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Library of Congress Archives
Revelations from the Russian Archives
- Library of Congress Soviet Archives Exhibit presents a virtual glimpse into the entire range of Soviet history from the October Revolution of 1917 to the failed coup of August 1991.
(b) Repression and Terror: Stalin in Control
- During the second half of the 1920s, Joseph Stalin set the stage for gaining absolute power by employing police repression against opposition elements within the Communist Party.
(c) Repression and Terror: Kirov Murder and Purges
- The murder of Sergei Kirov on December 1, 1934, set off a chain of events that culminated in the Great Terror of the 1930s.
(d) Secret Police
- From the beginning of their regime, the Bolsheviks relied on a strong secret, or political, police to buttress their rule.
(e) The Gulag
- The Soviet system of forced labor camps was first established in 1919 under the Cheka, but it was not until the early 1930s that the camp population reached significant numbers.
(f) Collectivization and Industrialization
- In November 1927, Joseph Stalin launched his "revolution from above" by setting two extraordinary goals for Soviet domestic policy: rapid industrialization and collectivization of agriculture.
(g) Anti-Religious Campaigns
- The Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion.
(h) Attacks on Intelligentsia: Early Attacks
- In the years immediately following their accession to power in 1917, the Bolsheviks took measures to prevent challenges to their new regime, beginning with eliminating political opposition.
(i) Attacks on Intelligentsia: Renewed Attacks
- The pattern of suppressing intellectual activity, with intermittent periods of relaxation, helped the party leadership reinforce its authority.
(j) Attacks on Intelligentsia: Censorship
- Creative writers enjoyed great prestige in both the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union because of literature's unique role as a sounding board for deeper political and social issues.
(k) Attacks on Intelligentsia: Suppressing Dissidents
- The Communist regime considered dissent in the Soviet Union a repudiation of the proletarian struggle and a violation of Marxism-Leninism, and thus a threat to its authority.
(l) Ukrainian Famine
- The dreadful famine that engulfed Ukraine, the northern Caucasus, and the lower Volga River area in 1932-1933 was the result of Joseph Stalin's policy of forced collectivization.
- Joseph Stalin's forcible resettlement of over 1.5 million people, mostly Muslims, during and after World War II is now viewed by many human rights experts in Russia as one of his most drastic genocidal acts.
(n) The Jewish Antifascist Committee
- The Jewish Antifascist Committee (JAC) was formed in Kuibyshev in April 1942.
- On April 26, the city's anonymity vanished forever when, during a test at 1:21 A.M., the No. 4 reactor exploded and released thirty to forty times the radioactivity of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- From modest beginnings at the Twenty-Seventh Party Congress in 1986, perestroika, Mikhail Gorbachev's program of economic, political, and social restructuring, became the unintended catalyst for dismantling what had taken nearly three-quarters of a century to erect: the Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist totalitarian state.
(q) Early Cooperation: American Famine Relief
- After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the ensuing Civil War produced acute food shortages in southwestern Russia. Several volunteer groups in the United States and Europe had organized relief programs, but it became clear that help was needed on a larger scale because an estimated 10 to 20 million lives were at stake.
(r) Early Cooperation: Economic Cooperation
- During the 1920s and early 1930s, tensions between the Soviet Union and the West eased somewhat, particularly in the area of economic cooperation.
(s) Soviet and American Communist Parties
- The Soviet Communist party evolved from the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party's Bolshevik wing formed by Vladimir Lenin in 1903.
(t) World War II: Alliance
- Despite deep-seated mistrust and hostility between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies, Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 created an instant alliance between the Soviets and the two greatest: Britain and the United States.
(u) World War II: American POWs and MIAs
- Soviet archival documents -- from an earlier era after World War II -- reveal that Americans were detained, and even perished, in the vast Soviet GULAG.
(v) Cold War: Postwar Estrangement
- Joseph Stalin deepened the estrangement between the United States and the Soviet Union when he asserted in 1946 that World War II was an unavoidable and inevitable consequence of "capitalist imperialism" and implied that such a war might re-occur.
(w) Cold War: Soviet Perspectives
- After World War II, Joseph Stalin saw the world as divided into two camps: imperialist and capitalist regimes on the one hand, and the Communist and progressive world on the other.
(x) Cold War: Cuban Missile Crisis
- According to Nikita Khrushchev's memoirs, in May 1962 he conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Cuba as a means of countering an emerging lead of the United States in developing and deploying strategic missiles.
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