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Russia: 1924-1941 - The Purges And Life In Stalin's Russia

One of the topics looked at in GCSE History is Russia in the first half of the 20th Century. One part of this subject that is studied is the rule of Stalin and the Great Purges which took place in Russia at the time.

Life changed markedly in the USSR in the years leading up to the Second World War. A new constitution theoretically protected human rights in Russia, but religion and the arts received special scrutiny. In the late 1930's the Great Purges raised further questions about the dictatorial rule of Stalin.

Discover more about the Great Purges that took place during the rule of Stalin in this quiz.

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  1. Which group of academic subjects received special emphasis in Stalin's new universities and technical colleges?
    Soviet education was a major success story, with opportunities opening up for women and people from poorer backgrounds. Much of it was free, and of a very high academic standard
  2. Who took over the leadership of the NKVD in 1939, and continued in this post until Stalin's death?
    The NKVD leadership was not immune from being tried, but sometimes it was an advantage to come from Georgia, the same homeland as Stalin himself
  3. Which politician's violent death in 1934 unleashed four years of purges?
    The victim was one of Stalin's closest associates. But it has been suggested that Stalin could have been responsible for the assassination himself
  4. For the USSR's large muslim population these were challenging times, as the government curtailed many of their practices. Which one of the following was curbed?
    The USSR had a number of different religions, while Communist Party members had to follow atheism
  5. Who was the author of the 1936 Stalin Constitution?
    The 1936 document replaced the "Lenin" Constitution of 1924, and appeared to enshrine many of the liberal features found in Western constitutions
  6. Which of Sergei Eisenstein's films depicts an event from the 1905 Revolution?
    Films also had to stick to the dictates of "Socialist Realism", and most were able to do this, avoiding themes from personal life and picking ones involving groups of people
  7. Which classical composer's 5th Symphony (1937) was acceptable to the authorities, and helped him to re-establish his reputation?
    Even composers had to follow the rules of the official artistic style, "Socialist Realism", but it was more difficult for them to show that they were obeying this rule than, say, novelists or film-makers
  8. How did Krestinsky differ from the other accused in the Show Trials?
    Many of the accused pleaded guilty to crimes which they could not possibly have committed. However, few seemed to bear the signs of having been tortured
  9. Tukachevsky was one of the victims of the Show Trials. In what area of Soviet life was he active?
    No area of Russian life was safe from the Purges. Even people at a relatively low level of responsibility could be accused
  10. Which building housed the headquarters of the secret police, where victims of the Purges were routinely tortured and shot?
    This was a sinister building overlooking a square in Central Moscow

Author: Edward Towne

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