Book Reviews

Stalin against the Jews - "Criminals in White Coats"

By Daniel Michaels

Jonathan Brent, Vladimir Naumov, Stalin's Last Crime. The Plot Against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953, Perennial, New York 2004, 416 pp., pb., $14.95

Coauthored by researchers Jonathan Brent and Vladimir Naumov, Stalin's Last Crime covers the period from 1948 to Stalin's death in March 1953, with special emphasis on the Jewish Doctors' Plot.[1] Simply put, Stalin claimed that Jewish doctors, under American direction, were deliberately and systematically killing off Soviet leaders by falsely and wrongly diagnosing their ailments, thereby causing their deaths. The press media referred to the accused as "criminals in white coats."

Exploiting pertinent documents newly obtained from Soviet archives, the authors examine Stalin's relations with Soviet Jews, the dictator's plans to launch a major purge aimed at preparing the Soviet Union for a confrontation with the United States, his distrust of Soviet Jews and use of them as the centerpiece of his purge, and, finally, the tyrant's convenient death just before his plans could be executed. The "Doctors' Plot," the authors contend convincingly, was merely a pretext Stalin used to undertake another major purge.

The authors are well qualified and positioned to make such a study. Naumov is a long-time member of the Institute of USSR History and the USSR Academy of Sciences,[2] while Brent is the editorial director of the Yale University Press and the ambitious Annals of Communism series.[3] Naumov's and Brent's work provides an incisive study of Stalin's mentality and modus operandi as well as his infamous ruthlessness and cruelty.

The international background to the Doctors' Plot was threatening indeed. By 1948 the Cold War had begun; the Berlin blockade took place in 1948-49; the Soviets exploded their first uranium bomb in 1949; the Marshal Plan and the NATO pact were introduced in Europe; the Korean War erupted in June 1950; but most significant to the unfolding Doctors' Plot, the state of Israel had been founded in May 1948.

To Stalin's dismay, some ten thousand Jews celebrated the event at a public service in the Moscow Choral Synagogue. When Golda Meir visited Moscow in 1948, thousands of Soviet Jews filled the streets and crammed the Moscow synagogue shouting "The people of Israel lives!" This, together with public displays of Zionist fervor among Soviet Jews, stoked Stalin's distrust of Jews and his concern as to where their true allegiance lay.

Although the new state was recognized immediately by both the USSR and the USA, the sympathy of United States officials towards Israel was genuine. Stalin, on the other hand, was secretly hoping that the presence of a Jewish state in the Near East would disrupt British rule in that part of the world.

Meanwhile, as the authors write, Jews occupied many important positions in Soviet society:

"Jews had advanced with extraordinary speed from second-class citizens in Tsarist Russia to the plenipotentiaries of a great world power [...] through the system they rose to the top and exercised more real power in the Soviet Union than Jews had for nearly two millennia anywhere else in the world." (p. 331)

The Doctors' Plot began with the death from heart disease of Politburo member Andrei Zhdanov in 1948, which was caused, Stalin insisted, by negligent medical treatment by Jewish physicians. Zhdanov had been a member of the Central Committee and had been charged with monitoring the orthodoxy and purity of Communist cultural life. He was thought to be a favorite of Stalin and even a possible successor. His son Yuri was married to Stalin's daughter. But a complicating factor was that both Zhdanov senior and junior were on the record for having criticized T. Lysenko's theories in agriculture, maintaining that acquired characteristics could be inherited. This infuriated Stalin who supported Lysenko and had called him the "coryphaeus of vanguard science." Thus, there are doubts as to what extent Stalin really favored Zhdanov.

Zhdanov had been treated by P. Yegorov, V. Vasilenko, and G. Mayorov, all highly regarded specialists in the Kremlin Hospital. Stalin's personal physician, V. Vinogradov, was also been called in for consultation.

Zhdanov's doctors differed in their diagnosis and treatment of their prominent patient. Lydia Timashuk, head of the EKG department in the hospital, prescribed extended bed rest after Zhdanov suffered an infract, while his three attending physicians did not believe his condition was grave and encouraged him to stay active and even to take long walks. After Zhdanov died, Timashuk, alarmed at what she considered improper treatment by his doctors, wrote directly to Stalin, who apparently kept her letter in the archives for future use.

