Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

David Brandenberger


In the winter of 1938, Grigorii Iufa was put on trial in a Soviet court for the violation of socialist legality, a charge alleging that he had manipulated Soviet legal processes and undermined the rule of law during his work. Prior to his arrest, Iufa had worked in the Moldavian division of the NKVD, the Soviet Union’s state security agency. In that capacity, he had played a significant role in the Great Terror, which was a highly concentrated campaign of mass violence conducted by the Soviet Union between 1937-1938 against perceived enemies among its own citizenry. This campaign primarily consisted of two “mass operations,” the first of which targeted former kulaks and others perceived as “socially dangerous,” and the second of which targeted various ethnic groups living in the Soviet Union. These mass operations followed a purge of political opposition members and were coterminous with purges of both the military and so-called “bourgeois nationalists” in the republics. Underlying each of these centrally-planned initiatives was a campaign of vigilance begun by Joseph Stalin in 1937, which called on Soviet citizens to root out enemies in their midst by making reports to the NKVD. Over the course of the Great Terror, 1.5 million people were incarcerated and almost 700,000 executed for political crimes.