, but actually being thoroughly Russian in terms of flavor. The faction is led by Academician Prokhor Zakharov, "Academician" being a Soviet (and now Russian) title referring to a member of the Academy of Sciences, establishing that the person possessing it is recognized by all state institutions, not just academia, as an authority in their field, similar to the British "Fellow of the Royal Society". The Academy of Science of the USSR set the general framework for dozens of other national academies worldwide, particularly in those Eurasian countries that were part of the Eastern Bloc, leading to the adoption of the title all over the world. The University of Planet is likely an homage to unified academic institutions that have fallen by the wayside since the 1990s when many of them were defunded or dismantled.
  • You Are Empty is a weird Soviet-style post-apocalyptic Alternate History story about psi-emitter designed to create a "New Soviet Man", but it has Gone Horribly Wrong, creating insane zombies and killer Pavlov's Dogs.
  • Heavy Weapon has the Red Star's forces. You fight regular troops like missile helicopters, tanks, bomber planes, SCUD missiles and ICBM missiles. Then you fight mini satellites with death rays, Humongous Mecha, and even a Cool Airship that SUMMONS METEORS via tractor beams.
  • In Call of Duty: Black Ops this is played straight both in the main storyline and partially in the Nazi Zombies mini-game. In the storyline, the Russians are able to weaponize a highly lethal toxin that has been shown to kill men in mere minutes and is not easily dispersed by wind, making it an effective area denial weapon and weapon of mass destruction. Furthermore, they have access to anachronistic weapons that wouldn't be introduced until the '70s or '80s (though the Americans showcase this too), have mastered drug-induced brainwashing so advanced that they can program a man to do anything that they desire (even make Mason and/or Oswald kill John F. Kennedy), and have somehow found a way to create a base on the ocean floor without it being crushed from the sheer pressure it would faced with at such depths. Somewhat averted in the Nazi Zombies storyline, as most of the technological achievements are actually achieved by Group 935, which is an international organization and have more or less equally introduced the same level of technological advancement to the Americans as they have to the Russians. However, the Zombies map "Ascension" still showcases some pretty advanced technology on the Russians' part; they have created flying platforms, genetically enhanced monkeys, the Thunder Gun (a hand-held cannon that fires high-powered waves of compressed air), which contrary to Richtofen's beliefs was not made by Dr. Maxis but rather Dr. Gersh, a Russian scientist, and Dr. Gersh also created a small device which generates a miniature black hole.
  • The Secret World has a Magitek version, of the "abandoned experiments" variety in the Transylvania zones. Two of the biggest projects included sending cosmonauts through a dimensional rift, and creating human/vampire hybrids as Super Soldiers. Both projects were officially abandoned, but work continues independently at the time of the game, and both involve advanced technology of other forms. The rift project is kept running by an AI and by the last surviving cosmonaut, Halina Ilyushin, whose desire to explore the cosmos has driven her mad, while the super soldier program was restarted by the vampire queen Mara, the Big Bad of the Transylvania arc, in order to have a supply of workers for the Breach.
  • NAM-1975, where the Viet Cong use super tanks, Humongous Mechas, high-tech weaponry such as lasers, et cetera.
  • Awesomenauts has Yuri, a 1960s Space Race monkey shot into orbit with a jetpack. Disappearing into a warp field and turning into a radioactive genius, he gets lasers, builds a computer all while playing his Russian musical anthem and chatting with a deep accented voice. The American character? He's a cowboy!
  • Homefront: The Revolution has a variant of this. Instead of the USSR, it's North Korea that instead becomes a high-tech powerhouse in The '70s, leading the computer revolution instead of America's Silicon Valley; by 2004, they're already bringing touch-screen smartphones and tablets onto the market. By the 2010s, they're branching out into selling high-tech weapons, which the Americans eagerly buy in order to fight their wars in the Middle East. Of course, all of this technology has a shutdown switch controlled from Pyongyang, and in 2025, with a bankrupt US defaulting on its debts, North Korea hits the off switch on all of that weaponry and gadgetry and launches an invasion.
  • Atomic Heart is an Immersive Sim that takes place in a Soviet research base in 1955 where all the experiments have gone on a rampage, the game's aesthetic rooted in the distinct retro-futurist styles of the postwar USSR. In its Alternate History, the Soviets made great advances in robotics, cybernetics, and genetic engineering in the 1930s and '40s that allowed them to win World War II by 1941 and quickly rebuild in the aftermath.
