This article based on new archival documents introduces a new episode of mass operations, which took place in June and July of 1927 and was directed against the broad group of “anti-Soviet” forces. It preceded many practices of mass terror of the 1930s with judicial and extra-legal mechanisms. The goal of this article is to explain motivations, justifications, and mechanisms of this repressive campaign and to put this episode in the wider context of Soviet terror. Facing the combination of a perceived danger of war and real internal social hostility expressed in broad defeatism, both threatening the perpetuation of their governmental powers, authorities resorted to repressions. The 1927 episode highlights the factor of a perceived threat of war as a crucial motivating element in Soviet repressive tactics.
Paul HagenlohStalin’s Police. Public Order and Mass Repressions in the USSR 1926-1941 (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press2009) and David R. Shearer Policing Stalin’s Socialism: Repression and Social Order in the Soviet Union 1924-1953 (New Haven: Yale University Press 2009) study repressions not solely against political enemies but also criminals and speculators.
Nicolas Werth“A State against Its People” in The Black Book of Communism. Crimes Terror RepressionStephane Courtois Nicholas Werth et al. (Cambridge MA 1999) 132-145; Stephen G. Wheatcroft “Agency and Terror: Evdokimov and Mass Killing in Stalin’s Great Terror” in Australian Journal of Politics and History 53 no. 1 (2007); S. A. Krassil’nikov A. S. Zuev “Ssylka v Sibir’ v XVII – pervoi polovine ХХ v.” Istoricheskaia Entsiklopedia Sibiri vol. 3 (Novosibirsk 2009); Stuart Finkel “An Intensification of Vigilance. Recent Perspectives on the Institutional History of the Soviet Security Apparatus in the 1920s” Kritika 5 2 (Spring 2004) and others expand it to the post-revolutionary decade.
A. Y. Livshin I. B. OrlovVlast’ i obschestvo: Dialog v pis’mah (Moscow: ROSSPEN2002) 180; Idem. Pis’ma vo vlast’ 1917-1927 (Moscow: ROSSPEN 1998); Svetlana Kriukova Krestianskie Istorii. Rossiiskaia derevnia 1920-kh godov v pis’makh i documentakh (Moscow: ROSSPEN 2001).
TsGAIPD SPb f. 24 op. 2v d.2486l. 83 ; d. 2500 l. 7 182 ; f. 24 op. 1b d .367 l.64 ; GARF f. 374 op. 27 d. 1211 ll. 13 33 41 43 137 ; d. 1210 l. 9; d. 2079 l. 28; RGASPI f. 17 op. 85 d. 289 ll. 57 60 65 66.
Just one example: on June 251920F. E. Dzerzhinsky’s circular to all local ChKs stated that the war with Poland and General Wrangel justified the need to intensify the struggle against an internal counterrevolution. SD 1079.
Hageloh 45; Anne E. GorsuchYouth in Revolutionary Russia. Enthusiasts Bohemians Delinquents (Bloomington: Indiana University Press2000) 167-76; Plekhanov 513.
Roberta T. Manning“The Rise and Fall of ‘the Extraordinary Measures,’ January-June 1928: Towards a Reexamination of the Onset of the Stalin Revolution,”The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East-European Studies# 1504 (January 2001): 4-5 8-9 13.
G. T. Rittersporn“The Catastrophe, the Millennium, and Popular Mood in the USSR,” in The Soviet Union – a Popular State? Studies on Popular Opinion in the USSR (St. Petersburg: Evropeiskii Dom2003) 56.
Robert ThurstonLife and Terror in Stalin’s Russia. 1934-1941 (New Haven: Yale University Press1996) 223; Hoffmann Stalinism 86; Theodore von Laue Why Lenin? Why Stalin? Why Gorbachev? The Rise and Fall of the Soviet System (New York 1993); V. Khaustov and L. Samuelson Stalin NKVD i repressii 1936-1938 gg. (Moscow: ROSSPEN 2010).