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Stalin and the Politics of the Soviet Union, 1924 - 53


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Stalin & Political Power: The Purges, The Great Purge, 1936 - 39: The Purge of the Party


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The Left were attacked first, then the Right. Kamenev and Zinoviev were tried publicly; both pleaded guilty and made abject confessions. Torture was used and the confession was probably their last act of Party loyalty. Confessions usually implicated others and sent the witchhunt after further victims. Bukharin, Rykov and Tomsky were then investigated. Yagoda was replaced by Yezhov as head of the NKVD. There was a further show trial in 1937 of 17 Communists called the 'Anti Soviet Trotskyist Centre' by prosecutors. The defendants included Radek, Pyatakov, Sokolnikov. In a third show trial (1938) Bukarin and Rykov and 18 others were accused of being 'Trotskyite-Rightists'. Yagoda himself was among the accused. They all admitted their guilt - only Bukharin made some attempt to defend himself. It is ironic that in 1936 he had drafted the new constitution of the USSR that Stalin hailed as 'the most democratic in the world'. This constitution was a fraud.
Contents of
Stalin and the Politics of the Soviet Union, 1924 - 53

1 Stalin and the legacy of Lenin's rule
2 The structure of the Soviet government by 1924
3 Stalin's power of patronage
4 Stalin's Rise to Power, Lenin's Testament
5 Stalin & Political Power: The Purges, the Shakhty trial
6 Stalin & Political Power: The Purges, The Post Kirov Purges, 1934-36
7 Stalin & Political Power: The Purges, The Great Purge, 1936 - 39: The Purge of the Party
8 Stalin & Political Power: The Purges, The Great Purge, 1936 - 39: The Purge of the Army
9 Stalin & Political Power: The Purges, The Purge of People
10 Stalin & Political Power: The Purges, The Later Purges, 1941-53
11 Stalin & Political Power: The Purges, The Dimensions of the Purges
12 Stalin & Political Power: Continuity or not?

Related articles: (1) The New Economic Policy and the Rise of Stalin, (2) Stalin and the Politics of the Soviet Union, 1924 - 53