JHK - JHK 2006
Soviet History During the Great Terror: Critical Notes on Recent Historical Publications
The body of knowledge on the period of the Great Terror in Soviet Russia’s history has grown substantially during the last two decades, as whole new layers of archival sources became accessible to the academic community, including documents previously kept secret in Soviet Party and State Archives. This access has substantially enriched understanding of the true causes and consequences of the Great Terror and of the characteristics and specific forms it took in the country as a whole or in its various regions. It also led to new insights in the role of particular groups and elements within the party and state apparatus as well as in the attitudes of different layers and groups of the population towards the Great Terror.
In this article we shall take a close look at publications on the Soviet history of the 1930s which are devoted to the last named issue, namely to the Great Terror as experienced and apprehended by the citizens of the Soviet state. Recent historiography of the Great Terror period pays particular attention to these publications. Their authors lay emphasis on the fact that their analyses are based on studies of archival documents which have entered scientific circulation for the first time. They often refer to each others publications to confirm their own judgments and conclusions. The exceptional significance of the historical analysis of the Great Terror and the need to adequately interpret the rich archival sources now open for the scientific community makes it particularly important to elicit the specific features these publications share and critically analyze them.
The first feature these studies have in common is the way their authors treat and interpret Soviet Party and State Archival documents. In their research and conceptual analyses they tend to ignore one specific function of the official documents contained in State Archives and particularly of those in the Party Archives. The official documents of the Soviet period, including archival documents, were not only a reflection of the policy of the regime in power, but they were also worded to the letter and the spirit of the ideological standpoints and notions of this regime. This is an important distinctive characteristic of an absolute majority of archival materials pertaining to the activities of the party, the state, mass media, and generally speaking to all documentation on the ideological issues and on reprisals.
Historians who ignore this context, who take their content and terminology literally, voluntarily or not get subjected to their influence and may eventually arrive at interpretations that actually follow those very directives. Let us illustrate this by an example. Discussing public speeches of Josef Stalin at the Plenary Meetings of VKP (b) Central Committee when the fates of Abel Yenukidze, Yuri Piatakov, Nikolai Bukharin and Pavel Postyshev were determined, John Getty speaks of Stalin’s indecisiveness, of a hesitant behaviour and »zig-zags« in his actions. The historian takes literally the few peace-minded words Stalin uttered speaking to people whose extermination he was preparing. Like in many other cases Stalin was morally torturing his opponents, playing cat-and-mouse games, leaving them with last gilmpses of hope and illusions of rescue in order to break their final resistance and have them surrender morally as well.
Another typical feature of these publications is the fact that notions and concepts, applied generally to the analysis of historical processes in democracies, are similarly applied to the rule of Stalin and to the Soviet regime in general. In fact, the same models by which relations between a civil society and the state are analyzed in democracies are applied to the Stalin regime. »When a huge number of citizens took part in bodies that exercised public authority, they too constituted the state«, that is how Robert Thurston describes Stalin’s rule, »it will be more logical to see state and society as intimately linked«. In his reasoning the historian ignores the fact that Stalin’s rule did not leave space for a civil society and consequently the system cannot be treated as one.
The regime manipulated manifestations of public opinion. During the »show trials« numerous meetings of the working people were staged. Such meetings took place at every single factory or plant, at every company. Resolutions condemning the accused and demanding ruthless execution were taken unanimously. Should a modern historian take these meetings as a reflection of true sentiments and attitudes of the majority of the population?
William Chase, for example, admits that the trial of Zinoviev might have been staged by the authorities and concludes that some people might have even doubted the actual character of the process. Yet he interprets mass behaviour as resulting from people’s trust in the just cause pursued by the court and he sees this trust influencing public opinion and anyone who could have any doubts. He speaks of a mass meeting at the Red Square as his proof thereof. However, such events took place upon direct instruction of party authorities, who in their turn staged the events in detail, appointing those who would be given the word and even assisting in preparing the speeches. The aforementioned resolutions were always drafted by the party organizations before.
