The Dangers of Obsessive Paranoia

As stated by my peers and I, central government censoring was an integral part of the the Soviet Union. Essentially this means that if the government does not approve of your actions, they will not be allowed. The mid-1930’s in the Soviet Union, however, saw a new-and much deadlier- kind of censoring that was called “The Great Terror”.


The Great Terror, also known as the “Great Purges”, was a time period that was characterized by massive bloodshed condoned by the state led by Joseph Stalin. While Stalin was in office, he knew of his critics and the dissent towards him and the way he ran the state, so when Stalin was reelected in 1934 he set out to destroy any perceived opposition, beginning with his largest political rival Sergi Kerov.

Throughout this Terror, Stalin targeted anybody who could be seen as a threat. This included opposing political officials, members of his own political staff, soldiers, clergymen and even intellectuals. The Great Terror continued to grow, and even “feed on itself”, as the mass paranoia created by the killings led to people throwing out names of random citizens in order to keep themselves safe.


In the end of this this period of time, the lowest estimates of the numbers killed by Stalin are around 20 Million. Given that that is one of the lowest projections, it is evident how deadly and crippling this was to the Russian state. As one of the greatest examples of state-sponsored killing, this period of time showed how a paranoid leader can nearly destroy a state.



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6 Responses to The Dangers of Obsessive Paranoia

  1. The Great Terror was masterfully used by Stalin to seize control of all Soviet Russia. The address Stalin made to the government in 1936 really lays out his plan and why he was justified to do it. Good post.

    Leah Williams says:

    I liked your comparison of the Great Terror to a form of censorship. I feel like the Soviet government was always censoring something in a way, and this is a prime (but extreme) example.

    B. Knickerbocker says:

    It’s amazing how nobody to this day knows just how many people were killed under Stalin’s orders. The hunting down of political rivals and crushing disgruntled citizens was what this power-hungry leader was known for, unfortunately. Stalin became quite delusional as the years went on, and his vision for a socialist Russia became a nightmare for citizens.

  2. What is the source of the second image? Some good material here, but we have better resources available than “”!

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