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Encyclopedia > Great Purge

The Great Purge (Russian: Большая чистка, transliterated Bolshaya chistka) refers collectively to several related campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin during the 1930s, which removed all of his remaining opposition from power.[1] It involved the purge of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the persecution of unaffiliated persons, both occurring within a period characterized by omnipresent police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and killings. In the West the term "the Great Terror" was popularized after the title of Robert Conquest's The Great Terror, which in its turn is inspired by the period of the Great Terror (French: la Grande Terreur) at the end of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. For romanization of Russian on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Romanization of Russian. ... Political repression is the oppression or persecution of an individual or group for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take part in the political life of society. ... Look up Persecution in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Georgian: , Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jughashvili; Russian: , Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) (December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878[1] – March 5, 1953), better known by his adopted name, Joseph Stalin (alternatively transliterated Josef Stalin), was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Unions Central Committee from... The first major purge of the Communist Party ranks (or simply executions, Russian: – cleansing) was performed by Bolsheviks as early as 1921. ... Dr. George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15, 1917), British historian, became one of the best-known writers on the Soviet Union with the publication, in 1968, of his account of Stalins purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. ... The Great Terror: A Reassessment by Robert Conquest The Great Terror is the title of a book by British writer Robert Conquest, published in 1968. ... For the Doctor Who British TV serial, see The Reign of Terror (Doctor Who). ... The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on...

Contents

Introduction

The term "repression" was officially used to denote the prosecution of people considered as anti-revolutionaries and enemies of the people. The purge was motivated by the desire on the part of the leadership to remove dissident elements from the Party and what is often considered to have been a desire to consolidate the authority of Joseph Stalin. Additional campaigns of repression were carried out against social groups which were believed, or at least were accused, acting for ulterior political motives or to have opposed the Soviet state and the politics of the Communist Party. Criminal law (also known as penal law) is the body of law that regulates governmental sanctions (such as imprisonment and/or fines) as retaliation for crimes against the social order. ... For the play by Henrik Ibsen, see An Enemy of the People. ... Josef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Georgian: , Ioseb Besarionis Dze Jughashvili; Russian: , Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) (December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878[1] – March 5, 1953), better known by his adopted name, Joseph Stalin (alternatively transliterated Josef Stalin), was General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Unions Central Committee from... For other uses, see Politics (disambiguation). ... In modern usage, the term communist party is generally used to identify any political party which has adopted communist ideology. ...


Also, a number of purges were officially explained as an elimination of the possibilities of sabotage and espionage, in view of an expected war with Germany. Most public attention was focused on the purge of the leadership of the Communist Party itself, as well as of government bureaucrats and leaders of the armed forces, the vast majority being Party members. Purge, in Communist Party political slang, is an abbreviation of the expression purge of the Party ranks. ... A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy, usually within an institution of the government. ... Alternate cover US 1979 and 2002 reissue cover, also known as paint spatter cover For the military meaning, see Armed forces. ...


However, the campaigns affected many other categories of the society: intelligentsia, peasants and especially those branded as "too rich for a peasant" (kulaks), and professionals. A series of NKVD (the Soviet secret police) operations affected a number of national minorities, accused of being "fifth column" communities. The collectivisation campaign in the USSR, 1930s. ... The NKVD (Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del  ) (Russian: , ) or Peoples Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the leading secret police organization of the Soviet Union that was responsible for political repressions during Stalinism. ... A fifth column is a group of people which clandestinely undermines a larger group to which it is expected to be loyal, such as a nation. ...


According to Khrushchev's 1956 speech, On the Personality Cult and its Consequences and more recent findings, many of the accusations, including those presented at Moscow show trials, were based on forced confessions and on loose interpretations of Article 58 (RSFSR Penal Code), which dealt with counter-revolutionary crimes. Due legal process, as defined by the Soviet law in force at the time, was often largely replaced with summary proceedings by NKVD troikas. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (Russian: , Nikita Sergeevič Chruščiov; IPA: , in English, , or , occasionally ); surname more accurately romanized as Khrushchyov[1]; April 17 [O.S. April 5] 1894[2]–September 11, 1971) was the chief director of the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. ... On the Personality Cult and its Consequences (Russian: ), commonly known as the Secret Speech was a report to the 20th Party Congress on February 25, 1956 by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, in which he denounced the actions of Joseph Stalin. ... The Moscow Trials were a series of trials of political opponents of Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge. ... A forced confession is a confession obtained by a suspect or a prisoner under means of torture of some kind, or duress. ... Article 58 of the Russian SFSR Penal Code was put in force on February 25, 1927 to arrest those suspected of counter-revolutionary activities. ... What does it mean? The Russian word troika (threesome, triumvirate) denoted commissions of three persons as an additional instrument of extrajudicial punishment (внесудебная расправа, внесудебное преследование) introduced to supplement the legal system with a means for quick punishment of anti-Soviet elements. ...


Several hundred thousand victims were executed by shooting and millions were forcibly resettled. Many were imprisoned and tortured or sent to labor camps, both functioning as part of the GULAG system. Many died at the labor camps due to starvation, disease, exposure and overwork. The Great Purge was started under the NKVD chief Genrikh Yagoda, but the height of the campaigns occurred while the NKVD was headed by Nikolai Yezhov, from September 1936 to August 1938; this period is sometimes referred to as the Yezhovshchina ("Yezhov era"). However the campaigns were carried out according to the general line, and often by direct orders, of the Party Politburo headed by Stalin. World War I firing squad Execution by shooting is a form of capital punishment whereby an executed person is shot by a firearm or firearms. ... Involuntary settlements in the Soviet Union took several forms. ... Gulag ( , Russian: ) was the government body responsible for administering prison camps across the former Soviet Union. ... This article is about extreme malnutrition. ... This article is about the medical term. ... Genrikh Yagoda Genrikh Grigorevich Yagoda (Russian: ; born Yenokh (Enoch) Gershonovich Ieguda (Russian: )[1]; 1891 – March 15, 1938) was the head of the NKVD, the Soviet secret police, from 1934 to 1936. ... Yezhov along Moscow-Volga channel. ... The Politburo (in Russian: Политбюро, full: Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, abbriviated Политбюро ЦК КПСС), known as the Presidium from 1952 to 1966, functioned as the central policymaking and governing body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. ...


Large-scale politically motivated killing of this type gave rise to modern terms, such as "democide" and "politicide". Democide is a term coined by political scientist R. J. Rummel for the murder of any person or people by a government, including genocide, politicide, and mass murder. Rummel created the term as an extended concept to include forms of government murder that are not covered by the legal definition... Politicide is a punk band formed in the early 80s. ...


Background

The term "purge" in Soviet political slang was an abbreviation of the expression purge of the Party ranks. In 1933, for example, some 400,000 people were expelled from the Party. But from 1936 until 1953, the term changed its meaning, because being expelled from the Party came to mean almost certain arrest, imprisonment, or even execution. In history and political science, to purge is to remove undesirable people from a government, political party, profession, or from community/society as a whole, usually by violent means. ... CCCP redirects here. ... Slang is the use of highly informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speakers dialect or language. ... Purge, in Communist Party political slang, is an abbreviation of the expression purge of the Party ranks. ...


