The Cold War was basically the U.S. and Russia playing a long game of chicken, only instead of cars, they were driving entire continents. It's a miracle we lived through it at all, considering how aggressively anti-communist the U.S. was, and how aggressively hardcore Russia is, and always has been. For example ...
5Stalin Sent 6,000 People To "Cannibal Island." Oh Yeah, He Also Created "Cannibal Island"
Can you believe that both poor people and petty criminals had the unbelievable gall to exist in 1930s Russia? If people were to see all those undesirables, why, they might think that communism wasn't actually a perfect utopia. Something had to be done, and seeing as Soylent Green hadn't yet been invented, Stalin decided on the next best thing: Cannibal Island.
via Historias Perdida Senel Tiempo
"Let them eat
cake each other."
In 1933, 6,114 people classified as "outdated elements," which is both a strangely innocuous name for people so unwelcome they were sentenced to death, as well as a pretty sweet title for our '80s techno band. The outdated elements were sent to Nazino Island in Siberia. 27 of them died on the journey.
They were the smart ones.
Anyone who tried to escape was hunted for sport by the soldiers. There were no shelters or animals on the island, little vegetation, and absolutely no food. It didn't take long for the prisoners to start eating the dead, and then helping the living become the dead a bit faster so they could eat them too. Here's a detailed account of a girl stranded on the island who suffered this very fate, but you shouldn't read it without first looking at pictures of kittens for an hour.
4The KGB Used Castration To Negotiate A Hostage Release
In 1985, members of the pro-Iranian Islamist group Hezbollah kidnapped four Russian diplomatic attaches, in order to force Moscow to pressure Syria to stop killing Shia Muslims in Lebanon. Understanding Middle Eastern politics is like tracking gossip in high school: Stacy said that Mike said that Chad didn't know that Eric-
Whatever. Just nod and go along with it.
Central Intelligence Agency
Iran and Iraq's beef started over who got to ask Oman to prom.
As you'd expect from the country that gave us "Cannibal Island," Russia's response was basically the speech from Taken: Not only will your demands not be met, but you only have a few seconds to apologize before the killing starts. Hezbollah unwisely called Russia's bluff and killed one of the attaches, a man by the name of Arkady Katkov. That's when Russia went a bit Neesony.
The KGB decided to fight fire with fire and did some kidnapping of their own, finding and kidnapping a relative of Hezbollah's Shia leader. Here's how you'd expect the scenario to unfold: Having obtained serious leverage, the KGB demands the release of the Russian hostages in exchange for the safety of their own hostage. That's a pretty hardcore tactic, but it's nowhere near Russian-core. Instead of a careful game of threats and negotiation, the KGB just pre-emptively castrated their hostage, then sent his severed genitals to Hezbollah, along with an entirely superfluous photograph of the man being shot in the head.
"Feel free to use the contents to teabag yourselves."
Hezbollah released the remaining hostages immediately.