In an attempt to determine objectively whether the treatment of the attending physicians or that of the EKG specialist was correct, the authors called upon Dr. Lawrence Cohen at Yale University School of Medicine to examine the medical records. Because the records seemed inconclusive and ambiguous, Dr. Cohen was forced to render a Solomonic decision to the effect that the attending physicians had administered properly, but that Timashuk was not wrong either because, after all, the patient had died.

It was later learned that Yegorov, Vinogradov, Vasilenko, and Miorov had also treated other Communist leaders who died under their care, including Georgi Dimitrov, the Bulgarian premier. Since only one of the accused doctors was Jewish, Stalin had to widen his net.

In November 1950 another Jewish physician, Dr. Yakov Etinger, was arrested for uttering anti-Soviet thoughts to his friends and family. He had been a member of the consulting team with whom Dr. Vinogradov had met two years earlier. V. S. Abakumov, then minister of state security, described Etinger as "a typical Jew who spoke with an accent." (p. 93).

Etinger, who had a brother living in Israel, had received his medical training in Berlin before World War I, and had visited the United States in the 1920s, made an ideal target for Stalin. I. S. Fefer, a Jewish prisoner, linked Etinger to the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee (JAC), and within a short period of time M. D. Ryumin, deputy minister MGB (Ministry of State Security) and head of Investigative Unit for Especially Important Cases, presented Etinger's confession to Stalin. At the same time, Ryumin informed Stalin that Abakumov, the head of the MGB, was himself a traitor to the Soviet Union. (p. 115). Stalin could now purge the MGB together with the Jews.

Etinger also "confessed" to shortening the life of A. S. Shcherbakov, head of the Chief Political Directorate of the Red Army, in 1945. Eventually, all the doctors confessed to whatever they thought Stalin wanted to hear. Years later, Khrushchev sardonically joked that the interrogators had gotten poor Dr. Vinogradov to go so far as to confess it was he who had written Eugene Onegin (p. 87)

Etinger died in Lefortovo prison in 1952, the same year Stalin had Fefer shot. Abakumov had been arrested in July 1951 and eventually executed in December 1954. S. D. Ignatiev was appointed to replace Abakumov as head of the MGB. Ignatiev would be one of the few to survive the aftermath of the Doctors' Plot.

Stalin held Ryumin in high regard. He told the Central Committee (CC):

"I have continually said that Ryumin is an honorable man and a communist, he helps the Central Committee uncover serious crimes in the MGB, but he, the poor fellow, has not found support among you and this is because I appointed him despite your objections. Ryumin is excellent, and I demand that you listen to him and take him closer to yourself. Keep in mind - I don't trust the old workers in the MGB very much." (p. 135)

Ryumin was of the opinion that Jews constituted a nation of spies and had broken off all his contacts with Jewish assistants in the MGB (p. 173). He was a tough interrogator who would sarcastically inform his prisoners of their "rights" with the statement:

"The question of your guilt is decided by the fact of your arrest, and I do not wish to hear any kind of conversation."

But even Ryumin could not satisfy Stalin's demand for confessions that would directly link certain Jews and members of the JAC to American intelligence. In the dictator's mind, Jews were inextricably bound up with America. Whoever was Jewish was for America, and whoever was for America was Jewish, or had become influenced by Jews. Stalin demanded that the MGB provide the evidence he needed to gain the approbation of the Soviet masses for the mass arrests he was about to order. (p. 180)

He further ordered that all documents pertaining to the Doctors' Plot be sent to him directly so that, as he put it, "we ourselves will be able to determine what is true and what is not true." (p. 130)

Stalin grew increasingly angry when the MGB failed to provide the confessions he wanted. In December 1952, a few months before his death, he ranted to the CC:

"Here, look at you - blind men, kittens, you don't see the enemy; what will you do without me - the country will perish because you are not able to recognize the enemy [...] Every Jew is a potential spy for the United States." (p. 171)

Frustrated at his failure to obtain the confessions he needed, he instructed Ignatiev and Ryumin:

"Beat them! Beat them with deathblows. What are you? You work like waiters in white gloves. If you want to be Chekists, take off your gloves."

