You, Mr. Wells, appear to proceed from the assumption that all people are good. But I do not forget that many people are evil.
—STALIN, 23 JULY 1934
THE COMING OF
THE GREAT PURGE
FROM LATE 1932 Soviet Russia was the scene of a conspiracy to seize total power by terrorist action. This was the gist of the secret letter circulated by Stalin's office to party committees in July 1936. 1 In a way the charge was true. There was a conspiracy. It had its inception in 1932, and took final shape in 1934. It was carefully organized, and sought total power through terrorist action against much of the party‐ state's leadership.
Beyond that point, fact leaves off and fiction begins. Those accused of being ringleaders of the conspiracy—Zinoviev, Kamenev, Trotsky, and others—were among its intended victims; and the one named in the letter as the chief intended victim—Stalin—was the archconspirator. The secret letter was projective. Through a glass darkly it revealed what happened: from the time when Stalin came to see himself as the target of a plot by a multitude of masked enemies, he began conspiring against them. Their conspiracy was fictional; his was real.
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Publication information: Book title: Stalin in Power:The Revolution from Above, 1928-1941. Contributors: Robert C. Tucker - Author. Publisher: W.W. Norton. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1992. Page number: Not available.
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