  • Atom RPG is a Fallout-like game that takes place in an alternate Soviet Union devastated by a nuclear war that happened in 1986. In this setting, the advanced Soviet technology of the pre-nuclear war world is more advanced than in our history, but it is hidden or dispersed in many abandoned Soviet military bases, abandoned underground bunkers, secret bases and scientific and technological research centers. It is sought after by both the ATOM and the Mycelium, which aim to control and dominate these advanced technologies.
  • The Half-Life horror mod Paranoia eventually reveals that there was an attempt at creating a Super-Soldier using viruses, only for the project to go to hell and the first lab (KROT-1) was sealed off; however, the Russian Government continued in the KROT-2 and the current lab, KROT-3), which led to the events of the game after the protagonist stumbles upon the lab when a terrorist attack opens them, only for a signal in the KROT-1 lab to cause the more advanced super soldiers to turn hostile. The sequel continues this, ending with a blatant reference to 28 Days Later.
  • In The New Order Last Days Of Europe, Andrei Zhdanov leads an "Ultravisionary Socialist" faction of the Communist Party of Komi that plans to create a technologically advanced Soviet Union that will defeat their fascist and capitalist enemies, unite the Earth, and go on liberate the aliens across the stars and create a Universal Soviet Federation. The Ultravisionaries dedicate significant effort and resources on science, no matter how outlandish they are; laser tanks, human cybernetics, shared consciousness, even telepathy are just some of the projects they can pursue, and they're trying to develop these things in the 1960s. Almost all of their projects fail because Zhdanov only promotes projects that support his ideology, regardless of their actual scientific credibility.
  • Zigzagged in Generation Zero. Several of the robot models the player faces are Soviet in origin, including the only true flying enemy. However, these robots are said to have been created in response to the Swedes' own war robot program... a program in turn created out of fears of Soviet aggression. Additionally, given the Turned Against Their Masters nature of the setting, the only practical difference between the two groups of robots is their propensity to attack each other as well as the player.
  • Played With in Ring of Red, where both factions of the Cold War have their own Humongous Mecha (AFW) bias: Soviets prefer more advanced Anti-AFW units (Although some internal factions push independently the unsuccessful twin turret-style mecha), Americans prefer the older Spider Tanks to mount huge cannons... And both Japanese factions, backed by Soviet or German-American developers, use mostly older Light and standard units. However, the plot kickstarts when the Communist Japanese faction steals a seemingly more advanced German-Japanese Anti-AFW Super Prototype from the Capitalists, although the stolen Anti-AFW turns out to have been developed by Capitalist defectors in the Communist faction and financed with German backing, which means that the advanced weapon was all along Communist, and that the German developers are secretly selling weapons to both sides... Ironically, this incident is merely a cover-up to the Communist theft of a German-American Loophole Abusing-superweapon.)

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • The Tick had the Russians working on a sentient beard, so the US developed a mustache.
  • In Archer, the KGB captures Barry when he is grievously injured (thanks to Archer) and rebuilds him into a cyborg hellbent on getting revenge on Archer.
  • Played with in an episode of King of the Hill in which Bill learns that he was unwittingly part of an experiment to create super-soldiers who could fight in the Arctic, and this might be the cause of his weight gain. While the experiment sounds idiotic, Hank insists that it probably made sense at the time, because the US government seriously thought the Soviet Union had secret weapons up their sleeves.
  • Teen Titans (2003) has a supporting character, the Russian superhero Red Star, who's the product of a Cold War-Era Soviet project to develop the perfect Super-Soldier only to turn him into a living, walking nuclear reactor, besides rapidly decelerating his aging (hence, why someone born during the Cold War could be part of the "Teen" Titans). His debut have him nearly destroying a village in order to stop a rampaging monster, and he returns in subsequent episodes as allies to the Titans.

    Real Life 
  • Soviet Union being a socialist planned economy while the US and most of the western world were capitalist with mostly free markets meant that while western consumer technology was far superior and accessible, in areas that receive government interest such as nuclear, military and space technology the Soviets were quite advanced and surpassed their western rivals. 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: Первая молния, Pervaya molniya — "First Lightning".
