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Stalin s Purges - Russiapedia Of Russian origin

On July 26, 1959, US Vice President Richard Nixon was taken for a walk by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev as Nixon had come to Moscow to host the American exhibition. Touring one of the Moscow streets, Khrushchev introduced Nixon to the Soviet people, asking, “What do you say now – do they look like slaves of communism?”…

Peter Carl Faberge

Peter Carl Faberge was a world famous master jeweler and head of the ‘House of Faberge’ in Imperial Russia in the waning days of the Russian Empire.

Of Russian origin: Stalin's Purges

Stalin's purges could otherwise be translated as "Stalin's Terror". They grew from his paranoia and his desire to be absolute autocrat, and were enforced via the NKVD (Communist Secret police) and public 'show trials'. They helped develop a centrally-enforced 'cult of Stalin-worship', and a terrifying system of labor camps - the gulag.

Several reasons could be named for Joseph Stalin's terror. First of all, he believed that the country had to be united - with him as leader - if it was to be strong. Secondly, Stalin calculated that the Soviet Union only had 10 years to catch up with the Western world in terms of industrial growth before Germany invaded, which was highly plausible. The Soviet heavy industry was weak and in the decline, obviously lacking the capacity to produce enough metal and heavy machinery for the imminent war. So, “tightening the screws” and exploiting thousands of gulag prisoners at construction sites and at plants became a part of his sinister industrialization scheme.

In addition to that, the leader became increasingly paranoid (seeing plots everywhere) and power-mad (he demanded continuous praise and applause). And, above all, in 1935, his wife killed herself.

Stalin's "Apparatus of Terror" relied mostly on the NKVD. Stalin's first purges date back to 1930–33 and were aimed at extermination of those who opposed industrialization and the kulaks (well-off farmers and entrepreneurs, who opposed collectivization).

The worst nation to suffer from Stalin's purges in the Soviet Union were not the Russians - this is historians' main argument against equating Stalinism and Hitler's fascism. Hitler's machine of extermination had been targeted at non-Germans. Fascists sought to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity in which individuals are bound together by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood. However, although Stalin did enforce "russification" of the Soviet Union, his main enemies were his political opponents and their followers.

His most ferocious acts of terror - The Great Purges - took place between 1934 and 1939.
In 1934 Sergey Kirov, a rival to Stalin, was murdered. Although Stalin is believed to have been behind the assassination, he used it as a pretext to arrest thousands of his opponents, who, in his words, might have been responsible for Kirov's murder. The years after saw Stalin’s political opponents put on ‘show trials’, where they pleaded guilty to impossible charges of treason (e.g. Zinovyev and Kamenev in 1936, Bukharin, Tomsky and Rykov in 1938).

In 1937, the Commander-in-Chief of the Red Army and 7 leading generals were shot. In 1938–39, all the admirals and half the Army’s officers were executed or imprisoned. In the same period of time thousands of religious leaders were imprisoned while churches were closed.

The purges affected not only those who openly opposed Stalin, but ordinary people too. During Stalin's rule of the country over 20 million people were sent to labor camps, where nearly half of them died.

The cult of Stalin replaced churches with its icons. Censorship of anything that might reflect badly on Stalin was enacted. Propaganda was everywhere - pictures, statues, continuous praise and applause for the leader. Mothers taught their children that Stalin was ‘the wisest man of the age’. History textbooks and photographs were changed to make him the hero of the Revolution, and obliterate the names of purged people.

To assure themselves of an endless supply of "traitors” the NKVD interrogators concentrated on two questions: "Who recruited you?" and "Who did you recruit?" The "confessions" often doomed casual acquaintances, friends, and even family. Even at a time when the threat of war in Europe was rising, much of the military leadership - the only remaining base of potential opposition - was executed. It was at this point that Stalin's method began to show definite signs of madness.

An indication of the vast scope of the Great Purge was the discovery, during the Second World War, in Vinnytsia (Ukraine) of a mass grave containing 10,000 bodies of residents of the region who were shot between 1937 and 1938. Given the lack of complete data, it is difficult to establish the total loss of life brought about by the Stalinist terror. An average estimate is that in the Soviet Union as a whole, about 500,000 were executed in 1937-39 and somewhere between 3 and 12 million were sent to labor camps.

