Stalin's Control

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 09-04-19 08:49

1. Show Trials (1929-41)

Show Trials (1936-8):

- 1936 Trial of Zinoviev, Kamanev + 14 others (all but 1 found guilty of Kirov's murder and conspiracy with Trotsky to overthrow the government, and therefore shot)

- 1937 Trial of Seventeen

- 1938 Trial of Twenty-One for Bukharin, Rykov & Tomsky + 18 others (found guilty of forming a Trotsky Rightist bloc involved in sabotage & spying, though Tomsky killed himself)


- Russian people lost faith in the CPSU and revolutionary spirit had been crushed and a climate of fear created

- admissions of guilt were attained through physical and mental torture, threats to families & sense of demoralistion (confession was a last act of loyalty to the party)

- The most influential communists' trials were heavily publicised and heavily attended

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2. Cult of Personality (1929-41)

Stalin's Image:

- received 350 greetings (including from organisations that might not have existed) for his 50th birthday in 1929

- used to comfort people during the economic disruption of the 5 Year Plans + political confusion of the purges (seen as the 'father' of the nation)

Literature & Arts:

- the life of peasants was portrayed to be plentiful, enforced by works such as 'A Collective Farm Feast' by Gerasimov in 1937

- 'Social Realism' meant writers and artists presented Soviet life not as it was but as it might become or move towards (Stalin was able to eliminate publication of criticism)

- The work of Shostakovich was condemned after Stalin attended a performance of his work, despite being previously hailed a 'national treasure' (his subsequent 5th symphony was titled 'A Soviet Artist's Practical Creative Reply to Just Criticism')

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3. Kirov's Murder (1929-41)

- Robert Conquest describes the assassination in 1934 as a turning point in history which 'determined the future of soviet Russia'

Benefit to Stalin:

- the murder would previde pretext to his terror and eradicate a competitor as General Secretary (Kirov's supporters were removed from the Politburo)

- in 1936 Stalin changed the direction of the 5 year plan & achieved a Totalitarian state by 1939

- Nikolaev had made previous attempts to approach Kirov, was arrested and immediately released (Kirov's bodyguard was detained and subsequently killed by the NKVD two days later)

- introduced Emergency Decree (military tribunals, no appeals + immediate executions)

Suprise to Stalin:

- Director of the NKVD produced in open court before his execution in 1938 + old Bolsheviks were accused of the murder 18 months after it occured

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1. Cult of Personality (1945-53)

Power is cemented in his successes as a war leader:

- His childhood home becomes a shrine

- 70th Birthday 1949 - organised by 75 leaders including the entire Politburo (galas and greetings occured almost everyday from December 1949 to August 1951)

- a giant portrait of Stalin was suspended over Moscow and lit up at night be searchlights (increasingly portraits show him in god-like solitude, superior + apart)

Overall, his cult was useful in holding the Soviet society together + distanced himself from negative situations (Thurston believed that 'Stalin was the 'true guide' of the people of Russia)

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