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Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941
Author: Robert William Thurston

ISBN: 9780300074420
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 334
Published: 26 October 1998
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.53 x 14.28 x 1.63
Description:
Terror, in the sense of mass, unjust arrests, characterized the USSR during the late 1930s. But, argues Robert Thurston in this controversial book, Stalin did not intend to terrorize the country and did not need to rule by fear. Memoirs and interviews with Soviet people indicate that many more believed in Stalin's quest to eliminate internal enemies than were frightened by it. Drawing on recently opened Soviet archives and other sources, Thurston shows that between 1934 and 1936 police and court practice relaxed significantly. Then a series of events, together with the tense international situation and memories of real enemy activity during the savage Russian Civil War, combined to push leaders and people into a hysterical hunt for perceived "wreckers." After late 1938, however, the police and courts became dramatically milder. Coercion was not the key factor keeping the regime in power. More important was voluntary support, fostered at least in the cities by broad opportunities to criticize conditions and participate in decision making on the local level. The German invasion of 1941 found the populace deeply divided in its ...

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