Part 1 | New Man and Great Terror

Part 2 | Great War and New Dreams

Part 3 | Superpower and Supergau

Author & Director:
Martin Huebner | Juergen Ast

Commissioning Editor:
Alexander Roth | Jens Stubenrauch

3 x 52' | 3 x 45'

Daniel Ast | Juergen Ast

astfilm productions | MDR | RBB // ARTE | ARD

The Soviet Union. Unimaginable land masses stretching over two continents and across several climatic and 11 time zones. One sixth of the earth. The Soviet Union - one of the largest empires in the history of mankind, the largest in the XX century. Unprecedented in every respect, not only topographically. A multi-ethnic state, consisting of 15 Soviet republics. The Soviet Union. An unprecedented experiment that wanted to create the new man, a new form of society. A project that was bought with the death of millions of people. In 1922 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was founded, in 1991 after 69 years it was dissolved.

The first episode tells about the first two decades. Foundation and awakening in the 1920s and 30s. Status quo and utopias, the "new man" in a new country. Dream and terror. Forced collectivization, industrialization and megalomania. It traces the triumphs and tragedies, the upheavals and developments up to the Hitler-Stalin Pact in 1939 and the consequent conquests of Polish and Baltic territories.

The second part looks at the history of the Soviet Union from the beginning of the war in 1941 to the end of the 1960s. It tells about the so-called "Great Patriotic War", about Stalin, about the rise to a superpower, but also about how Stalin's successor Khrushchev tried to give the country new impetus. A bizarre career of an unpredictable man. Successor Brezhnev, as a cool pragmatist and tough Cold Warrior, will set other accents.

Part 3 reconstructs the last two decades of the USSR. The revolutionary energy with which the country was once founded still does not seem to be completely exhausted. There is still idealism and the élan of the patriots. But there is also stagnation and agony. Gorbachev is setting a new course. The empire was to be reformed with glasnost and perestroika. But all attempts to save the country failed, and the process of erosion could no longer be stopped. The centrifugal forces become ever greater. In 1991, the collapse.