Flag of the Soviet Union

The Soviet flag.

Flag of Russia

The flag of Russia.

The flag of the Ukraine

The flag of the Ukraine.


Before 1932

The Russian Civil War (Russian: Гражданская война́ в Росси́и, Trans: Grazhdanskaya voyna v Rossiy) of 7th November (25th October), 1917 to 25th October (12th October), 1922 was horrific and chaotic. Some minor skirmishes with the remnants of the White forces continued in the Far East continuing well into 1923.

The Ukrainian National Republic (UNR) on the 25th of January 1918, became a communist state in 1919 after a bloody civil war, was (like Tsarist-come-communist Belarus) annexed by Bolshevik Russia in 1921 and helped create the USSR in 1922. It was a sovereign state between 1918 and 1921. Many Ukrainians still wanted out of the USSR and/or the end of communism. The Black Army caused trouble in south eastern Ukraine from 1918 to 1921.

Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan both later figured prominently in the anti-Bolshevik movement in Central Asia and held out until 1924. There was even an attempt to set up a autonomous state in the city of Kokand. The armed national resistance in Central Asia was not completely crushed until 1934, but most of it was over by 1922-1924 after the Bolsheviks had granted them cultural, Islamic and economic privileges in the wake of some major Bolshevik victory on the battlefields.

The anti-Slavic Turkic Central Asian Basmachi movement (Russian: Басмачество, transliteration: Basmachestvo) or Basmachi Revolt was an uprising against Russian Imperial and Soviet rule by the Muslim peoples of Central Asia between 1916 and 1934.

The Caucasus Mountains were conquered by the USSR in 1922, became a puppet state in 1922 soon absorbed in to the Soviet's growing Red empire in 1924.

Mongolia became independent in 1911, was re-occupied by China in 1921, annexed in all but name in 1922 and a Soviet satellite state in 1924.

Localised armed resistance to Soviet/ethnic Slavic rule reoccurred to a lesser extent after the state run collectivization campaigns, like the forming of the Collective farms, in the pre-World War 2 Soviet historical era. The Waffen SS Galizien-Halychyna Division and other Pro-Nazi forces would disrupt Ukraine and the Baltic States for many Years to come.

The plan

Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was in a politically dangerous situation and thus feared rightfully at first and then later needlessly due to being clinically paranoid about people conspiring against him.

What became known as The Great Purge was a ruthless campaign of political repression that ran from 1936 to 1938 and involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of peasants and the Red Army leadership, violence, expulsion from the Communist Party, intimidation, widespread police surveillance, suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, show trialing and arbitrary executions.

The NKVD (later the KGB) and the GRU threw thousands in to the infamous Gulags.

The purges them selves

The purges involved the large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of peasants and the Red Army leadership, and widespread police surveillance, suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and arbitrary executions. By the end of the 1930s Stalin had succeeded in his goal of executing almost all of the former Bolsheviks who had played prominent roles during the Russian Revolution of 1917 and/or in Lenin's Soviet government afterwards.

Kalmykia region, 1922-1943

The Kalmykian nationalists and Pan-Mongolists attempted to migrate Kalmyks to Mongolia in the 1920s.Mongolia suggested to migrate the Soviet Union's Mongols to Mongolia in the 1920s but Russia refused the suggest.

On 22 January 1922 Mongolia proposed to migrate the Kalmyks during the Kalmykian Famine but Russia refused. 71–72,000 (93,000?); around half of the population) Kalmyks died during the famine.

The Kalmyks revolted against Russia in 1926, 1930 and 1942–1943.

In March 1927, Soviet deported 20,000 Kalmyk to Siberia, tundra and Karelia. The Kalmyks founded sovereign Republic of Oirat-Kalmyk on 22 March 1930. The Oirat's state had a small army and 200 Kalmyk soldiers defeated 1,700 Soviet soldiers in Durvud province of Kalmykia but the Oirat's state destroyed by the Soviet Army in 1930.

Mongolian dictator Marshal Khorloogiin Choibalsan attempted to migrate the deportees to Mongolia and he met with them in Siberia during his visit to Russia, but Russia soon become uncooperative towards its usual ally.

Under the Law of the Russian Federation of April 26, 1991 "On Rehabilitation of Exiled Peoples" repressions against Kalmyks and other peoples were qualified as an act of genocide.

Buryat-Mongol SSR, 1927-29

In 1919 the Buryats established a small theocratic Balagad state in Kizhinginsky District of Russia and the Buryat's state fell in 1926. In 1958, the name "Mongol" was removed from the name of the Buryat-Mongol Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.

The Buryat peoples' revolt or rebellion of 1927 Buryatia (Russia: Buryatskoye vosstaniye (1927)), was a brief local rebellion against the Soviet government. There are also reports that killed 35,000 Buryatia and that the persecution of another occurred by 35,000 by 1929. May fled to Mongolia.

