July 14 in Russian history

The romantic story behind USSR’s most feared WWII weapon and Russia’s most successful anti-alcohol campaign are recalled in tonight’s Historama.

­Deadly weapon named after Russian girl

Today in 1941 the Soviet Army first unleashed its legendary multiple-rocket launcher nicknamed “Katyusha.”

The weapon was accurate and very fast – it could launch 16 missiles in 20 seconds. Its volleys had a devastating impact on the Wehrmacht.

“Katyusha” is in fact a diminutive-form of the Russian girls’ name, “Ekaterina.”

It is thought a popular war song about a girl waiting for a soldier to come home gave its name to the devastating war machine.

­Russia declares war on the bottle

A Society of Sobriety was created in Moscow on this day 110 years ago.

Its members tried to tackle Russia’s infamous problem with the bottle.

Public talks and debates were held regularly. The society also tried to control booze sales.

The subsidies paid by Moscow’s authorities were not in vain. The number of alcoholics and all that goes with them, such as drunken brawls, decreased noticeably.

Read more on this day in Russian history

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