Urban and educated people were targeted,
only 5% of all shootings, arrests and exiles
were women. It is estimated that 19% of the
adult male population were executed or
The focus changed, originally it was aimed at members of the
Leningrad party and bourgeois specialists. Later the purges
extended to former opportunists and leaders of the
communist party, NKVD and army.
35,000 army officers were
exiled or shot.
In cities, some apartment
blocks became utterly
Common for children
of those arrested to
their parents. The elder
children of those
arrested were expelled
Wives were not generally
considered to be enemies of the
people because their husbands
The wives and children of top party
officials were arrested along with their
husbands and fathers.
Wives would often
petition to the authorities
to release relatives
Eliminating the old elite
In some cases the entire workforce
of a factory would be involved in the
trails of their bosses. These trails
were heavily publicised.
Stalin issued a list for
party officials to be
elected to senior
The starkhanovite movement was very
active during this period to make existing
managers of soviet industry scapegoated
for problems with the Five Year Plans.
Trade union candidates were
required to disclose detailed
biographical information to help
Forging new identities
Sometimes this was the only
way to escape the purges.
People were often discovered with
forged identities and killed.
Richer middle class people changed
their class origins by marrying genuine
members of the working class and
crafting a new family history.
People destroyed existing
identity documents to avoid
The economic impact
Many of Russia's most
planners were eliminated.
The Great Terror was designed to produce economic
production by eliminating 'wreckers'. But this was not a
success because people lied about economic facts to
The was a shortage of trained workers. The Donbas coals region
accounted for 77% of coal production but one-quarter of its
management was purged.
improved when it had
doubled in previous years:
29 - 35 - 64.
Bukharin and all Trotskyist
were now exposed traitors
It provided scapegoats or
popular discontent with
the failures of the Five
year Plans and regular
drama in the lives of
Part bosses were purged and many people
thought this was justified because in order to
divert people's attention away from economic
issues, Russia's 'little people' held their bosses
to account fot ehir luxurious lifestyles.
No crimes had ben
committed by the workers'
bosses because luxury was
often enjoyed by the
Awakening terror - Stalin and Yagoda
Lenin's origins and the police state
Lenin believed terror was
central to the survival of a
During the 1930s the soviet
government extended its
influence over the economy,
censorship and unleashed huge
The Cheka suddenly
expanded as Stalin's
During Stalin's rule, the rol of the OGPU
changed again. They organised
dekulakisation that involved huge exile
and organised labour camps
This describes a form of government in
which all areas of life are brought under
Different from traditional
dictatorhips such as Tsarist
because it demands
commitment from its citizens
Causes f the Great Terror
The congress of victors
When the congress
voted to elect the
Kirov beat Stalin.
Kirov was becoming more popular then Stalin. This
was evidence that Stalin needed to purge the party.
They could no longer be trusted.
The Red Army and the
scret police al had too much
power and Stalin lacked
control of these factions.
Paranoia of Stalin
Stali feared old communists that had
been members of the party since
before the Civil War. They what Lenin
had said about him in the testament.
He acted to remove
those he saw as any
sort of rival.
Recent events had made him
anxious. Trotsky, Zinoviev and
Kamenev all held leading
positions within the party and then
fell from power.
The murder of Kirov
Following the congress of victors, Stalin
viewed that party members should be
killed for opposing him.
Kirov had defeated him in important debates.
He was killed by a lone
gunman, Zinoviev and
Kamenev were arrested for the
conspiracy to murder him.
This was very convenient
for Stalin because his most
important rival was
defeated. Now Stalin could
justify killing members who
opposed his policies.
Stalin was able to create scapegoats for the on going problems
with the Five Year Plans. He blamed 'wreckers' who were
employed by his enemies.
These wreckers were directly in the employ of
Trotsky, Zinoviev and Kamenev and were working
to sabotage the soviet economy.
\The purges provided a huge reservoir of cheap labour,
the majority of people purged were sent to prison camps
and were a source of slave labour.
The Great Terror begins
The murder of Kirov provided Stalin with a great
excuse to launch a wave of terror against the
Yagoda was responsible for the
implementing of this new wave of terror.
He oversaw the arrests and interrogation
as well as the trial of Zinoviev and
By removing those who had
personally known Lenin, Stalin's
version of socialism was
The Great Terror 1936 - 1938
The Moscow show trials
This was Stalin's
way of proving the
the only trustworthy
This was he most
public aspect of the
Terror, to remove
communists who had
once served Lenin.
For the first time,
The trial of the sixteen
Zinoviev and Kamenev were the main
participants of this trial. They wee
charged with the murder of Kirov, plotting
to disrupt the Five Year Plans and
conspiring to overthrow the government.
them a full
pardon if they
Kamenev begged for
mercy until the very
The trial of the seventeen
This one dealt with Trotsky's
allies and they were charged
with the same crimes.
Torture, sleep deprivation
and questioning were
applied until they
Evidence was often forged by the
NKVD. One defended 'confessed' to
being involved in a murder while he was
actually in prison.
The trial of the Twenty-one
The trial of Bukharin and his
'accomplices'. They were
personally tried with attempting
to assassinate Lenin.
to execute their
Bukharin was shot but died
honourably with curses against
Stalin on his lips.
The doctrine of "sharpening the class struggle"
Stalin needed to
persuade the party
congress to allow more
He argued that as
socialism advanced, the
Stalin provided ideological
justification for more terror. 70% of
the people at this party congress
meeting would die as a result.
Radicalisation of the NKVD
The fall of Yagoda
Yagoda was replaced by
Yezhov as the head of the
never trusted him
Yagoda had failed to provide
evidence against Bukharin in the
trial of the twenty one. There were
also claims that he supported the
party right wing.
The new NKVD
Stalin was not
impressed by the old
NKVD and therefore
set targets for arrests
Stalin purged the
NKVD because they
were opposed to
The new NKVD were mainly thugs who
enjoyed the violence and persecuted
enemies with vigor.
Purges and mass murder under Yezhov.
The party and the army
330,00 enemies of the party
were convicted of being
enemies of the people. 20% of the party.
Stalin never trusted the Red
Army because its senior
officials were appointed by
He feared the military would seize power
34,00 soldiers were purged.
The final phase of the terror
targeted minority groups,
The show trails had provided
'evidence' of an anti-Soviet conspiracy.
The NKVD produced a list of 250,000
people who were involved.
Russian people denounced
their friends to prove their
for a promotion
Yezhov resigned and was shot. Beria was
the new leader who finally managed to kill