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Medals for the Collectivization. The Role of Decorations for the Rise of the Cheka Commanders into the Emerging Soviet Elite in the 1930ies Orden für die Kollektivierung. Die Rolle von Auszeichnungen für den Aufstieg der Tscheka-Kommandeure in die neue sowjetische Elite in den 1930er Jahren

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Based on archival documents primarily from the Russian State Archiv (GARF) this paper studies the awarding of decorations to members of the Political Police (Cheka, OGPUNKVD). Decorations, indeed, played a major role in the formation of the new Soviet elite. Despite the organization of real campaigns to back their candidates for decorations, the Cheka poorly achieved in the years before the onset of the Great Purge in 1937. The main reason was that the Commission on Decorations of the Revolutionary War Council only deemed heroic feats accomplished in war-like action worth of special recognition. The Great Purge fundamentally changed this feature. This, in turn, opened the way to a great upswing in social advancement for high-ranking Cheka members into the emerging Soviet elite.
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Language: German

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2017

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  • The Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas ("East European History") present the discipline in its entire breadth; for thematically focused articles the emphasis lies on the territory of the former Russian Empire and the former Soviet Union. A double-blind review process with international experts ensures adherence to the annals' recognized high quality standards. An extensive section devoted to reviews informs the reader about current trends in German and international research. In addition, the editorial board publishes an electronic review supplement under the title jgo.e-reviews at
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