On December 7th, 1988 Armenia was hit with a powerful 7.2 earthquake destroying the city of Spitak and 58 villages. Such cities as Leninakan, Stepanavan, Kirovakan, as well as other 300 villages, were partially destroyed. The earthquake killed at least 25,000 people; 514,000 lost their homes. Geologists and earthquake engineering experts laid the blame on the poorly built support structures of apartments and
other buildings built during the 'stagnation' era of Leonid Brezhnev. The Soviet Union was harshly criticized for its inability to carry out rescue operations. The country was not ready for a catastrophe of this kind. It's been over 20 years since the deadly tremor, however, a lot of Armenian people still have to live in temporary metal structures called 'small houses'.
From September, 15th till September, 27th, 1959, Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, paid an official visit to the Unites States of America, first visit in the
history of Soviet-American relations. Total number of journalists covering the event was estimated at 5,000 which was an absolute record at that time. Below are photographs by Hank Walker.
In the Soviet time, Kharkov was one of the most important scientific and research centers of the country. Numerous institutes of higher education, both civil and military, large factories and research institutes worked for the benefit of the Soviet Union and Soviet people. After the disintegration of the USSR, the independent countries were too weak to support scientific researchers and preferred to turn to corruption and theft.
Best Soviet scientists and engineers who found themselves to be needless in their countries, began moving to the west, one after another. As a result, factories and research institutes became abandoned and army lost its power. During these years of shock and chaos, one of the best scientific objects of the Soviet Union, the Ionospheric Research Station of Zmiev, came to almost a complete stop.