31 January 1938* (Pb 57/48) Great Terror

Dealing with “Anti-Soviet Elements”. Politburo accepts NKVD request to increase quotas for 1st category arrests (executions) and 2nd category arrests (sent to camps) in 22 Republics and Regions across the USSR. [Russian: 31 January 1938, Pb 57-48] total 2 pp.


[page one of two]

Return within 24 hours
to the Central Committee Special Sector

(From Special File)


of the All-Union Communist Party (of Bolsheviks)

Pb 57/48, [?31 January] 1938

To Comrade Yezhov, all pages;

[individually] to the relevant Regional and National Committees of Communist Parties

Abstract from the Minutes of meeting No 57 of the Politburo of the VKP (b) Central Committee

 Resolution of 31 January 1938

48. Concerning Anti-Soviet elements

1. Adopt the proposal of the USSR NKVD to confirm additional acts of repression [1] against former kulaks, criminals and active anti-Soviet elements for the following Regions and Republics:

Republic / Region1st category2nd category
Armenian SSR1,0001,000
Belorussian SSR1,500 [1] 
Ukrainian SSR6,000 [1] 
Georgian SSR1,500 
Azerbaijani SSR2,000 
Turkmen SSR1,000 
Kirgiz SSR500 
Tadjik SSR1,000500
Uzbek SSR2,000500
Far East Region8,0002,000
Chita Region1,500500
Buryat/Mongol Region500 
Irkutsk Region 3,000500
Krasnoyarsk Region1,500500
Novosibirsk Region1,000 
Omsk Region3,000 [1] 
Altai Region2,0001,000
Leningrad Region3,000 
Karelian ASSR500 [3]200
Kalinin Region1,500500
Moscow Region1,000 
Sverdlovsk Region2,000 

(see next page)


[page two]

Workers of All Lands, Unite!

(Special File)
Must be returned

CENTRAL COMMITTEE of the All-Union Communist Party (of Bolsheviks)

page 2


Item No. [48] of [57th] meeting of the Politburo, dated [31 January] 19 [38]


2. Propose that the USSR NKVD to carry out the entire operation, but that the above-mentioned Regions and Republics complete no later than 15 March 1938, and the Far Eastern Region no later than 1 April 1938.

3. In accordance with this Resolution prolong the work of troikas [2] examining the cases of former kulaks, criminals and anti-Soviet elements in the Regions and Republics listed in item 1.

In all other Regions and Republics the work of the troikas will end no later than 15 February 1938, having finished and examined all cases within the quotas established for these Regions and Republics.




[1] The naming of “former kulaks, criminals and other anti-Soviet elements” is a reference to Yezhov’s secret Order No. 00447 of 30 July 1937 that marked the beginning of the Great Terror.

Subsequently, the NKVD in the Republics, or the local Party bosses, would ask for yet further increases in their quotas, as other documents in this archive show — in the Gorky Region, in Ukraine, the Omsk Region and Belorussia. See, for example, 4 February 1938* (No 95/111), 17 February 1938* (Pb 58/57), 10 May 1938 (Pb 61) and 17 July 1938. Even after the Terror had ended, Stalin would sanction further random executions — 31 December 1938*.

[2] The troika was a local extra-judicial, three-man tribunal (with representatives, typically, from the Party, the NKVD and the Procurator’s Office) that rubber-stamped ready prepared lists of those condemned to imprisonment or execution.

[3] In Karelia (northwest Russia) in the 1990s Ivan Chukhin and his assistant Yury Dmitriev gained access to the NKVD execution lists and were able, by painstaking and persistent effort, to establish not only who was killed and when in the republic during the Great Terror, but also where.

The entire process is documented and described in Karelia.


  • 1. Notes and additions by translator and editor are bracketed, thus [ ];
  • 2. Text added by hand is indicated in italic script;
  • 3. when a handwritten phrase, figure or word has been inserted in a previously typed document it is indicated by underlined italic script.

Translation, John Crowfoot