A non-critical analysis of archival documents leads Thurston to the conclusion that: »Terror was not inevitable in the Soviet system; Stalin did not need mass fear to rule«, and that »extensive fear did not exist in the USSR at any time in the late 1930s«. In the documents of the time one obviously cannot find direct manifestations of fear, which ruled the lives of people at that period. Based on the analysis of available official documents, one could indeed come to conclusions as cited above. However, we cannot ignore the fact that every single night people would stay awake listening to cars arriving at the door and trying to figure out which apartment the unwanted visitors would knock on. Such conclusions could be drawn if we ignore the fact that everyone knew exactly what could be said out loud and what could not, that parents were afraid to discuss serious matters in the presence of their children, fearing that they might talk about it at school or kindergarten. People were afraid that their neighbors or the janitor might be interested in why the light was on at a late hour, that some colleague might take a note of those who kept silence at meetings when others demanded death sentence to some »people’s enemy«. Those who dared to utter their doubts in the Leader, who supposedly took care of the happiness of every person and the whole populations day and night, risked a quick execution. The system of political detection and informingwould soon lead such a person to prison. Such was the background against which people still lived their everyday lives with daily worries, problems, troubles and happy moments. One can read about them in published dairies of those years, kept not only by famous but also ordinary people.
A third common feature publication of these historians share is the denial of the totalitarian character of the Stalin regime. They prefer to speak of arbitrary and uncontrolled rule of the local authorities. Within the strictly centralized pyramid of power each particle had a certain degree of autonomy and authority to deal with local issues and to choose their own way to execute the orders. But this autonomy did not pertain to the ideological sphere, to activities of the punitive forces or the foundations of the state and party mechanism. Each official was completely dependent upon a higher placed official, his direct boss. The higher a person came upon the hierarchical ladder of power, the more he depended on higher ranking officials. All threads of power were however concentrated within the Politburo of the VKP (b) Central Committee or actually in one person – who everyone called »the Boss«.
In the Soviet state terror was the most important and officially recognized factor of the system functioning. »Repressions through the period of the socialist construction«, as Stalin spoke at the XVI Party Congress on 27 June 1930, »are an indispensable element of the offensive although they form a complementary rather than a prior element«. These words hide the true meaning and the role of repressions and terror in the process of development and growth of the regime. The regime could exist only by permanently reproducing and applying terror. The Stalin system needed to fight and destroy enemies for its own reinforcement.
The Great Terror is not more than an episode in a longer history of terror and violence the country was caught in. Collectivization of peasantry, »dekulakization«, and mass reprisals against those who attempted resistance. Dozens of thousands of people were gunshot, millions were banned to Northern and Northeastern regions of the country together with their whole families. Special settlements where they had to live differed very little from concentrations camps. According to the Law of 7 August 1932, ten years of imprisonment or even death penalty awaited anyone who was accused of stealth of damage to kolkhoz property. Terror helped keep secret severe famine caused by the collectivization that brought death to millions of people. According to the Law of 8 June 1934 family members of those arrested who allegedly knew of the crime to be committed and did not inform the authorities were brought to trial. Family and close friends of those arrested and sentenced as »a political prisoner« were banned to the camps. According to the Law of 7 April 1935, legal proceedings could be started against teenagers from 12 years of age. They could be sentenced to death. After 1 December 1934 an accelerated court procedure was implemented with no right of defense or appeal for those accused of preparation or organization of a terrorist act. Death penalty execution took place immediately following the trial. According to the Law of 2 October 1937 accelerated procedures were applied to the so called cases of sabotage or subversive activities. According to the December 1938 decree, any worker or employer who was absent three times within a month would be put to trial. According to the decree of 26 June 1940 those who were late for work or left the job without permission of the leading officials were to be sentenced to reformatory work, i. e. concentration camps. During the war whole ethnic groups from the North Caucasus as Crimean Tartars, Kalmyks, and ethnic Germans from the Volga region were subjected to forced resettlement. Former war prisoners got into Gulag camps, series of closed trials were held after the war. The list of examples of terror that ran through the country is far from being complete. The list is to be complemented by full-scale preparations for a new round of arrests in connection with »the Doctor’s plot« and by plans of deportation of the Jewish population.
Contemporary literature contains many analyses of causes of the Great Terror. Some historians treat it as a reaction of the authorities who were busy maintaining the regular functioning of the economy, public administration, and the political system, a reaction to chaos and disorder in the country, to arbitrary rule of the local authorities and the pressure of the population demanding to put a halt to lawlessness and to NKVD’s arbitrary rule. There was indeed much chaos in management and public administration, local authorities acted arbitrarily and the level of general discontent of the population was high. People found a certain distraction in informing on each other and the authorities used this, provoked and forced them into such behavior. Furthermore, the threat of war was quite real.