With the start of the Second World War, Stalin's terror transformed into the extermination of war prisoners and "traitors". The largest of several simultaneous executions of prisoners of war - the infamous Katyn massacre - took place in April and May 1940 in the Smolensk region. It was a mass execution of Polish nationals, prompted by Lavrenty Beria's proposal to execute all members of the Polish Officer Corps. This official document was approved and signed by the Soviet Politburo, including its leader, Joseph Stalin. The number of victims of Katyn is estimated at about 22,000. Of the total killed, about 8,000 were officers taken prisoner during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, another 6,000 were police officers, with the rest being Polish intelligentsia arrested for allegedly being "intelligence agents, gendarmes, landowners, saboteurs, factory owners, lawyers and priests."

After Stalin's death all of the victims of the purges (or as they were called, “enemies of the people”) were gradually rehabilitated.

Khandra The word khandra is one of those difficult-to-pin-down words that tries to express something in the human soul that we know is there, but can’t easily put into words.Samovar Samovar literally means “self boiler”. It’s a large metal container in which water is kept hot and used for drawn out tea drinking sessions.Sukhoi Aircraft design bureau, which gave birth to Russia's legendary SU-27 fighter jets and now produces Sukhoi superjet civic planes.Kvas Non-alcoholic drink similar to beer, made from grain and yeast, and sweet taste.Table of Ranks The Table of Ranks was instituted in Russia in 1722, spurred by Peter The Great’s desire to bring the growing state into order, putting it on par with Western countries.BAM BAM - or the Baikal-Amur Magistral - is one of the most extended railroads in the world, stretching for over 2,671 miles and connecting Siberia with Russia’s Far East.

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Stalin - s Great Purges Essay, Research Paper Stalin? s

Stalin’s Great Purges Essay, Research Paper

Stalin?s great purges had a distressing significance during the 1930?s. The purges, in effect, started on December 1, 1934 with the murder of Sergei Kirov, a Leningrad party leader. This act, in fact, helped shut ?Russia?s window to the West. These great purges brought on ugly results and severely menaced the Soviet Unions power and future. The purges were designed to expunge any threats of political resistance. An important aspect of all Soviet Purges has been elimination of those minor figures whose fate was sealed by the defeat of their prosecutors.

Long before the assasination of Kirov in December 1934 Stalin managed by various political maneuvers and violent means to free himself from the control of the party masses.

Stalin was born on December 21, 1879, in the village of Gori, Georgia. He was born to Vissarion and Yekaterina Dzhugashvili. His father Vissarion, was an unsuccessful cobbler who drank heavily and beat him. When Stalin was seven, he caught smallpox, which marked him for life, and then he caught septicemia, which left his left arm slightly crippled. Stalin was one of four chilren to survive infancy.

He lived a ?normal life? in the 1920?s, surrounded by many relatives who freely expressed their thoughts and had good personal friends among the leaders in Russia. However, in 1932, his life took a change for the worse, arguably, after the suicide of his second wife, Nadezhda Allililuyeva who left a letter incriminating him personally and politically.

Stalin’s rise to power was a combination of his ability to manipulate situations and the failure of others to prevent him from taking power, especially Leon Trotsky. Trotsky did not take advantage of several opportunities in which would have helped him to eliminate Stalin politically. When he failed to take advantage of these opportunities, Stalin schemed himself into a stronger position within the party by allying with Zinoviev and Kamnev. He manipulated them into shattering Trotsky, thus eliminating the strongest opponent in his path to power. Stalin deftly avoided potential political ruin when Lenin formulated his Testament in December 1922. This Testament illustrated what his thoughts of the future of the Party leaders and the party itself; Especially Trotsky and Stalin. Lenin foreshadowed a division in which Stalin and Trotsky would be the main details. When describing Stalin, Lenin felt that he had an unlimited authority in his hands and whether he will always be capable of using that authority with sufficient caution. The makeup of Lenin’s Testament became more damaging to Trotsky than to Stalin. Stalin manipulated the content of the Testament to enhance his position. By mentioning Stalin as one of the prominent members of the Party, Lenin raised Stalin’s greatness to that of Trotsky. The equivalent stature of apparatus

The purges were set off on December 1, 1934 with the murder of Sergei Kirov. He was a member of the Politburo, leader of the Leningrad party and had substantial influence in the ruling elite. His concern for the workers in Leningrad earned him popularity. Stalin used his murder as a pretext for launching a broad purge that would claim hundreds of thousands of victims.

