REPRESENTATIVES OF THE FAR EASTERN CONCENTRATION OF THE SOVIET ARMED FORCES AT THE EXTENDED SESSION OF THE WAR COUNCIL OF THE PEOPLE'S COMMISSAR FOR DEFENCE OF THE USSR , 1-4 JUNE 1937
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A session of the War Council of the People's Commissar for Defence of the USSR, the highest supreme collegiate agency of the Red Army, held in Moscow at the beginning of June 1937, remains one of the most significant events in the history of the Great Purge carried out within the Soviet officer corps. It was upon this occasion that official information was given about the detention of Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevski and other high ranking Red Army commanders accused of espionage in cooperation with foreign military Intelligence aimed against the Bolshevik Party and the Soviet state. The article, based on documents in Russian archives, primarily a stenographic record of the War Council session, presents and analyses the declarations made upon that occasion by representatives of the Far Eastern Concentration of the Soviet Armed Forces - the Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army, the Trans-Baikal Military District, and the Pacific Fleet. Similarly to the rest of the Soviet military elite, none of the participants, headed by Marshal Vasilii Blyukher (Blucher) ), commander of the Special Far Eastern Army, undermined the thesis about the existence of a 'military-fascist conspiracy' within the Red Army, or the guilt of Marshal Tukhachevsky and his comrades. Blucher himself agreed to join a special Military Tribunal which issued death sentences several days after the War Council debates ended. Everyone condemned the accused, whom Stalin and the NKVD regarded as 'enemies of the people'. Some of the representatives of the Far Eastern Concentration, such as Commodore Ivan Fedko, former commander of the Maritime Group under the Special Red Banner Far Eastern Army, denounced consecutive officers as potential participants of the mythical conspiracy. The further fate of the commanders and members of the war councils of the Far Eastern Concentration of the Soviet Armed Forces proves that the contents of the declarations made by them at the June session did not exert greater impact upon their future. All, with the exception of the future Marshal Kiril Meretskov, former Chief of Staff of the Special Far Eastern Army, accused at the session of links with 'enemies of the people', became the victims of the Great Purge.
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