Stalinist Repressions
20 January, 2011
Stalinist Repressions

In 1937, Stalin ordered his interior minister Yezhov to arrest Enukidze and the entire top brass. He had everyone apprehended, including marshals Tukkhachevski, Blukher and Yegorov. The same year Stalin signed the document specifying the quota of persons to be executed. Professor Simon Maskharashvili has more.
GJ – In 1935 Stalin (the ethnic Georgian, but a typical communist leader) started the new series of repressions in the entire Soviet country. This time, his victims were his old friends and his

own comrades-in-arms, the Soviet political elite.
SM – Their court case was made public. Even the foreign journalists were present at trials. In 1936, Stalin had promulgated the text of the new Soviet constitution which happened to be the most democratically sounding text in the world at that time. In compliance with it, Georgia and other Soviet republics were absolutely free sovereign states. They remained part of the USSR as the republics comprising the Soviet Union. Also, based on the constitution, every party and even the non-members of the communist party had the right to participate in the elections.
GJ – So Stalin was out to play democracy, wasn’t he? 
SM – Yes, on the one hand, he was pretending to be ultra-modern and ultra-democratic and on the other, he was doing all his possible best to get rid of his opponents whom he made confess at trials that they were involved in the anti-Stalinist activities against the USSR.  
GJ – As it became known, such confessions were made under terrible duress and torture . . .
SM – Yes, the indicted persons hoped that they could survive that way.
GJ – What did playing of the role of a democrat give to Stalin? People knew everything anyway. 
SM – People knew nothing. Stalin was pulling the wool over the people’s eyes and he was bluffing to the West too. In 1934 the USSR became member of the League of Nations. Right at that time, fascism was gathering momentum and Hitler took over the power in Germany. Hitler’s and Stalin’s slogans sounded almost similar. Both of them perpetuated the continental orientation and fiercely opposed the Anglo-Saxon, British-American leadership. Hitler’s emergence on international political arena had promoted Stalin’s cause. The West became rather loyal towards Stalin, who as a result managed to better manipulate with his new constitution and the election code. Even if he held the elections the way it was stipulated in the Stalinist constitution, his opposing powers would not have been able to achieve victory.
GJ – And why would that be so?
SM – In the first place, he had gotten rid of his old opponents as early as 1936. Secondly, he had adopted the constitution and election code. Meanwhile, he acquired more clout, and he still had about two years left for further action. This was ample time for making additional serious steps. Stalin knew very well that he had enemies in his entourage, but the group of his adversaries had no idea that Stalin was well aware of their intentions and plans. Stalin paralyzed them step by step and very methodically. He appointed Yezhov the head of federal KGB and entrusted Beria with the Caucasus. He also appointed his buddies in the key governmental positions.   
GJ – Does this mean that some new faces had appeared on the political arena who obeyed Stalin blind-fold?  
SM – Very true! That was exactly the time when Khrushchev and Malenkov were promoted. In 1937, Stalin ordered his new KGB chief Yezhov to arrest Enukidze and the entire top brass whom Stalin had ceased trusting. Before arresting them, Stalin had tried to numb their alertness.
GJ – What do you mean by numbing their alertness? 
SM – When in 1934, Stalin learnt that 90% of the top brass were opposed to him, he awarded five of them the rank of a marshal (he deliberately introduced this new military rank). Then, in the spring of 1937, three of those five marshals – Tukhachevski, Bliukher and Yegorov – were apprehended. Nobody knows what happened exactly with Sergo Orjonikidze, whether he was killed or Stalin had him commit a suicide. In their place, he had promoted Mikoyan, Malenkov and Khrushchev. Soon after Stalin had arrested his opponents, he started the trial of the military. Then the election time came and complete purge became necessary.
GJ – Why did he do it? Because he wanted to be free of competition?   
SM – Certainly! He punished the main group of his opponents, and then other members of the Politburo into bargain. For example he had executed the candidate for the Politburo membership comrade Eikh.
GJ – Why? Did he do it for the sake of more credibility?
SM – Yes! In 1937 Stalin signed the document stipulating the quota of the people who were deemed as subject to repression.  
GJ – Was it thousands of people?
SM – The quota of ‘punishable’ persons was broken down by Soviet republics and regions. Somewhere the figure could reach 50 thousand, in other places it might be 20 thousand and still somewhere else would go up to 40 thousand men and women.
GJ – Was it like a plan to be fulfilled? 
SM – It sure was! There were no names specified in the quota papers. The general figure was one million. One million persons were supposed to fall under repressions, and the Soviet historians and archive specialists kept calculating for quite a while the real figures. Nobody can come up with an exact figure, but it is said that the number is fluctuating between two and twenty million repressed people.  
GJ – Would it be true to say that the quota gave an opportunity to Stalin-entrusted people and his faithful performers to find the ‘culprits’ locally and execute them on the spot?
SM – Exactly! For example, the-then leader of Georgia Lavrenti Beria received the quota which stipulated the punishment of twenty thousand people during the period from August to January. Beria would make a personal decision about the list of people to be punished. If the list of the punished people was not complete Beria himself would be the next one to be excoriated. So Beria distributed the quota among Georgian regions. In principle, it was locally known very well who was supposed to be executed immediately and who was subject to exile and who should be punished in addition to those ones. 

