Reasons behind the Purges

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  • reasons behind the Purges
    • to cover up problems in the economy
      • there were accidents in poorly run mines so the government made it seem like 'enemies' were causing these accidents
      • experts, and others, were blamed for deliberately causing problems in the mines and factories- then they were shot
        • people were shot as a warning to others, and to show how important it was to meet targets
      • factory managers often resented super-keen workers called Stakhanovites
        • these managers soon found themselves in the firing line, as they were blamed for getting in the way of fast economic development
    • to control peasants and workers better
      • many workers in the Soviet Union were not used to factory discipline and drifted from job to job.
      • some workers used false papers. some also lied about their backgrounds to try and 'reinvent themselves', in order to survive in the communist Soviet Union
      • Kulaks released from prison, and peasants escaping a famine caused by collectivisation in the Ukraine, fled to the growing cities to try to start a new life
      • executions were used to remove anyone not trusted by the state
    • to remove old rivals within the communist party
      • though Stalin had won the power struggle, he still did not feel secure as Zinoviev, Kamanev, Bukharin, and their allies were still in the party
      • as problems increased in agriculture and industry, other leading communists became critical of Stalin
      • in 1932, Stalin wanted an old Bolshevik- Ryutin- shot, but could not persuade the Politburo to kill a leading communist.
        • this weakness angered Stalin, making him feel insecure, so he wanted his rivals dead.
          • as a result, many of those who had been close associates of Lenin were shot
    • to control local communist party bosses
      • many local party bosses were friendly with local NKVD commanders, and covered up their own mistakes, while punishing others
      • some local bosses were arrested and shot in order to persuade others to follow orders
      • there was much corruption, as leaders in moscow struggled to get local party bosses to do as they were told
    • to blame others for the assassination on Kirov
      • Kirov was the Leningrad party boss
      • he opposed the shooting of Ryutin, and in the Central Committee elections in 1934 he may have gained more votes than Stalin
        • Kirow resisted attempts from Stalin to move him to Moscow. Later, he was shot. Many historians think that Stalin was responsible.


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