In the 1930's Soviet leader Joseph Stalin killed all potential rivals, about half of his officer corps and nearly a million other people who were deemed untrustworthy.


This article by C N Trueman from The History Learning Site makes the following points:
  • The purges in the USSR started in the mid-1930s
  •  Joseph Stalin was determined not to share power and eliminate potential threats.
  • The murder of the popular party head of Leningrad, Sergei Kirov, provided an excuse to begin his Politburo sanctioned purges.
  • The NKVD (secret police) imprisoned and tortured 'Trotskyites', getting, or trying to get, 'confessions'.
  • Families were liable for 'crimes' committed by their husbands or father.
  • Plotting to kill Stalin was a standard charge.
  • Show trials inevitability had a guilty verdict.
  • Many were sent to gulags.
  • About one million party members were executed, and 10 million were sent to gulags, with many dying. 
  • Stalin used the purges to promote people he trusted.
  • Even the NKVD was ultimately purged under the guise of being infiltrated by fascists.
  • The purges ended in August 1940 with the assassination in Mexico of Leon Trotsky.


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Source Information:  The United States Holocaust Museum