By Quincy Wright

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Deepening this bias was the predisposition of Soviet leaders to disregard, or at least to discount, counter-evidence. 8 The Bolsheviks understood this anticommunism and anti-Bolshevism in class terms: the success of the Revolution presented a concrete threat to the dominance of the bourgeoisie in the capitalist states. While the Soviet Union existed, thrived, and rallied communist movements abroad, the likelihood of a successful revolution in Europe was substantially greater. Soviet leaders were sure that ‘bourgeois’ governments would not tolerate the threat to their existence.

When let off the leash chekist operations easily morphed into a centrally directed form of mob rule, far more potent and unpredictable than the apparatus of a reactionary police state. This paradoxical cult is a key reason for the volatile nature of the Great Terror: security police were empowered and guided by the idea that they acted as a conduit for the omniscient ‘general will’ of the people. This was, from the start, a recipe for disaster. 98 Sheila Fitzpatrick, ‘Supplicants and Citizens: Public Letter-Writing in Soviet Russia in the 1930s’, Slavic Review (Spring 1996), 80.

Stalin was quick to point out that this evidence of growing ‘respect’ for Soviet Russia did not mean that the danger of war had passed. Stalin’s many public statements on the continued danger of war strictly adhered to the logic of Lenin’s writings on imperialism, but they were underpinned by concrete detail provided by the Soviet intelligence agencies. It was no secret that the British were actively investing in the East European economies, and providing substantial loans,23 but the OGPU Foreign Department was inclined to link this financial interest to a military one.

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