No part of society was left out of danger by the purges. Anyone who caused the remotest suspicion was expunged and numerous legislatures were enacted to help enforce them. For example, a law that was passed in 1935 lowered the age for responsible criminal behavior. That meant the death penalty could be utilized on children as young as twelve.

By 1933 Stalin and supporters were not satisfied with Russia?s progress and the purge trials. They indicted a whole group of industrailists who were alleged to have hindered technological advance. The terror is commonly thought to be the mode by which Stalin cinched his own personal power. Stalin did improve Russia?s industrial system, however, obviously had a negative effect on Russian society. Stalin used the Five Year Plans to make great strides in industrializing Russia. When he tried to equal that success with agricultural growth he met some resistance and ended up liquidating a class and causing famine. Socially, he gave some important social benefits to workers and gave women equal rights. But, he also tried to purge the country and eliminated a lot of the Party, most of the army, and a good part of the workers and peasants. Stalin made several industrial developments for his country but that does not even begin to negate the death and destruction that he caused.

One achievement that Stalin made for the Soviet Union was the Five Year Plan. Russia was lagging behind the rest of the world in that they had not had a formal Industrial Revolution. Stalin estimated that Russia was 50-100 years behind more advanced countries. The First Five Year Plan was embraced in 1929. The purpose of this plan was to increase the country?s industrial production. The plan was a major success. It was reported that the industrial product increased 250 percent, steel production increased 300 percent, production of machinery and electrical equipment 157 percent, heavy metal increased 67 percent, coal output increased 89 percent, and consumer goods increased about 73 percent

After the success of the First Five Year Plan, the Seventeenth Party Congress embraced the Second Five Year Plan in 1934. Goals of the second plan were an expansion of machine tool production, overcome the absent steel and iron, the development and production of non-ferrous metals, and the improvement and railroad lines.

By the end of the Second Five Year Plan, the Soviet Union was arising as a strong industrial country. It increased production of iron, steel, coal, and electric power. It had a whole new area of new industries, including aviation, tractor, locomotive, chemical, aluminum, nickel, and tin. The Soviet Union now had a well-established industrial base capable of further expansion and growth.

Although swift industrialization helped improve Russia, it maltreated the workers. Industrialization moved so fast and was often so poorly planned that disasters frequently resulted. The workers had to put in a lot of time, excessive to what they were used to. Under Stalin the workers had to work longer and harder. Normal work-weeks were estimated between 48-60 hours, including Sunday work. In the case of the struggle for power. The problem is more complex and the distinction not so clear. For the purge is both a consequence of the struggle for power and a part of it.

In 1936, Stalin began to attack his political opponents in a series of purges to expunge anything that stood politically opposite to him. Much Stalin and Trotsky made Trotsky seem to be less important in relation to Lenin and thus to the Party like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin was one of the most uncompassionate and cruel people in the history of the world. Stalin was also a murderer. Stalin abused his people when he starved them to death, and coldly murdered them. Stalin also abused his country by restraining Russia’s progress and economic growth. 1929 was the first of many years in which Stalin stunted Russia’s growth and progress as a country. In that year the ?Engineer Trials? were held. During these trials the Russian elite were instated by Stalin on the act of treason. Confessions by the elite which included doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, and clergy were expunged by many different means, one which included torture. After these trials were through thousands of the Russian elite were murdered, with their blood on Stalin’s hands. These trails had a horrible effect on the progress of Russia, since there was no foreseeable Russian leader for the future, In 1932, Stalin had put his plan into action that was later called the Terror Famine. In this, Stalin started to order grain requisitions from the lower class in the Ukraine. Stalin used his army to claim the grain from the people. However, Stalin?s orders left the lower class in famine. He took excessive amounts of the grain. By doing this Stalin ended up breaking the back of the Georgians and the Ukrainians. Stalin was killing off so many Russians, the same Russians who the economy was so rested on. This act, by far, is arguably the hardest hit group among Stalin?s victims.

The arrests, trials, and executions of the late 1930?s in Russia still evoke horror that such inhumanity can exist. Deserted camps in Siberia pay silent witness to the hundreds of thousands of human beings whose lot was undeserved slave labour in freezing conditions, in thin clothing, and on minimal food rations. This is one example that illustrates what kind of a man Stalin was during this time. He treated far too many people poorly. The reasons, to this day will never become completely evident.