Other Stories
International Festival of classical music to be held in Batumi
At the end of this week an International Festival of classic music will kick off for the 6th time in Batumi, Georgia’s beautiful seaside city.
Georgians who beat the world record
There are many Georgians among the world recordsmen. Georgians managed to beat the world record for 78 times to date. Today we explore four of them.
Jenny Brunt speaks about Georgia with Georgian Journal
Jenny Brunt is among the most famous models worldwide. She used to be on the covers of different international magazines in the 1990s.
Tako Natsvlishvili wearing Pain de Sucre - photographed by David Bellemere
Tako Natsvlishvili is a 19-yeal old model from Georgia. She has recently been photographed by a prominent French photographer David Bellemere.
Former Georgian plastic surgeon who owns a restaurant in New York
Maia Acquaviva is a Georgian former surgeon, who worked in one of the clinics here in Tbilisi, but decided to go to the USA and start a business there.
David Beckham first saw Victoria Adams in Tbilisi
Tbilisi is truly a magical city. It brings many people and cultures together, even connects future spouses. Do you think we are joking? Not at all.
Georgia should be at the top of every travel destination list – says German photographer about Georgia
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Georgia tomorrow and possibly as a result of this visit the German media is currently writing a lot about Georgia.
Alexander Julakidze - Georgian pianist based in Jerusalem
A well-known Georgian pianist Alexander Julakidze has successfully participated in a variety of piano competitions. He currently lives in Jerusalem, Israel contributing to Georgia’s popularity all over the world.
Anna Kendrick in David Koma’s dress
The readers of the Georgian Journal will definitely have heard about David Koma, a young and talented Georgian designer based in London.
Medical tourism increases in Georgia
In the first quarter of 2018, Georgia was visited by 13 900 foreigners for medical and recovery purposes. The level is 61.2 % higher than the same period in 2017.
Rebellious and successful Georgian model based in Barcelona
Remember we told you a story this week about a Georgian model Paloma Anastasia Mikadze, who currently is based in Barcelona and is quite successful there?
Georgian Rubik’s Cube solver Vako Marchilashvili breaks the Guinness World Record
Vako Marchilashvili is a young Rubik’s Cube solver from Georgia. He participated in “Georgia’s Got Talent 2017 “and introduced his genius abilities to the Georgian public.
Turkish born Georgian sisters sing a beautiful song
There are many Georgians, who live in Turkey, but maintain Georgian culture and heritage.
What types of transport can Georgia offer tourists?
Train, subway, bus, mini-bus, taxi and airplane – these are the types of transport that Georgia can offer tourists.
Chris Botti to perform in Georgia
American trumpeter Chris Botti arrived in Georgia yesterday. Today the musician is due to perform with the Georgian singer Nani Bregvadze.
Georgian schoolchildren create Robot “Vano”
Georgian students from the Guivy Zaldastanishvili American Academy in Tbilisi have created a robot named Vano.
Khatia Buniatishvili performs with the Estonian Festival Orchestra at the Proms in London
On the 13th of August, Paavo Järvi and the Estonian Festival Orchestra performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London during its famous Proms season.
Paloma Anastasia Mikadze, an Instagram star from Georgia
Anastasia Mikadze is a Georgian social network star from Georgia. She shares her ideas about fashion, interior design and healthy lifestyle with hundreds of followers on Instagram.
Georgian lifeguard who saved life of nearly 700 people
Gocha Bilvanidze, the Head of the Maritime Rescue Service has been with the organization for eight years now. He has saved the lives of around 700 people during that time.
Children of Georgian migrant to the USA Parten Chikviladze (Peter Chiglo) visit Georgia
A 16-year Parten Chikviladze from Racha (the western part of Georgia) left Georgian 1913 for America, never to return back.
 Surprising proposal by a Georgian Soldier
The video of a Georgian Cadet Soldier’s proposal to his girlfriend has gone viral on the social media. He proposed to her in the presence of other soldiers in front of the Academy.
The 10th anniversary of the 2008 war through a young graphic designer’s eye
A 23-year old Nika Chalakhshasvhili is a graphic designer from Georgia. He has created some interesting illustrations to express his protest against the Russian occupation of Georgian territory:
Georgian policewomen: stereotypes and reality
The number of female members in the Security Forces is increasing year after year.
Georgian entrant who got top marks in two subjects
Devi Oniani is a graduate of the 55th Public School, Tbilisi, Georgia.
What is behind the collection “Family and War” by Demna Gvasalia
A Georgian fashion designer, the Creative Director of Balenciaga and Head Designer at Vetements, presented a collection named “Family and War” during Paris Fashion Week.
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
World famous British singer Jessie J has decided to wear clothes made by Anouki Areshidze, Georgian designer and wife of the mayor of Tbilisi.
Bassiani, one of the most popular underground clubs not only in Georgia but throughout Europe as well, has opened today
An amazing video made in Georgia by tourists from the Philippines have gone viral on the internet.
Over the recent two days May 12-13 Tbilisi city saw a peaceful protest rally in the center of the city.
Hundreds of people took to the main street Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi to protest the raid in Tbilisi’s popular night clubs.
Two bear cubs listed as endangered on the red list were handed over to Tbilisi Zoo,
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze and Deputy Tbilisi Mayor Ms. Sophio Khuntsaria have gifted a food stand
Pamela Anderson, famous Canadian American actress and model has appeared in the chic sunglasses by internationally acclaimed Georgian designer George Keburia.
A ski lift accident in Georgia’s eastern Gudauri resort,in particular at Sadzele 5 lift, has left 8 people with injuries.
The ski lift in Gudauri winter resort in Georgia has broke down in the aftermath of which several people have been injured.
GEL Exchange