    • They would later use than knowledge to create the experimental RDS-220 Czar Bomba, whose explosion over Novaya Zemlya on October 30th 1961 was equivalent to 58 million tonnes of TNT. The Czar Bomba, the most powerful device ever made by man, produced a fireball eight kilometres in diameter, a mushroom cloud over seven times the height of Mount Everest, third-degree burns 70 miles away, a thermal pulse that reached 170 miles from ground zero, and a shockwave that was visible in the air 430 miles away. Villages hundreds of miles from the test site were destroyed, atmospheric focusing shattered windows as far away as Finland and Norway. The shockwave registered on seismographs around the world, even after it had already travelled around the earth three times. If superscience is about producing Awesome, but Impractical generators of superlatives, then the Czar Bomba is surely its peak.
    • The actual equivalent of RDS-220 as designed was supposed to be about 100 megatons. It was lowered on a tested example due to concerns about the extremely dirty fallout from the third stage of fusion device.
    • While gigantic nuclear explosions may be flashy, the actual benefit from running a totalitarian society with no anti-nuclear press allowed the use of smaller controlled nuclear explosions for excavation, oil drilling and sealing of gas well fires. This is a field where the Western powers did not venture after the 1960s.
  • It's not only military nuclear power. When the Soviets announced in 1969 that they maintained 10 million kelvin plasma in their T-3 tokamak for 10 milliseconds, the Western scientists were so skeptical (it was about ten times what anyone else managed) that they demanded their own team be allowed to check.
  • The date is October 4, 1957. Sitting on the pad is a modified R-7 rocket, the world's first operational ICBM. But on this day, it doesn't carry a warhead — it carries a small metal sphere, about the size of a beach ball, with four whiplike antennae and a radio transmitter. It is known as PS-1 — "Elementary Satellite 1" — by the Russians, and soon, to the rest of the world, it would be known as "Sputnik 1". On that day, the Russians blew the United States out of the water with the massive triumph of the world's first functioning artificial satellite. Anybody who doubted the existence of the Sputnik could simply tune to a certain frequency (a bit higher than 20 MHZ, according to the Russian press) and hear its transmitter's steady beeping signal. Before this, the overwhelming idea of Russia to most Americans was a backwards country that could not compete with the US's might — after this, it suddenly became superior in most Americans' minds, a juggernaut nation that had to be contained at all costs. American politicians gazed up at the small, visible polished sphere passing over their heads and wondered what else the Soviets could carry into space — perhaps nuclear warheads, military spacecraft, or something worse. While it did not return much data itself, being a simple battery transmitter in space, its legacy kickstarted The Space Race, and led to a certain American taking the first steps on the Moon in 1969.
  • There was a Soviet attempt to create man-chimpanzee hybrids for use as workers. It didn't work, but explains the weird science aspect they get in fiction. The precise details of that infamous experiment, which is usually considered (understandably) little more than an Urban Legend, is that the Soviet scientist who did it worked more or less alone, only got a grant from Stalin due to red tapenote , the experiment consisted of trying to use human sperm to artificially inseminate orangutansnote , and his actual goal was to "prove" evolution and use that to stymie the political power of the Russian Orthodox Church, not to make Super Soldiers.
  • This is probably based on the phenomenon of the "Russian Woodpecker", an odd low-frequency shortwave signal caused by the over-the-horizon radar system in the Ukraine that irritated European ham radio operators during the '70s and '80s.
  • The Soviet Union, apart from creating apemen, was actively working on flying tanks and flying ships built to skim over the surface of the ocean as fast heavy transports that would work below radar.
  • The world's only extant modern balanced ternary computer, a design that allows for more efficient handling of many computational algorithms (including basic addition and multiplication), is a Soviet design from the late 50s (Setun). Designs and theories have appeared in the West as well as one of the world's first computing devices, a 19th century wooden calculating machine, but no ternary computers have been actually built outside of the Soviet Union due to general lack of interest and the ubiquity of binary hardware.
  • Software development in the 1990s did not fall behind the West, some popular applications become ubiquitous throughout the world.
  • In the field of space, there's Polyus (a megawatt-class orbital laser testbed, which fortunately for the West failed on launch) and a ground-mounted laser called Terra-3.
    • The Russians were quite keen on experimenting with space stations in general. Once they lost the Moon race, they aimed for and pretty much achieved many records for longest stays in orbit. Russian space habitation technology is possibly still the best in the world.
    • While the USAAF-CIA MOL space spy outpost never materialized, several of the Soviet stations were purely military installations armed with a 23 mm gun for defensive purposes.
    • 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.