Between 1948 and 1952 thousands of Jewish intellectuals, scientists, political leaders, state security personnel, and other professionals were arrested, interrogated, imprisoned, or discharged from their duties. In July 1951 Stalin ordered an inquiry into corruption and mismanagement in the MGB, resulting in the expulsion of many leading personnel, most of whom were Jewish. Stalin ordered the arrest of all Jewish colonels and generals in the MGB, and a total of some 50 senior officers and generals were taken in to custody. (p. 102) In 1952 Stalin told Ignatiev bluntly his opinion of the MGB officers:

"Chekists can see nothing beyond their own noses [...] they are degenerating into ordinary nincompoops, and [...] they don't want to fulfill the directive of the Central Committee." (p. 134)

Finally, in November 1952, the physician M. Vovsi, former chief therapist of the Red Army and an associate of Vinogradov, was arrested for his involvement with the unsuccessful treatment of Dimitrov. A cousin of Solomon Mikhoels, head of the JAC, he gave his interrogators the confession they wanted. He testified that Mikhoels had been a Jewish bourgeois nationalist and that the JAC was indeed under the direction of Anglo-American agents. The link between Vovsi and Vinogradov extended the plot horizontally into the entire network of medicine and Jewish intellectual life in the Soviet Union, and ultimately, through Mikhoels and the JAC, across the world to America. (p. 233). Stalin had what he wanted.

Strangely, at this juncture (November 13) the Central Committee removed Ryumin from his position in the MGB on the grounds that he was "unequal to the task." Whether Stalin ordered or even knew of this decision is not known. On November 14, Ignatiev had a heart attack and did not return to work until January 1953. Meanwhile, Jewish professionals were arrested, prisoners were beaten, and confessions multiplied. S. A. Goglidze, a close associate of Beria, was put in charge of the investigation of the Doctors' Plot.

Twelve days after Stalin's death, Ryumin was arrested by the dictator's successors; he was executed in 1954. Goglidze was executed in December 1953 together with Beria. Ignatiev was permitted to retire.

Solomon Mikhoels, founder of the Moscow Yiddish Theater and head of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, died in an accident under suspicious circumstances in January 1948. In August 1952 fourteen members of the JAC were convicted of anti-Soviet activity in the service of American intelligence. They were put before the firing squad. On August 12, 1952, 15 Jewish intellectuals were arrested and put on trial. Thirteen of the defendants were executed in Moscow's Lubyanka prison, another died in prison and the remaining defendant received a long prison sentence. All were guilty of having been members of the JAC. All were dedicated, veteran Soviet communists

In the months between October 1952 and February 1953, scores of Jewish doctors were arrested amidst rumors that Jewish doctors were poisoning not just officials in the Party, but Russian children as well. On January 13, 1953, the official publication reporting a widespread Jewish conspiracy in the medical profession was responsible for the deaths of several Soviet leaders and foreign communists appeared. It read:

"The Arrest of a Group of Killer Doctors

Some time ago organs of state security uncovered a terrorist group of doctors who planned to shorten the lives of leading figures in the Soviet Union by harmful treatment.

Among members in this group were: Professor M. S. Vovsi, a therapist; Professor V. N. Vinogradov, a therapist; Professor M. B. Kogan, a therapist; Professor B. B. Kogan, a therapist; Professor P. I. Yegorov, a therapist; Professor A. I. Feldman, an otolaryngologist; Professor Y. G. Etinger, a therapist; Professor A. M. Grinstein, a neuropathologist; and I. Mairorov, a therapist.

Documents and investigations conducted by medical experts have established that the criminals - hidden enemies of the people - carried out harmful treatment on their patients, thereby undermining their health.

The investigation established that members of the terrorist gang, by using their position as physicians and betraying the trust of their patients, deliberately and maliciously undermined the health of the latter, intentionally ignored objective studies of the patients, made wrong diagnoses that were not suitable for the actual nature of their illnesses, and then, by incorrect treatment, killed them.

The criminals confessed that in the case of Comrade A. A. Zhdanov they wrongly diagnosed his illness, concealed his myocardial infarct, prescribed a regimen that was totally inappropriate to his grave illness, and in this way killed Comrade Zhdanov. The investigation established that the criminals also shortened the life of Comrade A. S. Shcherbakov, by incorrectly treating him with very potent medicines, putting him on a fatal regimen, and in this way brought on his death.

