Hearts Of Iron IV: Soviet Union Guide

Fellow comrade, you have been called to action to take command of the mighty Red Army. This Hearts of Iron IV Soviet guide will help provide you with some essential guidance and tips to help secure world domination under a communist sphere of influence. So, what are you waiting for? Read on, and see how you can faithfully serve General Secretary Stalin.

Hearts Of Iron IV: Soviet Union Guide


Novelties aside, the Soviet Union is one of the most entertaining nations to play as in Hearts of Iron IV. With the potential for massive industrial expansion, and perpetual manpower, the following tips should help you to make the Soviet Union an unstoppable force. However, I use a somewhat different tactic to a lot of players, so the advice I provide may not be your cup of tea, but I have found it gets effective results, particularly against the Axis forces. With this, you may be wondering what the guide is actually about? Well, the tips will provide you with the basic knowledge as to how the Soviet Union works, and some strategies that I have found effective, which you can attempt to apply during your games. Therefore, lets proceed into the guide.  

Check out my other nation guides. I’ve also released France Guide, Communist China Guide, The Netherlands Guide, and German Reich Guide. Also, let me know what nation you would like to see in my next guide in the pool below.


General Advice

When playing as the Soviet Union in Hearts of Iron IV, there are some rules that I recommend following, even if you decide not to adopt my military tactics. These rules will help your game run smoother and increase your chances onto securing world domination. Please note, this guide focuses more so on the defeat of the Axis forces in Europe, and only touches very lightly on Japan. I plan to do a future guide, giving tips on how to defeat Japan in Hearts of Iron IV.


Hearts Of Iron IV: Soviet Union Guide - Comrade Josef Stalin

  1. The Soviet-German Research Pact, Great Purge, and Molotov-Ribberntrop Pact must be followed, as you obtain a higher national unity, research bonuses on medium tanks, and take Eastern Poland after the Germans invade Poland in 1939. 
  2. In your national focus tree, you should go down the ‘Positive Heroism’ root as opposed to the ‘Collectivist Propaganda’ as you get Konstantin Rokossovsky (Armor Genius) and higher research reduction times, making you more advanced by the time you go to war in 1941. 
  3. You must rival the German Luftwaffe (air force) to ensure you have air superiority, which is important no matter what land doctrine you go down. 
  4. You must focus on the construction of civilian factories before military factories to ensure your construction speeds of other buildings are speedy. 

National Focus and Political Power

As previously stated, I highly recommend that you go down the ‘Positive Heroism‘ side of the national focus tree, as you get access to Konstantin Rokossovsky, and lesser research times. Although, you miss out on 15% national unity, the ability to research technology quicker will give you a significant advantage over your foes. In terms of the order you should do your national focus tree, here is what I have found works best for me. But, not the picture of course.


Hearts Of Iron IV: Soviet Union Guide - You must accept the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to ensure you obtain Eastern Poland

  1. Stalin Constitution 
  2. Finish the Five Year Plan 
  3. Armament Effort
  4. Positive Heroism 
  5. Progress Cult
  6. Socialist Science 
  7. Extra Research Slot
  8. Transpolar Flights
  9. Great Purge
  10. Improve Railway Network
  11. An Ocean Going Navy 
  12. Found the PCDI
  13. Anti-Facist Diplomacy Root 
  14. NKVD Primacy 
  15. NKVD Divisions 
  16. Lessons of War

I think when playing the Soviet Union in Hearts of Iron IV, it’s best to leave the Great Purge till a little bit later, as it essential to get some technology researched and a strong industry built up. This is so you’re not totally unprepared when the Axis invaded you in 1941. Additionally, I have decided to go down the NKVD root, instead of the ‘Rehabilitated Military’, as the NKVD root gives divisions greater organisation, which is important for the military tactic I will explain later.

Hearts Of Iron IV: Soviet Union Guide - Hitler will be ranting well before 1945 if you follow these tips


Moreover, here is a list of how you should spend your political power, on advisors and laws etc. The following recommendations are based on my military tactics, which you can find a little bit further in the guide. I will not list every single one, but the ones I feel you should go for first.

