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The Great Purge of the 1930s in the Town of Leninsk-Kuznetskiy (Based on the Materials of the Newspapers "Leninskiy Shakhter" and "Sovetskaia Sibir")

V. A. Ovchinnikov
Bulletin of Kemerovo State University , Volume 22; doi:10.21603/2078-8975-2020-22-2-340-353

Abstract: The research featured the repressions of the 1930s, or the Great Purge. The article focuses on the case of the town of Leninsk-Kuznetskiy. The study was based on materials obtained from the press of that time (newspapers "Leninskiy Shakhter" and "Sovetskaia Sibir"), the State archive of the Kemerovo region, and scientific publications. The author highlighted the so-called Children’s Case and the trial of NKVD officers. Both events occurred in 1939 and marked the end of the Great Terror of 1937–1938. The repressions that took place in Leninsk-Kuznetskiy proved more severe than in the rest of Kuzbass. The author proposes several reasons for that fact. First of all, the town failed to meet the goals of industrial development during the first five-year plans, and the plans for coal mining industry were impossible. Second, the town owed its rapid increase in population to the categories that later would be called "enemies of the people". Third, the local NKVD desperately wanted to become the best in the West Siberia. The fact that the purges received abundant media coverage disproves the popular opinion that average public did not know about the repressions. The author developed an approach to newspapers as a historical source on the history of the Great Purge. If one factors in the specifics of this source, archival newspapers can be a reliable source about the Great Terror and the mechanisms of public opinion formation. However, newspapers alone cannot restore the full picture of local repressions, which requires a wide range of sources.
Keywords: Children / newspapers / Purge / town / Repressions / Great / 1930s / Sibir / Sovetskaia / Shakhter

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