From around 1936 through 1938 Stalin unveiled his Great Terror. The Great Terror consisted of many events including the Purge Trials and the Katyn Massacre. During the purge trials, Stalin once again halted Russian progress. The Purge Trials terminated many military officers and engineers. Approximately between ?250,000 to 500,000? Russians died because of Stalin’s orders. These trials caused anxiety among the elite’s, afraid, for if they opposed they would at length end up dead. Stalin not only hurt the growth of his own country, but he impaired the growth of neighboring counties, such as Poland.

In Poland during the Great Terror, Stalin ordered the Katyn Massacre to occur. The top 15,000 officers in the Polish army were rounded up and killed in the forests of Belarus. This was tremendous act, being that Poland?s political future was in the loom. This outcome came because Stalin killed most of their military elite. Stalin was also systematically extinguished most, if not all, of his political opponents, or anyone that posed even the smallest threat to his political ideas. Stalin showed no mercy though incarcerating and killing innocent Russians and in turn, severely damaging any imaginable progress for Russia. Stalin was breaking the Russian nation.

The beginning of the great purge in 1936 was also marked by nationwide discussions of the Stalin Constitution-hailed as a landmark in Soviet Democracy. Soviet totalitarianism could now look back at the accomplishments of the first great purge. Stalin?s purges had a bittersweet effect on Russia. Stalin?s purges were good for some aspects of Russia, or were they not?

Many that suffered from the purges were sent to labor camps or were simply executed by the secret police. Units of this secret police were ordered to arrest a certain percentage of the people in their districts. Graves were discovered in 1934 holding over 9,000 bodies of people killed around 1938 in the Ukraine. Since then mass burial sights have been discovered outside major cities.

They were shot by NKVD, or the secret police. The people were shot from close range in the back and then pushed into a pit with many others. When one group was completely executed they were covered with sand. Some victims were not even dead when they were pushed into these pits.

The purges during the 1930s initiated by Joseph Stalin brought enormous consequences in all sectors of the society and greatly endangered Soviet Union’s sovereignty. The best estimate is that between ?ten and eleven million people perished under Soviet regime between 1926 and 1939, most of them from the Ukranian famine. Stalin?s purges created many wicked consequences, some that are still prevalent today.

Реферат: Causation Of The Purges Essay Research Paper

Causation Of The Purges Essay, Research Paper

Stalin?s leadership, approximately 70 000 people were murdered during the

purges of 1928 to 1940, and some 12 million people died as a result of Stalin?s

sending them to the Gulags otherwise known as the camps, and these estimates

are described as being conservative. Many historians believe that up to 17

million people could have died as a result of Stalin?s purges. Was this due to Stalin?s paranoia, or were

other factors involved in these huge numbers of dead? After Lenin?s death, Stalin

succeeded him as leader after a gap of about three years. He had achieved his position through skilful

manovering and ruthlessness in his dealings with fellow party members. Stalin had been brought up as a Georgian

peasant, but his lack of regard for his fellow human beings had been shown by

his brutal repression of Georgia in Sept 1918. Stalin was willing to use

whatever means necessary to achieve his goals.?

After Stalin took over the leadership in 1928, huge advances occurred in

the state of Russia?s economy, and Stalin succeeded in changing Russia from a

backward power, restrained for many years under the ties of repressive,

incompetent Tsars, into a world Superpower, capable of sustaining an arms race

requiring military expenditure of up to 15% per year. This modernisation of Russia was achieved in an extremely short

period of time, as Stalin himself said. We are 50 or 100 years behind the western powers,

if the revolution is to survive, we must make up this gap in 10 years. Whether the

gap with the west was made up as quickly as Stalin intended is insignificant at

this point, the fact is that the gap was made up in a very short time. In order to achieve this, Stalin was willing

to remove opponents to his ideas. This resulted in parts of the party opposed

to Stalin?s ideas being purged.?