  • A real-life example of "abandoned Soviet experiment" is the NK-33 closed circuit rocket engine. Originally intended for use in the attempt to get a man on the Moon, the prototypes were supposed to be destroyed once that project was cancelled. Sore losers the Soviets. Fortunately, several NK-33 engines were hidden in a warehouse by their designer, Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov. That happened in the 70s. Fast forward to the 90s, when somewhat improved relations between East and West, and presumably some money, helped the old relics emerge from storage, where they proved to be still cutting edge tech despite being two decades old when they were found. The technology behind the NK-33 allows it to be a very efficient engine, and Wikipedia is to be believed, the NK-33 achieves a thrust-to-mass ratio that is among the highest among all currently existing rocket engines, and that is for an engine that is over four decades old.
  • Zombie dogs!
  • A twelve-kilometre-deep hole in the ground. Y'know, For Science!... Or something.
  • Real life averted: late-70s tinfoil hatter "Dr." Peter Beter (believe it or not, his real name) entertained many fantasies about Soviet technology, including the existence of "cosmospheres", which were apparently large, blimp-like spacecraft. His, er, theories were carried into the 1990s by noted Usenet kook Robert McElwaine.
  • Subversion. A lot of Russia's best technology has never been super-science, but Boring, but Practical. The T-34 tank is considered by some to have been the best of World War II despite inconsistent quality control (some were superb, others were lemons) and maniacal saving on every non-essential part. Also Soviet small arms have long been quite good — they were usually disregarded by non-shooters due to their ugliness, but when it came to reliability, quality of steels and alloys used, rate of fire for automatic weapons and accuracy of rifles, it was a different kettle of fish.
    • On the less bellicose side, Russia makes some pretty good bush planes and similar heavy weather equipment, very strong off-road heavy trucks (inasmuch as one can say there are heavy trucks, very heavy trucks and Russian trucks) and pretty good and reliable if less fanciful watches (they capitalize on simplicity, sturdiness and reliability for medium-priced watches, using dated 21,600 vibration-per-hour calibers, as opposed to modern Swiss 28,800 and 36,000 vph).
    • The Soviet created simplified export variants, or "monkey models", of their military equipment, in part to mislead Western analysis of their capabilities (the simplified versions were intended to be used by the Soviets themselves to replace their losses in a full scale war when the pressure to maintain their combat strength means that they have to cut corners to ensure a ready supply of military equipment, much like the obsessive simplification the T-34 underwent during World War II. They found that they could support their allies, make money on the side, as well as field test their vehicles by exporting these versions). These simplified models typically lacked the more advanced fire control systems and electronics, armor inserts, high performance ammunition, and anti-tank guided missiles of the tanks, or radar and avionics of the planes the Soviets made for themselves and their close allies.
  • Speaking of Soviet small arms, the AK-47 and its many, many descendants. The Kalashnikovs may not be the most accurate and their ergonomics aren't the best, but it is unfailingly reliable — as one expert put it, a weapon that you could take to hell and back. Whether in the jungles of Vietnam or arid Afghanistan or the Siberian Tundra, whether you run it over with a truck or bury it in a corpse-filled bog for a year until it is covered over with rust, the gun will fire as though it were brand new.
    • However, mud and dirt torture tests have proven this to be mostly a myth. The large gaps inherent to the AK design allow dirt and mud right into the inner workings, clogging and jamming them into inoperability. Meanwhile, the tighter tolerances of the AR platform kept the mechanisms clean and running smoothly. The AR/M-16's reliability issues during Vietnam were caused by changes to the ammunition, not a problem with the weapon itself, though that reputation continues to plague it. That said, an AK that's been buried for years is likely to function well once cleaned, and even the newest conscript soldier can be trained pretty easily to clean a rifle.
  • The USSR created the first nationwide satellite TV network in the geographically-largest country on Earth, allowing viewers in the Far East to veg out in front of their televisions at the same time as those in the western regions.
  • The Soviet Union built an allegedly automated nuclear retaliatory system (though opinions differ if it's fully automated), which the Russian Federation apparently still maintains.
  • In The '30s the Soviets also built a working Drill Tank, the Subterrene Trebeleva, though it was deemed impractical at the time, due to enormous amounts of energy it needed to function and too thick and unwieldy cable it must be supplied by. In The '60s there reportedly was an attempt to revisit the idea using an on-board nuclear reactor, but it allegedly failed and killed the entire test-crew, at which point the project was deemed "not worth it" and abandoned. Though this later project is probably nothing more than a simple Perestroyka-times hoax, when a lot of strange rumors surfaced.