  1. War Economy (as soon as you can as world tension needs to be at a certain level)
  2. Captain of Industry 
  3. Stalingrad Tractor Factory
  4. Free Trade 
  5. MiG
  6. Tula Arms Factory 
  7. Morozov Design Bureau
  8. Konstantin Rokossovsky (do the rest of the military staff after the Great Purge)

Hearts Of Iron IV: Soviet Union Guide - The main interface of the game
Overall, if you follow this procedure for your national focuses and political power spending, you cannot go wrong; you build up a formidable industry and have a modern army by the time the Axis invade you. In addition, it is very important to note that you cannot leave the ‘Great Purge’ to late, or else it will ignite a civil war, which allows you to bring Leon Trotsky back, which I will try and explain in a future guide. I will explain what you should do during the ‘Great Purge’ below. 

The Great Stalinist Purge

Unfortunately whilst playing as the Soviet Union in Hearts of Iron IV, you have to deal with Stalin’s Great Purge. Once the purge is completed, you will suffer some penalties such as longer research time, due to purged officers, but once that runs out you can capitalise on the military might of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Here is the three choices I recommend choosing during the Great Purge:

  1. Khrushchev dabbled with Trotskyism in the past. He must go (this choice is the easiest as Khrushchev is pretty irrelevant).
  2. Tukhachevsky refuses to confess, but cannot be allowed to live (if you decide to go down the Collectivist Propaganda root, I’d recommend choosing the first option).
  3. The navy and air force have been getting off easier so far (navy and air advisors not very important in comparison to division recovery).

Research in brief

By having an advanced military, this will give you an upper hand over the enemy. So, here is a list of priorities for your research:

  1. Electronic Mechanical Engineering (do this part of the tree as you go on, as you get research deduction bonuses)
  2. Industry (concentrated industry and construction before anything else)
  3. Land Doctrine (superior firepower – see next section for more details)
  4. Air Doctrine (operational integrity as it minimises your plane loss)
  5. Tanks (medium tanks as soon as possible, bonuses come from research treaty with Germany)
  6. Artillery (important for my recommended military strategy – see next section for more details)
  7. Division equipment and different divisions (logistic company useful)

Dealing With Hitler and the axis

This is where my military tactics come in. Unlike many other players who will focus upon ‘Mobile Warfare’ or the ‘Mass Assault’ land doctrines, I favour ‘Superior Firepower’. As stated previously in the guide, you should place a lot of emphasis on civilian factories. This is so you can construct level-four land forts across the entire border (including the border with Japan and her puppet states), once you have secured Eastern Poland from the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and the Baltic States from the anti-facist diplomacy. Although this may seem a bit odd, placing these land forts will mean the Axis forces will attack you with no luck. Therefore, their manpower will massively deplete, causing divisions to simply disappear due to losing all of their HP. Be careful though – if you build to higher level land forts, the forces will simply not attack, defeating the object of this strategy. But, I do recommend building level five land forts on the southern part of the front-line, particularly around Romania, as the Axis sometimes break through.

Furthermore, you must make sure you have artillery units in your divisions (or support artillery at the very least). This is the main reason I go down the ‘Superior Firepower’ land doctrine as you get these vital bonuses, which help in your victory against the Axis.  


Hearts Of Iron IV: Soviet Union Guide - Make sure you rival the Axis air force, as air superiority is key


Alongside artillery, this is where your air force is particularly important. You must ensure that you have air superiority so that the Axis forces do not break through your front line. It is important to note that, that once enemy divisions start to break through your front line, it means only one thing – defeat – as your divisions will god onto tiles with no forts constructed on them. However, if you build a considerable air force before 1941, focusing more so on fighters and close air support, you should be totally fine.


