Great Purge

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Mass killings under Communist regimes •

Ideological repression

The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin in 1936–1938.[1][2] It involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and Government officials, repression of peasants, Red Army leadership, and the persecution of unaffiliated persons, characterized by widespread police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and executions.[1] In Russian historiography the period of the most intense purge, 1937–1938, is called Yezhovshchina (Russian: Ежовщина; literally, the Yezhov regime), after Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the Soviet secret police, NKVD.

In the Western World, Robert Conquest's 1968 book The Great Terror popularized that phrase. Conquest was in turn inspired by the period of terror (French: la Terreur) during the French Revolution.


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