Stalin’s Terror of 1937-1938: Political Genocide in the USSR. The publication of the English-language edition of Stalin’s Terror of 1937-1938: Political Genocide in the USSR by the late Marxist historian and sociologist Vadim Rogovin is a major contribution to the study of the purges that wiped out the entire generation of Bolshevik leaders and socialist workers and intellectuals who led the October 1917 Revolution and created the Soviet Union.
The appearance of this work in English is all the more important given the extent to which contemporary American and British historians have ignored the political motivations and objectives which determined Stalin’s actions between 1936 and 1939. Rogovin presents a compelling and uncompromisingly political interpretation of the Terror.
Stalin’s aim, the author insists, was to eliminate all traces of the substantial Marxist-inspired socialist opposition to his bureaucratic regime. Moreover, Stalin’s fixation on Trotsky was not, Rogovin maintains, an incidental phenomenon that served little more than propaganda purposes. Rather, Stalin perceived the exiled Trotsky as the most significant threat to his dictatorship. He was the personification of a revolutionary program and tradition that the bureaucratic regime was determined to extirpate.
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