North Korea is a very classic Stalinist nation. Unlike the reformed regimes in China, Cuba and Vietnam, North Korea has always remained loyal to the totalitarian ways of Joseph Stalin. Although Kim Il Sung moved away from classic stalinism, his dictatorship remained very much based on the Stalinist system. You only have to look at North Korea and think back to Stalin's regime. The culture of the North Koreans is based around a massive cult of personality. Until December 2011, only Kim Il Sung was the only true god of the Juche religion. But after the death of Kim Jong Il, the founder of the DPRK has to share the godhood with his son!
Joseph Stalin began with show trials that would become common for Stalinist states. The most famous are the Moscow Trials of 1936 and 1938. Stalin used these trials to murder the old Bolsheviks who led the November 1917 revolution. Most of these old Bolsheviks had capitulated before Stalin, so they did not pose a threat to his regime. Stalin's biggest opponent was exiled and his Left Opposition jailed in the new Gulag camps. Since 1928 is was forbidden to criticize the rule of Joseph Stalin, anyone who spoke out was called a ''trotskyist'' and a ''counter-revolutionary''. Trotskyists are supporters of Leon Trotsky, a leader of the 1917 revolution and founder of the Red Army. He fought against the degeneration of the revolution and tried to oppose Stalin. When he failed, the stalinists exiled him to Turkey!
Between 1928 and 1934, Stalin purges the All-Union Communist Party of all Bolsheviks who once opposed him during the struggle against Trotsky. Members had to swear loyalty to Stalin or face explosion. Famoues Bolsheviks like Lev Kamenev, Grigory Zinoview and Alexei Rykov all had to capitulate before the ''Great Leader''. In August 1936 the trials against Kamenv and Zinoview began. Both agreed to confess on condition that they receive a direct guarantee from the entire ( Stalinist ) Politburo that their lives and those of their families and followers would be spared. When they were taken to the supposed Politburo meeting, they were met by only Stalin and Kliment Voroshilov. Stalin explained that they were the "commission" authorized by the Politburo and Stalin agreed to their conditions in order to gain their desired confessions. He then used these ''confessions'' are proof of their guilt. The Soviet Courts ordered their execution and Kamenev and Zinoview were the shot!
Next trial was that of the supposed ''Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Centre''. This fake organisation was created by Joseph Stalin. 17 members of the party, state and military were arrested and charged with treason. Mikhail Tukhachevsky was among those who were arrested. He was the first army marshal of the Soviet-Union and seen as dangerous by the paranoid Stalin. Tukhachevsky was tortured so much that he finally ''confessed'' to Stalin's fake accusations. When the Soviet Courts were reading the accusations, even the judges could not believed what they just read. But Mikhail Tukhachevsky had ''confessed'' to his ''crimes'' and was found guilty. The criminal Stalin said; "It's incredible, but it's a fact, he admit it''.
Tukhachevsky was executed by Vasili Blokhin, a man who would later murder the first and second NKVD leader on Stalin's orders. Blokhin would become the main executioner for Stalin's terror regime. In 1939 he shot 7.000 of the 22.000 Polish prisoners at Katyn personally. Vasili Blokhin was a bloody counter-revolutionary mass murderer and a true Stalinist criminal. After the death of Stalin, he was forced into retirement. Fearing he would be arrested and executed for his crimes, Blokhin took his own life on 3 February 1955!
Alexander Mikhailovich Orlov was the NKVD agent who worked in Spain for the republican government. He was the man who ordered the mass arrests of revolutionary socialists, like those of the Workers Party of Marxist Unification. Also Orlov made sure that the Spanish Communist Party remained Stalinist and loyal to Moscow. Although loyal to the Stalinist government of the USSR, Orlov soon found out his friends were all arrested and shot. Fearing for his life, he and his family fled to the USA. There he told that Stalin used the murder of so many loyal agents of the NKVD, as a cover to hide the fact that the agency found out that Stalin once was a spy for the czarist secret police. With this knowledge the NKVD leaders wanted Stalin arrested and jailed. According to Orlov this is the reason why Stalin murdered the leadership of the NKVD between 1934 and 1938!
