There are numerous competing histooriographies of the Stalinist terror, which peaked in 1937. The pretext of the assassination of Kirov, that Stalin may well have had a hand in was simply that, an excuse for Stalin to shore up his own personal power by targeting for the first time the party itself. The disaster of collectivisation and the failure of the Soviet famines left Stalin highly vulnerable in 1934, an experience he would never forget nor allow to be repeated.  

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