The Great Terror in Russia Essay

The Great Terror in Russia Essay

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Under a backdrop of systematic fear and terror, the Stalinist juggernaut flourished. Stalin’s purges, otherwise known as the “Great Terror”, grew from his obsession and desire for sole dictatorship, marking a period of extreme persecution and oppression in the Soviet Union during the late 1930s. “The purges did not merely remove potential enemies. They also raised up a new ruling elite which Stalin had reason to think he would find more dependable.” (Historian David Christian, 1994). While Stalin purged virtually all his potential enemies, he not only profited from removing his long-term opponents, but in doing so, also caused fear in future ones. This created a party that had virtually no opposition, a new ruling elite that would be unstoppable, and in turn negatively impacted a range of sections such as the Communist Party, the people of Russia and the progress in the Soviet community, as well as the military in late 1930 Soviet society.

The Communist Party was one of the main sections in Soviet society that was impacted profoundly by Stalin’s terror. In 1935, the assassination of Sergei Kirov, a faithful Communist and Bolshevik party member that had certain popularity, threatening Stalin’s consolidation of power, initiated The Great Purge. His death, triggering three important, widely publicised ‘show trials’ in Moscow, ultimately encouraged the climate of terror during the Great Purge. Bolsheviks Zinoviev, Kamenev and their associates were accused of conspiring against Stalin and the government, with each confessing to their supposed crimes, which were then broadcast around the world. It was later discovered that these confessions were forced after long months of psychological abuse and cruel acts of torture. As Stalin...


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...at lacked experience and depth. As a result, the once successful Communist army was being slowly depleted and therefore damaged the spirits of the former Bolsheviks and the Communist Party.

Stalin’s hunger for power and paranoia impacted the Soviet society severely, having devastating effects on the Communist Party, leaving it weak and shattering the framework of the party, the people of Russia, by stunting the growth of technology and progress through the purges of many educated civilians, as well as affecting The Red Army, a powerful military depleted of it’s force. The impact of the purges, ‘show trials’ and the Terror on Soviet society were rigorously negative. By purging all his challengers and opponents, Stalin created a blanket of fear over the whole society, and therefore, was able to stay in power, creating an empire that he could find more dependable.



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