4)Stalin:Controlling the USSR
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When was the first phase of Stalin's chistka?
What percentage of of the party was expelled from the first chistkas after collectivisation?
Popular ditties expressed opposition to regime in early 30s. In the Russian State Archive of literature and Art, state one ditty.
“Well, Soviet cows are such disgusting creatures…You Commune of Satan You seized everything”
When did Stalin's second wife die?
Nadezda Allilueva committed suicide in Nov 1932 due to her opposition to collectivisation
What and when was the Ryutin platform?
- 1932, former Moscow party secretary, Ryutin circulated to the Central committee a 200 page document criticizing Stalin for his ‘personal dictatorship’.
- He urged Stalin’s removal. Stalin wanted death penalty for Ryutin but other members of the Politburo (Kirov) opposed him. Stalin was still subject to the majority of the Politburo.
What is one case, other than Ryutin, that proved that Politburo was unwilling to support execution of party members for political offences?
old Bolshevik A. P. Smirnov charged with forming opposition group to moderate industrialization, making trade unions more independent and bringing OGPU (secret police) under party control. Stalin wanted death penalty or to imprison them – but the majority of the Politburo wouldn’t support
What did Kirov say that proved he wanted to relax the pace of industrialisation?
“The fundamental difficulties are behind us”
In 1934, when Stalin's opposers wanted Sergei Kirov to be general secretary and worked out a voting strategy, Stalin found out and burned the voting slips. How many were said to have voted for him and against him?
292 for him; 3 against him.
What was Stalin and Kirov given the title of?
Secretary of Equal Rank
Whose loyalty did Stalin demand after he and Kirov were equals?
Kaganovich and Molotov
When was Sergei Kirov Murdered?
Who was Kirov's assassin?
What were the evidences that the Kirov murder was a lone one? [points]
- Nikolayev was expelled in Mar 1934 for breach of discipline but lator reinstated. He developed a hatred of the party bureaucracy
- His wife Milde Draule, secretary at party headquarters, may have had an affair with Kirov
- Diary in his briefcase showed he had planned the murder: it was ‘a personal act of desperation and dissatisfaction…as a protest against the unjust attitude’
What were possible motives of the NKVD for kirov's murder? [3 points]
- They may have thought that Stalin wanted Kirov murdered
- Kirov wanted to relax the terror, but NKVD didn’t want this and didn’t want Kirov to replace Stalin
- They didn’t intend Nikolayev to kill Kirov but intended to stop him before he could carry out the attack and use the attempted assassination as justification for their continuing role against enemies of the state
How did R.W. Thurston [present day historian] justify against Stalin's contribution in Kirov's murder? [4 points]
- Police didn't detain Nikolayev 3 times and release him. He was stopped once, but it wasn't suspicious
- he hadn't received gun from Leningrad NKVD officer but had owned it since 1918
- His diary at the Smolny, showed indicated he'd acted alone
- Files didn't implicate involvement of Stalin nor NKVD
How did J.Arch Getty [revisionist] argue against Stalin's involvement of Kirov's murder?
- “he [Yagoda] could have brought Stalin’s entire house down with a single remark…such a risk would appear to be unacceptable for a complicit Stalin…"
- The Stalinists seemed unprepared for the assassination, it took them more than 18 months to frame their targets
Olga Shatunovskaya (a member of the commission to look into murder), how did he prove Stalin was guilty?
- Nikolayev wrote NKVD a letter saying 'I hate Kirov' and the NKVD organised the murder "For four months the NKVD prepared me and convinced me that it was necessary for the Party and the country", Nikolayev said
- When Stalin found out Kirov was replacing him as General Secretary, Kirov realized Stalin's threat. "When he came back from the Seventeenth Congress he told his friends and family: ‘My head is now on the block.’ I had all these testimonies from his friends and family and now they have been destroyed”
When was the first show trial? Who did it accuse?
- Kirov's Leningrad party was purge - 100,000 arrested.
- Thousands more outside party were accused of being Trotskyites involved in Kirov murder and murder of other leaders
- Kamenev and Zinoviev arrested and put on trial in Jan 1935
- Stalin sent out a Central Committee circular in June 1936 on the ‘terrorist activities of the Trotskyist counter-revolutionary bloc’. Trotskyites put on trial in Aug 1936 with 14 other previous members of oppositionist groups.
When was the second show trial? Who was targeted?
- Jan 1937
- Karl Radek (Trotskyite), and Pyatakov (deputy in the commissariat of heavy industry)
When was the third show trial? who was targeted?
- March 1938.
- Bukharin, Rykov, Yagoda (and other old Bolsheviks)
Quote the letter which denounces Bukharin shallowly at the show trials.
