-Kirov (the leader of the Leningrad Communist Party) was murdered, probably on the orders of Stalin.
-Stalin used this to his own advantage, and anyone suspected of disloyalty was murdered, sent to prison and work camps, or put onto public trials where they had to admit to crimes they never even committed.
-The Communist leadership was purged - 93 of the 139 members were killed.
-The armed forces were purged - 81 of the 103 generals and admirals were executed.
-The Communist Party was purged- about a million of its members killed (it had roughly 3 million members.) Photographs and history books were edited to ensure no memory remained of the Communists.
-By the end of the 1930s, the Great Terror had spread to ordinary people.
- 20 million ordinary Russians were sent to Gulags - where half of them died.
-Ethnic groups were persecuted and Russification was introduced.
-People who had annoyed their neighbours were turned in to the NKVD (the secret police) and arrested, and never returned.
-People were forced to praise Stalin.
-Newspapers credited him with every success.
-Poets thanked him for bringing the harvest.
-People appluaded everytime his name was mentioned.
-His picture was everywhere parents taught their children to love Stalin more than themselves.
-They dared not do anything else.
Why did Stalin go ahead with the Purges?
-He needed to create unity.
-Strong control was needed to modernise Russia.
-He was also at least homicidally paranoid.
-By 1939, he had set up a personal totalitarian dictatorship; the entire Soviet Union did exactly what he said.
What was the 1936 Constitution?
-The 1936 Constitution changed the name of the Central Executive Committee to the Supreme Soviet.
-The Supreme Soviet was empowered to set up Commissions, which administered most of the government.
-The leader of the Presidium was declared to be the Head of State.
-The 1936 Constitution thus focussed power in Stalin's hands.
-It also gave everyone some good things such as rights to vote (but only for the Communist Party), to work, to rest and leisure, to health protection, to care in old age and sickness, to housing and education