Film: Stalin & the Great Terror

Film Series: Power and authority in Russia and the Soviet Union

By Professor James Harris, University of Leeds, published 27th March 2024

Why was the Soviet Union so violent in the 1930s? In this film, Professor James Harris (University of Leeds) looks at differing interpretations of the origins of the Great Terror; was it the story of one man trying to obtain total control, was it a result of collective frustration against failed policies, or was it the result of Bolshevik paranoia? Professor Harris reflects upon the impact of unachievable planned targets within successive Five Year plans, and how those expected to achieve these targets dealt with those expectations, leading to a cycle of blame, further denunciations, and purges.

* This video contains images of extreme violence which some viewers may find distressing. Please use viewer discretion.

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