The Great Purge (Russian: Большая чистка, transliterated Bolshaya chistka) is a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin in 1937-1938. Russian ( transliteration:,) is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia, the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages The Romanization of the Russian alphabet is the process of transliterating the Russian language from the Cyrillic alphabet and Political repression is the Persecution of an individual or group for political reasons particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing their ability to take part Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual/group by another group The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR was a constitutionally Socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991 Joseph Stalin ( ნამდვილი გვარი ჯუღაშვილი|Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili; March 5 1953 was General Secretary of the Communist Party Year 1937 ( MCMXXXVII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Year 1938 ( MCMXXXVIII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.  Also described as a "Soviet holocaust" by several authors, it involved the purge of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, repression of peasants, deportations of ethnic minorities, and the persecution of unaffiliated persons, characterized by widespread police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and killings. The first major purge of the Communist Party ranks (or simply purges "чистка" – "cleansing" was performed by Bolsheviks as early as Kulaks ( Russian: кула́к kulak " Fist ", by extension "tight-fisted" were a category of rich Peasants in later  Estimates of the number of deaths associated with the Great Purge run from the official figure of 681,692 to nearly 2 million.
In the Western World 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. The term Western world, the West or the Occident ( Latin: occidens -sunset -west as distinct from the Orient) can have multiple meanings Dr George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15 1917) British Historian, became a well known writer and researcher on the Soviet Union The Great Terror is a book by Saint justjpg|thumbnail|200px| Louis Antoine Léon de Saint-Just]] The Reign of Terror' (5 September 1793 &ndash 28 July 1794 or simply The Terror (la Terreur was The French Revolution (1789–1799 was a period of political and social upheaval in the History of France, during which the French governmental structure previously an
The term "repression" was officially used to denote the prosecution of people considered as anti-revolutionaries and enemies of the people. The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the Common law Adversarial system, or the civil law A counter-revolutionary is anyone who opposes a Revolution, particularly those who act after a revolution to try to overturn or reverse it in full or in part The term enemy of the people is a fluid designation of political or class opponents of the group using the term 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. Joseph Stalin ( ნამდვილი გვარი ჯუღაშვილი|Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili; March 5 1953 was General Secretary of the Communist Party Additional campaigns of repression were carried out against social groups which were believed to be, or at least were accused of, acting for ulterior political motives or to have opposed the Soviet state and the politics of the Communist Party. Politics Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions
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. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. 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. The first major purge of the Communist Party ranks (or simply purges "чистка" – "cleansing" was performed by Bolsheviks as early as For the government of parliamentary systems see Executive (government. A bureaucrat is a member of a Bureaucracy, usually within an institution of the Government. For the military meaning see Armed forces. For the Soviet sports society see Armed Forces (sports society 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. Kulaks ( Russian: кула́к kulak " Fist ", by extension "tight-fisted" were a category of rich Peasants in later A series of NKVD (the Soviet secret police) operations affected a number of national minorities, accused of being "fifth column" communities. The NKVD ( НКВД, ru Народный Комиссариат Внутренних Дел ''Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del'') or People's Commissariat A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group to which it is expected to be loyal such as a Nation.
According to Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 speech, "On the Personality Cult and its Consequences", and more recent findings, most of the accusations, including those presented at the Moscow show trials, were based on forced confessions, often obtained by torture, and on loose interpretations of Article 58 (RSFSR Penal Code), which dealt with counter-revolutionary crimes. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (April 17 1894 – September 11 1971 served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 following On the Personality Cult and its Consequences (О культе личности и его последствиях commonly known as the Secret Speech or the 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. Torture, according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, is "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental is intentionally Article 58 of the Russian SFSR Penal Code was put in force on February 25, 1927 to arrest those suspected of counter-revolutionary activities Due legal process, as defined by Soviet law in force at the time, was often largely replaced with summary proceedings by NKVD troikas. NKVD troika or Troika, in Soviet Union history were commissions of three people employed as an additional instrument of Extrajudicial punishment (внесудебная .