Before you proceed your main attack, you need to ensure all of the Axis forces nations have their conscription policies on the highest possible. With this, your divisions will simply progress immediately, seeing the Red Army waltz straight into Berlin. Moreover, be sure to have your plans drawn up early, so your Generals can plan their attacks in plenty of time. In addition, this is one of the key reasons I recommend going down the ‘Positive Heroism’ root, as you get access to the tank genius Konstantin Rokossovsky, which allows you to make better use of your tanks; by accepting the German-Soviet Research Treaty, you get access to research bonuses on medium tanks, which you must research as soon as possible! During your attack on the Axis, make use of your tanks by pushing deep into enemy territory and cutting off divisions, which allow you to encircle enemy troops, making your attack more efficient. Oh yes, how could I forget? Here is some music for the destruction of the Axis…


National Anthem of USSR

Well, that’s my military tactic in a concise nutshell. It’s pretty straightforward, but guarantees you an easier victory and minimal casualties, saving your manpower. Like I say, having artillery in your division templates, air superiority and waiting for the Axis manpower to deplete is the key to success whilst using this strategy.    

Final Tips   

To summarise, the Soviet Union in Hearts of Iron IV is one of the easiest, but most enjoyable countries to play as. Once you get past the Great Purge, the Axis should be no bother at all – particularly with my military tactic. Of course, the Allies will be a lot harder, so it may be worth making countries in Eastern Europe puppet states to help with the future conflict.

For more guides on Hearts of Iron IV, be sure to check out its game page.


  1. Well i tried this ‘tactic’ of lvl 4 forts all the way to romania border, from there lvl 5 forts towards the coast… had 220+ divisions manning the forts and the germans cut through them like butter anyway. Have 7/2 infantry template with engineers, had air superiority while they broke through too!

  2. Can you do a Canada and Brazil guide?

  3. Fun Fact: If you switch to the “Superior Firepower” doctrine and install the unique Armor Genius advisor BEFORE you complete the Great Purge, he actually gets killed instead of the Mass Assault expert Tukhachevsky.

    So your guide actually hampered my playthrough, since I lost the single aspect of the “Positive Heroism” route that made it more worthwhile than Collectivist Propaganda.

  4. Is it a good idea to leave few titles to Axis so I could build my forts behind rivers?

    • Hm, that seems like a good idea. Perhaps give a go on a playthrough and see how it goes.

  5. lol The fact that anyone would need a strategy game to beat brain-dead AI is hilarious.

  6. Communism will win

  7. Hey comrade Ulyatt, what a great Soviet strategy – works just fine against Axis in 1941!



    And here’s a couple of additional options I’ve stumbled upon in my later runs for the USSR:



    1) Why not wipe out Poland as soon as you can fabricate a claim in 1937 (and why not have your Purge focus finished by that time)? With this little war over in early 1937, you’ll need no Molotov-Ribbentrop later, and can go down to the second additional research slot as early as 1938. And, at the beginning of the war, you’ll be 10 tiles from Berlin, not in Belorussia.



    2) Border forts work fine in 1941, yes, but hey, instead of each level 5 fort you can build a military factory somewhere in Siberia, right? So why not focus on military factories in late 1938, and then use them to add just one company of Medium Armor to every infantry division? You’ll need just 10K MArmor for 200 infantry divisions, and this will give your infantry a massive Armor stat boost, to 30-something. Most Axis troops in 1941 will have a Piercing stat of around 5-10, and this means your infantry’s armor will be absolutely inpenetrable for the Germans. As a result, 3-4 Soviet infantry divisions will hold any border tile just fine without any forts and no matter what Axis throw at them: they will lose organisation several times slower than the Germans. Plus, unlike forts, these tanks and military factories will be serving the Union no matter where you fight later.



    3) the Union is probably the most fun country to play, sure. For one, with the 1937 German tech treaty, you can actually have T54 modern armor researched in late 1941. Just research the second Light Armor in 1936, then start researching 1st Medium Armor in 1937 just before signing the treaty, then you’ll have your 2 MArmor bonuses from the treaty, and the last one, for T54, from the Great Purge tree.



    Thanks again for the great guide!

    • Hi,



      Thanks for the comment.



      I’m always looking to add to my HOI4 guides, so I’ll be sure to review your feedback and add anything useful to the guide.

  8. Thanks for the post. What do you recommend by the bunkers lvl 5 max with anti air and radar?


    I build almost every time to lvl 10 and always a lose!

