Stalin's purges

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  • Purges
    • Political enemies
      • Many old supporters e.g Radek returned to Stalin after  'left turn' - key posts
      • No evidence of plotting against leadership, western agents in USSR but no links to senior politicians
        • Trotsky leader in exile large network but mainly for communication, NKVD aware
      • Kamenev, Zinoviev, Bukharin were 'has beens'
    • Industrial enemies
      • Shakhti Trial - Vyshinski prosecuted specialists,  1928 spy confessions
      • Bacteriologists shot after confessing to wrecking.
        • Further trial of Metro Vickers in 1933
      • Machines broke down. Targets not met. Unskilled workers & long hours.
      • No real opposition
    • Internal enemies
      • Govt run by Stalinists, institution cleansed of old opponents
        • Molotov thought 2nd 5 year plan too much
      • Debate over bureaucracy industry, rural affairs - Syrtsov. Appeal to him against Molotov + Kaganovich?
        • Realists had to make it work, quarrelled over party discipline
      • Riutin Affair direct attack on Stalin, evil genius
        • Politburo refused to kill him, threat or Lenin collective leadership?
    • Kirov Murder
      • Alleged to have told Stalin others wanted hime to be General Secretary
      • Debate over whether he was liberal
      • Assassin accessed his office even though he was a known stalker
      • Emergency powers straight after
      • Trotsky never blamed Stalin. Radek who was accused allowed to draft 1936 constitution
      • No direct rift between him & Stalin, Assassin   alone?
    • Moscow Show trials
      • Kirov case reopened Kamenev & Zinoviev = 'Trotskyists' network found internal NKVD struggle
        • Old Bolshevik confessions, no real power so purges planned
      • Kemerovo mine explosion - sabotage. Politburo divisions. Confessions for families? USSR?
      • Defendants implicated former rightists, e.g Bukharin Stalin secretly watching. Responsible?
    • Army
      • 50% Officer corps shot despite Nazi threat, but Red army larger than expected, many arrested & reinstated
      • Plot, betray Russia to Nazis, likely NKVD forgeries
        • Stalin's paranoia, many enjoyed autonomy, he disliked it
      • Ezhovchina, most killed 1937-8 not party/army
      • Stakhonvite Movement - worker/manager tension
        • Zhdanov & Stalin  viligance, to  1937 remove poor leaders

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