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Article

The Great Terror of 1941: Toward a History of Wartime Stalinist Criminal Justice

Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History. 2019. Vol. 20. No. 3. P. 447-480.

In the present article, I attempt to bring to light the particularities of Stalinist wartime criminal justice via the example of the implementation of the most “popular” article of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic [RSFSR] Criminal Code on “counterrevolutionary crimes,” Article 58-10, regarding propaganda or agitation containing a call to overthrow, undermine, or weaken Soviet power or to commit specific counterrevolutionary crimes. In my view, counterrevolutionary crime cases most clearly demonstrate both the continuity of Stalinist criminal justice from the period of the 1930s and its evolution under the influence of the realities of war. Above all, the penal policies and judicial practices of the beginning of the war are in many regards reminiscent of the Great Terror, even though in absolute numbers the scale of repression was significantly smaller.