Paper: 80 years since 10,000 Estonians killed in Soviet Great Purge

Nikolai Yezhov (pictured with Joseph Stalin) was head of the NKVD from 1936-1938, during the most active period of the Great Purge. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Never in recent history have as many ethnic Estonians been killed in so short a period of time in peacetime than during the Great Purge in the Soviet Union from 1937-1938, daily Postimees wrote.

The wave of purges, also known as the Great Terror, which saw at least 10,000 ethnic Estonians killed in Soviet territory, came to an end 80 years ago.

According to the paper, the number of Estonians killed in a span of a year and a half in purges approved by Joseph Stalin and other Soviet leaders is comparable to the number of Estonian residents to perish in the Gulag in the 13 years following the occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union and significantly exceeds the number of victims of two mass deportations that occurred in the 1940s.

The Great Purge, in which an estimated 700,000-1.2 million people across the Soviet Union lost their lives, affected all of the couple of hundred ethnic Estonian villages that existed at the time in Siberia, the Far East, the North Caucasus, Abkhazia, Crimea, the Pskov and Leningrad regions as well as elsewhere in Russia.

There was not a single Estonian village that did not see at least some of their residents taken away and executed, the paper said.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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