The political purge was primarily an effort by the center faction of the Party, led by Stalin, to eliminate opposition from the Party's left and right wings, led by Leon Trotsky and Nikolai Bukharin, respectively. Following the Civil War and reconstruction of the Soviet economy in the late 1920s, the "temporary" wartime dictatorship which had passed from Lenin to Stalin seemed no longer necessary to veteran Communists. Stalin's opponents on both sides of the political spectrum chided him as undemocratic and lax on bureaucratic corruption. These tendencies may have accumulated substantial support among the working class by attacking the privileges and luxuries the state offered to its high-paid elite. The Ryutin Affair seemed to vindicate the fears of Stalin's clique. He therefore initiated a ban on party factions and banned those party members who had opposed him, effectively ending democratic centralism. In the new form of Party organization, the Politburo, and Stalin in particular, were the sole dispensers of communist ideology. This necessitated the elimination of all Marxists with different views, especially those among the prestigious "old guard" of revolutionaries. Communist heroes like Tukhachevsky and Béla Kun, as well as Lenin's entire politburo, were shot for minor disagreements in policy. The NKVD were equally merciless towards the supporters, friends, and family of these heretical Marxists, whether they lived in Russia or not. The most infamous case is that of Leon Trotsky, whose family was almost annihilated, before he himself was killed in Mexico by NKVD agent Ramón Mercader, who was part of an assassination task force put together by Special Agent Pavel Sudoplatov, under the personal orders of Joseph Stalin.[2] Leon Trotsky (Russian:  , Lev Davidovich Trotsky, also transliterated Leo, Lyev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij, Trockij and Trotzky) (November 7 [O.S. October 26] 1879 – August 21, 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein (), was a Ukrainian-born Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. ... Nikolai Bukharin Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (Russian: ), (October 9 [O.S. September 27] 1888 â€“ March 15, 1938) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and intellectual, and later a Soviet politician. ... Combatants Local Soviet powers led by Russian SFSR and Red Army Far Eastern Republic Chinese Volunteers White Movement Allied Intervention: Japan Czechoslovakia Greece  United States  Canada Serbia Romania  Turkey UK  France Foreign volunteers: Polish Italian Local nationalist movements, national states, and decentralist movements  German Empire  Mongolia Warlords Commanders Vladimir Lenin... The Ryutin Affair was a serious indication of the extent of the opposition to aspects of Stalins policies. ... Democratic centralism is the name given to the principles of internal organization used by Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a political party. ... Marshal of the Soviet Union Mikhail Tukhachevsky Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky (also spelled Tukhachevski, Tukhachevskii, Russian: Михаил Николаевич Тухачевский) (February 16, 1893 - June 12, 1937), Soviet military... Béla Kun Béla Kun (born Béla Kohn) (February 20, 1886, in Szilágycseh, today Cehu Silvaniei, Transylvania, Romania, died August 29, 1938 in the Soviet Union) was a Hungarian Communist politician, who ruled Hungary for a brief period in 1919. ... Jaume Ramon Mercader del Rio Hernández (February 7, 1914 – October 18, 1978) was a Catalan Communist who served as a foreign agent of the NKVD during Joseph Stalins time as ruler of the Soviet Union. ... Pavel Sudoplatov 1907 - 1996 Pavel Sudoplatov (1907 - September, 1996) was a member of the intelligence services of the Soviet Union who rose to the rank of major general. ...


Another official justification was to remove any possible "fifth column" in case of a war, but this is less substantiated by independent sources. This is the theory proposed by Vyacheslav Molotov, a member of the Stalinist ruling circle, who participated in the Stalinist repression as a member of the Politburo and who signed many death warrants. Stalin's vehemence in eliminating political opponents may have had some basis in, and was definitely given official justification by, the need to solidify Russia against her neighbors, most notably Germany and Japan, whose governments had previously invaded, and now openly threatened, Soviet territory. A famous quote of Stalin's is "We are 50 or 100 years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this lag in 10 years. Either we do it, or they crush us." The Communist Party also wanted to eliminate what it perceived as "socially dangerous elements", such as ex-kulaks, ex-"nepmen", former members of opposing political parties such as the Social Revolutionaries, and former Tzarist officials. A fifth column is a group of people which clandestinely undermines a larger group to which it is expected to be loyal, such as a nation. ... For other uses, see Molotov (disambiguation). ... Socialist-Revolutionary election poster, 1917. ...


Repression against perceived enemies of the Bolsheviks had been a systematic method of instilling fear and facilitating social control, being continuously applied by Lenin since the October Revolution[1], although there had been periods of heightened repression, such as the Red Terror, the deportation of kulaks who opposed collectivization, and (it is claimed) the Holodomor. A distinctive feature of the Great Purge was that, for the first time, the ruling party itself underwent repressions on a massive scale. Nevertheless, only a minority of those affected by the purges were Communist Party members and office-holders.[3] The purge of the Party was accompanied by the purge of the whole society. The following events are used for the demarcation of the period. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin ( Russian: Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин  listen?), original surname Ulyanov (Улья́нов) ( April 22 (April 10 ( O.S.)), 1870 – January 21, 1924), was a... For other uses, see October Revolution (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Red Terror (disambiguation). ... Nikolai Getman, Moving out Dekulakization (Russian: раскулачивание) was the Soviet campaign of political repressions, including arrests, deportations, and executions of millions of the better-off peasants and their families in 1929-1932. ... Traditional farming In Imperial Russia, the Stolypin Reform was aimed at the development of capitalism in agriculture by giving incentives for creation of large farms. ... Child victim of the Holodomor The Ukrainian famine (1932-1933), or Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомор), was one of the largest national catastrophes of the Ukrainian nation in modern history with direct loss of human life in the range of millions (estimates vary). ...

The Moscow Trials were a series of trials of political opponents of Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge. ... What does it mean? The Russian word troika (threesome, triumvirate) denoted commissions of three persons as an additional instrument of extrajudicial punishment (внесудебная расправа, внесудебное преследование) introduced to supplement the legal system with a means for quick punishment of anti-Soviet elements. ... Article 58 of the Russian SFSR Penal Code was put in force on February 25, 1927 to arrest those suspected of counter-revolutionary activities. ...

The Moscow Trials

Main article: Moscow Trials

Between 1936 and 1938, three huge Moscow Trials of former senior Communist Party leaders were held. The defendants were accused of conspiring with western powers to assassinate Stalin and other Soviet leaders, dismember the Soviet Union and restore capitalism. The Moscow Trials were a series of trials of political opponents of Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge. ...

  • The first trial was of 16 members of the so-called "Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Centre", held in August 1936, at which the chief defendants were Grigory Zinoviev and Lev Kamenev, two of the most prominent former party leaders. Among other accusations, they were incriminated with the assassination of Sergey Kirov and ploting to kill Stalin. All were sentenced to death and executed.
  • The second trial in January 1937 involved 17 lesser figures including Karl Radek, Yuri Piatakov and Grigory Sokolnikov. Thirteen of the defendants were eventually shot. The rest received sentences in labor camps where they soon died.
  • The third trial, in March 1938, included 21 defendants alleged to belong to the so-called "Bloc of Rightists and Trotskyites", led by Nikolai Bukharin, former head of the Communist International, former Prime Minister Alexei Rykov, Christian Rakovsky, Nikolai Krestinsky and Genrikh Yagoda. All the leading defendants were executed.
  • There was also a secret trial before a military tribunal of a group of Red Army generals, including Mikhail Tukhachevsky, in June 1937.

