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

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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