World: Soviet Justice: Bureaucratic Terror

To a degree, Soviet political trials are more like perverse morality plays than a democracy's courtroom proceedings. As Political Scientist Robert C. Tucker puts it, these trials are in the realm of "psychological politics"—their ultimate purpose is not the punishment of crime but the administration of bureaucratic terror.

Naked fear through the apparent rule of law was invented by Joseph Stalin.

He inaugurated Russia's notorious "show trials"—the public excoriation of high-level Communist figures, brainwashed and tortured into "free confession" of heinous and improbable crimes against the state (a process memorably described in Arthur...

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