The Great Terror: 1934-36

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Stalin used the murder of Kirov as justification for launching the Great Terror, which took place between 1934-1938

  • The murder was seen as evidence of a widespread conspiracy against the Soviet state
  • Between 1934 and 1938, thousands of members of the Communist Party were accused of being involved in conspiracies against Stalin and the Party leadership
  • Other sections of the population, notably the armed forces, were also purged

1934-1936
The day after Kirov's death, Yagoda, the Head of the NKVD, was given the power to arrest and execute anyone found guilty of 'terrorist plotting'

  • Within a few weeks of Kirov's murder, Stalin had ordered an extensive purge of the Leningrad Party (Kirov's power base), which involved the suppression of the

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