Need a little help on information concerning the Russian Purges?


I am doing an essay on genocide for my modern world histories class and I have to find the "world reaction" for the Great Purge in Russia. I've been looking on the internet for websites that give me such information but I haven't found anything yet. I was wondering if any of you people out there could give me websites that give me that information. I would really, really appreciate it.

1 Answer

  • 10 years ago
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    There was very little "World Reaction" to the purges: firstly the Soviet Union (I take it that you mean the whole of the country, not just the Russian bit), was a closed society, that is, news was strictly controlled, and foreign journalists were only allowed to report what they were told. And, secondly, what could the World do about it? The USSR is massive, and to get to it Western armies would have to cross other countries' territories - they simply would not allow that.

    The purges were designed to remove from the party those people, and their followers, who Stalin thought were disloyal (to him) or who had rival power bases - like Trotsky.

    There were several goals of the purges:

    Initially they were designed to remove both the Left and Right Opposition - Old Bolsheviks who were Stalin's rivals for power.

    They were also designed to remove the foreigners who had been employed in the first Five Year Plan to install, maintain and train people on the new machines.

    They were designed to remove "careerists". These were people who joined the party after the October Revolution in order to further their careers. Stalin considered them a threat as he thought, like Trotsky, that they would become a ruling elite unless they were periodically shaken up.

    They were designed to instill a sense of fear among the military - in order that they would not rebel against Stalin's rule.

    They were designed to instill a sense of "partynost'" - a belief in the party and the "correct" way to do things.

    And finally they were designed to ensure a compliant population who distrusted their neighbours, their teachers, their boss, or those below them and their friends. Opposition is hard to organise if you suspect everyone of being an informer.

    The death toll was nowhere near as high as your teacher (and, probably your text books) claim - around 700,00 people were shot, and as many as 1.5 million died of starvation or disease in the Gulag (the prison camp system)


    The Road to Terror by J Arch Getty & Oleg Naumov

    Stalin, A Biography - Robert Service

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