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18. The Yezhovschina
Mass terror and repression at central and local levels; treatment of national minorities; the gulags; the end of the pruges; the death of Trotsky; responsibility for and impact of the Terror and purges
Terms in this set (36)
Nicolai Yezhov (1895-1939)
Head of the NKVD, responsible for the deaths of thousands of people
'bloodthirsty dwarf' or 'poision dwarf'
Why does Stalin purge the military in May-June 1937?
he's afraid they might mount a military coup
What were Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevksy and Yan Gamarnik accused of? What was their fate?
Espionage and plotting with Trotsky
Executed w/ 6 other military commanders in June 1917
What percentage of the officer corps and military intelligence in the red army were executed of imprisoned?
Between 1937-38 how many officers were shot for refusing to approve the execution of people whom the officials belived innocent?
Why might people who were related to those who'd been purged be arrested too?
It was common for people to give the names of people they knew as 'accomplices' when interviewd by the NKVD
What were party and state leaderscharged with when arrested?
treason or bourgeois nationalism
Who did the NKVD target?
- Party Officials
- Ordinary people
- Random people when they needed to reach a quota
NKVD order 00447, July 1937
A small number of NKVD committees who went in seach for former kulaks, criminals and other anti-soviet elements. Committees had to classify criminals into 2 categories: death by shooting of gulag camps
Number of elements on Yezhov's first list of targets
Number of people arrested and number of people in camps within a month of order no 00447
100,000 arrested and 14,000 in camps
Why were Christianity and Islam banned?
Dialectical Marxism was 'unconditionally materialist and resolutely hostile to any religion' - Lenin
Number of ethnic Germans, who worked in military and chemical factories arrested between 1937-38 and number that were shot
Why do some scholars argue that 'Western' minorities were killed?
International Relations: their possible connections to countries hostie to the USSR and the fear of disloyalty in case of an invasion
Why is it difficult to know how many were killed in the terror?
- Results of a census taken in Soveit Union in Jan 1937 were supressed and the organisers of the census shot
-NKVD burned as much of their archives as the Germans approached Moscow in 1941
General estimate for number of arrests 1937-38
General estimate for number of executions 1937-38
General estimate for population of camps 1937-38
General estimate for number of people who died in the famine 1937-38
General estimate for number of deaths in total 1937-38
Number of people taken into gulags in 1935 compared w/1938
1938: 5.5 - 9.5 million
Number of Volga Germans deported to Siberia and central Asia in 1941
Number of Jews incorporated into the USSR after the invasion of Poland 1939-40 and the consequences for Rabbis
Rabbis and religious leaders were arrested
Why had the pace of arrest slowed down by 1939?
Stalin realised the Yezhovschina had threatened to destabilise both state and industry w/ key members of society missing
Accused of execessive zeal by Stalin, tortures and shot in February 1940
When was Trotsky murdered?
Consequences of Trotsky's murder for Agent Ramon Mercador (assassin)
- 20 years in prison
- Mother awarded the 'Order of Lenin on behalf of her son's service'
Evidence to suggest that Stalin's paranoia led to his resortion to using the Purges as a method of control
- Suspicious: caused him to kill his opponents rather than just exile them e.g. Trotsky 1940
- Vengeful: Old Bolsheviks who underestimated him e.g Bukharin
- Intrigued by violence
- Bring the party under his control: Those who were more qualified than him or who knew him v well were seen as a threat to his influence
Evidence to suggest Stalin resorted to the purges to increase control over the party
- Regional parties didn't want to 'find' kulaks as it would affect their quotas
-Local party bosses wanted to reach production targets > didn't want to purge specialists
- Show trials > no-one was safe
- Lower levels of party encoraged to criticise those higher up > rush of accusations which grew out of control
Evidence to suggest that Stalin resorted to the purges as a way of deflecting blame for economic problems
- Downturn in soviet economy 1936
- Needed scapegoats for the problems
- Wanted to shake up managers and economic administrators so encouraged criticism from below
Evidence to suggest that Stalin resorted to the purges as a method of controlling an unstable society
- Urbanisation > social tension and violence
- Hostility towards party and govt worried about 'quicksand society'
- Wanted to stifle and deflect criticism of the party and keep people working
Evidence to suggest that Stalin resorted to the purges to consolidate the position of the NKVD
-Slow down after collectivisation and first FYP would weaken the NKVD's image
- Terror raised their profile and allowed them o become a leading institiution in the soviet system
Evidence to suggest that the purges were a response to the threat of war
- Put pressure on unwilling people, already suffering, to keep up w/FYPs to be ready for outreak of war
- Purging aimed to get rid of those who could be political opponents
What role did Stalin's personality play in the cause of the terror?
- Deeply suspicious of others
- Crude and butal
- Inferiority complex
- Idealised view of himself
What does Arch Getty write about Stalin's role in the terror?
The 'fingerprints of Stalin' are all over the terror and that he played a central role in planning and executing it
- Response to changing circumstances in Russia
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