Anna Larina: Stalinist Terror And Her Ability To Survive.

1651 words - 7 pages

Stalin's terror inflicted fear and pain onto any one who opposed him or presented a threat toward his policies. Geoffrey Hosking's The First Socialist Society is an excellent resource that takes an in depth look into Stalinist terror. His reign was enforced through a series of deadly acts. His dishonesty and violent modes of action lead him to solidify his grip on Soviet politics. A good look at how his terrorist actions affected individual people is Anna Larina's This I Cannot Forget. She expresses the struggle to survive for those who were proud and strong willed. Although Stalin's wrath physically pulled her away from those she loved and admired, their memory was her means of survival. Her memoirs give a first hand look at the effects of Stalin's terror. While Hosking portrays the cause of Stalinist terror, Larina expresses the effects of his wrath. Combined one can view the purges and how people survived in spite of them.The founding causes of Stalinist terror can be traced back to a rivalry between Stalin and Leon Trotsky. This began when Trotsky, Zinoviev, and Lev Kamenev formed United Opposition in 1926-7 to Stalin's narrowing hold on political appointments. Stalin repressed the members of the opposition by not allowing them to speak at committee meetings and party conferences. "Defeated at a Central Committee meeting in April 1926," explains Hosking, " the Opposition tried to present their case at the Fifteenth Party Conference in October, but were denied the right to speak." Party militants used violence to break up oppositionist meetings and the GPU often investigated the attendants of these meetings. According to Geoffrey Hosking, "this was the first time violence had been used by the party against its own members." As history would show, this was only the beginning of such violence.The United Opposition was forced to work in secret, because they were not observed as a legitimate faction under the Tenth Congress. The GPU charged the members with criminal activity when a printing press was discovered. Stalin used this to his advantage. He expelled the opposition's members from the Central Committee. Trotsky and Zinoviev were barred from the communist party altogether. Others were reinstated as long as they denounced the faction in which they had taken part, thus admitting their guilt and pledging obedience to Stalin. Hosking confirms, "This early example of a subsequently familiar Stalinist ritual did split the Opposition;" Trotsky and a few others refused to submit and were deported to Central Asia. Unknown to him, Trotsky would later be blamed for events and plots that would justify the death and imprisonment of millions of people.The murder of Sergei Kirov was the pivotal point in Stalin's use of power. This began when Ryutin, with a group of supporters created a program, which conflicted with the First Five Year Plan. After investigating Ryutin, the GPU or secret police "reported he was trying to stir up subversive activity," writes...

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