The Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin. It involved the purge of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the repression of peasants (epecially of the rich kulaks), of the Red Army leadership, and the persecution of the general populance. It was characterized by widespread police surveillance, a climate of generalised suspicion, imprisonment, and killings. Estimates of the number of deaths associated with the Great Purge run from the official figure of 681,692 to nearly 2 million.
Editors. "The “Great Purge” in USSR [Great Terror]". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 February 2010
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=2988, accessed 26 May 2013.]