Some Western observers who attended the trials said that they were fair and that the guilt of the accused had been established. They based this assessment on the confessions of the accused, which were freely given in open court, without any apparent evidence that they had been extracted by torture or drugging. Grigory Zinoviev Grigory Yevseevich Zinoviev (Григо́рий Евс́еевич Зин́овьев, alternative transliteration Grigorii Ovseyevish Zinoviev, born Ovsei-Gershon Aronovich Radomyslsky (Радомысльский), also known as Hirsch Apfelbaum, (September 23 [O.S. September 11] 1883 - August 25, 1936) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet Communist politician. ... Lev Borisovich Kamenev   (Russian: Лев Борисович Каменев, born Rosenfeld, Розенфельд) (July 18 [O.S. July 6] 1883 – August 25, 1936) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a prominent Soviet politician. ... Sergey Kirov Sergey Mironovich Kirov (Russian: ) (March 27 [O.S. March 15] 1886 – December 1, 1934) had a high Bolshevik rank. ... Karl Radek Karl Radek Karl Berngardovich Radek (October 31 [O.S. October 19] 1885 - May 19, 1939) was a Bolshevik and an international Communist leader. ... Pyatakov Georgy (Yury) Leonidovich Pyatakov (August 6 1890-1937) was a Bolshevik revolutionary leader in Russia, and member of the Left Opposition. ... Grigory Sokolnikov (1888 - 1939) was a Bolshevik, and a friend of Leon Trotsky. ... Nikolai Bukharin Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (Russian: ), (October 9 [O.S. September 27] 1888 â€“ March 15, 1938) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and intellectual, and later a Soviet politician. ... The first edition of Communist International, journal of the Comintern published in Moscow and Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) in May 1919. ... Alexei Ivanovich Rykov (Russian: Алексей Иванович Рыков, Aleksej Ivanovič Rykov; February 25 [O.S. February 13] 1881 – March 15, 1938) was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and Soviet politician. ... Dr. Christian Georgievich Rakovsky (Кристиян Георгиевич Раковски; Кръстьо Раковски - Krastyo Rakovski in Bulgarian or, in Romanian spelling, Cristian Racovschi; August 13 (August 1, Old Style), 1873 - September 11, 1941) was a socialist revolutionary, a Bolshevik politician and a Soviet diplomat. ... Krestinsky Nikolai Nikolaevich Krestinsky (Николай Николаевич Крестинский) (October 13, 1883 - March 15, 1938) was a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet politician. ... Genrikh Yagoda Genrikh Grigorevich Yagoda (Russian: ; born Yenokh (Enoch) Gershonovich Ieguda (Russian: )[1]; 1891 – March 15, 1938) was the head of the NKVD, the Soviet secret police, from 1934 to 1936. ... For other organizations known as the Red Army, see Red Army (disambiguation). ... Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky (Russian: ; Polish: ) (February 16 [O.S. February 4] 1893 â€“ June 12, 1937), was a Soviet military commander, chief of the Red Army (1925–1928), and one of the most prominent victims of Stalins Great Purge of the late 1930s. ...


The British lawyer and Member of Parliament Denis Pritt, for example, wrote: "Once again the more faint-hearted socialists are beset with doubts and anxieties", but "once again we can feel confident that when the smoke has rolled away from the battlefield of controversy it will be realized that the charge was true, the confessions correct and the prosecution fairly conducted."


It is now known that the confessions were given only after great psychological pressure had been applied to the defendants. From the accounts of former OGPU officer Alexander Orlov and others, the methods used to extract the confessions are known: such tortures as repeated beatings, making prisoners stand or go without sleep for days on end, and threats to arrest and execute the prisoners' families. For example, Kamenev's teenage son was arrested and charged with terrorism. After months of such interrogation, the defendants were driven to despair and exhaustion. Obedinennoe Gosudarstvennoe Politicheskoe Upravlenie (or OGPU) (Combined State Political Directorate, also translated as All Union State Political Board) was the name of the secret police in the Soviet Union in one of the stages of its development. ... Alexander Mikhailovich Orlov (Leiba Lazarevich Felbing) (21 August 1895–25 March 1973) was a Soviet espionage administrator. ... Terrorist redirects here. ...


Zinoviev and Kamenev demanded, as a condition for "confessing", a direct guarantee from the Politburo that their lives and that of their families would be spared. Instead they had to settle for a meeting with only Stalin, Kliment Voroshilov, and Yezhov, at which assurances were given. After the trial, Stalin not only broke his promise to spare the defendants, he had most of their relatives arrested and shot. Bukharin also agreed to "confess" on condition that his family was spared. In this case, the promise was partly kept. His wife, Anna Larina, was sent to a labor camp, but survived.   (Russian: ), popularly known as Klim Voroshilov (Russian: ) (February 4 [O.S. January 23] 1881 – December 2, 1969) was a Soviet military commander and politician. ... This page meets Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ...


In May 1937, the Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials, commonly known as the Dewey Commission, was set up in the United States by supporters of Trotsky, to establish the truth about the trials. The commission was headed by the noted American philosopher and educator John Dewey. Although the hearings were obviously conducted with a view to proving Trotsky's innocence, they brought to light evidence which established that some of the specific charges made at the trials could not be true. Leon Trotsky (Russian:  , Lev Davidovich Trotsky, also transliterated Leo, Lyev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij, Trockij and Trotzky) (November 7 [O.S. October 26] 1879 – August 21, 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein (), was a Ukrainian-born Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. ... The Dewey Commission was initiated in March 1937 by the American Committee for the Defense of Leon Trotsky. It was named after its Chairman, John Dewey. ... John Dewey (October 20, 1859 – June 1, 1952) was an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer, whose thoughts and ideas have been greatly influential in the United States and around the world. ...


For example, Georgy Pyatakov testified that he had flown to Oslo in December 1935 to "receive terrorist instructions" from Trotsky. The Dewey Commission established that no such flight had taken place. Another defendant, Ivan Smirnov, confessed to taking part in the assassination of Sergei Kirov in December 1934, at a time when he had already been in prison for a year. Pyatakov Georgy (Yury) Leonidovich Pyatakov (August 6, 1890–1937) was a Bolshevik revolutionary leader in Russia, and member of the Left Opposition. ... This article is about the capital of Norway. ... Ivan Nikitich Smirnov (Иван Никитич Смирнов in Russian) (1881 - August 25, 1936) was a Communist Party activist. ... Sergei Mironovich Kirov (Серге́й Миро́нович Ки́ров) (March 15 O.S. = March 27 N.S., 1886 - December 1, 1934) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet communist. ...


The Dewey Commission later published its findings in a 422-page book titled Not Guilty. Its conclusions asserted the innocence of all those condemned in the Moscow Trials. In its summary, the commission wrote: "Independent of extrinsic evidence, the Commission finds:

  • That the conduct of the Moscow Trials was such as to convince any unprejudiced person that no attempt was made to ascertain the truth.
  • That while confessions are necessarily entitled to the most serious consideration, the confessions themselves contain such inherent improbabilities as to convince the Commission that they do not represent the truth, irrespective of any means used to obtain them.
  • That Trotsky never instructed any of the accused or witnesses in the Moscow trials to enter into agreements with foreign powers against the Soviet Union [and] that Trotsky never recommended, plotted, or attempted the restoration of capitalism in the USSR.

The commission concluded: "We therefore find the Moscow Trials to be frame-ups."


