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The Purging of Local Cadres and “Appanage Princes” in Russia

Friday, September 25, 2009
Boris Efimov,  "Ezhov's Iron Glove" (1937)

Boris Efimov, "Ezhov's Iron Glove" (1937)

Over at The Excerpt Mill I quote a passage from The Road to Terror:

Because membership in the Trotskyist or Zinovievist organizations implied party membership dating back into the 1920s, “genuine” ex-oppositionists were likely to have workerd their way up from the rank and file into leadership positions in local political machines…The tendency of local elites to deflect the purge downward to the rank and file was almost certainly a response to the need to find enemies somewhere without risking the loss of experienced members of their own machines, even if they had dubious backgrounds.  Purge discourse was flexible.

The Central Committee was not satisfied with this result.  The frequent intervention from Moscow to stop local verifications and restart them, along with subsequent criticism of local administration…are evidence of Moscow’s displeasure…

Regional party committees had begun the proverka verification in May 1935.  The following month, however, many of them were brought up short by the Central Committee, which criticized them for paying only cursory attention to the process and for hastily expelling large numbers or ordinary rank-and-file members (and few leading comrades) from their own machines…

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