Joseph Stalin's rule over the Soviet Union was characterised by the brutal and repressive measures he established against perceived enemies of the Russian Communist Party. In his determination for absolute power over every facet of the Soviet State, he gave the Secret Police wide reaching authority to conduct clandestine operations in both Russia and abroad, to identify and eliminate anyone who posed a threat to his Stalinist interpretation of the Bolshevik ideology. Known as "chernaya rabota" or Black Work, the NKVD became involved in covert assassinations of political enemies, the state sanctioned torture of suspected terrorists and spies and the subsequent executions of hundreds of thousands of people condemned as traitors to the motherland during the Great Purge. Men like Vasily Blokhin and Pavel Sudoplatov helped ensure Stalin kept his firm control over the Russian people.
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