The Terror

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  • The Terror
    • The Terror is used to describe a whole series of events in Russia from 1928 to 1938.
    • No one know quite how many people died in the Purges, but Stalin once told Churchill that Collectivisation alone cost 10 million lives.
    • Millions were either deprived of Party membership, arrested with or without trial, sent to the Gulags or shot.
    • The useful figure given in 7,000,000, but this has been revised upwards in recent years as mass graves have been discovered in Kolyma. The true figure may be as high as 20,000,000.
    • The most high profile cases were the Old Bolsheviks who were accused at the Show Trials.
    • Were these all enemies of Stalin that needed to be removed? Some confessed to the most unlikely of crimes - killing Lenin, working for the Nazi's, and so on. Others maintained their innocence throughout.
    • One technique was to guarantee that the accused family would be left alone after a guilty plea.
    • Another was to have a woman weeping in the next cell mimicking the accused's wife.
    • The period 1936 - 1938 is known as the Ezhovschina - after Ezhov, the Head of the NKVD, It was this period that was the 'high point' of the Terror.
    • Targets figures of arrests and executions were set for each district,
    • Kulaks and returning political prisoners were to be the main category, but priests, former members of political parties, nationalists, ex-Whites were all added to the list.
    • In all, nearly 2 million people were arrested at this time, with about 700,000 being executed.

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