INTERPRETATIONS OF THE ORIGIN OF THE SOVIET 'GREAT PURGE' IN THE POLISH PRESS (1936-1938)
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The so-called 'Great Purge' taking place in the Soviet Union in 1936-1938 stirred great interest in the Polish press, which published assorted interpretations of the origin of Stalinist terror. One of its interpretation perceived Soviet terror as the outcome of Stalin's intentional steps towards the realisation of select targets. The majority of the journalists drew attention to the fact that the heart of the matter involved predominantly the organisation of an apparatus of power in order to safeguard the authority enjoyed by Stalin and to expand its range. This was the reason for the elimination of those who posed a threat to the dictator. Others indicated that repressions served as a tool for attaining further reaching objectives: the construction of a totalistic-bureaucratic centralised state ( perceived as a symptom of Thermidor, the end of the revolution) or a nationalisation or, more precisely, Russification of Bolshevism. According to the deterministic interpretations of the sources of terror it was to have been a product of the specific social, political and historical conditions prevailing in the Soviet Union. The Catholic press frequently indicated that Stalinist terror constituted a logical consequence of the implementation of the premises of Marxism-Leninism. On the other hand, the democratic press maintained that the bloody events in the Soviet Union sprung from the dictator-totalitarian nature of the local authorities. Another characteristic feature of the Polish press was interpreting the terror of 1936-1938 as an outcome of the impact exerted by Russian political tradition.
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