Yakutia SSR, late 1920s-late 1930s

From the late 1920s through the late 1930s, the semi-nomadic Yakut people were systematically persecuted, under the Soviet collectivization campaign. Starvation and political killings are probably the key reason that the the Yakut population from 240,500 in 1926 to 236,700 in 1959. By 1972, the population began to recover and has grown ever since.

Evens in the 1930s

The Soviets created a written The USSR created a written language for them and did away with illiteracy among the Evens in the 1930s.

Many nomadic Evens willingly chose to settle down, joined the kolkhozes and engaged themselves in modern cattle-breeding and agriculture.

The journalist David Remnick mentions in his book Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire that the forcible settlement of the remaining Evens, who were essentially a nomadic "pastoralists", into towns and villages during the Stalinist era created significant social and went on to claim that this caused heavy psychological problems among them, particularly alcoholism and substance abuse. He also mentions that children of the Evens were taken away from their families to be educated in state schools, mainly with the goal of suppressing the Even language and culture.

Soviet famine of 1932–33 and The Holodomor

The Soviet famine of 1932–33 was a inevitable result of both the former civil war, poor agricultural technologies, government failure, bad weather and communist dogma. It is worth noting that Russia has been hit with periodical famines during about the last ~150 years.

The Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомор, "Extermination by hunger" or "Hunger-extermination"; derived from морити голодом, "to kill by starvation") was a man made famine disaster as the USSR refused to give them help and left ~2.5m-~7.5m Ukrainians to die. Similar wilful neglect hit the Kuban, Tartarstan, Moldovo, N.W. Kazakhstan and Bashkoitia with heavy loss of life outside Moldovo.

USSR in the Mid to late 1930s

The Great Purge of 1937, along with the First and Second Moscow Trials brought the worst terror of all. Between 1936 and 1938, 3 massive Moscow Trials of former senior Communist Party leaders took place. There was a genuine fear at the time that there was a subversive enemy with in trying to wreck the USSR on behalf of the capitalist masters in the West and fear in the West that the USSR was after Poland, Finland, Romania, Turkey north east, northern Persia, Afghanistan and neighbouring provinces of China.

The American Dewey Commission, was headed by the noted American philosopher and educator John Dewey, but failed to conclusively prove Trotsky's innocence in the May of 1937.

The third and final trial, in March 1938, known as The Trial of the Twenty-One, is the most famous of the Soviet show trials, because of the number and type of people involved in it including 21 leading Communist Party members. Nikolai Bukharin, was arrested in February 1937 and charged with conspiring to overthrow the Soviet state and executed in March 1938, after a brutal show trial that alienated many Western communist sympathisers. Mensheviks, "Mensheving Idealists", the "Bloc of Rightists", Trotskyists, Ex-kulaks and other 'anti-Soviet elements'.

The Polish Operation of the Soviet security force, the NKVD, in 1937 and 1938 was a highly secret, covert, mass operation to thwart supposed Polish agents and political sympathisers in the Soviet Union during the period of the Great Purge. There were hundreds of thousands of arrests and deaths as a result of it.

Stanisław Pestkowski (Russian: Станислав Станиславович Пестковский) (1882–1937) was a Polish Bolshevik active in the Russian Revolution of 1917, where he became Commissar for Telegraphs in the Bolshevik government.

From 30 April 1919 to August 1920 Pestkowski was Secretary of the Kirghiz Regional Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (30 April 1919 – August 1920).

He disappeared in Stalin's Great Purge of 1937 and was exonerated posthumously in 1955.

The Soviet military purges in the late 1930s

The purge of the Red Army and Military Maritime Fleet had removed-
Rank. Number purged. Number not purged.
Marshals 3 2
Army commanders 13 2
Admirals  8 1
Army corps commanders 50 7
Division commanders 154 32
Army commissars 16 0
Army corps commissars. 25 3

The purges in Mongolia during the late 1930s

The brutal 1932 Mongolian Armed Uprising saw more than 1,500 people were killed. Mongolia was purge by its pro-Soviet leaders in during the late 1930s.

The purges in Xinjiang during 1937

The Xinjiang Great Purge occurred in 1937 at the time by its pro-Soviet warlord.

The related genocide and ethnic cleansing in the mid 1940s

Stalin was disturbed by the ethnic rising in places like the western Ukraine and Estonia. Fearing the worst, all Chechens, together with several other peoples of the Caucasus, were ruthlessly deported en mass to the Kazakh and Kirghiz SSRs in 1944; and their homelands abolished. 25%-33% of Chechens died and many members of the other exiled groups due to this action.

They were politically "rehabilitated" in 1956 and allowed to return a year later. The survivors lost most of their economic resources and civil rights and, under both Soviet and post-Soviet governments.

The supposed "doctors' plot" of the early 1950s

Su-7 Skarżysko

A Su-7BKL, Muzeum Orła Białego (White Eagle Museum, Skarżysko-Kamienna, Poland) on 29th of August 2007.

