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Moscow, 1937: the soviet metropolis at the zenith of Stalin’s dictatorship. A society utterly wrecked by a hurricane of violence.
In this compelling book, the renowned historian Karl Schlögel reconstructs with meticulous care the process through which, month by month, the terrorism of a state-of-emergency regime spiraled into the ‘Great Terror’ during which 1 ½ million human beings lost their lives within a single year. He revisits the sites of show trials and executions and, by also consulting numerous sources from the time, he provides a masterful panorama of these key events in Russian history.
He shows how, in the shadow of the reign of terror, the regime around Stalin also aimed to construct a new society. Based on countless documents, Schlögel’s historical masterpiece vividly presents an age in which the boundaries separating the dream and the terror dissolve, and enables us to experience the fear that was felt by people subjected to totalitarian rule. This rich and absorbing account of the Soviet purges will be essential reading for all students of Russia and for any readers interested in one of the most dramatic and disturbing events of modern history.
executed on 13 April 1934.31 Time and again, entire sections were transferred to other camps. Many inmates were shot while trying to escape. The mortality rate was especially high in the first years: 1933: 8,873; 1934: 6,041; 1935: 4,349; 1936: 2,472; 1937: 1,068; 1938: 39. In total, between 14 September 1932 and 31 January 1938, 22,842 people died in Dmitlag.32 The population of the camp zone – 200,000 at its high point – came from all over, from other camps in the north, from Siberia, from
leader), Krenkel' (radio operator), Shirshov and Fedorov. An unprecedented fuss is being made about them, supported by all the propaganda tricks of the media. The public is excited; the names of the Papanin team are on everyone’s lips … The artificially generated fuss about the Papanin team, I don’t know, perhaps they deserve it, but it distracts people from thinking politically. The day before yesterday the group around Bukharin, Rykov, Iagoda and Krestinskii were shot. The Papanin team are a
achieved until then seemed to be no more than a rehearsal: the flight of an ANT-4 – ‘Land of the Soviets’ (Strana Sovietov) – in 1929, lasting four weeks and leading from Moscow to New York via Siberia, Alaska, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Detroit and Chicago. Soviet pilots made demonstration flights to the Aérosalon in Paris or to Germany in the early 1930s; as the icon of progress and modernity, the aeroplane was the best vehicle for conveying the message of Soviet efforts to modernize at the
together with the new appeal to national pride, generated a new national mood of social unity. Ustryalov’s entry on the broadcast announcing the constitution on 6 December 1936 read: ‘Celebration of the constitution. The whole day long, the radio glowed with patriotic excitement and socialist triumph.’ Ustrialov admired the government’s achievement in integrating the population of the Soviet Empire. ‘The old principle is reiterated: civis romanus sum. People are proud – I am a Soviet citizen …
taken. 8 Ibid., pp. 835–6. 9 Ibid., p. 845. 10 Ibid., p. 697. 11 Ibid., p. 89. 12 Ibid., pp. 113, 137. 13 Ibid., p. 359. 14 Ibid., p. 364. 15 Ibid., p. 366. 16 Ibid., pp. 67, 301. 17 Ibid., p. 111. 18 Ibid., p. 292. 19 Ibid., p. 334. 20 Ibid., p. 607. 21 Ibid., p. 581. 22 Ibid., p. 671. 23 Ibid., p. 53 24 Ibid., pp. 404, 408. 25 Ibid., pp. 342–3. 26 For the present state of research, see Wladislaw Hedeler (ed.), Nikolai Bucharin: Gefängnisschriften, vol. 1. Der Sozialismus und