Purge of the army

The purge of the Red Army was claimed to be supported by Nazi-forged documents (said to have been correspondence between Marshal Tukhachevsky and members of the German high command). For other organizations known as the Red Army, see Red Army (disambiguation). ... Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky (Russian: ; Polish: ) (February 16 [O.S. February 4] 1893 â€“ June 12, 1937), was a Soviet military commander, chief of the Red Army (1925–1928), and one of the most prominent victims of Stalins Great Purge of the late 1930s. ...


The claim is, however, unsupported by facts, since by the time the documents were supposedly created, two people from the eight in the Tukhachevsky group were already imprisoned, and by the time the document was said to reach Stalin, the purging process was already underway. However the actual evidence introduced at trial was obtained from forced confessions. The purge of the army removed three of five marshals (then equivalent to six-star generals), 13 of 15 army commanders (then equivalent to four- and five-star generals), eight of nine admirals (the purge fell heavily on the Navy, who were suspected of exploiting their opportunities for foreign contacts), 50 of 57 army corps commanders, 154 out of 186 division commanders, 16 of 16 army commissars, and 25 of 28 army corps commissars. In total, 30,000 members of the armed forces were executed.[4] The rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union (Russian: Marshal Sovietskovo Soyuza [Маршал Советского Союза]) was in practice the highest military rank of the Soviet Union. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... A corps (plural same as singular; a word that migrated from the French language, pronounced IPA: (cor), but originating in the Latin corpus, corporis meaning body) is either a large military unit or formation, an administrative grouping of troops within an army with a common function (such as artillery or... Symbol of the Polish 1st Legions Infantry Division in NATO code A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of around ten to twenty thousand soldiers. ... Commissar is the English translation of an official title (комисса́р) used in Russia after the Bolshevik revolution and in the Soviet Union, as well as some other Communist countries. ...


It is believed that the chaos caused by the purge of the Soviet Army aided in their early defeat at the onset of the Nazi invasion of 1941. It has also been observed that the aforementioned chaos may have encouraged Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany to launch Operation Barbarossa, after they learned of the weakness of the Red Army. Hitler redirects here. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Combatants Germany Romania Finland Italy Hungary Slovakia  Soviet Union Commanders Adolf Hitler Wilhelm Ritter von Leeb Fedor von Bock Gerd von Rundstedt Heinz Guderian Günther von Kluge Franz Halder Maresal Ion Antonescu C.G.E. Mannerheim Giovanni Messe, CSIR Italo Garibaldi, ARMIR Joseph Stalin Kliment Voroshilov Semyon Timoshenko Fyodor... For other organizations known as the Red Army, see Red Army (disambiguation). ...


Viktor Suvorov, in his The Cleansing (Очищение), writes that the impact of the purge on the Red Army was not as severe as was claimed later. Of all the victims, not more than one-third were actually army officials. Of the remainder, one-third were commissars—political supervisors—and one-third were NKVD officials, who wore military ranks. For example, one of the most senior executed, was the minister of navy affairs, former deputy minister internal affairs (NKVD), Mikhail Frinovsky (М.П. Фриновский) who wore the rank of "Army-commander 1st rank", although he never in his life served the army. Viktor Suvorov (; real name Vladimir Rezun : ) (born April 20, 1947) is a Russian writer and historian. ... Mikhail Petrovich Frinovsky (Russian: Михаил Петрович Фриновский) (January of 1898 - February 4, 1940 was a Soviet military and political figure. ...


The wider purge

Eventually almost all of the Bolsheviks who had played prominent roles during the Russian Revolution of 1917, or in Lenin's Soviet government afterwards, were executed. Out of six members of the original Politburo during the 1917 October Revolution who lived until the Great Purge, Stalin himself was the only one who survived.[1] Four of the other five were executed. The fifth, Leon Trotsky, went into exile in Mexico after being expelled from the Party but was assassinated by a Soviet agent in 1940. Of the seven members elected to the Politburo between the October Revolution and Lenin's death in 1924, four were executed, one (Tomsky) committed suicide and two (Molotov and Kalinin) lived. Of 1,966 delegates to the 17th Communist Party congress in 1934 (the last congress before the trials), 1,108 were arrested and nearly all died. For other uses, see Bolshevik (disambiguation). ... The Russian Revolution of 1917 was a series of political and social upheavals in Russia, involving first the overthrow of the tsarist autocracy, and then the overthrow of the liberal and moderate-socialist Provisional Government, resulting in the establishment of Soviet power under the control of the Bolshevik party. ... Lenin redirects here. ... Politburo is short for Political Bureau. ... 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar (see: 1917 Julian calendar). ... For other uses, see October Revolution (disambiguation). ... Leon Trotsky (Russian:  , Lev Davidovich Trotsky, also transliterated Leo, Lyev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij, Trockij and Trotzky) (November 7 [O.S. October 26] 1879 – August 21, 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein (), was a Ukrainian-born Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. ... Mikhail Tomsky (1880-1936) was a factory worker, trade unionist and Bolshevik leader. ... For other uses, see Molotov (disambiguation). ... Mikhail Kalinin A 1919 image showing Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, and Mikhail Kalinin (right) Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin (Russian: ) (November 19 [O.S. November 7] 1875 – June 3, 1946) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet politician. ...


The trials and executions of the former Bolshevik leaders were, however, only a minor part of the purges:


Ex-kulaks

While kulaks were "liquidated as class", on July 30, 1937 the NKVD Order no. 00447 was issued, directed against "ex-kulaks" and "kulak helpers", among other anti-Soviet elements, see NKVD troika. This order was notable in several respects, becoming a blueprint for a number of other actions of NKVD targeting specific categories of people. The collectivisation campaign in the USSR, 1930s. ... is the 211th day of the year (212th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... NKVD Order no. ... What does it mean? The Russian word troika (threesome, triumvirate) denoted commissions of three persons as an additional instrument of extrajudicial punishment (внесудебная расправа, внесудебное преследование) introduced to supplement the legal system with a means for quick punishment of anti-Soviet elements. ...


National operations of NKVD

A series of national operations of the NKVD was carried out during 1937–1940, justified by the fear of the fifth column in the expectation of war with "the most probable adversary", i.e. Germany, as well as according to the notion of the "hostile capitalist surrounding", which wants to destabilize the country. The Polish operation of the NKVD was the first of this kind, setting an example of dealing with other targeted minorities. Many such operations were conducted on a quota system. NKVD local officials were mandated to arrest and execute a specific number of "counter-revolutionaries", produced by upper officials based on various statistics. Mass operations of the NKVD were carried out during the Great Purge and targeted specific categories of people. ... A fifth column is a group of people which clandestinely undermines a larger group to which it is expected to be loyal, such as a nation. ... Polish operation of the NKVD refers to the coordinated actions of NKVD in 1937-1938 according to the NKVD Order no. ...


Timeline of the Great Purge

Main article: Timeline of the Great Purge

The Great Purge of 1936-1938 can be roughly divided of four periods [5]: The Great Purge of 1936-1938 can be roughly divided into four periods [1]: October 1936 - February 1937 Reforming the security organizations, adopting official plans for purging the elites. ...

October 1936 - February 1937
Reforming the security organizations, adopting official plans on purging the elites
March 1937 - June 1937
Purging the Elites; Adopting plans for the mass repressions against the "social base" of the potential aggressors, starting of purging the "elites" from opposition
July 1937 - October 1938
Mass repressions against "kulaks", "dangerous" ethnic minorities, family members of oppositions, military officers, Saboteurs in agriculture and industry
November 1938 - 1939
so called Beria thaw: stopping of mass operations, abolishing of many organs of extrajudicial executions, repressions against some organizers of mass repressions.