These criminal doctors sought primarily to ruin the health of leading Soviet military cadres, incapacitate them, and thereby weaken the defense of the country. They tried to incapacitate Marshal A. M. Vasilevskiy, Marshal L. A. Govorov, Marshal I. S. Konev, General of the Army S.M. Shtemenko, Admiral G. I. Levchenko, and others. However, their arrest upset their evil plans and the criminals were not able to achieve their aims.

It has been established that all these killer doctors, these monsters who trod underfoot the holy banner of science and defiled the honor of men of science, were in the pay of foreign intelligence services.

Most of the members of this terrorist gang were associated with the international Jewish bourgeois nationalistic organization 'Joint,' created by American intelligence ostensibly to provide material aid to Jews in other countries. Actually, this organization, operating under the direction of American intelligence, carried out widespread espionage, terrorist and other subversive activities in several countries, including the Soviet Union. Vovsi told the investigation that he had received a directive 'to exterminate the foremost cadres in the USSR' from the 'Joint' organization in the United States through Doctor Shimeliovich in Moscow and the Jewish bourgeois nationalist, Mikhoels."

The Pravda article omitted the names of Russian physicians as well as other Jewish doctors who were also arrested. Another TASS report added additional accusations:

"Spies and Murderers under the Mask of Doctors

[...] The unmasking of the band of doctor-poisoners dealt a shattering blow to the American-English instigators of war...The whole world can now see once again the true face of the slave master-cannibals from the USA and England...The bosses of the USA and their English 'junior partners' know that success in ruling another country cannot be achieved by peaceful means. Feverishly preparing for a new world war, they urgently sent their spies into the rear of the USSR and into the countries of the Peoples Democracy; they attempted to implement what the Hitlerites had failed to do - to create in the USSR their own subversive 'fifth column.' [...] It is also true that, besides these enemies, we still have another, namely, the lack of vigilance among our people. Have no doubt but that when there is a lack of vigilance, there will be subversion. Consequently, to eliminate sabotage, vigilance must be restored in our ranks."

In February 1953, amidst rumors that a trial of the 'conspirators' was about to begin and that four new MVD concentration camps were to built in Kazakhstan, Komi, and Irkutsk, a group of 58 Soviet Jewish intellectuals composed a letter to Stalin criticizing Israel as a typical bourgeois state favoring capitalists and exploiting the working man. They wrote:

"Further, isn't it true that the international Zionist organization 'Joint' that defends the interests of Jews is affiliated with American intelligence? As is known, not long ago in the USSR the espionage group of doctor-murderers was uncovered in the USSR. The criminals, among whom the majority consisted of Jewish bourgeois nationalists, were recruited by the 'Joint' - M. Vovsi, M. Kogan, B. Kogan, A. Feldman, Y. Etinger, A. Grinstein. They set as their aim to sabotage the treatment and to cut short the life of leaders of the Soviet Union, to disable the leading cadres of the Soviet Army and moreover to undermine the defense of the country. Only people without honor and conscience, having sold their souls and bodies to imperialism would commit such monstrous crimes."

Although the letter never appeared in Pravda, it was published in Istochnik in 1997 (p. 300). The propagandist Ilya Ehrenburg, the authors write, "seemed to have been ready to play the age-old, hopeless role of court Jew, a willing servitor with the illusion or hope of exerting a moderating influence." In a separate letter Ehrenburg wrote that the only solution to the Jewish question was complete assimilation in Russian society, which was urgently necessary in the struggle against American and Zionist propaganda that attempted to isolate people of Jewish nationality (p. 305).

Less than 60 days after publication of these TASS reports and two weeks before the accused doctors were to go to trial, Stalin was dead. Within a few months most of Stalin's henchmen in the purge were dead or exiled. Eventually, Khrushchev took complete control.

Of the circumstances of Stalin's death, the authors say little. They, of course, are aware of various theories suggesting that the dictator was murdered, specifically, poisoned by Beria. Indeed, they even quote Molotov's claim that Beria had been responsible for Stalin's death. On May 1, 1953, Beria boasted:

"I did him in! I saved all of you."

One of the most telling documents the authors introduce is entitled "The History of the Illness of J. V. Stalin, from March 2 to 5, 1953."

