Item description for STALIN'S INSTRUMENTS OF TERROR by Rupert Butler...
The infamous KGB of Cold War renown was the successor to a series of equally infamous and lethal state security agencies that date from the early days of the Russian Revolution: Cheka, OGPU, NKVD, NKGB and MVD. The first chapter gives an account of the harsh state security employed by the despotic Tsars from the time of Ivan the Terrible, placing Stalin's brutal methods in a wider historical context. The author then examines the Cheka, the first post-revolutionary organization charged with combating counter-revolution and sabotage, whose methods were so ruthless that the early Bolshevik government was moved to abolish the organization 'with expressions of gratitude for heroic work' in 1922.
After taking control of the Communist Party in 1923, Stalin used the newly-formed OGPU to implement mass collectivization and deportations of the kulaks (wealthy peasants) in the early 1930s. Stalin's Instruments of Terror then charts Stalin's use of the re-named NKVD (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) to carry out the purges of the 1930s, where most of the Soviet dictator's political rivals were prosecuted in the notorious 'show trials', millions of others were arrested and ended their lives in Gulags (forced-labour camps), and countless other millions were executed outright. But this was not the end of secret police terror, as the book goes on to describe the death or enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Cossacks and White Russians who had fought for the Nazis as the Red Army advanced towards Germany in 1944 and 1945. Following the death of Stalin in 1953, the final incarnation of the Soviet secret police, the KGB, became an agency for spreading Soviet influence throughout the world.
Illustrated with 100 photographs, many rare and previously unseen, Stalin's Instruments of Terror is a lively and accessible history of secret police oppression in the Soviet Union from 1917 to the early 1990s.
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Reviews - What do customers think about STALIN'S INSTRUMENTS OF TERROR?
Wanders a little too much... May 5, 2007
While factual, the scope of the book begins with Ivan the Terrible's regime on up to the post-Communist intelligence agencies. In doing so it spreads itself out too far to really do justice to the subject matter at hand.
Many of the sidebars seem to wander too far off-subject. In the meantime, there are no organizational charts or other devices to illustrate the place of the Secret Police within the Soviet government nor the changing organization of the instruments of terror themselves. Overall, could have been much better.
history and anatomy of Soviet Union secret agencies and their tactics Dec 1, 2006
The author, who has written works on the SS and other instruments of Nazi terror, turns here to the notorious Soviet Union state agencies, like their Nazi counterparts, playing a key role in instituting and perpetuating a malignant ideology. The Russian--Soviet Union--terroristic, gangster-like agencies reached their apogee under Joseph Stalin. The quotes "A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic" and "Death solves all problems - no man, no problem" attributed to Stalin were actually principles of his dictatorial governance. His terror squads which went under varied and sometimes simply changed names effected Stalin's whims and plans from murdering government officials suspected of betrayals largely on the basis of a Stalin's paranoia to relocating entire ethnic populations to inhospitable places. But Stalin built on the sociopolitical theories and related practices urged by Lenin and Trotsky; which had precedents in the rule of the Russian monarchs. Butler follows the course of this infamous state security system by relating the organization and respective and often overlapping purposes of the various agencies, profiling their masterminds and apparatchiks, describing their activities and technological devices, and outlining their tyranny against specific groups and plots to arrest or murder individuals seen as rivals or threats.