Mass terror policy pursued by the party, its leading bodies and foremost by Stalin and executed by the punitive forces was however the crucial factor. By combining the policy of fear with ideological stupefaction of the population, Stalin and his clique pursued the policy of eliminating any traits and remnants of the opposition. They achieved complete subordination of the state and party management system to their aim and turned the population into obedient tools for the realization of theirs plans.
Another common feature that many works of the historic tradition discussed share is the thesis of a non-planned, spontaneous character of the terror. Acknowledging that Stalin had the greatest share of responsibility for repressions, they search for evidence to prove that he was just one of the initiators of »mass operations«, and not even the most jealous one, that he could not ignore events which led to such policy, and that »in fact his personal position on the top of the Party-State emerged shaken rather than strengthened from the Great Purge«. The inconsistency of such assumptions, especially of the last one becomes evident when we compare the situation before and after the Great Terror. As a result of the planned and systematic implementation of the policy of terror during the Great Terror, the regime of the party and state bureaucracy headed by Stalin gave way to an autocratic, absolute despotic rule of Stalin under a pseudosocialist cover.
The planned character of this policy of terror can be illustrated by the following fact. Local party bodies were obliged to compile lists of persons under suspicion and to forward them to district party committees and further to NKVD. Within a system of strict subordination and centralization of the party life compilation of such lists could only be the result of direct order of the higher ranking party bodies.
Historians who argue the deliberate character of the Great Terror usually claim that Stalin and his companions, especially Yezhov, truly believed in Trotskyist conspiracy in the country that swarmed with terrorists, spies and saboteurs. However, even if we disregard numerous evidence of Stalin’s direct orders to obtain the necessary confessions from the arrested at any price, we do have direct evidence that Stalin considered it necessary to forge such confessions. On the 2 September 1930 he wrote to Molotov about Rykov »who unquestionably helped« Groman and Kondratiev. Groman and Kondratiev were brought to trial in the early thirties and their trials served as a preparation for the future show trials. Stalin’s words: »We need to think about this« are unequivocally direct instruction. Trotksyist conspiracy was needed, and the NKVD had them »appear«. After the Great Terror there was no need to have them and Stalin ordered to eliminate Trotsky. Yezhov was eliminated as well. The policy of terror, though, was continued by his follower at the chief (people’s commissar) of NKVD Lavrenti Beria.
In some publications we find the claim that NKVD activities were not authorized. Without doubt, the terror curve had its own dynamics. Different factors
were of influence, including deliberate growth of the scale of repressions, cruelty and zeal of punitive bodies and their leaders, particularly of Yezhov, who pursued his own interests. Some other factors mattered such as informer reports or specific characteristics of the field. Decisive remained however the policy of mass terror pursued by the party leadership and Stalin. Resolutions and directives of the Politburo of the VKP (b) Central Committee contain the main criteria and quotas for arrests and executions. These directives were »sent out« to the NKVD bodies and to local party organizations. Those quotas set by the Politburo determined the scale of the purges that swept all over the country.
The discussed publications include references to certain facts and documents and completely ignore other relevant sources. Thus, Getty and Thurston quote the letter sent by Bukharin to Stalin from prison in which Bukharin pleaded for mercy and spoke of his readiness to admit guilt and all accusations. However, in their analyses they ignore the letter Bukharin wrote to the future party leaders where he pleaded innocent of all accusations and asked to investigate »this monstrous web of crimes which grows vast and flames up with the day«. This letter was written by Bukharin on the eve of his arrest. Bukharin made his wife, Anna Larina, learn it by heart. Larina kept the promise.
Thurston writes that it was allowed to criticize the pseudoscientist Trofim Lysenko, whom Stalin officially supported, but does not mention the tragic fate of academician Nikolai Vavilov who perished due to such criticism.
