Soviet Literature - The Purges

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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The so-called “Great Purge” (or “Great Terror”) is considered to have lasted from 1934 to 1939. Although earlier purges had occurred in the Civil War and post-Civil War eras and in the earlier years of Stalinisation, the “Great Purge”, beginning in 1934, was of a much vaster order. The starting point was the reaction to the1934 assassination of Segei Kirov, the Leningrad Party leader (itself a mysterious event). Victor Serge’s novel,

The Case of Comrade Tulayev

, offers a fascinating imaginative treatment of this and developments therefrom.

The pre-existing system of repression, established under the CHEKA (the Soviet secret police, in its first Bolshevik incarnation) for the Red Terror during the period of War Communism, was capable of being activated when and as required

845 words

Citation: Cornwell, Neil. "Soviet Literature - The Purges". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 September 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1593, accessed 15 April 2024.]

1593 Soviet Literature - The Purges 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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