The collectivisation campaign in the USSR, 1930s. ... Wrecking, or vreditelstvo (вредительство), was a crime specified in the criminal code of the Soviet Union in the Stalin era. ... Lavrenty Beria Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria (Russian: Лавре́нтий Па́влович Бе́рия) (29 March 1899 - 23 December 1953), Soviet politician and police chief, is remembered chiefly as the executor of Joseph...

End of Yezhovshchina

By the summer of 1938, Stalin and his circle realized that the purges had gone too far; Yezhov was relieved from his post as head of the NKVD (remaining People's Commisariat of Internal Affairs) and was eventually purged himself. Lavrenty Beria, a fellow Georgian and Stalin confidant, succeeded him as head of the NKVD. On November 17, 1938 a joint decree of Sovnarkom USSR and Central Committee of VKP(b) (Decree about Arrests, Prosecutor Supervision and Course of Investigation) and the subsequent order of NKVD undersigned by Beria cancelled most of the NKVD orders of systematic repression and suspended implementation of death sentences. The decree signaled the end of massive Soviet purges. Nevertheless, the practice of mass arrest and exile was continued until Stalin's death in 1953. Political executions also continued, but, with the exception of Katyn and other NKVD massacres during WWII, on a vastly smaller scale. One notorious example is the "Night of the Murdered Poets," in which at least thirteen prominent Yiddish writers were executed on August 12, 1952. The NKVD (Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del  ) (Russian: , ) or Peoples Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the leading secret police organization of the Soviet Union that was responsible for political repressions during Stalinism. ... Lavrenty Beria Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (Georgian: ლავრენტი ბერია; Russian: Лаврентий Павлович Берия; (29 March 1899 – 23 December 1953), was a Soviet politician and chief of the Soviet security and police apparatus. ... 17 November is also the name of a Marxist group in Greece, coinciding with the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising. ... Year 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Central Committee most commonly refers to the central executive unit of a communist party, whether ruling or non-ruling. ... Decree about Arests, Prosecutor Supervision and Course of Investigation was issued jointly by the Sovnarkom and VKP(b) Central Committee (undersigned by Molotov and Stalin) on November 17, 1938. ... Mass operations of the NKVD were carried out during the Great Purge and targeted specific categories of people. ... Katyn and KatyÅ„ redirect here. ... The massacre of prisoners refers to a series of mass executions committed by Soviet NKVD against prisoners in Poland and parts of the Soviet Union from which the Red Army was withdrawing after the German invasion in 1941 (see Operation Barbarossa). ... The Night of the Murdered Poets (Russian: ) refers to the night of 12 to 13 August 1952, when thirteen of the most prominent Yiddish writers, poets, artists, musicians and actors of the Soviet Union were secretly executed on the orders from Josef Stalin in the basement of the Lubyanka prison...


Western reactions

Although the trials of former Soviet leaders were widely publicized, the hundreds of thousands of other arrests and executions were not. These became known in the west only as a few former gulag inmates reached the West with their stories. Not only did foreign correspondents from the West fail to report on the purges, but in many Western nations, especially France, attempts were made to silence or discredit these witnesses; Jean-Paul Sartre took the position that evidence of the camps should be ignored, in order that the French proletariat not be discouraged. A series of legal actions ensued at which definitive evidence was presented which established the validity of the former labor camp inmates' testimony. Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (June 21, 1905 – April 15, 1980), normally known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre (pronounced: ), was a French existentialist philosopher and pioneer, dramatist and screenwriter, novelist and critic. ...


Robert Conquest wrote the book The Great Terror in 1968. According to Conquest, writing in The Great Terror, with respect to the trials of former leaders, some Western observers were unable to see through the fraudulent nature of the charges and evidence, notably Walter Duranty of The New York Times, a Russian speaker; the American Ambassador, Joseph Davis, who reported, "proof...beyond reasonable doubt to justify the verdict of treason" and Beatrice and Sidney Webb, authors of Soviet Communism: A New Civilization. According to Conquest, writing in The Great Terror, while "Communist Parties everywhere simply transmitted the Soviet line", some of the most critical reporting also came from the left, notably The Manchester Guardian. Dr. George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15, 1917), British historian, became one of the best-known writers on the Soviet Union with the publication, in 1968, of his account of Stalins purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. ... Walter Duranty Walter Duranty (1884–1957) was a Liverpool-born British journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for a set of stories he wrote in 1931 as The New York Times Moscow correspondent, covering Joseph Stalins Five-Year Plan to industrialize the Soviet Union. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. ... Beatrice Webb Martha Beatrice Potter Webb (January 2, 1858 - April 30, 1943) (also called Beatrice Webb) was a British socialist, economist and reformer, usually referred to in the same breath as her husband, Sidney Webb. ... Categories: UK Labour Party politicians | British MPs | Peers | Secretaries of State for the Colonies (UK) | 1859 births | 1947 deaths | People stubs ... The Guardian is a British newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group. ...


Despite great skepticism regarding the show trials and occasional reports of Gulag survivors, many western intellectuals retained a favorable view of the Soviet Union. Some of them dissociated themselves from the Communist party, but not from Communist convictions, only in 1956, when the Stalinist crimes were made public within the inner communist circles in Russia. With the beginning of the Cold War and McCarthyism, many supporters of the USSR were persecuted, no matter if they supported Stalin and/or his crimes or not. Evidence and the results of research began to appear after Stalin's death which revealed the full enormity of the Purges. The first of these sources were the revelations of Nikita Khrushchev, which particularly affected the American editors of the Communist Party USA newspaper, the Daily Worker, who, following the lead of The New York Times, published the Secret Speech in full.[6] In 1968, Robert Conquest published The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago followed in 1973. By the Glasnost era of the late 1980s, Stalin was denounced openly by Mikhail Gorbachev as a criminal, and Soviet records were opened to Western and Soviet researchers after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Finally, in France, where the intellectual climate was most sympathetic to Soviet communism, The Black Book of Communism (1997), relying in part on revelations of the Great Purge, compared communism unfavorably to Nazism. Nevertheless, minimization of the extent of the Great Purge continues among revisionist scholars in the United States[7] and small but passionate groups of modern-day Stalinists.[8] For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... A 1947 comic book published by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society warning of the dangers of a Communist takeover. ... Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (Russian: , Nikita Sergeevič Chruščiov; IPA: , in English, , or , occasionally ); surname more accurately romanized as Khrushchyov[1]; April 17 [O.S. April 5] 1894[2]–September 11, 1971) was the chief director of the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. ... The Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) is a Marxist-Leninist political party in the United States. ... The Daily Worker was a newspaper published by the Communist Party USA, a Comintern affiliated organization in New York, beginning in 1924. ... On the Personality Cult and its Consequences (Russian: ), commonly known as the Secret Speech was a report to the 20th Party Congress on February 25, 1956 by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, in which he denounced the actions of Joseph Stalin. ... Dr. George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15, 1917), British historian, became one of the best-known writers on the Soviet Union with the publication, in 1968, of his account of Stalins purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. ... The Gulag Archipelago. ... //   (Russian: IPA: ) is politics of maximal openness, transparency of activity of all official (governmental) institutes, and freedom of information. ... Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (Russian: ), surname more accurately romanized as Gorbachyov; (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian politician. ... The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression is a book authored by several European academics and senior researchers from CNRS, and edited by Dr. Stéphane Courtois. ... Nazism in history Nazi ideology Nazism and race Outside Germany Related subjects Lists Politics Portal         Nazism, or National Socialism (German: Nationalsozialismus), refers primarily to the totalitarian ideology and practices of the Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers Party, German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) under Adolf Hitler. ... Historical revisionism is the attempt to change commonly held ideas about the past. ...