  • The Soviet space program managed to build the longest-lasting probes ever to touch the surface of Venus. While most the US had one probe launch the ground through dumb luck, Venera 13 survived on the ground transmitting data for a record-setting 127 minutes before being crushed, melted, and dissolved by the harsh Venusian atmosphere. Sure, Venus is a Death World, but at least it's not Siberia.
    • The last two Soviet landers were also piggybacked by French balloon probes.
    • The Russian manned space program is still very much active, while its US counterpart is essentially defunct. So, at least in some sectors, (ex-)Soviets did get to bury Americans. (In the original sense meant by Khrushchev — i.e. "we will outlast you so that we'll be at your funeral.")
    • The R-7 rocket and the Soyuz and Progress capsules have been touted as an excellent example of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" by aerospace experts worldwide. These designs have been in service since the sixties and have racked up a truly staggering launch record. And, for all that people go on about "unsafe" Russian technology, the ratio of launches to accidents have shown these systems to be one of the safest long-term systems in the industry to date. The designs have also been continually improved throughout their service life.
    • The enormous N-1 super-heavy launch vehicle and moon rocket that was the Soviet counterpart to the US's Saturn V both averts this trope, in that all four test flights ended in explosive failures, as well as plays this straight in some of the things that carried on from the N-1. The Soviet moon rocket was an enormously complicated rocket with 30 engines in its first stage alone, and there was never enough money and time (the Soviets having accomplished their feats of spaceflight on a significantly smaller budget than the American space program) to iron out the faults, with none of the test flights having went beyond the first stage. But while the N-1 never had a single success, the engines developed for it, the NK-33 and NK-43, are marvels, that after sitting in a warehouse for decades when the Soviet lunar program was cancelled, astounded the West with their phenomenal performance characteristics. It and its derivatives are now going on to be used in rockets of Russian and American designs.
    • The Soviets were leaders in long-term space habitation, and this shows with their achievements and their space stations.
    • The Buran orbiter, while resembling simply a larger copy of the American Space Shuttle, was actually a far superior spacecraft. It used a different launch and propulsion system, advanced avionics that allowed it to operate unmanned from launch, payload delivery, to landing, and, quite critically and very much against the typical Soviet stereotypes, greater provisions for crew safety than its American counterpart. Too bad budget cuts meant it never got to do any manned spaceflights, having completed only one unmanned mission, before it was mothballed when the Soviet Union collapsed. The only complete Buran orbiter was destroyed in 2002 when its storage hanger collapsed in a storm, putting an end to what was the most advanced reusable heavy launch system ever developed.
  • The Soviets attempted to develop a "Badger Bomber", a plane that could also burrow. While it could take off from underground, it couldn't burrow from the air without destroying itself. Had absolutely nothing to do with the conventional jet bomber with the NATO reporting name "Badger".
  • Inadvertently spawned by an Australian History Exam in which a BattleTech 'Mech storms the Winter Palace in 1917.
  • Some people in the West believed it well enough to attempt to use it for their own goals — such as the aborted attempt to develop a supersonic business jet in 1991 between Sukhoi OKB and Gulfstream.
    • And don't even get us started on the amount of charlatanism being pushed in the post-Soviet Russia using this premise...
  • The Soviets also built several weird locomotives, such as a 4-14-4 (longest rigid locomotive in Europe), a steam-diesel locomotive, and the high-pressure steam locomotive V5. After the death of Stalin, the locomotive industry settled for Boring, but Practical.
  • While not exactly super-science now, the Soviet TT-26 teletank was technically the first remote controlled Attack Drone built.
  • There have also been several real-life inversions of the trope wherein Soviet technology is vastly underestimated only to turn out surprisingly better in ways Western intelligence hadn't even considered. For example, for much of the latter half of the Cold War the R-73 was assumed to have been inferior to the AIM-9 Sidewindernote  — until NATO got their hands on their first copies of the non-export-version R-73. They were stunned at how good it was. It was far more agile than the AIM-9, with a much wider seeker arc, and the helmet sight (which the Soviets also fielded before NATO) offered a huge advantage in a dogfight. The one advantage NATO had was in seeker computer tech, since the R-73's was rather crude — but this was little comfort, since when they tested their own far more advanced Sidewinders on Soviet decoys they found that for all its high tech seeker, the AIM-9 was still really easy to decoy with the dirty-burning Russian flares. It should have been better, but in a serious technological oversight the Sidewinder's developers had optimized the missile seeker to discriminate NATO flares, not cruder Russian ones. It led to a huge crisis of confidence — ironically, a reaction more in line with the trope played straight — and a significant push by NATO air forces to catch up in this area (with the American AIM-9X and British ASRAAM basically having the design requirement of being able to do everything the R-73 could), the fruits of which we are seeing today.