Hundreds of thousands of victims were falsely accused of various political crimes (espionage, wrecking, sabotage, anti-Soviet agitation, conspiracies to prepare uprisings and coups) and then executed by shooting, or sent to the Gulag labor camps. Wrecking (вредительство or vreditel'stvo, lit "inflicting damage" was a crime specified in the criminal code of the Soviet Union in the Sabotage is a deliberate action aimed at weakening an enemy oppressor or employer through subversion obstruction disruption and/or destruction Anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda (ASA (Антисоветская агитация и пропаганда (АСА was a Criminal offence in Soviet Union. Execution by shooting is a form of Capital punishment whereby an executed person is shot by one or more Firearms It is the most common method of execution The Gulag was the government agency that administered the penal labor camps of the Soviet Union. A labor camp is a simplified detention facility where inmates are engaged in Penal labor. Many died at the penal labor camps due to starvation, disease, exposure and overwork. Starvation (also called inanition) is a severe reduction in Vitamin, Nutrient, and Energy intake and is the most extreme form of A disease is an abnormal condition of an organism that impairs bodily functions and can be deadly Other methods of dispatching victims were used on an experimental basis. For example, one secret policeman gassed people to death in batches in the back of a specially adapted airtight van. 
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 (Russian: Ежовщина; "Yezhov era"). Genrikh Grigor'evich Yagoda (Генрих Григорьевич Ягода born Yenokh (Enoch Gershonovich Ieguda ( Енох Гершонович Иегуда 1891 Biography His character Yezhov was born in Saint Petersburg according to his official Soviet biography though he stated he was born in Mariiampole Lithuania Russian ( transliteration:,) is the most geographically widespread language of Eurasia, the most widely spoken of the Slavic languages However the campaigns were carried out according to the general line, and often by direct orders, of the Party Politburo headed by Stalin. The Politburo ( in Russian: Политбюро, full Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, abbreviated
Large-scale politically motivated killing of this type gave rise to modern terms, such as "democide" and "politicide". Definition According to Rummel Genocide has three different meanings Politicide has three related but distinct meanings It can mean a gradual but systematic attempt to cause the annihilation of an independent political and social entity
The term "purge" in Soviet political slang was an abbreviation of the expression purge of the Party ranks. In History and Political science, to purge is to remove people considered by the group in power to be "undesirable" from a Government, Political The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR was a constitutionally Socialist state that existed in Eurasia from 1922 to 1991 Slang is the use of highly informal Words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's Dialect or Language. The first major purge of the Communist Party ranks (or simply purges "чистка" – "cleansing" was performed by Bolsheviks as early as 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.
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. Leon Trotsky ( Russian:, Lev Davidovich Trotsky, also transliterated Leo, Lyev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (Никола́й Ива́нович Буха́рин ( &ndash March 15, 1938) was a Bolshevik 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. The Russian Civil War (1917–1923 was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed 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. The Ryutin Affair (1932 was one of the last attempts to oppose the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin within the Soviet Communist Party. He therefore initiated a ban on party factions and banned those party members who had opposed him, effectively ending democratic centralism. 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 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. Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky (Михаи́л Никола́евич Тухаче́вский Michał Tuchaczewski ( &ndash June 12, 1937) was a Béla Kun ( February 20 1886 – August 29 1938) born Béla Kohn, was a Hungarian Communist Politician Politburo, short for Political Bureau, Russian Politicheskoye Buro, is the executive organization for a number of Political parties, most notably The NKVD were equally merciless towards the supporters, friends, and family of these heretical Marxists, whether they lived in Russia or not. The NKVD ( НКВД, ru Народный Комиссариат Внутренних Дел ''Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del'') or People's Commissariat 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. Jaume Ramón Mercader del Río Hernández ( February 7 1914 &ndash October 18 1978) was a Catalan Communist who became Pavel Sudoplatov (Пáвел Aнатóльевич Cудоплáтов ( July 7, 1907 – September 26, 1996) was a member of the Intelligence 
Another official justification was to remove any possible "fifth column" in case of a war, but this is less substantiated by independent sources. A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group to which it is expected to be loyal such as a Nation. 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. Molotov redirects here For other uses see Molotov (disambiguation. 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. Kulaks ( Russian: кула́к kulak " Fist ", by extension "tight-fisted" were a category of rich Peasants in later For the Malaysian New Economic Policy see Malaysian New Economic Policy. The Socialist-Revolutionary Party (the PSR the SRs, or Esers; Партия социалистов-революционеров (ПСР эсеры was a Russian Tsar csar and tzar redirect here For other uses see Tsar (disambiguation.
