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Bogeymen on the Test Stand – Collaborators on the Agenda of the Soviet Revision Commissions, 1954 and 1955 Feindbilder auf dem Pr├╝fstand – Sowjetische Kollaborateure im Fokus der Revisionskommissionen, 1954 und 1955

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Collaboration was more than a military challenge to the Soviet Union. From the point of view of the party leadership, entering the service of the enemy was treason against the Communist project and was thus a 'counterrevolutionary act'. When Stalin died his political heirs decided to take a critical (internal) approach towards the notion of "counterrevolution". For this purpose review commissions were set up all over the country, re-examining the criminal files of all political prisoners. The cases of convicted 'traitors' reveal that on the one hand commission officials exercised more judicial care, separating violent criminals from possible bystanders. On the other hand the commission members shrank from questioning the legal basis of the sentences to the final consequence. The overwhelming majority of the 'traitors', as all the other inmates, were not freed but received a reduced sentence. Viewed in this light, the re-evaluation of 'treason' (and therefore of past counter-revolutionary crimes in general) was a landmark for judicial professionalism but not a political landmark decision.
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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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