Although these deaths can?t be excused, there was at least a purpose in

these purges and they cannot be simply attributed to Stalin?s paranoia. As Stalin

tried to improve Russia he also increasingly centralised the government, this

was beneficial as it allowed Stalin to make all of the decisions that he needed

to make in order to achieve his policy of catching up with the west. However, he also set almost impossible

targets through Gosplan for his five-year plans. When these targets were not met, the blame would naturally have

fallen on Stalin. However, Stalin?s power was based on a cult of personality,

which made Stalin a kind of human God who could not be wrong. Therefore, in order to avoid the blame

falling on him, he had to find ?scape goats. people who he could blame for the

targets not being met. He blamed the

failure to achieve these targets on the sabotage of certain elements of

society, particularly the Kulak class of rich peasants, as created by Stolypin

in an attempt to preserve the Tsarist system.?

The existence of this class is debatable, certainly the numbers of

Kulaks was nothing like the number of people accused of being Kulaks and

consequently deported or shot. For

example, when there was a grain shortage in Russia, Stalin simply would not

accept that there was a shortage; instead he blamed the Kulaks for hoarding

grain. He sent out requisitioning

squads to claim what was being hoarded and deal with those who were hoarding

it. It is unclear whether some grain

was in fact being hoarded, but certainly, that which was being hoarded was

nothing like the amount Stalin said was being hoarded. The results were that the grain, kept by the

farmer as seed for next years harvest was seized, and those retaining seed were

accused of hoarding. Consequently, the next year there was mass famine due to

the lack of grain for planting. All

this time, Stalin was exporting grain in order to boost Russia?s economy. In

this way Stalin avoided the blame for his failures by accusing others of

sabotage. The need for someone to blame

led to arrest quotas. The secret police were required by Stalin to arrest a

certain number of ?saboteurs? so that propaganda could show that the failure to

meet targets set by Gosplan, targets that were unattainable, could be blamed on

the purging of Stalin?s political opponents was partially due to Stalin?s

paranoia, it was also, as I have already mentioned, due to his fear of

opposition. He needed a free hand if

his policies were to work. However, his

fear of being ousted from power was not necessarily unfounded. In 1934, at the 17th annual party

conference a vote of the party membership decided to replace Stalin with

Kirov. There were only 3 votes against

Kirov, but 292 votes against Stalin.?

The result was that 289 votes were burned so only there were only 3

votes against each candidate. However,

Stalin could not tolerate this popularity and rivalry. He needed absolute power. The result was that Nickolyev, the husband

of Kirov?s secretary, murdered Kirov in December of 1934 under orders from the

secret police. Kirov was given a state

funeral, but Stalin set about consolidating his power by forcibly removing all

those who voted against him. In this

way Stalin was paranoid, he was neither willing to share nor delegate power,

this was the motivation behind the centralisation of power, he wanted his power

to be undiluted and absolute. Stalin?s

greatest fear was being ousted from his position of power before his

death. The result was that he held

Russia in an ?iron grip. Another

example of his fear of losing power was the purging of the army. In early 1937, the Germans forged a letter

from Tukhachevsky, the chief of staff in the Soviet army, to friends in

Germany, telling of plans to overthrow Stalin?s regime. These documents were well planted by the

Germans and found by Stalin. Stalin

then became extremely fearful for his own personal safety and his loosing

power. The result was the purging of

the entire Russian army including the 11 Commissars for defence and 75 of the

80 members of the Supreme Military Council were executed, along with all 8

admirals and half of all the officer corps.?

The result was a severely weakened Russian army just before the

commencement of the Second World War. The difficulty is whether or not Stalin?s fear of loosing power

can be described as a form of paranoia.?

It is clear that in so many of the actions which historians have attributed

to Stalin?s paranoia, Stalin was at least partially justified in reacting in

the way he did. For example, Stalin?s

obsessive fear of Trotsky was at least in part justified by the legitimacy of

Trotsky?s claim to the Russian leadership.?

The eventual murder of Trotsky by means of an ice pick through the head,

though considered by many to be brutal and unnecessary as Trotsky was no longer

a threat to the regime in South America, did prevent Trotsky informing the

world of what was really going on in Russia and consequently, may have

prevented outside intervention. Stalin was clearly paranoid about

his power within Russia being compromised or removed from him by others in the

way that he had removed power from Bucharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev along with

the other old Bolsheviks. In this way after the Kirov threat was removed it

seems that he became determined not to let any other party member come close to

gaining a similar influence and gaining a position from where it was

conceivably possible to oust him from power.?