"It had apparently rested in the archives unread and unpublished for fifty years. It contradicts most of the eyewitness testimony and reveals information not previously reported. The report states that 'on the night of 2 March 1953, Comrade Stalin experienced a sudden loss of consciousness, and paralysis of the right hand leg developed, and that Stalin had vomited blood and that there was blood in his urine and stomach. At one point all references to stomach hemorrhaging were deleted from the report. Such hemorrhaging could have been induced by an anticoagulant, like warfarin, being administered."[4]

Just recently, in March 2003, Brent announced in an interview that two physicians at Yale University, a neurosurgeon and a cardiologist, concluded from the medical evidence that the cause of Stalin's death was either most probably cerebral hemorrhage or warfarin poisoning. Some have noted that Stalin's death on March 1 coincided with the holiday of Purim, precisely as he was in the midst of planning to deport or annihilate two to four million Jews.[5]

Twelve weeks later, on April 6, Pravda published a new article under the headline "Soviet Socialist Law Is Inviolable." The doctors, it said, had been arrested without any legal basis and that overzealous investigators, "remote from the people, from the Party [...] had forgotten that they are servants of the people and duty bound to guard Soviet law." Following the dictator's death, the core group of 37 doctors and their wives was released from prison.

Among the very few individuals Stalin trusted in his last years were N. Poskrebyshev, the dictator's secretary and deputy head of the secret sector of the Central Committee, N. S. Vlasik, head of the Main Directorate of the MGB Guards, both long-standing friends, and M. D. Ryumin. By the time of Stalin's death, all had put distance between themselves and Stalin. Eventually, in 1953, Poskrebyshev was exiled to the village in which he was born and prohibited ever to leave it; Ryumin was executed in 1954, and Vlasik was finally arrested in 1955 and exiled to Krasnoyarsk.

Reviewer's Critique

As the subtitle of the book (The Plot against the Jewish Doctors) indicates, the authors presume from the outset that Stalin created the threat to his regime out of whole cloth and then proceeded to invent incidents to justify his planned purge. Then, the authors contend, Stalin gathered several such suspect instances and extended the base to declare a group conspiracy and ultimately a threat to his regime. While the authors are undoubtedly correct that the accusations against the Jewish doctors were ungrounded and unfair, the dictator, in the reviewer's opinion, merely used the idea of a Jewish doctors' conspiracy to gain the support of the people, whose antipathy towards the privileged position of Jews in the Soviet Union was well known, in order to move forward with a major purge in which he intended to remove the remnants of the old Bolsheviks, rejuvenate the Party, relocate many Jews out of the cities and into the countryside, and nullify a real threat, as he saw it: Jewish internationalism and Zionist connections with the United States.

The creation of the state of Israel and the unrestrained sympathy of Soviet Jews with that event did threaten Stalin's closed society in several ways. First, many Soviet Jews did have relatives in the United States and would soon have them in Israel. Second, Stalin could not permit Soviet Jews to publicly take pride and exalt in their own heritage, people, and nation while occupying influential positions in the Soviet Union, which held that all nationalisms and all nationalistic sentiments were anathema. The goal of the Soviet Union was to create homo sovieticus, a creature devoid of heritage and history. The Jews could not have it both ways: they could not be nationalists and communists at the same time.

Particularly useful in following the unfolding of this complicated plot are the Glossary of Names and Organizations and the Chronology of the Doctors Plan at the back of the book. The chronology, however, fails to mention several important events that foretold a grim future, namely, that on February 9, 1952, the main offices of the Soviet legation in Tel Aviv had been bombed and on February 11, the USSR severed diplomatic relations with Israel. On February 13, Moscow radio reported the death of Lev Zaharovich Mekhlis, one of two Jewish members on the CC.[6] The story of the plot is difficult to follow because of the many instances of contradictory and inaccurate testimony on the part of the participants - as one would expect from a country without the rule of law, inhabited by people without any ethical or moral standards.

Notwithstanding the many obvious positive contributions the book makes to understanding the background of Stalin's frustrated plans for a major purge, the authors still - in this reviewer's mind - draw some very wrong conclusions, namely, 1) that Stalin's innate anti-Semitism drove him to the purge; 2) the implication that many of those Stalin had imprisoned were innocent lambs, who were "better" Communists than he; and 3) that the tyrant was irrationally planning to attack the United States.