Chase cites Dimitrov, as the latter was evaluating the trial of Zinoviev, and »found it incomprehensible that the accused had committed such crimes, that they had admitted their guilt knowing they would be executed, and that no convincing evidence other than their confessions had been introduced. In his opinion, the trial was ›atrociously conducted‹. But it is interesting to note that Dimitrov expressed these doubts in his entry of 18 December 1936, three months after the trial. What accounts for this delay is unclear, although it may be that during the intervening period Dimitrov had had time to reflect on the serious doubts cast on the trial in the Western press.«
The authors’ doubts and considerations are completely groundless, since the diary entry of 18 December contains the words of Leon Feuchtwanger who visited Dimitrov on that day. As Feuchtwanger described later that he visited Dimitrov that day in order to discuss the process and that »Dimitrov was very nervous while talking about this trial and took an hour and a half trying to convince the visitor but failed«. Chase does not mention another occasion, the meeting of 2 February 1937 and again, a diary entry quoting Feuchtwanger’s words is interpreted as Dimitrov’s doubts and hesitations about the process of Piatakov and Radek. Since Dimitrov’s diaries have been published, the reader may get acquainted with them and see that Dimitrov made a note of the conversation with Feuchtwanger exactly the same way he wrote down other conversations and discussions, including those held with Stalin.
We do not expect that these comments should lead to a transformation of views or scientific approaches to history. Any scientist has the right to give his own interpretation of reality and defend the chosen points of view on a problem he studies. It seems important, though, that while doing so, the scientist would base the conclusions on an analysis of the total of known facts and not on a particular selection of facts that correspond to the chosen ideological or political preferences.
Translated from Russian by Olga Firssova (Eijsden/the Netherlands) and Eugenia
Boutylkova (Utrecht/the Netherlands)
 The list of publications includes the works of Weber, Hermann/Mählert, Ulrich (eds.): Terror. Stalinistische Parteisäuberungen 1936–1953, Paderborn u. a. 2001; Müller, Reinhard: Menschenfalle Moskau. Exil und stalinistische Verfolgung, Hamburg 2001; Hedeler, Wladislaw (ed.): Stalinistischer Terror 1934–41. Eine Forschungsbilanz, Berlin 2002; McLoughlin, Barry/McDermott, Kevin (eds.): Stalin’s Terror. High Politics and Mass Repression in the Soviet Union, London 2002; Dundovich, Elena/Gori Francesca/Gueretti Emanuela (eds.): Reflections on the Gulag. With a Documentary Appendix on the Italian Victims of Repression in the USSR (= Annali FondazioneGiangiacomo Feltrinelli, vol. 37), Milan 2003; Hedeler, Wladislaw: Chronik der Moskauer Schauprozesse 1936, 1937 und 1938. Planung, Inszenierung und Wirkung, Berlin 2003; Khlevniuk, Oleg V.: The History of the Gulag. From Collectivization to the Great Terror, New Haven/London 2004; Vatlin, Alexander: Terror rayonnogo masshtaba. »Moskovskie operatcii« NKVD v Kuntsevkom rayone Moskovskoy oblasti 1937–1938 [Terror of the Regional Scale: Moscow Operations of NKVD in Kuntsevo District of Moscow Region, 1937-1938], Moscow 2004; Müller, Reinhard: Herbert Wehner – Moskau 1937, Hamburg 2004.
 See Pavlova , Irina V.: Sovremennye sapadnye istoriki o stalinskoy Rossii 30-kh godov (kritika revisionistskogo podkhoda [Contemporary Western Historians on Stalin Russia in the Thirties. A critique of »the Revisionist Approach«], in: Otechestvennaya Istoria 1998, no. 5, pp. 107–121; Menkovsky, V. I.: Vlast i sovetskoe obshchestvo v 1930-e gody: anglo-amerikanskaya istoriografiya [Power and Soviet Society in the 1930s. Anglo-American Historiography of the problems], Minsk 2001. Weber, Hermann: Nachwort zur 2. Auflage: Der Kommunismus in der aktuellen Diskussion, in: Weber/Mählert: Terror (footnote 1), S. 601–617.
 Getty, John A.: The Politics of Repression Revisted, in: Getty, John A./Manning Robert T. (eds.): Stalinist Terror. New Perspectives, Cambridge 1993, pp. 52–60; Getty, John A./ Naumov, Oleg V.: The Road to Terror. Stalin and the Self-Destruction of the Bolsheviks, 1932– 1939, New Haven/London 1999, pр. 167, 175, 177–179, 234–235, 242, 284, 308, 322–325, 328–329, 406–407, 411, 416–419, and 514.
 Thurston, Robert W.: Life and Terror in Stalin’s Russia, 1934–1941, New Haven/London 1996, p. XIX. This statement does not apply to Stalin’s system.