In this way it can be said that events contributed to the repeated

purging of those who posed a potential threat to his leadership either by means

of past claims (the old Bolsheviks) or those whom appeared to oppose him and

his policies. However, Stalin became so

paranoid about those around him attempting to remove him from power that any

hint of opposition led in many cases to over cautious purging. Repeatedly he purged the secret police

force, and the mass purges of the army in 1937 showed how paranoid Stalin

really was about losing power to a military or political threat from within the

party. He was not willing to allow any

other party to compromise his supreme power in anyway for fear of losing his

power. In conclusion, it seems that

Stalin?s complex character makes it difficult to highlight any single factor to

which one could contribute the great purges.?

Certainly, his paranoia played some part as many of the purges were

unnecessary to achieve the goal of removing the threat to his power. However, in many cases, although Stalin can

be described as over-zealous in his purging, the actions taken were necessary

in order to maintain power. The purges

of many ordinary people can also be attributed to the search for a scapegoat to

avoid the blame falling on Stalin. Stalin?s purges did achieve his

aim by enabling Russia to become a world Superpower, however, there was a high

cost. Many of the purges were extremely

widespread and in my opinion, many of these deaths could be described as

unnecessary and could be attributed to Stalin?s paranoia. However, in most cases, the purges had a

motive, this was either maintenance of supreme power or else finding somebody

to blame for the failure to realise his targets. In this way, Stalin?s paranoia

was only partially to blame for the purges.?

His desire to maintain power and achieve near impossible targets to a

greater degree led to the purges of the Russian people under Stalin.

Causation Of The Purges Essay Research Paper

Causation Of The Purges Essay, Research Paper

Stalin?s leadership, approximately 70 000 people were murdered during the

purges of 1928 to 1940, and some 12 million people died as a result of Stalin?s

sending them to the Gulags otherwise known as the camps, and these estimates

are described as being conservative. Many historians believe that up to 17

million people could have died as a result of Stalin?s purges. Was this due to Stalin?s paranoia, or were

other factors involved in these huge numbers of dead? After Lenin?s death, Stalin

succeeded him as leader after a gap of about three years. He had achieved his position through skilful

manovering and ruthlessness in his dealings with fellow party members. Stalin had been brought up as a Georgian

peasant, but his lack of regard for his fellow human beings had been shown by

his brutal repression of Georgia in Sept 1918. Stalin was willing to use

whatever means necessary to achieve his goals.

After Stalin took over the leadership in 1928, huge advances occurred in

the state of Russia?s economy, and Stalin succeeded in changing Russia from a

backward power, restrained for many years under the ties of repressive,

incompetent Tsars, into a world Superpower, capable of sustaining an arms race

requiring military expenditure of up to 15% per year. This modernisation of Russia was achieved in an extremely short

period of time, as Stalin himself said. We are 50 or 100 years behind the western powers,

if the revolution is to survive, we must make up this gap in 10 years. Whether the

gap with the west was made up as quickly as Stalin intended is insignificant at

this point, the fact is that the gap was made up in a very short time. In order to achieve this, Stalin was willing

to remove opponents to his ideas. This resulted in parts of the party opposed

to Stalin?s ideas being purged.

Although these deaths can?t be excused, there was at least a purpose in

these purges and they cannot be simply attributed to Stalin?s paranoia. As Stalin

tried to improve Russia he also increasingly centralised the government, this

was beneficial as it allowed Stalin to make all of the decisions that he needed

to make in order to achieve his policy of catching up with the west. However, he also set almost impossible

targets through Gosplan for his five-year plans. When these targets were not met, the blame would naturally have

fallen on Stalin. However, Stalin?s power was based on a cult of personality,

which made Stalin a kind of human God who could not be wrong. Therefore, in order to avoid the blame

falling on him, he had to find ?scape goats. people who he could blame for the

targets not being met. He blamed the

failure to achieve these targets on the sabotage of certain elements of

society, particularly the Kulak class of rich peasants, as created by Stolypin

in an attempt to preserve the Tsarist system.

