Outcome of the Discussion: From Relaxation to Repression

  • Olga Velikanova


The popular comments to only selected articles of the constitution were discussed by Stalin at the 8th Congress of Soviets. The small number of accepted amendments confirms that the rationale of the discussion was a process per se—an orchestrated exercise in political conformity, not an adjustment of the constitution to the people’s demands. Stalin’s response shows that the warnings from the NKVD, officials, and the public about numerous enemies, delivered to authorities during the campaign, found fertile ground in his suspicious mind. His speech at the Congress, in the context of his disappointment with the results of the national census in January 1937 and the political turn to repressions at the February–March Central Committee Plenum the same year, speaks in favor of his reevaluation of conditions in society and explains his shift from political relaxation to the Great Terror.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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