Orlov wrote two letter before fleeing Spain for France. One letter was for NKVD leader Yezhov and the other for Stalin. He promised to keep all things he knew a secret if Stalin would spare his family. Since his family was never murdered, Orlov kept his word and did not published anything about NKVD secrets until after Stalin's death in 1953. Although his works have a ring of truth in them, the reader should remember that some of the stories were told second-hand and that Orlov himself was deliberately dishonest about his own complicity in these affairs. Because he himself was a Stalinist killer too, murdering revolutionary socialists and anarchists in Spain for the NKVD!
Stalin wanted to eliminate military leaders like Tukhachevsky as early as 1930. He said to his supporters that these early Red Army officers were a danger to his plans. Killing the Red Army generals was not enough. Thousands of officers and arrested and executed, leaving the Red Army very weak and disorganized. The Stalinist purges between 1934 and 1938 were the reason why the USSR lost the Winter War with Finland between 1939/1940. Had Stalin not killed his generals and officers, then it is very possible that Finland would have collapsed and be transformed into a Stalinist republic of the USSR!
During the Moscow Trials, western observers were present and watched the trials. They believed the trials were free and fair, because the accused ''confessed'' to their ''crimes''. Soviet judges gave them a full list of all ''confessions'' so the western observes believed these trials were fair and balanced. They did not knew that most ''confessions'' were giving after weeks of torture and abuses by sadistic prison guards. It is now known that the confessions were given only after great psychological pressure and torture had been applied to the defendants. From the accounts of former NKVD officer Alexander Orlov and others the methods used to extract the confessions are known. Repeated beatings, torture, making prisoners stand or go without sleep for days on end, and threats to arrest and execute the prisoners' families. For example, Kamenev's teenage son was arrested and charged with terrorism. After months of such interrogation, the defendants were driven to despair and exhaustion!
Leon Trotsky said that the Moscow Trials were not work of socialism or communism, but the work of criminal stalinism. The work of a dictatorial bureaucracy that ruled over the people. Trotsky stood up against the false accusations and was found not guilty by an independent court in the USA, who looked at the Soviet accusations against him. Unknown to Trotsky, Stalin would succeed in his plan to kill him. In August 1940, Trotsky was assassinated by a Stalinist agent in his own house. Although his guards came quickly, Trotsky was wounded and died in the hospital!
After World War 2, Stalinist nations used the same methods of Stalin. Show trials were very common in Eastern Europe and in the People's Republic of China. The ''Democratic'' People's Republic of Korea is founded in 1948 and has always remained a closed nation. While China and Vietnam opened up to the world in the late 80's, North Korea remained closed for most people. The show trial of Jang Sung-taek is not unique for a Stalinist nation, but since North Korea is so closed we know very little about who get's purged and jailed. Jang Sung-taek was a high ranking North Korean, the mentor of Kim Jong Un. He was charged with; e was accused of having committed "anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts", including illicit affairs with women, harbouring "politically-motivated ambition", weakening "the party's guidance over judicial, prosecution and people's security bodies", and obstructing "the nation's economic affairs".
With the execution of Jang Sung-taek, it is now clear that Kim Jong Un has established himself as the Supreme Leader of the DPRK. Almost two years ago when his father died, it was unclear if Kim Jong Un was ready for his job. Jang Sung-taek shared a lot of power with the youngest son of the late Kim Jong Il. It is possible that the young Kim now wanted his old mentor and uncle gone. It could also be seen as a warning to all those inside the ruling caste, that Kim Jong Un is now leader and that he alone rules now. These dictatorial purges and show trials are typical for Stalinist states!
Jang Sung-taek shares the fate of many Stalinist henchman who never believed that they would be arrested and killed by their masters. All NKVD leaders lost their lives because of purges and executions. Two were killed by Stalin and the final NKVD leader was killed by the reformed Soviet leadership after Stalin's death. We can only hope that some day a reformer stands up and ends the totalitarian dictatorship of Kim Jong Un!