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, although there had been periods of heightened repression, such as the Red Terror, the deportation of kulaks who opposed collectivization, and the massive, artificially created famines. The October Revolution (Октябрьская революция Oktyabrskaya revolyutsiya) also known as the Soviet Revolution The Red Terror in Soviet Russia was the campaign of mass arrests and Executions conducted by the Bolshevik government Dekulakization (раскулачивание was the Soviet campaign of Political repressions including Arrests, Deportations and Executions Collectivization in the Soviet Union was a policy pursued under Stalin, between 1928 and 1940(much later for areas further away from capital to consolidate individual The Soviet famine of 1932-1933 affected most major grain-producing areas of the Soviet Union: Ukraine, Northern Caucasus, Volga Region, South 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.  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.
Between 1936 and 1938, three huge Moscow Trials of former senior Communist Party leaders were held. The Moscow Trials were a series of trials of political opponents of Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge. The defendants were accused of conspiring with western powers to assassinate Stalin and other Soviet leaders, dismember the Soviet Union and restore capitalism.
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. Many of these observers were broadly sympathetic to the Soviet Union, or at least idealized Soviet society. Others, like Fitzroy Maclean were a litte more astute in their observations and conclusions. Major-General Sir Fitzroy Hew Royle MacLean of Dunconnel 1st Baronet KT CBE ( March 11, 1911, Egypt – June 15,
The British lawyer and Member of Parliament D. N. 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". Denis Nowell Pritt (usually known as DN Pritt 22 September, 1887 in Harlesden, Middlesex &mdash 23 May, 1972
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, simulated drownings, making prisoners stand or go without sleep for days on end, and threats to arrest and execute the prisoners' families. The State Political Directorate was the Secret police of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic ( RSFSR) and the Soviet Union from 1922 until Alexander Mikhailovich Orlov (Александр Михайлович Орлов ( Leiba Lazarevich Felbing, ru Лейба Лазаревич Фельбинг ( 21 August For example, Kamenev's teenage son was arrested and charged with terrorism. Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion After months of such interrogation, the defendants were driven to despair and exhaustion.
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. (Климе́нт Ефре́мович Вороши́лов Kliment Efremovič Vorošilov, Климент Єфремович Ворошилов popularly known as Klim Voroshilov 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 be spared. In this case, the promise was partly kept. His wife, Anna Larina, was sent to a labor camp, but survived. Anna Larina ( January 27, 1914 - February 24, 1996) was the wife of the Bolshevik leader Nikolai Bukharin, and spent many years trying
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. Leon Trotsky ( Russian:, Lev Davidovich Trotsky, also transliterated Leo, Lyev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij The Dewey Commission (officially the "Commission of Inquiry into the Charges Made against Leon Trotsky in the Moscow Trials" was initiated in March 1937 by the " American The commission was headed by the noted American philosopher and educator John Dewey. John Dewey (October 20 1859 &ndash June 1 1952 was an American Philosopher, Psychologist, and educational reformer, whose thoughts and ideas have 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.