The existence of this class is debatable, certainly the numbers of

Kulaks was nothing like the number of people accused of being Kulaks and

consequently deported or shot. For

example, when there was a grain shortage in Russia, Stalin simply would not

accept that there was a shortage; instead he blamed the Kulaks for hoarding

grain. He sent out requisitioning

squads to claim what was being hoarded and deal with those who were hoarding

it. It is unclear whether some grain

was in fact being hoarded, but certainly, that which was being hoarded was

nothing like the amount Stalin said was being hoarded. The results were that the grain, kept by the

farmer as seed for next years harvest was seized, and those retaining seed were

accused of hoarding. Consequently, the next year there was mass famine due to

the lack of grain for planting. All

this time, Stalin was exporting grain in order to boost Russia?s economy. In

this way Stalin avoided the blame for his failures by accusing others of

sabotage. The need for someone to blame

led to arrest quotas. The secret police were required by Stalin to arrest a

certain number of ?saboteurs? so that propaganda could show that the failure to

meet targets set by Gosplan, targets that were unattainable, could be blamed on

the purging of Stalin?s political opponents was partially due to Stalin?s

paranoia, it was also, as I have already mentioned, due to his fear of

opposition. He needed a free hand if

his policies were to work. However, his

fear of being ousted from power was not necessarily unfounded. In 1934, at the 17th annual party

conference a vote of the party membership decided to replace Stalin with

Kirov. There were only 3 votes against

Kirov, but 292 votes against Stalin.

The result was that 289 votes were burned so only there were only 3

votes against each candidate. However,

Stalin could not tolerate this popularity and rivalry. He needed absolute power. The result was that Nickolyev, the husband

of Kirov?s secretary, murdered Kirov in December of 1934 under orders from the

secret police. Kirov was given a state

funeral, but Stalin set about consolidating his power by forcibly removing all

those who voted against him. In this

way Stalin was paranoid, he was neither willing to share nor delegate power,

this was the motivation behind the centralisation of power, he wanted his power

to be undiluted and absolute. Stalin?s

greatest fear was being ousted from his position of power before his

death. The result was that he held

Russia in an ?iron grip. Another

example of his fear of losing power was the purging of the army. In early 1937, the Germans forged a letter

from Tukhachevsky, the chief of staff in the Soviet army, to friends in

Germany, telling of plans to overthrow Stalin?s regime. These documents were well planted by the

Germans and found by Stalin. Stalin

then became extremely fearful for his own personal safety and his loosing

power. The result was the purging of

the entire Russian army including the 11 Commissars for defence and 75 of the

80 members of the Supreme Military Council were executed, along with all 8

admirals and half of all the officer corps.

The result was a severely weakened Russian army just before the

commencement of the Second World War. The difficulty is whether or not Stalin?s fear of loosing power

can be described as a form of paranoia.

It is clear that in so many of the actions which historians have attributed

to Stalin?s paranoia, Stalin was at least partially justified in reacting in

the way he did. For example, Stalin?s

obsessive fear of Trotsky was at least in part justified by the legitimacy of

Trotsky?s claim to the Russian leadership.

The eventual murder of Trotsky by means of an ice pick through the head,

though considered by many to be brutal and unnecessary as Trotsky was no longer

a threat to the regime in South America, did prevent Trotsky informing the

world of what was really going on in Russia and consequently, may have

prevented outside intervention. Stalin was clearly paranoid about

his power within Russia being compromised or removed from him by others in the

way that he had removed power from Bucharin, Zinoviev and Kamenev along with

the other old Bolsheviks. In this way after the Kirov threat was removed it

seems that he became determined not to let any other party member come close to

gaining a similar influence and gaining a position from where it was

conceivably possible to oust him from power.

In this way it can be said that events contributed to the repeated

purging of those who posed a potential threat to his leadership either by means

of past claims (the old Bolsheviks) or those whom appeared to oppose him and

his policies. However, Stalin became so

paranoid about those around him attempting to remove him from power that any

hint of opposition led in many cases to over cautious purging. Repeatedly he purged the secret police

force, and the mass purges of the army in 1937 showed how paranoid Stalin

really was about losing power to a military or political threat from within the

party. He was not willing to allow any

other party to compromise his supreme power in anyway for fear of losing his

power. In conclusion, it seems that

Stalin?s complex character makes it difficult to highlight any single factor to

which one could contribute the great purges.

