The causes for arrests The Great Purges from 1937-39 seem to go from targeting political resistance to persecuting minorities deemed as threatening to the state. Brown describes the ‘album’ method in which the NKVD searched through “records from schools, collective farms, party cells, labor unions and military service,” which identified people by their nationality, in order to find suitable candidates for arrest. (Brown, 158). Brown later explains how the USSR weakened its ideological base by the massive arrests under false pretense (Brown, 167). However, the USSR was able to accomplish its goals of consolidation power and creating fixed national identities. My question is did the USSR hurt itself more than it benefited from the oppression of national minorities and what Brown says Stalin called ‘spy mania,’ or did the purges help the USSR more in the long run?