    • Hi, thank you for the comment. To ensure I help you, I have a couple of questions. Firstly, how many divisions have you got? And secondly, what division templates are you using? Additionally, you should never build level ten land forts, as the AI will not attack them. The whole point of the above tactic is to defend and let them drain their manpower.

      • Hey thanks , mostly approximately 140 – 160 divisions. With 7 soldiers and 2 artillery for the infantry. (support,medic,reckon,engineer,radio as support.)


        Tanks is 1 or 2 divisions with light tanks. (same as infantry but no reckon but maintenance).


        I am thinking to swap 2 artillery for 1 anti tank and 1 artillery.


        First thing I do when I start the game is retraining all horseman and backup infantry for normal infantry.


        Tried yesterday with bunkers lvl 5 and they breached it in a few months.



        Don’t understand what I am doing wrong.


        Got the basic game without mods or dlc


        Thanks for helping me


      • Hi, sorry for the late reply. Just to check are you playing as the Soviet Union?

      • No probs.


        Yes playing as the Soviet union.

      • Sorry again for the late reply. Check out my France guide under the ‘Division Template’ section as this should help (https://www.keengamer.com/article/20323_hearts-of-iron-iv-france-guide). Please note, I’ll be updating this onto current and new guides as well.

      • And do you recommend the rockets in the sovjet union?

      • I prefer using artillery, but rockets can be used.

  9. Please write your division build / setup for this tutorial.


    Did you build a war factory by the age of 41? Specify when and how many.


    • Hello, thanks for your comment. I will look to add this information on the guide as soon as possible. In the meantime, please be sure to check out our guide for the German Reich (https://www.keengamer.com/article/20176_hearts-of-iron-iv-german-reich-guide) and let me know what you think.

    • Tomáš, try 9 or 12 companies of infantry with Engineers and Recon as a base for defense division. This only holds line in 1941 against Germans when sitting in a level 4 to 7 fort, as per Jack’s strategy above. You’ll need about 168-192 such divisions (7-8 armies) to cover your Western border alone, probably 2-3 more armies to cover Siberia against Japan. After 1941, you’ll have to add 3-4 artillery companies (and, preferably, 1 anti-tank company) to these divisions to actually make it to Berlin.



      Alternatively, just add 1 Medium Armor company (50 tanks) to each of the 168 divisions by 1941, and wipe out the Reich right away, or after a couple of months when the German onslaught wears out against your defenses.



  10. Awesome post could use some similar guide for other nations!

    • Hi, thanks for the comment. Is there any nations you would like me to do?

      • Here’s a couple of ideas for other vanilla game walkthroughs that look promising to me:



        1) Turning Hungary into badass Austria-Hungary per focus tree on the left. Especially fun when demanding lands from Romania with the bottom-left focus and then siding with Italy as a mediator, attacking Romania, then starting a faction with co-belligerent Italy, and later fighting as a faction alongside Mussolini against Hitler!



        2) Playing a big bad Romania, with dividing Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and turning Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey into puppets.



        3) Having an alternative reality German 1936 Revolution, with huge democratic German faction, alternative to Allies, and later creating the European Union in 1940s.



        4) Conquering Benelux as far-right/ far-left Belgium or Netherlands, then fending off the Nazis until the US come to your help.



        5) Boosting communism in France and the US as the Soviet Spain or the USSR, and then creating the communist juggernaut faction by 1941.



        Yes, this game is just brilliant, offering countess opportunities to create an alternative history.

      • I particularly like ideas 1 and 4 and will look into writing these at some point. Keep an eye though, as I’m working on some guides for Japan, the German Empire, and nations in the Kaiserreich mod.

      • GE sounds great, show us the Kaiserine, and the HRE) Japan was always a bit too much micromanagement for me though, as with all island nations/ US, with all these naval invasions.



        For Kaiserreich I’d love to see a united Italy, or a successful Mittelafrika.



      • Yeah, that would be good. I’ll keep you posted on the guide’s progress. Additionally, please be sure to check out the France guide and let me know your thoughts (https://www.keengamer.com/article/20323_hearts-of-iron-iv-france-guide).

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