Although this term is mostly associated with Stalinism, the first purge of the Stalin era was performed only in 1929–1930 according to the resolution of the XVI Party Conference. Over 10% of the Party members were purged. At the same time a significant number of new members, industrial workers, joined the Party.
The next systematic Party purge in the Soviet Union was declared in December 1932 to be performed during 1933. This time on the period of purge new memberships were temporarily suspended. A joint resolution of the Party Central Committee and Central Revision Committee specified the criteria for purge and called for setting special Purge Commissions, to which every communist had to report. Also, this purge concerned members of the Central Committee, Central Revision Committee, which previously were immune to purges, because they were elected at Party Congresses. In particular, Bukharin, Rykov, and Tomsky had to try hard to defend themselves during this purge. At this time, of 1,9 million members, about 18% were purged.
In itself, the term was innocent enough: within 1921–1933 in the Soviet Union, for example, some 800,000 people were purged or left the Party, but suffered no worse fate.
But from 1936 onwards, during the Great Purge, the term changed its meaning, because being expelled from the Party came to mean almost certain arrest, imprisonment or even execution.
Battle had role in purge of U.S. attorneys before his resignation ; Congress probing political motive in prosecutor firings
Mar 05, 2007; Michael A. Battle, formerly the top federal prosecutor in Buffalo and now a senior official at the U.S. Department of Justice,...