Great Purge

The Great Purge or the Great Terror was a campaign of political repression in the Soviet Union which occurred from 1936 to 1938. It involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of kulaks and the Red Army leadership, widespread police surveillance, suspicion of saboteurs, counter-revolutionaries and arbitrary executions. Historians estimate the total number of deaths due to Stalinist repression in 1937–38 to be between 680,000 and 1,200,000. In the Western world, Robert Conquest's 1968 book. Conquest's title was in turn an allusion to the period called the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution; the term "repression" was used to describe the prosecution of people considered counter-revolutionaries and enemies of the people by the leader of the Soviet Union at the time, Joseph Stalin. Historians debate the causes of the purge, such as Stalin's paranoia, or his desire to remove dissenters from the Communist Party or to consolidate his authority.

The purges began in the Red Army, the techniques developed there were adapted to purges in other sectors. Most public attention was focused on the purge of certain parts of the leadership of the Communist Party, as well as of government bureaucrats and leaders of the armed forces, most of whom were Party members; the campaigns affected many other categories of the society: intelligentsia and those branded as "too rich for a peasant", professionals. A series of NKVD operations affected a number of national minorities, accused of being "fifth column" communities. A number of purges were explained as an elimination of the possibilities of sabotage and espionage, by the Polish Military Organisation and many victims of the purge were ordinary Soviet citizens of Polish origin. According to Nikita Khrushchev's 1956 speech, "On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences", historian Robert Conquest, a great number of accusations, notably those presented at the Moscow show trials, were based on forced confessions obtained through torture, on loose interpretations of Article 58 of the RSFSR Penal Code, which dealt with counter-revolutionary crimes.

Due legal process, as defined by Soviet law in force at the time, was largely replaced with summary proceedings by NKVD troikas. Hundreds of thousands of victims were accused of various political crimes. Many died at the penal labor camps of starvation, disease and overwork. Other methods of dispatching victims were used on an experimental basis. In Moscow, the use of gas vans used to kill the victims during their transportation to the Butovo firing range was documented; the Great Purge began under NKVD chief Genrikh Yagoda, but reached its peak between September 1936 and August 1938 under the leadership of Nikolai Yezhov, hence the name Yezhovshchina. The campaigns were carried out according to the general line by direct orders of the Party Politburo headed by Stalin. From 1930 onwards, the Party and police officials feared the "social disorder" caused by the upheavals of forced collectivization of peasants and the resulting famine of 1932–1933, as well as the massive and uncontrolled migration of millions of peasants into cities.

The threat of war heightened Stalin's perception of marginal and politically suspect populations as the potential source of an uprising in case of invasion. He began to plan for the preventive elimination of such potential recruits for a mythical "fifth column of wreckers and spies.". The term "purge" in Soviet political slang was an abbreviation of the expression purge of the Party ranks. In 1933, for example, the Party expelled some 400,000 people, but from 1936 until 1953, the term changed its meaning, because being expelled from the Party came to mean certain arrest and execution. The political purge was an effort by Stalin to eliminate challenge from past and potential opposition groups, including the left and right wings led by Leon Trotsky and Nikolai Bukharin, respectively. Following the Civil War and reconstruction of the Soviet economy in the late 1920s, veteran Bolsheviks no longer thought necessary the "temporary" wartime dictatorship, which had passed from Lenin to Stalin. Stalin's opponents on both sides of the political spectrum chided him as undemocratic and lax on bureaucratic corruption.

This opposition to current leadership may have accumulated substantial support among the working class by attacking the privileges and luxuries the state offered to its high-paid elite. The Ryutin Affair seemed to vindicate Stalin's suspicions, he enforced a ban on party factions and banned those party members who had opposed him ending democratic centralism. In the new form of Party organization, the Politburo, Stalin in particular, were the sole dispensers of ideology; this required the elimination of all Marxists with different views those among the prestigious "old guard" of revolutionaries. As the purges began, the government shot Bolshevik heroes, including Mikhail Tukhachevsky and Béla Kun, as well as the majority of Lenin's Politburo, for disagreements in policy; the NKVD attacked the supporters and family of these "heretical" Marxists, whether they lived in Russia or not. The NKVD nearly annihilated Trotsky's family before killing him in Mexico.

Advanced Squad Leader

Advanced Squad Leader is a tactical-level board wargame marketed by Avalon Hill Games, that simulates actions of squad sized units in World War II. It is a detailed game system for two or more players. Components include various games called modules. ASL modules provide the standard equipment for playing ASL, including geomorphic mapboards and counters; the mapboards are divided into hexagons to regulate fire and movement, depict generic terrain that can represent different historical locations. The counters are cardboard pieces that depict squads of soldiers, individual leaders, support weapons, heavy weapons, vehicles. Combined with the sales of the original Squad Leader, Advanced Squad Leader sold over 1 million copies by 1997. Fifteen core modules provide representations of nearly every troop type and weapon to see combat action from any nationality involved in World War II; each module comes with 6 to 20 researched situations depicting historical battles. These scenarios are printed on card stock with specifications of game length, map board configuration, counters involved, special rules for the conditions of the particular battle such as weather, victory conditions.