As the authors are well aware, politics in the Soviet Union has always been a blood sport based on the simple principle of "kto kogo" (who takes out whom). In this reviewer's opinion, the concept of "anti-Semitism" cannot really be applied to Stalin. As late as 1948, Jews accounted for 40 of the 190 Stalin Prize recipients. Stalin did not discriminate racially in finding enemies. He administered the same punishment - death - to Russians, Ukrainians, Chechens, Tatars, or any other nationality he considered to be a threat to his rule, consistent with his crude but effective policy of "no person, no problem." Even Trotsky never accused Stalin of anti-Jewish malice, and Stalin himself had condemned anti-Semitism as an ugly phenomenon and warned that active anti-Semitism would carry the death penalty.

As for the question of rehabilitation, it can be said that many of those he imprisoned, whether Trotskyites or those embracing other forms of Communism who rejected and damned Stalin, but still professed another brand of Communism, will find little sympathy outside of the Marxist world.

And the third point, namely the contention of the authors that Stalin planned to brazenly attack the United States, must be rejected as most unlikely. Of course, Stalin was preparing for a nuclear war just as we were. But if anything, the dictator's meticulous planning and extreme caution would have prevented him from such a rash undertaking. For example, in the Korean War Stalin withdrew all Soviet military advisers (except Soviet pilots who continued to fly for North Korea until the end). Stalin said of this:

"It's too dangerous to keep our advisers there. They might be taken prisoner. We don't want there to be evidence for accusing us of taking part in this business. It's Kim-Il-sung's affair." (p. 103)[7]

Moreover, it was not Stalin but Khrushchev and his associates who brought the world close to a nuclear conflagration when they secretly introduced Soviet missiles into Cuba capable of firing nuclear warheads. Stalin's caution would have prevented him undertaking such a dangerous move.

Ironically, in this reviewer's opinion, it was precisely Stalin's meticulous, long-term cautious planning, and patience - normally a virtue - that proved his undoing. Just as his preparations for an attack on Germany had dragged out a bit too long, permitting the Germans to launch a preemptive strike before the plans could be realized, so too in the case of the tyrant's last attempted purge, the dictator did not move swiftly enough, giving the intended victims time to take preventive action.


Notes

[1]Jonathan Brent & Vladimir Pavlovich Naumov, Stalin's Last Crime: the Plot against the Jewish Doctors, 1948-1953, HarperCollins, New York 2003, 402 pp.
[2]One of Naumov's earliest (1968) works was The Soviet Intelligentsia: Formation and Growth 1917-1965. In 1998 Naumov, with L. Reshin, edited and compiled the two-volume work on World War II called 1941, and in 2001, together with A. Lozovskii and J. Rubenstein, he published The Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee in the USSR: Courts Martial and Courts of Inquiry, which was published as part of the Annals of Communism series. Naumov has long been active in the rehabilitation of past victims of Stalinist purges.
[3]Brent is currently involved in editing the Yale series The Annals of Communism which will comprise 25 volumes on the history of the Soviet Union. The latest book in the series, Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War, shows how from the very beginning the Soviets had no intention of supporting the republic. The republic was merely a front for the establishment of Soviet power in Western Europe.
[4]Madison Capital Times, Madison, Wisconsin, March 6, 2003, p. 2A. Warfarin is an anticoagulant developed at the University of Wisconsin. It is also used as a rat poison that causes vermin to bleed to death.
[5]Alexander Rashin, Why Didn't Stalin Kill All the Jews? Liberty Publishing House.
[6]Robert Logan, "Was Josef Stalin Murdered?," The Barnes Review, March/April, 2003, pp. 35-40.
[7]Unrelated to the Doctors' Plot, but indicative of Stalin's fears, is a case the authors describe that involved a White Russian émigré, I. Varfolomeyev, in the Far East who, working for American intelligence, was apprehended trying to obtain information of Sino-Soviet relations. Later, during the Korean War he, together with P. Rogalsky, said to be an American agent, was involved in obtaining information on the disposition of North Korean forces and in estimating the extent of Soviet aid to North Korea. During his interrogation, Varfolomeyev said that President Truman had approved the "Plan of the Internal Blow," a plot to fire five tactical nuclear devices at the Kremlin. This impossible concoction satisfied Stalin that the United States was planning nuclear war. Varfolomeyev was eventually executed by Stalin's successors in the process of removing all vestiges of the foiled purge.

Source: The Revisionist 2(2) (2004), pp. 227-231.


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