“a simple friendship with a sworn counter-revolutionary is hardly possible. It is my suspicion that Comrade Bukharin was aware of Busygin’s work”
Who was the state prosecutor of the show trials that staged the trials and proved accused guilty?
What did W.G. Kirivitsky ('Stalin's Agent') in 1939 say about the show trials and revealed them as fake?
“They sacrificed honour as well as life to defend the hated regime of Stalin”
When did the show trials end and how was leadership of the NKVD changed due to the Kirov murder?
Sep 1939, the show trials ended. Nicolai Yezhov replaced Yagoda - criticised for not finding enemies fast enough.
When did the Yezhovschina reach its height?
How id Yezhov's personality described as?
- ‘I have never seen a more repellent personality than Yezhov’s’
- 'Iron hedgehod'
- 'Bloodthirsty Dwarf'
How and when was the Stalin constitution similar to Mao's 'hundred flowers' campaign?
1936, Stalin constitution promised democracy and freedom. But in 1937, a resolution condemning 'Anti-Soviet elements' was passed
How many people were listed in Yezhov's arrest list during the great purges?
- 250,000 including scientists, artists, writers and
- musicians, managers and administrators.
Quote what one leading Bolshevik mentioned about the Great purges which proved that Historians were most targeted.
‘arrests had begun among the historians’.
What was Boris Numerov accused of during the great purges?
a scientist accused of supposedly organized ‘counter-revolutionary astronomers’ group’.
How did Arch Getty (revisionist) describe the great purges in the mainline population?
“Secretaries defended themselves...full-blown spy scare. Panic stricken local party officials...”
According to Roy Medvedev, how many were arrested in one factory during the great purges?
How did Chris Ward (revisionist) describe the chaos of the great purges on the population?
"An avalanche of monstrous charges…and random arrests overwhelmed swathes of the population"
How did G. Gill justify why people were willing to denounce others?
“People hoped to gain leniency for themselves or their families by cooperating with the NKVD”
How does Robert Conquest describe the extent of the purges and denunciations?
- “In one district in Kiev, 69 persons were denounced by one man, in another 100.
- In Odessa a single Communist denounced 230 people.
- In Poltava, a party member denounced his entire organisation”
What was the quota system of the purges in July 1937?
28% to be shot, whilst the rest sentenced to 10 years of labour camp.
Quote what george Tsialadee (NKVD member) said about the executions and quota achievements of the purges in Georgia.
"how many people were executed in Georgia? I can tell you he said 80,000…we overfulfilled our plan”
How was Marshall Tukhachevsky executed during the purges? and why?
- His confession had blood stains on it - forced confession.
- Revenge. Tukhachevsky was an old general who, along with other old party members put difficulties in Stalin's path.
- W.G. Krivitsky “He felt no certainty now that they would continue to recognize his totalitarian authority”
What did Vyshinsky say that stressed the importance of written confessions?
- looked more voluntary
- “I personally prefer a half confession in the defendant’s own handwriting to a full confession in the investigator’s writing”.
What were some of the torture methods used in the great purges? Name four.
- Continuous standing until legs were swollen
- Deprivation of sleep with all-day interrogations in Lubyanka
- 'parilka' or sweat room, hundreds of people standing in a small room with no ventilation
- 'conveyer belt' - victims ran round and round with agents questioning and bullying them
When did Stalin end the purges and halted the terror?
end of 1938. though central committee and officers purged into 1939.
Who was Yezhov replaced by at the end of the purges?
How is Stalin described as paranoid by historians?
- Michael Lynch - "Paranoid Megalomaniac"
- Alan Bullock - "hostile world peopled with jealous and treacherous enemies "
Stalin's self absorption contributed to the purges. What did Allan bullocks (western school) say about this?
Stalin thought he was a "genius marked out to play a unique historical role."
What did Michael Lynch say about Stalin's greed for power which led to the purges?
"more concerned with strengthening his own personal power...plunged the Soviet Union into misery"
Name an example of Stalin's purges killing innocent people.
Rose Cohen, founding member of the British Communist party was victim to the purges
What does andrew roberts say about the killing of innocent people in the purges?
- Stalin had "to get rid of his imagined enemies"
- "'Better that ten innocent people should suffer that one spy get away' was the motto of the secret police"
What did Cohen's documentary reveal about the purges to eliminate old bolsheviks?
- Stalin needed to eliminate those who "knew in its heart of hearts that Stalin was not the Lenin of today
- By the end of the thirties… most of its members had joined since 1929.”
Michael Lynch suggested that the purges were inherited from Lenin. Quote him.
