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Stalin: Fear & Forced Labour. Jane Yip & Daphne Poon. Introduction. Urgent need for modernisation Wanted to catch up with the Western powers Wanted to show how Communism could work Became paranoid: wanted to create a unified Russia under his control. Gulags. “Work or face consequences”

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stalin fear forced labour

Stalin: Fear & Forced Labour

Jane Yip & Daphne Poon

introduction
Introduction
  • Urgent need for modernisation
  • Wanted to catch up with the Western powers
  • Wanted to show how Communism could work
  • Became paranoid: wanted to create a unified Russia under his control
gulags
Gulags
  • “Work or face consequences”
  • Gulag: government agency that administered Soviet labour camp systems, started on April 25 1930
  • Remote parts of Russia: harsh climatic conditions
  • Initially only for prisoners, later for anyone who opposed Stalin and peasants who refused to work
  • High mortality at the camps and extremely poor living conditions
  • March 1940: 53 camps, 423 labour colonies – today’s major Russian industrial cities were originally camps
first purges 1930 33
First Purges, 1930-33
  • Purged anyone who opposed industrialisation and collectivisation
  • Workers were afraid of being purged/of having family members purged: protests were swallowed and people worked.
secret police
Secret Police
  • NKVD: People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs
  • Main duties: running of the labour camp system, suppressing underground resistance, mass deportations and executions, espionage, guarding state borders and general reinforcement of policies
  • 1934 Communist Party Congress: 1108 arrested out of 1966 in next five years
  • 1935-41: 19.8 million people arrested by NKVD (7 million executed)
  • Interrogated prisoners to the point of mental exhaustion – threats to execute family
  • Interrogations lasted several days until confessions were signed
  • Many did not know the reason for their arrests – arrests happened anytime
  • Stalin even purged members of the secret police – first three heads were executed at his command
conclusion
Conclusion
  • Fear and forced labour was arguably Stalin’s most successful method
  • Fear of death worked immensely well in motivating peasants to accept collectivisation and work hard
  • Present of Secret Police helped to keep fear afresh
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