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The Purges

Modern History (Year 12) - Methods of Control

Ben Whitten

The Purges as a Method of Control

The purges in Soviet Russia, also known as the Great Purge or the Great Terror, were a series of political repressions that took place in the late 1930s under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. The purges were aimed at eliminating perceived enemies of the state, including political opponents, intellectuals, artists, and anyone else who was seen as a threat to the Soviet regime.

The purges were carried out through a combination of propaganda, censorship, and violence. The Soviet government used propaganda to create an atmosphere of fear and suspicion among the population, encouraging people to denounce their neighbors, friends, and even family members as enemies of the state. Those accused of crimes were subjected to show trials, where they were publicly accused, convicted, and executed.

The purges were also carried out through the extensive use of the secret police, or NKVD, who were given broad powers to arrest and detain anyone suspected of opposing the government. Many people were arrested, imprisoned, and executed without trial, and the NKVD used torture and other forms of violence to extract confessions and information from their prisoners.

The purges were a highly effective method of control, as they not only eliminated political opponents but also instilled fear and obedience in the general population. The purges helped to cement Stalin's power and consolidate the authority of the Soviet regime, as anyone who spoke out against the government or expressed dissenting views was at risk of being targeted.

The purges in Soviet Russia were a brutal and effective method of control that allowed the government to eliminate perceived threats and maintain its power through fear and intimidation. However, the purges also resulted in widespread human rights abuses and the suppression of basic freedoms, leading to a legacy of fear and mistrust in Soviet society.

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