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Donald Rayfield is professor of Russian and Georgian at the University of London and the author of a number of books on Russian writers and intellectuals, including an acclaimed biography of Anton Chekhov.

Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Soviet Union Politics and government 1917-1936, Soviet Union Politics and government 1936-1953, Stalin, Joseph, 1879-1953, KommunisticheskaŽiža partiŽiža Sovetskogo Soiuza Purges History, Soviet Union, Narodnyśi komissariat vnutrennikh del History, Political atrocities Soviet Union