"It was still several years before the purges were to reach their terrible climax...."

The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of persecution and political repression in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Stalin from 1936–1938.


Joseph Stalin
Public DomainJoseph Stalin

It involved a large-scale purge of Government officials and the Communist Party, repression of Red Army leadership and peasants, and the persecution of unaffiliated persons, characterised by widespread police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and executions.


According to the declassified Soviet archives, during 1937 and 1938, the NKVD detained 1,548,367 victims, of whom 681,692 were shot - an average of 1,000 executions a day.