In addition to the scenarios published in the modules, there are numerous other sources for scenarios, both official and unofficial. There is a detailed set of instructions in the ASL Rulebook for Design Your Own scenarios based on a point-purchase system. Additional variations on ASL include Deluxe ASL, a short-lived experiment in fusing miniature wargaming with ASL; the game was first published by Avalon Hill in 1985 as a successor to the award-winning Squad Leader series, on which the game is based and from which the rules and components were directly developed. By the time the fourth and final installment of Squad Leader debuted, there were four separate rulebooks in existence with poorly integrated and sometimes contradictory rules. For example, U. S. forces had lower morale and were disadvantaged by the use of morale ratings to determine the ability to push ordnance through snow or mud, but there is no real reason for morale to affect such an attempt. It was clear that the system had grown in ways never dreamed of in 1977.

Avalon Hill had promised a new rulebook streamlining procedures, eliminating redundancies, revising the "To Hit/To Kill" system used to simulate armor protection and penetration in tank combat. Instead, by the time it debuted, Advanced Squad Leader had become a complete replacement of the games of the original SL series; as an example, the original SL has only twelve different tank and assault gun types, only five different armor ratings, from -2 to +2. By contrast, ASL has separate counters for 56 different types of tanks and assault guns for the Germans alone, with armor values from 0 to 26, based on actual thickness and degree of slope. Beyond Valor includes 99 separate German vehicles simulated in the game, including halftracks, armored cars, anti-aircraft vehicles, soft skins. Many fans of the original Squad Leader game who had looked forward to improvements to the system with the release of Advanced Squad Leader were taken aback by the need to replace the four modules they had bought.

The new game requires at least two products, the Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook and an initial module, either Beyond Valor, which contains a brand new counter mix for the German and Finnish armies, as well as all necessary system counters, or else Paratrooper, which contains a limited counter mix for system markers, US paratrooper units and their German opponents in Normandy. Either initial module requires ownership of boards from SL in order to play the included scenarios; the new game does not feature programmed instruction, instead of requiring a thorough reading of at least four chapters of the ASL Rulebook to play a game with ordnance and/or vehicles in it. The most basic ASL components were no longer introductory in nature, although Paratrooper masqueraded as such.. Avalon Hill suggested that anyone wishing to play ASL purchase the original Squad Leader and gain experience with that system first, kept the original SL and three gamettes in print; the necessity of owning boards from these modules in order to play printed scenarios in the core modules of ASL may have been a factor in this decision.

So while ASL was intended to replace SL, there was a certain ambiguity for many years about the status of SL's replacement. ASL was the first of Avalon Hill's'advanced' games. In 1998 Monarch Avalon, Inc. sold its entire line of games to Hasbro. On January 15, 1999, Multi-Man Publishing, LLC announced an exclusive association with Hasbro, Inc. "to develop and distribute games and other products for Avalon Hill's Advanced Squad Leader game system." MMP is a gaming company founded in 1994 by Perry Cocke and Brian Youse, co-partner Curt Schilling, to preserve ASL and other Avalon Hill games. Multi-Man Publish

Kouros Shahmiri

Kouros Shahmiri known by the mononym Kouros is a Persian pop singer, best known for being part of the pop duo Andy & Kouros with Andranik Madadian. Andy and Kouros released four albums together: Khastegary, the hugely successful album Balla, Goodbye; the two split in 1992, with both Andy and Kouros going on to have successful individual solo careers. After split, Kouros has released a number of solo albums. Andy and Kouros reunited several times after that point. In 2002 and 2004 they performed together for a sold-out audience in California. In 2009, Andy & Kouros they went on an international tour together in the Iranian diaspora, performed together again in May, 2010, they appeared together on a music video by Farez remaking their hit "Niloufar". as Andy & Kouros1985: Khastegary Notable tracks "Three of Us" / "Madar" 1987: Parvaz Notable tracks: "Chi Mishod", "Restless", "Niloufar", "Topoli", "Restless" 1990: Balla Notable tracks: "Balla", "Leila", "Negah", "Sheytoon Balla", "Khodaye Asemoonha", "Don't Go Away" 1991: Goodbye Notable tracks: "Strange Love", "Yasaman"Solo1992: نسل من 1995: یاغی 1998: دروازهٔ عشق 2001: عاشق‌ترین 2010: افسانه