Vadim Rogovin
1937: Stalin’s Year of Terror

This volume is the first major study by a Russian Marxist historian of the most tragic and fateful year in the history of the Soviet Union. Possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of Soviet source material, including archival documents that have only recently been released, Professor Vadim Rogovin presents a detailed and penetrating analysis of the causes, impact and consequences of Stalin’s purges. Rogovin demonstrates that the principal function and aim of the terror was the physical annihilation of the substantial socialist opposition to Stalin’s bureaucratic regime. Moreover, Rogovin places at the very center of this historical tragedy the crucial political figure whom most contemporary historians tend, for various ideological reasons, to ignore: Leon Trotsky. Rogovin insists that it is impossible to understand the purges apart from Stalin’s determination to stamp out all vestiges of Trotsky’s influence which, despite years of repression, had remained a powerful current with considerable support and revolutionary potential within the USSR.

Vadim Zakharovich Rogovin (1937-1998) was a Doctor of Philosophical Sciences and leading researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He is the author of 250 scholarly works, including eight monographs on problems of social policy, the history of social thought and the history of political movements in the former USSR. Before his untimely death in September 1998, Dr. Rogovin presented lectures all over the world about the socialist-based opposition to the Stalinist regime.

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  1. Introduction
  2. Preparations for the First Show Trial
  3. The Trial of the Sixteen
  4. “Thirst for Power” or “Restoration of Capitalism”?
  5. “The Molotov Affairh”
  6. Results of a «Rotten Compromise”
  7. Political Repercussions of the Trial of the Sixteen
  8. Trotsky Interned
  9. Leon Sedov’s Red Book
  10. Ten Percent of the Truth, or What Really Happened
  11. Candidate Defendants at Future Trials
  12. From Charges of Terror to New Amalgams
  13. The Beginning of the Yezhov Period
  14. The Kemerovo Trial
  15. The December Plenum of the Central Committee
  16. The Trial of the “Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Center”
  17. Trotsky Returns to Battle
  18. Trotsky on the Goals of the Moscow Trials
  19. A Tyrant’s Revenge
  20. The Anti-Semitic Subtext of the Moscow Trials
  21. Why Did They Confess?
  22. Bukharin and Rykov in the Clutches of a “Party Investigation”
  23. The Death of Ordzhonikidze
  24. Two Letters from Bukharin
  25. Prelude to the February-March Plenum
  26. Bukharin and Rykov Defend Themselves
  27. The Plenum Delivers its Verdict
  28. The Fate of the “Letter of an Old Bolshevik”
  29. The February-March Plenum: Questions of Party Democracy
  30. The February-March Plenum on Sabotage
  31. Why Did Stalin Need “Sabotage”?
  32. The NKVD Stands Accused
  33. The February-March Plenum on “Party Work”
  34. Stalin Issues Directives
  35. The Election Campaign in the Party
  36. The Dewey Commission
  37. Trotsky in the Curved Mirror of Anti-Communism
  38. Trotsky on Bolshevism and Stalinism
  39. The Hunting Down of Trotskyists Abroad
  40. The Breakthrough and Death of Ignace Reiss
  41. “Stay Out of Range of the Artillery Fire!”
  42. Trotsky on the Spanish Revolution
  43. The Barcelona Uprising
  44. Trotskyists in the Camps
  45. “The Bureaucracy Is Terrorized”
  46. Reasons for Reprisals against the Generals
  47. Prelude to the Purge of the Army
  48. The Stalin-Hitler Provocation
  49. Preparing the Trial of the Generals
  50. The Trial of the Generals
  51. Looking Ahead Fifteen Years
  52. Was There a Military Conspiracy?
  53. The Ballad of General Orlov
  54. The Secret of the Tukhachevsky Affair
  55. The June Plenum of the Central Committee