Stalinist Great Purges and its victims

The totalitarian regime of control by the Soviet Union: destruction of the moral code of society, changing the mindset of people. The destruction of people during the Great Terror of Stalin's regime. The concept of "blind ideology" and "national fear."

Рубрика История и исторические личности
Вид реферат
Язык английский
Дата добавления 09.05.2013
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Lazarski University

In Warsaw

Stalinist Great Purges and its victims

By: Andrii Dykyi


Western Civilization II

Course Coordinator:

Dr. Krzysztof Lazarski


"You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves"

Joseph Stalin

Soviet Union was one of the greatest states in the world; USSR united fifteen republics under its "red wings". Fifteen different nationalities and cultures were under one red flag. It is hard to maintain and keep in peace all these countries with their citizens, but not for the Communist Party. 1917 is named as a beginning of a new epoch of transformation from capitalism to socialism, from monarchy to totalitarian regime. The actual year for the creation of USSR was 1922 when Russia, Transcaucasia, Ukraine and Byelorussia became the formal founders of The Soviet Socialistic republic. Totalitarian regime is famous for its leaders Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Nikita Krushchev, Leaonid Brezhnev and others. However, in my essay I would like to focus your attention on Stalin`s period of ruling the country, Stalinist Great Purges and the victims of those "dark" times.

Subsequently, The Great Terror during Stalin`s regime took a lot of humans lives, destroy millions of human destinies and families. Some sources give the number around hundred million people, which were prosecuted, send to prison, or tortured. Others give the amount of sixty or eighty millions. In order to understand the situation of that time and feel that atmosphere. Similarly we have to operate with more precise numbers of murders. Before one of the meeting of the secret Communist Party meeting in Kreml, Nikita Krushchev asked Minister of Interior Affairs - Segio Krygova, General Prosecutor of USSR - Roman Rydenko, and Minister of Justice - Konstantina Gorshenka, present the official evidences and reports of amount of victims of Stalin`s Great Terror. In February in 1954 they send him an official letter with all data about that times. "According to data of Minister of Interior Affairs of USSR, from 1921 till the present time the counter-revolutionary crimes were condemned by the OGPU, NKVD, The Special Meeting, The Military Collegium, Courts and Tribunals 3,777,380, those who were sentenced to death penalty - 642,980, the content of the camps and prisons for a term of 25 years and below - 2,369,220 people, to exile and expulsion - 765 180. The total number of those who were arrested were approximately 2,900,000 people…"( The Myth of Stalin`s "Great Terror"- part of the information was against Russia.) totalitarian soviet stalin ideology

The whole picture of the situation is enormously horrible, the Great Purge have been touched all levels of society. And now it created a " national fear" instead of "blind ideology". By "blind ideology" I mean that people believed in everything what was said. But now we can observe that there are hundred of millions of victims, we can not be sure for one hundred present about that, because all written statistics are still secret or destroyed by KGB. It is hard to write about the totalitarian regime with dictatorship especially when it is about USSR because all information can be changed or fabricated, due to the "perfect" secret services and communistic propaganda.

Officially the "Great Terror" or in other words Stalinist Great Purges took place in 1936-1938. There were a series of campaigns of political repressions and murder in the USSR. The famous phrase by Joseph Stalin which characters that period was "One death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic."(Joseph Stalin Quotes/Quotations) The background for terror took its beging in late 1920`s. According to Voslenskii M.S., the first reason for the horrible events in 1936-1938 was creation of strong political system with numbers of political bodies and instructions in it. 1924 is famous for its "Linin`s Plea", that is so-called event when he open the doors of Communistic Party. Thousands of young and motivated people entered the Communist Party.

They strongly believe that old communist leaders didn`t know how to build socialism, and didn`t let them to do so. Those newly madden communist activists hade no moral codes on the way to power, so basically, they were a creators of strong, cruel and greed political elite. On some opinions, second reason was the killing of Kirov in 1934. The ruling communistic leaders created a theory that opposition has killed him; such propaganda gave them the "right" to more active terrorist activities. Due to this fact the Procedure Code of USSR have been changed, now all terrorist crimes against soviet government should be closed in ten day, no pardon, no representatives from both side. Later Stalin will use the killing of Kirov to fabricate evidences against the rest of opposition.

"Death is the solution to all problems. No man - no problem."- Joseph Stalin. (Joseph Stalin Quotes/Quotations) Stalin was afraid of everything. He was looking for spies, "kylaks", opposition leaders and traitors. During that period of time kills were a common thing but not only of working class of the society but also high-ranking army commanders and communist leaders. Some people quotes that they were never sure, will they come back home from work or not. At that time you can be prisoned or prosecuted just because of saying something wrong, or behave in a different way, or because of your social activity. This terror did not end till the death of Stalin. However, some people claims that high-ranking communist leader integrate those killing in to the structure of functioning the state on propose, in order to protect themselves. It is much more easy to control the state, when the population live in fear. Suzanna Pechura as a victim of those time told us her story "I'm Suzanna Solomonovna Pechura. I'm 74 years old. I was a prisoner from January 18, 1951 to April 25, 1956. I was sentenced to 25 years, and I served five years I was imprisoned because some friends and I -- schoolchildren in our final year at school and students in their first and second years at university - established an organization that we called 'The Union of the Revolution Against the Current Regime. We considered that what was going on in the country bore no relation to the ideas of Marxism. We decided that we could not keep silent about this. There were eight of us in the group, but 16 were arrested, because they took in our friends, too"(The Great Terror: Victims Of Stalin's Campaigns Remember.) As I heard from grandparents, people were afraid to go to work, to chat with their neighbors, every time when you meet a new person, should be careful what to say, or how to joke. All books and soviet literature where corrected and re-written in a way that socialism is the best regime, "1930s all foreign information was blocked and any discussion of Trotsky's ideas was anathema."(Vadim Rogovin, Stalin`s Great Terror: Origins and consequences.)

It is hard to explain and describe the whole situation of Stalinist regime, especially when you grandparents have seen those times by their own eyes. To sum up all my words Stalinist Great Purges took a lot of lives of innocent people, destroy the moral codes of society, changed the mentality of people. If you will do a simple calculation you will see that at that time approximately each family had two-three children, each of them will bring generation, so you can just image what will be the population of post soviet republics now. It is clear for me that the ideology in mix of paranoiac fear of conspirator significantly changed the demographic situation in Soviet Union. There are a lot of dark spots on this story, because many of the victims and those who made the guilty had never came back from their exiles, and Joseph Stalin took "bloody truth" with him into his grave.


1. The Myth of Stalin`s "Great Terror"- part of the information was against Russia.(2012). Available:,

2. Joseph Stalin Quotes/Quotations. Available:

3. Joseph Stalin Quotes/Quotations. Available:

4.The Great Terror: Victims Of Stalin's Campaigns Remember. (2012). Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty. Available:,

5.Vadim Rogovin, Stalin`s Great Terror: Origins and consequences. (1996) University of Melbourne, Austria.

6. When Crimes are getting out. (2011). TIME.


7. Great Purge. (2012). Wikipedia. Available:

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