Rehabilitation

The Great Purge was denounced by Nikita Khrushchev, who became the leader of the Soviet Union after Stalin's death. In his secret speech to the 20th CPSU congress in February 1956 (which was made public a month later), Khrushchev referred to the purges as an "abuse of power" by Stalin which resulted in enormous harm to the country. In the same speech, he recognized that many of the victims were innocent and were convicted on the basis of false confessions extracted by torture. To take that position was politically useful to Khrushchev, as he was at that time engaged in a power struggle with rivals who had been associated with the Purge, the so-called Anti-Party Group. The new line on the Great Purges undermined their power, and helped propel him to the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers. Rehabilitation in the context of Soviet or Russian topics is often a false friend used to translate the Russian term reabilitatsiya as applied to convicted persons. ... Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (Russian: , Nikita Sergeevič Chruščiov; IPA: , in English, , or , occasionally ); surname more accurately romanized as Khrushchyov[1]; April 17 [O.S. April 5] 1894[2]–September 11, 1971) was the chief director of the Soviet Union after the death of Joseph Stalin. ... On the Personality Cult and its Consequences (Russian: ), commonly known as the Secret Speech was a report to the 20th Party Congress on February 25, 1956 by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, in which he denounced the actions of Joseph Stalin. ... Nikita Khrushchev The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was held during February 14—February 26, 1956. ... The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Russian: Коммунисти́ческая Па́ртия Сове́тского Сою́за, transliterated Kommunisticheskaya Partiya Sovetskogo Soyuza, acronym: КПСС (KPSS)) was the ruling political party in the Soviet Union. ... The Anti-Party Group was an epithet used by Nikita Khrushchev to describe Stalinist members of the Presidium of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, led by Vyacheslav Molotov, Lazar Kaganovich and Georgy Malenkov, who attempted to depose him as First Secretary of the Party in May 1957. ...


Starting from 1954, some of the convictions were overturned. Mikhail Tukhachevsky and other generals convicted in the Trial of Red Army Generals were declared innocent ("rehabilitated") in 1957. The former Politburo members Yan Rudzutak and Stanislav Kosior and many lower-level victims were also declared innocent in the 1950s. Nikolai Bukharin and others convicted in the Moscow Trials were not rehabilitated until as late as 1988, and Leon Trotsky himself was never rehabilitated. Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky (Russian: ; Polish: ) (February 16 [O.S. February 4] 1893 â€“ June 12, 1937), was a Soviet military commander, chief of the Red Army (1925–1928), and one of the most prominent victims of Stalins Great Purge of the late 1930s. ... Rehabilitation in the context of Soviet or Russian topics is often a false friend used to translate the Russian term reabilitatsiya as applied to convicted persons. ... Yan Ernestovich Rudzutak (Latvian Janis Rudzutaks, Russian Ян Эрнестович Рудзутак, August 3, 1887-July 29, 1938) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Soviet politician. ... StanisÅ‚aw Kosior Trofim Lysenko speaking at the Kremlin in 1935. ... Nikolai Bukharin Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (Russian: ), (October 9 [O.S. September 27] 1888 â€“ March 15, 1938) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and intellectual, and later a Soviet politician. ... The Moscow Trials were a series of trials of political opponents of Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge. ... Leon Trotsky (Russian:  , Lev Davidovich Trotsky, also transliterated Leo, Lyev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij, Trockij and Trotzky) (November 7 [O.S. October 26] 1879 – August 21, 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein (), was a Ukrainian-born Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. ...


The book Rehabilitation: The Political Processes of the 1930s-50s (Реабилитация. Политические процессы 30-50-х годов) (1991) contains a large amount of newly presented original archive material: transcripts of interrogations, letters of convicts, and photos. The material demonstrates in detail how numerous show trials were fabricated.


Victim toll

According to the declassified Soviet archives, during 1937 and 1938, the NKVD detained 1,548,367 victims, of whom 681,692 were shot - an average of 1,000 executions a day.[9] Historian Michael Ellman claims the best estimate of deaths brought about by Soviet Repression during these two years is the range 950,000 to 1.2 million, which includes deaths in detention and those who died shortly after being released from the Gulag as a result of their treatment in it. He also states that this is the estimate which should be used by historians and teachers of Russian history.[10] According to Memorial society [5] Memorial (Russian: Мемориал) is an international historical and civil rights society that operates in a number of post-USSR states with the following missions stated in its charter: To promote mature civil society and democracy based on the rule of law and thus to prevent a return to totalitarianism; To assist...

  • On the cases investigated by the State Security Department of NKVD (GUGB NKVD):
    • At least 1,710,000 people were arrested
    • At least 1,440,000 people were sentenced
    • At least 724,000 were executed. Among them:
      • At least 436,000 people were sentenced to death by NKVD troikas as part of the Kulak operation
      • At least 247,000 people were sentenced to death by NKVD Dvoikas' and the Local Special Troykas as part of the Ethnic Operation
      • At least 41,000 people were sentenced to death by Military Courts
  • Among other cases in October 1936-November 1938:
    • At least 400,000 were sentenced to labor camps by Police Troikas as Socially Harmful Elements (социально-вредный элемент, СВЭ)
    • At least 200,000 were exiled or deported by Administrative procedures
    • At least 2 million were sentenced by courts for common crimes, among them 800,000 were sentenced to Gulag camps.

Some experts believe the evidence released from the Soviet archives is understated, incomplete or unreliable.[11][12][9][13] For example, Robert Conquest suggests that the probable figure for executions during the years of the Great Purge is not 681,692, but some two and a half times as high. He believes that the KGB was covering its tracks by falsifying the dates and causes of death of rehabilitated victims.[14] What does it mean? The Russian word troika (threesome, triumvirate) denoted commissions of three persons as an additional instrument of extrajudicial punishment (внесудебная расправа, внесудебное преследование) introduced to supplement the legal system with a means for quick punishment of anti-Soviet elements. ... Gulag ( , Russian: ) was the government body responsible for administering prison camps across the former Soviet Union. ... Dr. George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15, 1917), British historian, became one of the best-known writers on the Soviet Union with the publication, in 1968, of his account of Stalins purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. ...