 Chase, William J.: Enemies Within the Gates? The Comintern and the Stalinist Repression, 1934–1939, New Haven/London 2001, pp. 146–147.
 Thurston, Robert W.: Life and Terror (footnote 4), pp. XX, and 159. The same author wrote that there might have been some signs of fear from the spring of 1937 till the end of 1938 but there was still no fear as such. See ibidem, pp. 157–159, and 163.
 Thurston admits that the people understood how dangerous it was to criticize the regime and particularly the leader. See Thurston: Life and Terror (footnote 4), pp. 157, and 192.
 By 1951 the state security in the Soviet Union disposed of about ten million people acting as informers. See Brent, Jonathan/Naumov, Vladimir P.: Stalin’s Last Crime. The Plot against the Jewish Doctors 1948–1953, New York 2003, p. 91. There is no data on the situation in the 1930s, it is known, however, that there was one informer per every five or six families in Moscow. See Thurston: Life and Terror (footnote 4), p. 71.
 See for instance Garros, Veronique/Korenevskaya, Natalia/Lahusen, Thomas: Soviet Diaries of the 1930s. Intimacy and Terror, New York 1995.
 Stalin, Iossif V.: Politicheski ochet Tsentralnogo Komiteta XVI sezdu VKP(b) [Political Report of the the Central Committee on the XVIth Congress of the VKP(b)], in: Stalin I. V.. Sochineniya [Works], Moscow 1949, vol. 12, p. 308.
 See Rittersporn, Gábor T.: Stalinist Simplifications and Soviet Complications. Social Tensions and Political Conflicts in the USSR, 1933–1953, Chur 1991, pp. 74–76, 114, 170, 184, and 262; idem: The Omnipresent Conspiracy. On Soviet Imagery of Politics and Social Relations in the 1930s, in: Getty/Manning: Stalinist Terror (footnote 3), pp. 104–105, and 112; Thurston, Robert: The Stakhanovite Movement. The Background to the Great Terror in the Factories, 1935–1938, in: ibidem, pp. 158–159; Manning, Robert T.: The Great Terror in a Rural District. Belyi Raion Revisted, in: ibidem, pp. 173–174, 192, and 196; Harris, James R.: The purging of local cliques in the Urals region, 1936–1937, in: Fitzpatrick, Sheila (ed.): Stalinism. New Directions, London/New York 2000, pp. 262–285; Getty/Naumov: The Road to Terror (footnote 3), pp. 264–267, 330, 359, 487, and 493–495.
12 file:///P:/Bundesstiftung_Aufarbeitung/entwicklung/HTML-Dateien%20f%C3%BCrs%20JHK%202005-2015/2006/20%20JHK%202006_Firsov%20258-266+.pdf.htm#_ftnref12See Oleg Khlevniuk: The Reasons for the »Great Terror« Political Aspect, in: Pons, Sil-vio/Romano, Andrea (eds.): Russia in the Age of Wars 1914–1945 (= Annali FondazioneGiangiacomo Feltrinelli, vol. 34), Milan 2000, pp. 159–169.
13 file:///P:/Bundesstiftung_Aufarbeitung/entwicklung/HTML-Dateien%20f%C3%BCrs%20JHK%202005-2015/2006/20%20JHK%202006_Firsov%20258-266+.pdf.htm#_ftnref13See Weber, Hermann: Einleitung: Bemerkungen zu den kommunistischen Säuberungen, in: Weber/Mählert: Terror (footnote 1), pp. 15–22.
14 file:///P:/Bundesstiftung_Aufarbeitung/entwicklung/HTML-Dateien%20f%C3%BCrs%20JHK%202005-2015/2006/20%20JHK%202006_Firsov%20258-266+.pdf.htm#_ftnref14See Rittersporn: Stalinist Simplifications (footnote 11), pp. 113, and 162; Getty: The Politics of Repression (footnote 3), p. 51; Getty/Naumov: The road to Terror (footnote 3), pp. XIII, 455, and 487–488; Thurston: Life and Terror (footnote 4), pp. 17, 27, 42, 52, 57–58, 62, 68, 134–135, and 227–228.
15 file:///P:/Bundesstiftung_Aufarbeitung/entwicklung/HTML-Dateien%20f%C3%BCrs%20JHK%202005-2015/2006/20%20JHK%202006_Firsov%20258-266+.pdf.htm#_ftnref15Getty: The Politics of Repression (footnote 3), p. 60.
