Penguin Books Ltd, 2005. ISBN 0141003758

Donald Rayfield, professor of Russian and Georgian at London University's Queen Mary College took a rare opportunity with the opening of the Soviet archives in the early 1990's to research this book.

He had access to both the Presidential and KGB archives (now largely reclassified)and used them to build a thoroughly documented picture of Stalin's repression against the Russian people, through his Cheka, NKVD and OGPU secret police agencies. Rayfield follows the histories of the heads of these organizations; Dzierzynski, Menzhinsky, Iagoda, Ezhov and Beria.

The inheritors of the OGPU are still in power (FSB) and as he says, "Stalin and his secret services are still lauded in print and in official


speeches. The official myth, passively or activelybelieved by much of the population, is that Stalin's murders and terrorism were aberrations into which he was inveigled by Ezhov and Beria."

Nothing could be further from the truth. He personally ordered mass murders and deportations by professional group, race and region, fixing quotas, using every kind of fabrication and received detailed reports. If he was dissatisfied with progress, his security chiefs were characteristically told that he would "smash their face" (much humour among his associates), "go fuck your mother" or "you're next" to get things moving. It's estimated that 1 in 10 males in the Soviet Union died in one way or another from the activities of this criminally predatory paranoid.

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