Soviet investigation commissions

At least two Soviet commissions investigated the show-trials after Stalin's death. The first was headed by Molotov and included Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Suslov, Furtseva, Shvernik, Aristov, Pospelov and Rudenko. They were given the task to investigate the materials concerning Bukharin, Rykov, Zinoviev, Tukhachevsky and others. The commission worked in 1956–1957. Because it included people like Molotov and Kaganovich, it could not have been objective, and, while stating that the accusations against Tukhachevsky et al. should be abandoned, they failed to fully rehabilitate the victims of the three Moscow trials, although the final report does contain an admission that the accusations have not been proven during the trials and "evidence" had been produced by lies, blackmail, and "use of physical influence". Bukharin, Rykov, Zinoviev, and others were still seen as political opponents, and though the charges against them were obviously false, they could not have been rehabilitated because "for many years they headed the anti-Soviet struggle against the building of socialism in USSR". The term show trial serves most commonly to label a type of public trial in which the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the accused: the actual trial has as its only goal to present the accusation and the verdict to the public as an impressive example and... For other uses, see Molotov (disambiguation). ...   (Russian: ), popularly known as Klim Voroshilov (Russian: ) (February 4 [O.S. January 23] 1881 – December 2, 1969) was a Soviet military commander and politician. ... Lazar Kaganovich Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich (Russian: ) (November 22, 1893–July 25, 1991) was a Soviet politician and administrator and a close associate of Joseph Stalin. ... Mikhail Suslov. ... During her lifetime, Furtseva was ironically referred to as Catherine the Third, an allusion to the famous Russian empress likewise named Ekaterina Alekseyevna. ... Nikolay Mikhailovich Shvernik (Никола́й Миха́йлович Шве́рник) (1888-1970) was the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (or President of the USSR) from March 19, 1946 until March 15, 1953. ... General Roman Andreevich Rudenko (Russian: Роман Андреевич Руденко) was the Soviet Chief Prosecutor at the main trial of the major war criminals at the Nuremberg Trials. ... Rehabilitation in the context of Soviet or Russian topics is often a false friend used to translate the Russian term reabilitatsiya as applied to convicted persons. ...


The second commission largely worked from 1961 to 1963 and was headed by Shvernik ("Shvernik Commission"). It include Shelepin, Serdyuk, Mironov, Rudenko, and Semichastny. The hard work resulted in two massive reports, which detailed the mechanism of falsification of the show-trials against Bukharin, Zinoviev, Tukhachevsky, and many others. The commission based its findings in large part on eyewitness testimonies of former NKVD workers and victims of repressions, and on many documents. The commission recommended to rehabilitate every accused with exception of Radek and Yagoda, because Radek's materials required some further checking, and Yagoda was a criminal and one of the falsifiers of the trials (though most of the charges against him had to be dropped too, he was not a "spy", etc.). The commission stated: Shvernik Commission (Shverniks Commission, Russian: ) was an informal name of the commission of the CPSU Central Committee Presidium headed by Nikolay Shvernik for the investigation of political repressions in Soviet Union during the period of Stalinism. ... Alexander Nikolayevich Shelepin (Russian: Александр Николаевич Шелепин, 18 August 1918, Voronezh - October 24, 1994) was the head of KGB from December 25, 1958 to November 13, 1961. ...

Stalin committed a very grave crime against the Communist party, the socialist state, Soviet people and worldwide revolutionary movement... Together with Stalin, the responsibility for the abuse of law, mass unwarranted repressions and death of many thousands of wholly innocent people also lies on Molotov, Kaganovich, Malenkov....

However, soon Khrushchev was deposed and the "Thaw" ended, so most victims of the three show-trials were not rehabilitated until Gorbachev's time. In Soviet history, Kruschevs Thaw or Khrushchev Thaw refers to the period between the end of 1950s and the beginning of 1960s, when repressions and censorship reached a low point. ... Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev (Russian: ), surname more accurately romanized as Gorbachyov; (born 2 March 1931) is a Russian politician. ...


Skepticism and denial

Some authors, who align themselves politically with Stalinism, such as Ludo Martens, maintain that the scope of the purges was greatly exaggerated and the purges themselves were a necessary means of struggle against political enemies at that time. They claim that the prevailing point of view on the purges is the result of the coincidence of the interests of the post-Stalin Soviet and Western politicians and historians: the goal of the former (Nikita Khrushchev in particular, who initiated "destalinisation") was to discredit Stalinist opposition, while the goal of the latter was to discredit the Soviet Union as a whole. Ludo Martens (born 12 March 1946) is a Belgian historian noted for his work on francophone Africa and the Soviet Union. ... De-Stalinization and the Khrushchev era For further details, see Nikita Khrushchev After Stalin had died in March 1953, he was succeeded by Nikita Khrushchev as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and Georgi Malenkov as Premier of the Soviet Union. ...


Mass graves and memorials

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, numerous mass graves filled with executed victims of the terror were discovered.[15][16][17] Some, such as the killing fields at Kurapaty and Bykivnia, are believed to contain hundreds of thousands of corpses.[18] This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Kurapaty (Belarusian: Курапаты) is a wooded area on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus, where in 1941 a vast number of people were executed. ... Bykivnia (Russian: Bykovnia) is a small village on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine. ...


In 2007 one such site, the Butovo shooting range, was turned into a shrine to the victims of Stalinism. From August 1937 through October 1938 more than 20,000 people were shot and buried there.[19]


Popular Culture

The human tragedies of the Great Purge are portrayed in Nikita Mikhalkov's Academy Award winning film Burnt by the Sun about the fate of a retired Red Army Colonel and his family, who are subjected to a false arrest and trial. Nikita Mikhalkov in the 2005 Fandorin movie The Councillor of State. ... Although he never won an Oscar for any of his movie performances, the comedian Bob Hope received two honorary Oscars for his contributions to cinema. ... For other articles with similar names, see Burnt by the Sun (disambiguation). ... For other organizations known as the Red Army, see Red Army (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Colonel (disambiguation). ...


Notes

  1. ^ a b c Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. By Robert Gellately. 2007. Knopf. 720 pages ISBN 1400040051
  2. ^ The Sword and the Shield: The Mikrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, pp 86 and 87
  3. ^ Stalin's Terror: High Politics and Mass Repression in the Soviet Union by Barry McLoughlin and Kevin McDermott (eds). Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, p. 6
  4. ^ Great Purges Spartacus Educational
  5. ^ a b N.G. Okhotin, A.B. Roginsky "Great Terror": Brief Chronolgy Memorial, 2007
  6. ^ On Leaving the Communist Party by Howard Fast, November 16, 1957
  7. ^ John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage. Encounter Books, 2003. ISBN 1-893554-72-4 pp. 15–17
  8. ^ Another view of Stalin by Ludo Martens, Progressive Labor Party website
  9. ^ a b Communism: A History (Modern Library Chronicles) by Richard Pipes, pg 67
  10. ^ Soviet Repression Statistics: Some Comments by Michael Ellman, 2002
  11. ^ Stalinism in Post-Communist Perspective: New Evidence on Killings, Forced Labour and Economic Growth in the 1930s by Steven Rosefielde, 1996
  12. ^ Comment on Wheatcroft by Robert Conquest, 1999
  13. ^ Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum, pg 584
  14. ^ Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia: 1934-1941. - book reviews by Robert Conquest, 1996, National Review
  15. ^ "Pictorial essay: Death trenches bear witness to Stalin's purges" CNN, July 17, 1997
  16. ^ "Mass grave found at Ukrainian monastery", BBC, July 12, 2002
  17. ^ "Wary of its past, Russia ignores mass grave site", by Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, October 10, 2002
  18. ^ Twentieth Century Atlas - Casualty Statistics - Biggest Battles and Massacres
  19. ^ "Former Killing Ground Becomes Shrine to Stalin’s Victims" by Sophia Kishkovsky, The New York Times, June 8, 2007