For example, Georgy Pyatakov testified that he had flown to Oslo in December 1935 to "receive terrorist instructions" from Trotsky. Georgy (Yury Leonidovich Pyatakov ( August 6 1890 &ndash1937 was a Bolshevik Revolutionary leader during the Russian Revolution, and (called Christiania from 1624 to 1878 and Kristiania from 1878 to 1924 is the Capital and largest city of Norway. 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. Ivan Nikitich Smirnov ( Иван Никитич Смирнов in Russian) ( 1881 - August 25, 1936) was a Communist Party Sergei Mironovich Kirov (Серге́й Миро́нович Ки́ров ( &ndash December 1, 1934) was a prominent early Bolshevik leader whose assassination
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:
The commission concluded: "We therefore find the Moscow Trials to be frame-ups. "
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). The Red Army ( Russian: Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия R aboche- K rest'yanskaya K rasnaya A rmiya Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky (Михаи́л Никола́евич Тухаче́вский Michał Tuchaczewski ( &ndash June 12, 1937) was a 
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. Marshal of the Soviet Union ( Marshal Sovietskovo Soyuza Советского Союза'' was the de facto highest military rank of the Soviet Union. An army (from Latin Armata "act of arming" via Old French armée) in the broadest sense is the land-based Armed forces This article is about a military unit For alternative meanings see Corps (disambiguation. A division is a large Military unit or formation usually consisting of around ten to thirty thousand soldiers Commissar is the English transliteration of an official title (комисса́р used in Russia after the Bolshevik revolution and in the Soviet Union  In total, 30,000 members of the armed forces were arrested and executed. 
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; in fact he suggests that it was beneficial to the Red Army and was not a Stalin's blunder how it is usually claimed. Viktor Suvorov (Ви́ктор Суво́ров is the Pen name for Vladimir Bogdanovich Rezun: Влади́мир Богда́нович Резу́н (born 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. The NKVD ( НКВД, ru Народный Комиссариат Внутренних Дел ''Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del'') or People's Commissariat For example, one of the most senior executed was the minister of navy affairs, former deputy minister internal affairs (NKVD), Mikhail Frinovsky (М. Mikhail Petrovich Frinovsky (Михаил Петрович Фриновский (January of 1898 - February 4, 1940) served as a deputy head of the П. Фриновский) who wore the rank of "Army-commander 1st rank", although he never in his life served the army.
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. The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists ( Большевик Большевист (singular, derived from bolshe, "more" were a faction See also Russian Revolution (1905 The Russian Revolution of 1916 refers to a series of popular revolutions in Russia, and the events surrounding them 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. Politburo, short for Political Bureau, Russian Politicheskoye Buro, is the executive organization for a number of Political parties, most notably The October Revolution (Октябрьская революция Oktyabrskaya revolyutsiya) also known as the Soviet Revolution  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 Soviet agent Ramón Mercader in 1940. Leon Trotsky ( Russian:, Lev Davidovich Trotsky, also transliterated Leo, Lyev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij The United Mexican States ( or commonly Mexico (ˈmɛksɪkoʊ () is a federal constitutional Republic in North America. Jaume Ramón Mercader del Río Hernández ( February 7 1914 &ndash October 18 1978) was a Catalan Communist who became 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. Mikhail Pavlovich Tomsky (born Efremov, sometimes transliterated as Yefremov, October 31 1880 – August 22, Molotov redirects here For other uses see Molotov (disambiguation. Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin (Михаи́л Ива́нович Кали́нин ( – June 3, 1946) was a Bolshevik revolutionary and the titular Head 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. The 17th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was held during 26 January - 10 February 1934.
The trials and executions of the former Bolshevik leaders were, however, only a minor part of the purges.