  • There exists one field where Russia is agreed, by experts on both sides of the Iron Curtain, to have maintained industrial supremacy since the fall of the Tsar, and that is the manufacture of precision optical instruments. Other nations may best Russia in their design, but when it comes to making high-end optics that have already been designed, Russia has 95% market-share. There are only 3 manufacturers in the entire world that produce the large mirrors and lenses used in the telescopes of astronomical observatories; one in Russia (Lytkarino Optical Glass Factory, abbreviated LZOS in Russian), one in Germany (Schott AG), and one in France (known until 2005 as SAGEM for "Société d’Applications Générales de l’Électricité et de la Mécanique". In '05 they merged with French aerospace company SNECMA to form Safran, and the new name for the division that makes optical components is RÉOSC for "Recherche et Étude en Optique et Sciences Connexes"). But the German firm only manufactures the rough blanks, and doesn't have the required personnel or materiel for precision-grinding needed to machine the glass to the extremely tight tolerances needed for telescope mirrors. The French firm can't make the rough blanks, they can only do the precision grinding with already-casted roughs. The Russian factory is the only facility in the world that does both processes in a single factory. Moreover, St. Petersburg (formerly known as Leningrad and prior to that as Petrograd) has an optical-instruments manufacturer known as LOMO, which is, to this day, widely regarded as one of the finest builders of telescopes, cameras, and medical optical instruments in the world. There is a very good reason why so many gun owners insist on fitting their firearms with Russian optics.
    • Recently, Russia consolidated much of its optical industry, including LOMO, LZOS and UOMZ (Ural Optical-Mechanical Plant) into one umbrella company and rebranded it as a "Schwabe holding", named after a Swiss optician Theodor Schwabe who opened a first optical lab producing first domestic Russian glasses and telescopes in Moscow in 1837, which, through a number of reacquisitions, mergers and bureaucratic reshuffles became a predecessor to the current UOMZ plant, an anchor part of the company. Since then Schwabe group developed a rather aggressive market policy, trying to expand into new markets and acquire new subsidiaries in such disparate fields as medical tech and automotive and airplane engines. For example, it currently holds a large part of European market for the baby incubators, due to the long-established expertise UOMZ has in producing them.note 
  • One of the key technologies of the Lockheed-Martin's F-35B STOVL fighter, the afterburning vectoring nozzle of its PW F135-400 engine, was actually developed in the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War for the Soviet Yak-141 VTOL fighter. Lockheed and Yakovlev briefly collaborated in the early Nineties, and Yakovlev sold them much of its know-how, including the full set of documentation on the cancelled Yak-141. And it doesn't just extends to the nozzle — if you compare the two jets, the similarity is pretty uncanny.
  • This actually extends back to the Imperial era.
    • The Fedorov Avtomat is technically the first assault rifle (or something very close to it), as they fire medium-powered 6.5mm Arisaka rounds.
    • The first ever prototype for Powered Armor was developed by Nikolai Yagin in 1890.
    • Before the Russian Revolution and his subsequent departure to the United States, Igor Sikorsky designed the first four-engine airliner "Russky Vityaz", and the first heavy bomber "Ilya Muromets". The latter resulted in one of Russia's current Tu-160 "Blackjack" strategic bombers (all 35 of which are individually named after famous Russians) being named "Igor Sikorsky". This created some controversy, because Sikorsky is much more famous (even in Russia) for his development of American helicopters than for his Russian bomber.
  • Honorable mention should go to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, a self-taught rocket scientist who developed the principles of spaceflight long before Oberth and Goddard. Unfortunately despite being lauded in Soviet propaganda later in life, his role was minimal because few people outside Russia knew about his work.
    • Except for the one chap called Sergei Korolev... and hence we get Tsiolkovsky sharing the prime spot on the ISS Zvezda bulkhead with none less than Gagarin].
  • In 1968, the Soviets made Kitty, the first All-CGI Cartoon.
  • In 1959, Soviet geneticist Belyaev started to research the genetics of foxes behavior, and noticed that foxes attitude toward humans seems to be hereditary (programmed by specific mutation of Sor CS 1 gene, albeit it wasn't known at that time). By years of careful selection, Soviet biologists were able to create a specific breed of human-friendly, completely domesticated foxes, who became a popular pets in Soviet Union (and now in the West also).