Certainly, his paranoia played some part as many of the purges were

unnecessary to achieve the goal of removing the threat to his power. However, in many cases, although Stalin can

be described as over-zealous in his purging, the actions taken were necessary

in order to maintain power. The purges

of many ordinary people can also be attributed to the search for a scapegoat to

avoid the blame falling on Stalin. Stalin?s purges did achieve his

aim by enabling Russia to become a world Superpower, however, there was a high

cost. Many of the purges were extremely

widespread and in my opinion, many of these deaths could be described as

unnecessary and could be attributed to Stalin?s paranoia. However, in most cases, the purges had a

motive, this was either maintenance of supreme power or else finding somebody

to blame for the failure to realise his targets. In this way, Stalin?s paranoia

was only partially to blame for the purges.

His desire to maintain power and achieve near impossible targets to a

greater degree led to the purges of the Russian people under Stalin.

Stalins Purge The Greater Holocaust Essay Research

Stalins Purge The Greater Holocaust Essay Research

Stalin?s Purge: The Greater Holocaust Essay, Research Paper Joseph Stalin was ruler of the Soviet Union from 1929-1953. While he was in power the Great Depression devastated the world economy, the Nazis invaded the U.S.S.R. Berlin was cut off from the rest of the world, and the Cold War began. In many countries his philosophies were believed to be highly effective, but some of his actions are just being uncovered. and denounced, in ?Western? countries like the United States. One part of Soviet history, only now being recognized for what it really was, is the ?Great Purge? Stalin initiated to rid the Stalin(Groilers-Communism) country of all people who didn?t support him as ?the supreme ruler of the Soviet Union. Stalin was born on December 21, 1827 in Gori, Georgia, and

given the name Joseph Vissarionovich Djugashvili. He adopted the name Joseph Stalin later in his lifetime. (World Book 825; Groilers-Stalin,Joseph) His father was an alcoholic, beat his wife, as well as, Stalin. Stalin?s father died in a fight when his child was only eleven. His mother wanted Stalin to become a priest, so she sent him to seminary school when he was 14 years of age. (Groilers-Stalin,Joseph) At the school, Stalin learned about revolutionaries and became one himself. Eventually he quit school and became ?a full-time revolutionary? against the Czar and the Russian monarchy. He was arrested in 1904 and joined the Bolsheviks. Stalin was arrested and exiled four more times between 1906 and 1913. (World Book 825) When Stalin escaped from exile he met Lenin and joined the

Bolsheviks. In 1912 he was appointed to the Bolshevik Central Committee. Arrested and exiled by the Czar in 1913, he returned in 1917 after the ?November Revolution. (Groilers-Stalin, Joseph) Stalin was appointed secretary of the Central Committee in 1922 and became ?power hungry. Before his death, in 1924, Lenin wrote a not saying that Stalin was reckless and needed to be removed from power. The leading Bolsheviks ignored the note and continued increasing the amount of power Stalin had. Between 1924 and 1928, Stalin used his position to remove his opposition from ?the Party?; he was the unchallenged leader of the Soviet Union by 1929. (Groilers-Stalin, Joseph) As leader of the Soviet Union he ordered the creation of the collective farms to aid in the rapid industrialization of

the country. Poor management of the farms caused thousands of people to die in a famine; Stalin continued collectivization at an increased r! ate after the famine. (World Book 826) Stalin?s purge began after the death of Sergei Kirov. It is believed that the ?murder was probably arranged by Stalin as a pretext for eliminating all opponents. (Groilers-Great Purge) Stalin used Kirov?s death as an excuse to charge Party members and Army generals with treason or conspiracy and sentence them to death. Almost all of the members of the Central Committee and the 17th Congress were killed or arrested; some were sent to labor camps known as Gulags. At first, the purge was secret; show trials in Moscow were evidence of the purge?s existence, later on. The purge spread from high-ranking

officials to people associated with Lenin and then to common workers and farmers. Anyone perceived as a threat to Stalin?s power was killed. The ?officer-corps? were so Stalin would have total support in the lower ranks of the armed forces. (Groilers-Great Purge) Everyone was considered a suspect by the secret police. During this time Stalin began to produce his own personality ?cult. Some people used this cult as a way to avoid being killed by the secret police. (Groilers-Stalin, Joseph) During the purge the secret police ordered spying on important industrialists. They also ordered neighbors to spy on each other, children to report on heir parents, children to watch their siblings, and adults to spy on their employers/employees. (World Book 826) With so may people being