How Far Was Stalin Responsible for the Purges in the 1930s?

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Stalin was responsible to a large extent responsible for the purges in Russia during the 1930s. The purges in Russia in the 1930s began as purges made by Stalin in order to remove political opponents such as the Left and the Right Wing in order to secure his power. However, the purges began to spread to the army forces and the people of Russia. Purges were in the form of executions or exiled to labour camps. The purges came about mainly due to Stalin in the various factors of the character and personality of Stalin, the social and economic unrest in Russia and the need for slave labour to industrialize Russia. However, there are also other contributory factors that led to the purges in 1930s such as external threats of war especially from Germany.

Stalin had a personality of paranoia and wanted to secure total power in his hands. He felt threatened by the growing opposition towards him in the 1930s. Example of growing opposition in the early 1930s was the Ryutin group who were followers of M.N. Ryutin, a Right Communist who had published an attack on Stalin. Stalin react to this by purging the Ryutin group by a public trial and expelled the Ryutin group. Stalin’s paranoia and insecurity led him to purge all possible rivals that might form an alternative government against him. This was even worse after the Kirov assassination. Kirov was also a popular figure within the Communist Party but he was known to be against Stalin’s methods of industrialization and the extreme measures taken to discipline Party members. Although there is no direct evidence pointing to Stalin as the main perpetrator of the assassination, circumstantial evidence most likely points to Stalin having the motive of removing opposition that led to the assassination of Kirov. Stalin further took the assassination as a pretext to purge the Trotskyites and Leftists by accusing them to be suspected conspirators. Stalin’s paranoia for opposition led him to direct and command most of the...
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