The Great Purge: The Great Purge was a literal purge of possible opposition to the new leader of The Soviet Union: Joseph Stalin. It lasted from 1936 to 1938 and took the lives of millions of officers, soldiers, politicians, and peasants were executed, sent to gulags, or sent to labor camps in Siberia. The very first victim of The Great Purge was Sergei Kirov. Who Stalin ordered to be put to death. The Great Purge showed that Stalin and his Stalinist Party were not willing to share power. By eliminating his political enemies, he solidified his rule on the country, ruling it until his death in 1953.