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Stalin's Victims from the Great Purge

Justin Ramos-Flynn, Author

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Nikolai Yezhov

Nikolai Yezhov, head of the NKVD (Russian Secret Police), arrested thousands of people within Russia, and most were innocent. These people were not only general residents of Russia, but officers, members of the intelligentsia, military, and even also members of the NKVD. Yezhov sent Stalin 383 lists within a two-year period of around 44,000 people for approval of execution. Stalin would have many of his own executed every week for two years by simply reviewing a list of names created by Yezhov. There was also a list of former personal of the NKVD had its own column which represents how even former allies of Stalin were not safe.

            Yezhov was able to follow through with Stalin’s wishes and had all the old Bolshevik rivals eliminated. Stalin and his anxiety, believed that Yezhov was getting to strong and knew to much. Stalin soon started to phase out Yezhov and started to transition to a new head of NKVD, Lavrenty Beria. Soon Yezhov was relieved from his duties as head of NKVD and was arrested for “being a British agent-indeed to have been recruited as such as long ago as the Civil War". He was tortured and confessed immediately. His arrest and trial was in secrecy and away from the public because Stalin feared he would tell about the secrets he knew about Stalin and his crimes. Just before his execution, he was brutally beaten and then shot. Even near death, he still said he still wanted to stay true to Stalin because his love for him was too much to expel his secrets. Yezhov is the best example to show how people would simply disappear in the USSR. He had fallen out of favor with Stalin and was fallen victim to the purges himself. Yezhov was the face of terror who kept his hands dirty at the expense of Stalin.

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