16 file:///P:/Bundesstiftung_Aufarbeitung/entwicklung/HTML-Dateien%20f%C3%BCrs%20JHK%202005-2015/2006/20%20JHK%202006_Firsov%20258-266+.pdf.htm#_ftnref16Rittersporn: Stalinist Simplifications (footnote 11), p. 171, and 185; Thurston: Life and Terror (footnote 4), pp. 52, 57–58, and 61.
17 file:///P:/Bundesstiftung_Aufarbeitung/entwicklung/HTML-Dateien%20f%C3%BCrs%20JHK%202005-2015/2006/20%20JHK%202006_Firsov%20258-266+.pdf.htm#_ftnref17Rittersporn: Stalinist Simplifications (footnote 11), p. 184.
 See Hedeler, Wladislaw: Szenarien des Groβen Terrors. Die Vorbereitungen der Moskauer Prozesse durch das Politbüro des ZK der KPdSU (B) und die Führung des NKWD, in: Kinner, Klaus (ed.): Moskau 1938. Szenarien des Groβen Terrors, Leipzig 1999, pp. 13–14.
 See Chase: Enemies (footnote 5), pp. 9, 186–187, 292, 369, 405, and 413. Another historian points out that Stalin trusted information he received from purgitary bodies, also when it was forged and therefore demanded new arrests to be made, »worsening the vicious cycle in which the NKVD already worked«. Thurston: Life and Terror (footnote 4), p. 81. See as well Ibidem, pp. 31, 57–58, 61, and 135. See also the Introduction in Getty/Manning: Stalinist Terror (footnote 3), pp. 5, 7, and 14
 Lih, Lars T./Naumov, Oleg V./Khlevniuk, Oleg V. (eds.): Stalin’s Letters to Molotov 1925– 1936, New Haven/London 1995, p. 210.
 See Sudoplatov, Pavel: Spetsoperatsii. Lubjanka i Kreml 1939–1950 [Special operations. Lubyanka and the Kremlin in 1930–1950], Moscow 2003, pp. 102–106.
 »The Terror had two tracks: on one, Stalin pushed events forward personally, arranging the show trials and demanding, in a middle way, that hundred of thousands be arrested in 1937. On another level the police fabricated cases, tortured people not targeted in Stalin’s directives, and became a power unto themselves. The vozhd’ (leader) apparently wanted only certain cases concocted and only certain figures coerced into making confessions, probably when he harbored deep suspicions against them. Such people were at the top of society and government or had once been oppositionists. Stalin feared that numerous other enemies were also at large and drove the police to find them, but he did not intend to terrorize the populace as a whole.« Thurston: Life and Terror (footnote 4), pp. 112–113. If we follow the logic of this author we have to acknowledge that Stalin just wanted a little terror and that the NKVD transformed it into the Great Terror.
 For instance, that is how tortures applied by NKVD are described: »Interrogators used torture and degradation frequently, but these methods were intended to extract confessions, not simply to debase individuals. Once admissions were obtained, torture ceased. At least some NKVD men, having decided that the accused were innocent, behaved decently and protected subjects. Evidence, or belief in a person’s guilt or innocence, was again the criterion determining treatment in these cases; policy and practice did not aim to terrorize citizens.« Thurston: Life and Terror (footnote 4), p. 89. There are more similar statements throughout the book. The author tries to find some justification of the Stalinist regime reasoning that the only goal was obtaining confessions, thus the torturers cannot be accused of inhumanity. The impression is that it is some sort of apologetics of Stalinism, or a revival of rhetorics of the times of the witches of Salem. Those who tortured the poor women could claim that they were just prosecuting witches but were by no means infringing on the personality.
 Getty/Naumov: The Road to Terror (footnote 3), pp. 556–560, and 563–566; Thurston: Life and Terror (footnote 4), p. 42.
 Larina (Bukharina), Anna: Nesabyvaemye [The Unforgettable], Moscow 1989, p. 363.
 Thurston: Life and Terror (footnote 4), pp. 161–162.
 Chase: Enemies (footnote 5), p. 444.
 Cited according to Radzinski, Edvard: Stalin [Stalin], Moscow 1997, p. 377.
 Chase: Enemies (footnote 5), p. 450.
