Stalin's Terror: purges before 1934

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The first purge of the Communist Party took place in 1918, and there were periodic purges throughout the ages, which followed a pattern:

  • During periods of crisis, such as the Civil War and collectivisation, the Party lowered its entry standards and took in more members
  • Once the crisis was over, the Party sought to shed members - people could be expelled for many reasons, including drunkenness, corruption and not attending Party events
  • These purges were a non-violent process: Party members were required to exchange their old Party cards for new ones, or verify their Party documents. People who were refused new cards were expelled from the Party, but not often arrested

Lenin and Stalin used terror (violence commited by a person, group or government to frighten people and achieve

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