On July 30, 1937 the NKVD Order no. 00447 was issued, directed against "ex-kulaks" and other "anti-Soviet elements" (such as former officials of the Tsarist regime, former members of political parties other than the communist party, etc. Events 1419 - First Defenestration of Prague. 1502 - Christopher Columbus lands at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off Year 1937 ( MCMXXXVII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. NKVD Order № 00447 by July 30, 1937 О репрессировании бывших кулаков уголовников и других антисоветских Kulaks ( Russian: кула́к kulak " Fist ", by extension "tight-fisted" were a category of rich Peasants in later The Russian Empire ( Pre-reform Russian: Pоссійская Имперія Modern Russian: Российская Империя translit: Rossiyskaya ).
They were to be executed or sent to GULAG prison camps extrajudiciosly, under the decisions of NKVD troikas. The Gulag was the government agency that administered the penal labor camps of the Soviet Union. NKVD troika or Troika, in Soviet Union history were commissions of three people employed as an additional instrument of Extrajudicial punishment (внесудебная
The order instructed to classify kulaks and other anti-Soviet elements into two categories: the First category of repressed was subject to death by shooting, the Second category was sent to prison labor camps. Kulaks ( Russian: кула́к kulak " Fist ", by extension "tight-fisted" were a category of rich Peasants in later The order set upper quotas per territory and category. For example Byelorussian SSR was estimated to have 2,000 (1st cat. The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic (abbreviated as Byelorussian SSR or BSSR) (Беларуская Савецкая Сацыялістычная Рэспубліка ) + 10,000 (2nd cat. ) = 12,000 anti-Soviet elements. It was specifically stressed that quotas were estimates and could not be exceeded without personal approval of Yezhov. But in practice this approval was easy to obtain, and eventually these initial quotas were exceeded by orders of magnitude. For example, in September 1937, the Dagestan obkom requested the increase of the First Category from 600 to 1,200; the request was granted the next day. The Republic of Dagestan dæɡɪˈstɑːn (IntEng ˈdeɪɡəstæn (AmEng (Респу́блика Дагеста́н Дагъистанлъул ДжумхIурият Daɣistanłul
The implementation was swift. Already by August 15, 1937, 101,000 were arrested and 14,000 convicted. Events 778 - The Battle of Roncevaux Pass, at which Roland is killed Year 1937 ( MCMXXXVII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.
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. 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 who clandestinely undermine a larger group to which it is expected to be loyal such as a Nation. e. Germany, as well as according to the notion of the "hostile capitalist surrounding", which wants to destabilize the country. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. The Polish operation of the NKVD was the first of this kind, setting an example of dealing with other targeted minorities. Polish operation of the NKVD refers to the coordinated actions of the NKVD in 1937-1938 done according to NKVD Order № 00485 "О ликвидации 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. 
The Great Purge of 1936–1938 can be roughly divided of four periods:
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 and was eventually purged himself. The NKVD ( НКВД, ru Народный Комиссариат Внутренних Дел ''Narodnyy Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del'') or People's Commissariat Lavrenty Beria, a fellow Georgian and Stalin confidant, succeeded him as head of the NKVD. Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria (ლავრენტი პავლეს ძე ბერია Lavrenti Pavles dze Beria; Russian: Лаврентий Павлович 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. Events 284 - Diocletian is proclaimed emperor by his soldiers Year 1938 ( MCMXXXVIII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Council of Ministers of the USSR (Совет Министров СССР tr Central Committee most commonly refers to the central executive unit of a Leninist (commonly also Trotskyist) or Communist party, whether ruling or The Decree about Arrests Prosecutor Supervision and Course of Investigation was issued jointly by the Sovnarkom and VKP(b Central Committee (undersigned Mass operations of the NKVD were carried out during the Great Purge and targeted specific categories of people 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. The massacre of prisoners refers to a series of mass executions committed by the Soviet NKVD against prisoners in Poland, the Baltic states, 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 Night of the Murdered Poets (Ночь казнённых поэтов refers to the night of 12 to 13 August 1952, when thirteen of the most prominent Yiddish Events 1099 - First Crusade: Battle of Ascalon - Crusaders under the command of Godfrey of Bouillon defeat Fatimid Year 1952 ( MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.
