Throughout the 1930s the forces that led to a year of terror in 1937 had been gradually developing, from the trials of bourgeois specialists in the1920s to the murder of Sergei Kirov. The regime initially looked to the population at large to show their anger and rage at figures such as Iuri Piatikov, who as a former ally of Trotsky, was cast as a saboteur and wrecker. Others were characterised as corrupt embezzlers as well as foreign agents. In a time of constant setbacks in industry and society, shortages and hunger, these accusations in the Soviet press led to widespread anger and condemnation.
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