 See Dimitrov, Georgi: Dnevnik. 9 mart 1933–6 februari 1949 [Diaries, 9 March 1933– 6 February 1949], Sofia 1997, pp. 119, and 122; Bayerlein, Bernhard H. (ed.): Georgi Dimitroff. Tagebücher 1933–1943, Berlin 2000, pp. 140, and 148; Banac, Ivo (ed.): The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 1933–1949, New Haven/London, 2003, pp. 44, and 51.
Inhalt – JHK 2006
- Friedrich P. Kahlenberg/Hermann Weber: Zum Abschied von Eugen Leviné (1916 bis 2005)
- Ilko-Saschga Kowalczuk: Zwischen Hoffnungen und Krisen: Zum Abschied von Eugen Leviné (1916 bis 2005)
- Erinnerungen an das Jahr 1956
- Michail Prozumenščikov: Ereignisse, die die kommunistische Welt erschütterten. Zum 50. Jahrestag des XX. Parteitags der KPdSU
- János M Rainer: Ungarn im Schatten der Sowjetunion 1944 bis 1990: Determinanten und Spielräume
- Árpád von Klimó: »1956« Nationale Geschichtskultur, Erinnerungspolitik und private Erinnerung während Ungarns »Systemwechsel« 1989
- Małgorzata Ruchniewicz: Die Rückkehr der offiziell Vergessenen. Die Repatriierung der Polen aus der UdSSR Ende 1955
- Łukasz Kamiński: Das Jahr 1956 in Niederschlesien
- Ruud van Dijk: Die »new« Cold War History und die Ursprünge des Kalten Krieges 1945 bis 1947
- Florian Wilde: »Diskussionsfreiheit ist innerhalb unserer Partei absolut notwendig« - Das Verhältnis des KPD-Vorsitzenden Ernst Meyer zur innerparteilichen Demokratie 1921/22
- Gerhard Wettig: Konrad Adenauers Besuch in Moskau im September 1955: Konsens und Dissens zwischen UdSSR und DDR
- Ehrhart Neubert: »Nieder mit der DDR« Isolierter, unbekannter und verkannter Widerstand
- Mario Niemann: »Vom Standpunkt des Pessimismus jedoch kann man keine erfolgreiche Parteiarbeit organisieren« Die Absetzung des 1. Sekretärs des Bezirks Magdeburg Alois Pisnik im Februar 1979
- Narihiko Ito: Aktuelle Rosa-Luxemburg-Forschung in Russland und China
- Nicolas Werth: Der Stellenwert des »Großen Terrors« innerhalb der stalinistischen Repressionen: Versuch einer Bilanz
- Fridrikh Firsov: Soviet History During the Great Terror: Critical Notes on Recent Historical Publications
- Leonid Luks: »Großer Terror« und Stalin-Kult. Anmerkungen zur Durchsetzung der Stalinschen Herrschaft
- Robert V Daniels: The Great Terror and the Revolutionary Process
- Hermann Weber: Wer war »Ralf Forster«? Der Leiter der DKP-Militärorganisation im Spiegel der Erinnerung und der MfS-Akten
- Helmut Müller-Enbergs: Markus Wolf und die Ablösung Bruno Haids als Leiter der DDR-Nachrichtendienstschule 1952
- George Hermann Hodos: Die Rolle Lazar Brankovs im ungarischen Schauprozess gegen László Rajk 1949
- Wilfriede Otto: Max Menzel und Horst Hennig - Zwei Generationen deutscher Vorkuta-Häftlinge
- Jerzy Kochanowski: »Gegenüber Polen herrscht ein allgemeiner Unwille« Zwei Dokumente der Polnischen Militärmission aus dem Jahr 1946 zur Einschätzung der SED
- Wladislaw Hedeler: Die monumentale siebenbändige Dokumentenedition zur Geschichte des Gulag
- Jörg Baberowski: Leben und Sterben unter Stalin oder warum Historiker Biografien schreiben müssen
- Jan Foitzik: Die sowjetische Besatzung in Österreich
- Helmut Müller-Enbergs: Die DDR-Nachrichtendienste: Juristische Aufarbeitung, Erinnerungen und Darstellungen
- Der Internationale Newsletter der Kommunismusforschung
- Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter des Jahrbuchs für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2006
- Aus dem Inhalt des Jahrbuchs für Historische Kommunismusforschung 1993 bis 2005
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