Christopher Maurice Andrew (born 23 July 1941) is a British historian and professor with a special interest in international relations and in particular the history of intelligence services. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Memorial (Russian: Мемориал) is an international historical and civil rights society that operates in a number of post-USSR states with the following missions stated in its charter: To promote mature civil society and democracy based on the rule of law and thus to prevent a return to totalitarianism; To assist... John Earl Haynes is a historian who is a specialist in 20th Century political history in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress; he is known for his books on the subject of the American Communist and anti-Communist movements, and on Soviet espionage in America (many written jointly... Harvey E. Klehr (born December 25, 1945) is a professor of politics and history at Emory University; he is known for his books on the subject of the American Communist movement, and on Soviet espionage in America (many written jointly with John Earl Haynes). ... Encounter Books is a publishing house that has published books by many authors including Wesley J. Smith, Victor Davis Hanson, Melanie Phillips, William Kristol and Thomas Sowell. ... Ludo Martens (born 12 March 1946) is a Belgian historian noted for his work on francophone Africa and the Soviet Union. ... The Progressive Labor Party (originally the Progressive Labor Movement, sometimes still referred to simply as PL) is a communist political party based in the United States. ... Richard Pipes, Warsaw (Poland), October 20, 2004 Richard Edgar Pipes (b. ... Dr. George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15, 1917), British historian, became one of the best-known writers on the Soviet Union with the publication, in 1968, of his account of Stalins purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. ... Anne Applebaum (born 1964) is a journalist and author who has written extensively about issues related to communism and the development of civil society in Eastern Europe and the USSR / Russia. ... Dr. George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15, 1917), British historian, became one of the best-known writers on the Soviet Union with the publication, in 1968, of his account of Stalins purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. ... National Review (NR) is a biweekly magazine of political opinion, founded by author William F. Buckley, Jr. ... The Cable News Network, commonly known as CNN, is a major cable television network founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... is the 193rd day of the year (194th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Fred Weir is an American journalist who lives in Moscow and specializes in Russian affairs. ... The Christian Science Monitor (CSM) is an international newspaper published daily, Monday through Friday. ... is the 283rd day of the year (284th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. ...

References and further reading

  • Rehabilitation: As It Happened. Documents of the CPSU CC Presidium and Other Materials. Vol. 2, February 1956-Early 1980s. Moscow, 2003. Compiled by A. Artizov, Yu. Sigachev, I. Shevchuk, V. Khlopov under editorship of acad. A. N. Yakovlev.
  • Eternal Memory: Voices From the Great Terror. 1997. 16mm feature film directed by Pultz, David. Narrated by Meryl Streep. USA.
  • Robert Conquest: The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties. 1968.
  • Robert Conquest, The Great Terror: A Reassessment, Oxford University Press, May 1990, hardcover, ISBN 0-19-505580-2; trade paperback, Oxford, September, 1991, ISBN 0-19-507132-8
  • Robert Gellately, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. Knopf, August 2007, 720 pages, ISBN 1400040051
  • J. Arch Getty and Oleg V. Naumov, The Road to Terror: Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, Yale University Press, 1999.
  • J. Arch Getty and Roberta T. Manning, Stalinist Terror: New Perspectives, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  • Nicolas Werth, Karel Bartosek, Jean-Louis Panne, Jean-Louis Margolin, Andrzej Paczkowski, Stephane Courtois, The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, 1999, hardcover, 858 pages, ISBN 0-674-07608-7. Chapter 10: The Great Terror, 1936-1938.
  • John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage, Encounter Books, September, 2003, hardcover, 312 pages, ISBN 1-893554-72-4
  • Barry McLoughlin and Kevin McDermott, Stalin's Terror: High Politics and Mass Repression in the Soviet Union, Palgrave Macmillan, December 2002, hardcover, 280 pages, ISBN 1403901198
  • Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon, 1940, ISBN 0-553-26595-4
  • Rehabilitation: Political Processes of 30-50th years, in Russian (Реабилитация. Политические процессы 30-50-х годов), editor: Academician A.N.Yakovlev, 1991 ISBN 5-250-01429-1
  • Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956, HarperCollins, February, 2002, paperback, 512 pages, ISBN 0-06-000776-1
  • Eugene Lyons, Assignment in Utopia, Harcourt Brace and Company, 1937.
  • Vadim Rogovin, "Two lectures: Stalin's Great Terror: Origins and Consequences Leon Trotsky and "The Fate of Marxism in the USSR" Mehring books,ISBN 0-929087-83-6 1996
  • Vadim Rogovin, "1937: Stalin's Year of Terror." Mehring books, ISBN 0-929087-77-1 1996.

Dr. George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15, 1917), British historian, became one of the best-known writers on the Soviet Union with the publication, in 1968, of his account of Stalins purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. ... The Great Terror: A Reassessment by Robert Conquest The Great Terror is the title of a book by British writer Robert Conquest, published in 1968. ... Oxford University Press (OUP) is a highly-respected publishing house and a department of the University of Oxford in England. ... Alfred A. Knopf ( September 12, 1892 – August 11, 1984) was a leading American publisher of the 20th century. ... J. Arch Getty is a historian at the UCLA, formerly at UC Riverside. ... Yale University Press is a book publisher founded in 1908. ... The headquarters of the Cambridge University Press, in Trumpington Street, Cambridge. ... The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression is a book authored by several European academics and senior researchers from CNRS, and edited by Dr. Stéphane Courtois. ... The Harvard University Press is a publishing house, a division of Harvard University, that is highly respected in academic publishing. ... John Earl Haynes is a historian who is a specialist in 20th Century political history in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress; he is known for his books on the subject of the American Communist and anti-Communist movements, and on Soviet espionage in America (many written jointly... Harvey E. Klehr (born December 25, 1945) is a professor of politics and history at Emory University; he is known for his books on the subject of the American Communist movement, and on Soviet espionage in America (many written jointly with John Earl Haynes). ... Encounter Books is a publishing house that has published books by many authors including Wesley J. Smith, Victor Davis Hanson, Melanie Phillips, William Kristol and Thomas Sowell. ... Macmillan Publishers Ltd, also known as The Macmillan Group, is a privately-held international publishing company owned by Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. ... Arthur Koestler (September 5, 1905, Budapest – March 3, 1983, London) was a Hungarian polymath who became a naturalized British subject. ... Darkness at Noon is the most famous novel by Hungarian-born British novelist Arthur Koestler. ... Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (Russian: , IPA:  ; born December 11, 1918) is a Russian novelist, dramatist and historian. ... The Gulag Archipelago. ... HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by Rupert Murdochs News Corporation. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... Harcourt Trade Publishers is a U.S. publishing firm, and one of the worlds largest publishers of textbooks. ... Vadim Zakharovich Rogovin(1937–1998) was a Russian Marxist (Trotskyist[1]) historian and sociologist, Ph. ...

See also

The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution [1] in the Peoples Republic of China was a struggle for power within the Communist Party of China that manifested into wide-scale social, political, and economic chaos, which grew to include large sections of Chinese society and eventually brought the entire country to...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Great Purge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3847 words)
The purge was motivated by the desire on the part of the leadership to remove dissident elements from the Party and what is often considered to have been a desire to consolidate the authority of Joseph Stalin.
The Great Purge was started under the NKVD chief Genrikh Yagoda, but the height of the campaigns occurred while the NKVD was headed by Nikolai Yezhov, from September 1936 to August 1938; this period is sometimes referred to as the Yezhovshchina ("Yezhov era").
The term "purge" in Soviet political slang was an abbreviation of the expression purge of the Party ranks.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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