The Doctors' plot (Russian: дело врачей [tarnas:delo vrachey, "doctors' affair"], врачи-вредители [trans:vrachi-vreditely, "doctors-saboteurs"], or врачи-убийцы [vrachi-ubiytsy "doctors-killers"]) was an anti-Semitic plot by Joseph Stalin.

The newspapers Pravda and Izvestiya announced in the January of 1953 that 9 doctors, who had attended major Soviet leaders like the Central Committee secretary Andrey A. Zhdanov, who had died in 1948; had been arrested. and confessed to being part of a Soviet based Zionist plot.

With in a few weeks of Stalin's death in the March of 1953, the new Soviet leadership stated that they had no grounds to continue with the investigations and the case was dropped due lack of evidence. Soon after, the case was declared to have been faked up by Stalin and his cronies. Stalin had intended to use the resulting doctors’ trial to launch a massive anti-Semitic party purge.

On 14 May 1953, after Joseph Stalin's death, the Sukhoi OKB was reopened and by the summer, it began work on a swept-wing front-line fighter. The Su-7 was rugged in its simplicity, but its shortcomings included short range and low weapon load. It carried a 5kt nuke as well.

A list found at the time stated Stalin was about to kill off-

  1. Andrei Tupolev (?)
  2. Sergei Korolev (?)
  3. Lavrentiy Beria (?)
  4. Alexei Nikolayevich Kosygin (?)
  5. Artem Mikoyan (?)
  6. Pavel Sukhoi (?)
  7. Mikhail Iosifovich Gurevich (?)
  8. Nikolai Bulganin (thought he was a counter-revolutionary)
  9. Georgy Zhukov (Jealousy and fear over his personality cult with in the Soviet armed forces)
  10. Georgy Malenkov (thought he was a counter-revolutionary)
  11. Nikita Khrushchev (thought he was a counter-revolutionary)
  12. Leonid Brezhnev (thought he was a counter-revolutionary)

The aftermath

The devastated officer core and ill-equipped troops had difficulty in the 1939-1940 Winter War. Soviet numbers eventually made up for opposing Finnish wisdom.

Realising things were not working out, Stalin began to reform the political system as far as the armed forces were concerned. Political commissars were militarily degraded, traditional army ranks restored, 2 'political' medals scrapped and several 'real' medals for things like valour and tactics were restored in 1940 as a way of making the Red Army a true fighting force.

The American Congress established the Baltic Freedom Day in 1982, to be remembered every June 14 in the United States.

Gorbachev's purge of Kazakhstan

Gennady Kolbin (Russian: Геннадий Колбин; 1927 in Nizhny Tagil – 1998) was the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakh SSR from December 16, 1986 to June 22, 1989.

Kolbin had not worked in the Kazakh SSR prior to his appointment. He was appointed by Mikhail Gorbachev in an attempt to root out corruption in the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR.

As an outsider to Kazakhstan, he was not well received there. His appointment resulted in violent protests in the Kazakh capital Almaty and other cities, with several protesters killed and hundreds injured. This revolt is now known as "Jeltoqsan", the Kazakh for "December". It is reported that the outgoing first secretary, Dinmukhamed Kunayev, participated in organizing the protests, which involved 60,000 protesters.

In June 1989, Kolbin was replaced by Kazakh Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kolbin was then transferred to a position in Moscow.

Dinmukhamed (Dimash) Akhmetuly Konayev (Kazakh: Дінмұхаммед (Димаш) Ахметұлы Қонаев; Russian: Динмухаммед Ахмедович Кунаев; 12 January 1912 [O.S. 31 December 1911] – 22 August 1993) was a Kazakh Soviet communist politician.

Kunayev was an ardent supporter of the Virgin Lands campaign, which opened millions of hectares of lands in central Kazakhstan to agricultural development and caused a large influx of Russian immigrants into Kazakhstan.

During Kunayev's long rule, Kazakhs occupied prominent positions in the bureaucracy, economy and educational institutions. A Brezhnev loyalist, he was removed from office under pressure from Mikhail Gorbachev, who accused him of corruption.

On 16 December 1986 the Politburo replaced him with Gennady Kolbin, who had never lived in the Kazakh SSR before. This provoked street riots in Almaty, which were the first signs of ethnic strife during Gorbachev's tenure. In modern Kazakhstan, this revolt is called Jeltoqsan, meaning December in Kazakh.

Kunayev was awarded the Gold Star of Hero of Socialist Labour three times. He spent the last years of his life in charitable activity, establishing the 'Dinmukhamed Kunayev Foundation', one of whose purposes was the support of political reform in Kazakhstan. An institute and avenue in Almaty have been named after him as well as an avenue in down-town Astana.

Also see

  1. House Committee on Un-American Activities
  2. The Ashgabat earthquake of 1948
  3. Campaign to Suppress Counter-revolutionaries
  4. Slánský trial
  5. Collective farms
  6. Red Army racism and shortages!
  7. KGB
  8. Politically Communist and/or Socialist
  9. Stalinism
  10. Stalin's cult of personality
  11. Stalin Monument (Budapest)
  12. Threat construction


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