Soviet trials of critics of Joseph Stalin. After the assassination of Sergey Kirov, prominent Bolsheviks were accused of conspiracy to remove Stalin from power. In three widely publicized show trials (1936–38), which presented confessions obtained under torture or fabricated by the secret police, the accused were found guilty and executed or sent to prison. Numerous closed, unpublicized trials of Soviet military leaders were also held and resulted in a massive purge throughout the armed forces. The trials eliminated such potential rivals and critics of Stalin as Nikolay Bukharin, Lev Kamenev, Aleksey Rykov, Mikhayl Tukhachevsky, Genrikh Yagoda, and Grigory Zinovyev but earned worldwide condemnation.
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The term "purge" is often associated with the Stalinist and Maoist regimes. Those who were purged (among them artists, scientists, teachers, people in the military, but also many long-time communists who dared to disagree with the party leadership) were sent to labor camps or executed. The most notorious of CPSU purges was the Great Purge initiated by Joseph Stalin during the 1930s. Deng Xiaoping was known for the distinction of returning to power multiple times after surviving multiple purges.
After France's liberation by the Allies in 1944, purges were processed by the Free French and mostly the French Resistance against former collaborationnists, the so called vichystes. The legal term was known as épuration légale ("legal purge"). Similar processes in other countries and on other occasions were denazification and decommunization.