It should be noted that when the relatives of those who had been executed in 1937-38 inquired about their fate, they were told by NKVD that their arrested relatives had been sentenced to "ten years of imprisonment without the right to correspond with anybody" (десять лет без права переписки). When these ten year periods elapsed in 1947-48 but the arrested did not appear, the relatives asked MGB about their fate again and this time were told that the arrested died in imprisonment. The causes and the dates of the deaths were invented by MGB.
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. Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (21 June 1905 &ndash 15 April 1980 commonly known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre (ʒɑ̃ pol saʁtʁə was a French A series of legal actions ensued at which definitive evidence was presented which established the validity of the former labor camp inmates' testimony.
Robert Conquest wrote the book The Great Terror in 1968. Dr George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15 1917) British Historian, became a well known writer and researcher on the Soviet Union 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. Walter Duranty (1884&ndash October 3, 1957) was a Liverpool -born British journalist who served as the New York Times . . beyond reasonable doubt to justify the verdict of treason" and Beatrice and Sidney Webb, authors of Soviet Communism: A New Civilization. This article is about the socialist politician For the children's author see Beatrix Potter. Sidney James Webb 1st Baron Passfield PC ( 13 July, 1859 &ndash 13 October, 1947) was a British socialist economist and reformer 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. The Guardian (until 1959 The Manchester Guardian) is a British Newspaper owned by the Guardian Media Group.
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. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (April 17 1894 – September 11 1971 served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 following 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 in New York City by the Communist Party USA, a Comintern -affiliated organization On the Personality Cult and its Consequences (О культе личности и его последствиях commonly known as the Secret Speech or the  In 1968, Robert Conquest published The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties. Dr George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15 1917) British Historian, became a well known writer and researcher on the Soviet Union Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago followed in 1973. The Gulag Archipelago ( Архипелаг ГУЛАГ) is a book by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn based on the Soviet forced labor and concentration camp system The Black Book of Communism (1997), relying in part on revelations of the Great Purge, compared communism unfavorably to Nazism. The Black Book of Communism Crimes Terror Repression is a book which describes a history of Repressions both Political and Civilian, by Nazism, which was a short name for National Socialism (Nationalsozialismus refers primarily to the Ideology and practices of the National Socialist German
The Great Purge was denounced by Nikita Khrushchev, who became the leader of the Soviet Union after Stalin's death. Rehabilitation (реабилитация in the context of Soviet or Russian topics is often a linguistic False cognate used to translate the Russian Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev (April 17 1894 – September 11 1971 served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964 following 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. On the Personality Cult and its Consequences (О культе личности и его последствиях commonly known as the Secret Speech or the The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was held during February 14 26 1956. 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 Anti-Party Group was an epithet used by Nikita Khrushchev to describe Stalinist members of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the The new line on the Great Purges undermined their power, and helped propel him to the Chairmanship of the Council of Ministers.
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. Mikhail Nikolayevich Tukhachevsky (Михаи́л Никола́евич Тухаче́вский Michał Tuchaczewski ( &ndash June 12, 1937) was a Rehabilitation (реабилитация in the context of Soviet or Russian topics is often a linguistic False cognate used to translate the Russian The former Politburo members Yan Rudzutak and Stanislav Kosior and many lower-level victims were also declared innocent in the 1950s. Jānis Rudzutaks (Ян Эрнестович Рудзутак August 3, 1887 &ndash July 29, 1938) was a Bolshevik revolutionary Stanislav Kosior or Kossior (Станислав Викентьевич Косиор Станіслав Вікентійович Косіор Stanisław Kosior ( &ndash Nikolai Bukharin and others convicted in the Moscow Trials were not rehabilitated until as late as 1988. Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin (Никола́й Ива́нович Буха́рин ( &ndash March 15, 1938) was a Bolshevik The Moscow Trials were a series of trials of political opponents of Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge.