“the authoritarianism of the Russian Communist Party was not a historical accident…Lenin was an absolutist. Stalin inherited and continued that tradition.”
Which writer agreed with Arch Getty in that the use of terror under the party structure was acceptable, so the purges were a normal thing?
According to I.Deutscher (revisionist), what were Stalin's motives to the purges?
- “destroy the men who represented the potentiality of alternative government”
- “improvement in the economic conditions…He certainly had no need for so many scapegoats”
How does Arch Getty (revisionist) contradict our knowledge about Stalin and lead us to rethink the facts?
“too often the political history of the Stalin period has merely been the story of Stalin’s supposed activities”
Quote Roberto Manning's view that the purges were initiated by the population due to the economic depression.
- “the subconscious temptation to seek scapegoats became
Quote R. Service's views on Stalin's motives for the purges (war threat and need for labour)
- “take pre-emptive measures against any ‘fifth column’ operating against him in the case of war”
- “in order to sustain his mode of industrialization" he needed to keep sites "constantly supplied with slave labour”
How many lists and how many people did Stalin condemn to death according to his official biographer?
3182 and 30 lists
In John Steinback's diary entry on his visit to russia, what did he say about Stalin's cult?
- Statues of him dignify the façade of every public building…
- In shops they sell million upon million of images of him
- in every home there is at least one portrait of him
State the dates and 4 stages of Stalin's cult.
- 1924-9 - Origins of Cult (humanity, collective)
- 1929-33 - Cult Underway with the Depression (strong, cold, distant, portraits with other figures)
- 1933-9 - Cult fully established (godly, the vozhd, monumental)
- Post 1945 - Height of Cult (equal/superior of Lenin, godly solitude)
In what ways does Stalin associate himself to Lenin in the early cult years?
- ‘Stalin is the Lenin of today’ is a commonly used phrase.
- renaming of Tsaritsyn to Stalingrad in 1925, similar to Leningrad
In Stalin's 50th birthday in 1929, how many greetings did Stalin receive?
Recite Prokofiev's 'ode to Stalin' on his 60 birthday in 1939.
- “O’er the earth the rising sun sheds a warmer light,
- Since it looked on Stalin’s face it has grown more light”
- he relates the Sun's superiority with Stalin, godly symbolism
When was the History Of The All-Union Communist Party/Short Course published?
Name the exhibition which contained pictures of Stalin's childhood showing him as a natural leader or like Christ explaining the scriptures. When was it?
In 1939, exhibition entitled “Stalin and the Soviet people”
Post 1945, what was a common phrase written under images of Stalin which proves his relation to godly characteristics?
‘Stalin is everywhere present and watching over you; he understands your hopes and has your best interests at heart.’
In 1948, how many copies of Stalin's "Short Biography" were sold? and internationally?
- 34m in the USSR.
- 2 m elsewhere
What was one such cult image used after 1945 which portrayed Stalin's godlike image in the sky as a celebration of his 70th birthday
Cover of Ogonyyok magazine, dec 1949
State 2 absurd cult cases stated by Robert conquest.
- At a provincial meeting, there was an ovation when Stalin’s name was mentioned and no one dared to sit down first. When one old man could stand no longer and sat down, his name was taken and he was arrested the next day
- When a speech of Stalin’s published on a series of gramophone records, one side of one of the records consisted entirely of applause.
By 1938, excessive propaganda was becoming counterproductive and people were becoming cynical. Sarah Davies gives the examples:
- A leaflet ridiculing the supreme soviet: where the ‘people’s elect’ were allowed to shout “Hurray” a thousand times in honour of the vozhd and his stooge.
- An anonymous letter from a Communist supporter complained: “Everything is Stalin, Stalin, Stalin…so much noise in people’s heads that it is very possible that it will have the opposite effect”
Quote a woman who viewed Stalin as a benefactor and thanked Stalin for giving her kids education.
“All my children had and are having education...he, along with Lenin opened the way for us simple people”
Give examples of cult-style greetings in the letters sent to Stalin.
“Dear comrade Stalin! Our beloved vozhd, teacher and friend of the whole happy Soviet country”
In J.Lewis and P.Whitehead's book, there are examples of the effects of the cult. Recite them from
- Alexander Avdeyenko states:
- “radio told us that Stalin was the greatest man on earth…Man wants to believe in something great”
- Pavel Litvinov states:
- “Stalin was like a god for us. We just believed he was an absolutely perfect individual…he was thinking about us, about each of us. That was how we felt.”
- In M. Izakvosky’s “Song about Stalin”:
- "About the dearest person
- About our sun, about the truth of nations,
- About our Stalin let’s sing a song”
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