The ultimate impact of the Purges is the system of fear and informing that dominated lives in the Soviet Union. innocent people were made to testify on other innocent people, sometimes through torture, creating an environment of mass paranoia and fear. This environment of fear made mass arrests no longer necessary.
Most of the purging vigor was directed on the leaders of the Communist party, but the Purges also affected many other members of the Soviet society, including the intelligentsia, peasants, and especially the kulaks, or the peasants who were deemed too rich to be peasants.
About one million kulak households (some five million people) were deported and never heard from again.
As a result of NKVD Order No. 00486: Order about family Members of Traitors of the Motherland orphanages were overcrowded around the country. The country filled with runaway orphans, increasing juvenile delinquency. A number of specialized labor camps sprung up around the country to accommodate different categories of relatives: wives, breast-feeding wives, elderly wives, and children.
The author of Stalin's Apologist: Walter Duranty (1990) Sally J.Taylor, recounts: "As for the number of resulting casualties from the Great Purge, Duranty's estimates, which encompassed the years from 1936 to 1939, fell considerably short of other sources, a fact he himself admitted. Whereas the number of Party members arrested is usually put at just above one million, Duranty's own estimate was half this figure, and he neglected to mention that of those exiled into the forced labor camps of the GULAG, only a small percentage ever regained their freedom, as few as 50,000 by some estimates. As to those actually executed, reliable sources range from some 600,000 to one million, while Duranty maintained that only about 30,000 to 40,000 had been killed."