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.
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.  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.  According to Memorial society
Some experts believe the evidence released from the Soviet archives is understated, incomplete or unreliable.  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. Dr George Robert Ackworth Conquest (born July 15 1917) British Historian, became a well known writer and researcher on the Soviet Union He believes that the KGB was covering its tracks by falsifying the dates and causes of death of rehabilitated victims. 
At least two Soviet commissions investigated the show-trials after Stalin's death. The term show trial is a pejorative description of a type of highly Public trial. The first was headed by Molotov and included Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Suslov, Furtseva, Shvernik, Aristov, Pospelov and Rudenko. Molotov redirects here For other uses see Molotov (disambiguation. (Климе́нт Ефре́мович Вороши́лов Kliment Efremovič Vorošilov, Климент Єфремович Ворошилов popularly known as Klim Voroshilov Mikhail Andreyevich Suslov ( Russian: Михаил Андреевич Суслов; November 21, 1902 - January 25, 1982 Ekaterina Alekseyevna Furtseva ( Russian: Екатерина Алексеевна Фурцева; November 24, 1910, Vyshniy Volochek Nikolay Mikhailovich Shvernik (Никола́й Миха́йлович Шве́рник (1888 – 1970 was the Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (or General Roman Andreyevich Rudenko (Рома́н Андре́евич Руде́нко July 30 1907 - January 23 1981 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". Rehabilitation (реабилитация in the context of Soviet or Russian topics is often a linguistic False cognate used to translate the Russian 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 second commission largely worked from 1961 to 1963 and was headed by Shvernik ("Shvernik Commission"). Shvernik Commission ( Shvernik's Commission, комиссия Шверника was an informal name of the commission of the CPSU Central Committee It include Shelepin, Serdyuk, Mironov, Rudenko, and Semichastny. Alexander Nikolayevich Shelepin (Александр Николаевич Шелепин 18 August 1918, Voronezh - October 24, 1994 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:
However, soon Khrushchev was deposed and the "Thaw" ended, so most victims of the three show-trials were not rehabilitated until Gorbachev's time. Khrushchev's Thaw or the Khrushchev Thaw refers to the period from the mid 1950s to the early 1960s when repression and Censorship in the Soviet Union Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev ( Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachyov;; born 2 March 1931 in Privolnoye Stavropol Krai) is a Russian politician
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. Ludo Martens (born 12 March, 1946) is a Belgian historian noted for his work on Francophone Africa and the Soviet Union 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. The Cold War ensued as the USSR and the United States struggled indirectly for influence around the world
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, numerous mass graves filled with executed victims of the terror were discovered. Mass graves in the Soviet Union Soviet repression and terror The government  Some, such as the killing fields at Kurapaty near Minsk and Bykivnia near Kiev, are believed to contain up to 200,000 corpses. Kurapaty (Курапаты is a wooded area on the outskirts of Minsk, Belarus, in which a vast number of people were executed between 1937 and 1941 by the Minsk (Мінск mʲinsk Минск mʲinsk is the Capital and largest city in Belarus, situated on the Svislach and Niamiha rivers Bykivnia (Биківня Быковня Bykownia is a former small village on the outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine, that was incorporated into the city in 1923 Kiev, also known as Kyiv ( Ukrainian:, Kyiv, ˈkɪjiw Russian:, Kiyev; see also Cities' alternative names) is the 
In 2007 one such site, the Butovo shooting range near Moscow, was turned into a shrine to the victims of Stalinism. Yuzhnoye Butovo District (райо́н Ю́жное Бу́тово is the biggest district in South-Western Administrative Okrug of Moscow, Moscow (Москва́ romanised: Moskvá, IPA: see also other names) is the Capital and the largest city of From August 1937 through October 1938 more than 20,000 people were shot and buried there.