The Show Trials: Most Important Way Stalin Kept Control of Russia

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How far was the use of show trials the most important way in which Stalin kept control of Russia? The Show trials were one of the most important ways by which Stalin kept control over Russia, however the work of the Secret Police, the creation of the cult of Stalin and his use of socialist realism were also significant. The show trials were was very important in Stalin’s control of Russia; by killing all the Bolsheviks that might oppose him he was able to rule freely. The Bolsheviks that were accused were forced to confess many crimes, including plotting to murder Lenin. This enabled Stalin to lay the blame on Trotsky, whom he accused of leading these plotters. This was very important because there were still many people who thought it should have been Trotsky ruling Russia; therefore any of these ideas were stamped out. The show trials had a particular motive: it was a way of justifying Stalin’s policies to the world and his own people and to also intensify the population’s vigilance and loyalty by spreading fear.

Although the show trials effectively spread fear and terror within the Communist party and the Russian population which in turn helped Stalin control them- the Secret Police also used methods which evoked these feelings and also helped Stalin control Russia. The NKVD, the Secret Police’s name in 1934, helped Stalin control Russia through their violent and fear-provoking methods. After Stalin had increased the powers of the NKVD, they were able to arrest people without charge or trial; this made people fearful of the consequences of going against Stalin’s regime. The NKVD also had an army of informers who would tell them if someone stepped out of line, even children were encouraged to report on their parents and teachers; these ordinary people were terrorised into obedience. The NKVD also ran the gulags where people were sent if they were arrested. Here people were imprisoned and forced to do manual work, 13 million died from cold and hunger....
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