This fascinating documentary history is the first English-language exploration of Joseph Stalin's relationship with, and manipulation of, the Soviet political police. The story follows the changing functions, organization, and fortunes of the political police and security organs from the early 1920s until Stalin’s death in 1953, and it provides documented detail about how Stalin used these organs to achieve and maintain undisputed power. Although written as a narrative, it includes translations of more than 170 documents from Soviet archives.
Vladimir Khaustov, a professor at the Federal Security Service Academy of Russia, is a recognized authority in the history of organs of state security. David Shearer specializes in Soviet and twentieth-century European history and is the author of Policing Stalin’s Socialism: Repression and Social Order in the Soviet Union, 1924–1953.
“Vladimir Khaustov and David Shearer offer an insider’s history of Stalin’s security organs from the early 1920s through Stalin’s death in March of 1953, introducing readers to the macabre, bizarre, and horrific world of Stalin’s NKVD as it executed and deported intellectuals, jailed and deported peasants, swept the cities clean of class enemies, liquidated old Bolsheviks, rained terror on innocent workers, specialists and peasants, and conducted wartime intelligence. With the growing ambiguity over Stalin’s role in Russian history, Khaustov and Shearer provide us with a timely dose of reality about the absolute evil of Stalin and the regime which he built.”—Paul Roderick Gregory, Research Fellow, The Hoover Institution
~Paul Roderick Gregory
"This is an innovative book from two of the leading specialists on the Soviet police state. It combines narrative interpretation with a mass of previously secret archive documents to shed light on the mechanisms of Joseph Stalin's power and the functioning of the political police and security organs during the first three decades of Soviet history. Clearly written and fascinating, this book will be of interest to both specialists and general readers."—Oleg V. Khlevniuk, author of Master of the House: Stalin and His Inner Circle
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