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Political Terror or Political Theater: The Raion Show Trials of 1937 and the Mass Operations

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This essay links and analyzes two hitherto distinct components of Stalin's Great Terror: The Mass Operations, a series of mass arrest campaigns of August 1937-August 1938, directed against particular categories of people, which accounted for half the arrests and executions of the Great Terror of 1934-1939, and the Provincial Show Trials of raion level officials that unfolded simultaneously, creating a climate of hysteria among local officials and ordinary people alike, in which Terror could and did spread.


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