Russia: 1924-1941 - The Purges And Life In Stalin's Russia
The Lubyanka Building was the headquarters of the KGB - the USSR's secret police.

Russia: 1924-1941 - The Purges And Life In Stalin's Russia

One of the topics looked at in GCSE History is Russia in the first half of the 20th Century. One part of this subject that is studied is the rule of Stalin and the Great Purges which took place in Russia at the time.

Life changed markedly in the USSR in the years leading up to the Second World War. A new constitution theoretically protected human rights in Russia, but religion and the arts received special scrutiny. In the late 1930's the Great Purges raised further questions about the dictatorial rule of Stalin.

Discover more about the Great Purges that took place during the rule of Stalin in this quiz.

Which building housed the headquarters of the secret police, where victims of the Purges were routinely tortured and shot?
The Kremlin
The Lubyanka
The GUM Building
The Arbat
This was a sinister building overlooking a square in Central Moscow
For the USSR's large muslim population these were challenging times, as the government curtailed many of their practices. Which one of the following was curbed?
The daily calls to prayer
Charitable giving
The wearing of the veil by women
The study of the Koran
The USSR had a number of different religions, while Communist Party members had to follow atheism
Which classical composer's 5th Symphony (1937) was acceptable to the authorities, and helped him to re-establish his reputation?
Even composers had to follow the rules of the official artistic style, "Socialist Realism", but it was more difficult for them to show that they were obeying this rule than, say, novelists or film-makers
How did Krestinsky differ from the other accused in the Show Trials?
He pleaded not guilty at his first appearance
He pleaded guilty, then changed his plea to not guilty
He failed to submit a plea
He failed to turn up to his hearing
Many of the accused pleaded guilty to crimes which they could not possibly have committed. However, few seemed to bear the signs of having been tortured
Tukachevsky was one of the victims of the Show Trials. In what area of Soviet life was he active?
The army
The navy
No area of Russian life was safe from the Purges. Even people at a relatively low level of responsibility could be accused
Which politician's violent death in 1934 unleashed four years of purges?
The victim was one of Stalin's closest associates. But it has been suggested that Stalin could have been responsible for the assassination himself
Who took over the leadership of the NKVD in 1939, and continued in this post until Stalin's death?
The NKVD leadership was not immune from being tried, but sometimes it was an advantage to come from Georgia, the same homeland as Stalin himself
Who was the author of the 1936 Stalin Constitution?
The 1936 document replaced the "Lenin" Constitution of 1924, and appeared to enshrine many of the liberal features found in Western constitutions
Which of Sergei Eisenstein's films depicts an event from the 1905 Revolution?
"And Quiet Flows the Don"
"The Battleship Potemkin"
"The Tempering of the Steel"
Films also had to stick to the dictates of "Socialist Realism", and most were able to do this, avoiding themes from personal life and picking ones involving groups of people
Which group of academic subjects received special emphasis in Stalin's new universities and technical colleges?
Western European languages
History, Politics and Philosophy
Maths, Science and Technology
Soviet education was a major success story, with opportunities opening up for women and people from poorer backgrounds. Much of it was free, and of a very high academic standard
Author:  Edward Towne

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