|Народный комиссариат внутренних дел|
Naródnyy komissariát vnútrennikh dyél
|Formed||10 July 1934|
|Dissolved||15 March 1946|
|Type|| • Law enforcement |
• Border guard
• Prison authority
|Headquarters||11-13 ulitsa Bol. Lubyanka,|
Moscow, RSFSR, Soviet Union
|Parent agency||Council of the People's Commissars|
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (Russian : Наро́дный комиссариа́т вну́тренних дел, romanized: Naródnyy komissariát vnútrennikh del, pronounced [nɐˈrod.nɨj kə.mʲɪ.sə.rʲɪˈat ˈvnut.rʲɪ.nʲɪx̬ dʲel] ), abbreviated NKVD (НКВД listen (help·info)), was the interior ministry of the Soviet Union.
Established in 1917 as NKVD of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic,the agency was originally tasked with conducting regular police work and overseeing the country's prisons and labor camps. It was disbanded in 1930, with its functions being dispersed among other agencies, only to be reinstated as an all-union commissariat in 1934.
The functions of the OGPU (the secret police organization) were transferred to the NKVD in 1934, giving it a monopoly over law enforcement activities that lasted until the end of World War II.During this period, the NKVD included both ordinary public order activities, and secret police activities. The NKVD is known for its role in political repression and for carrying out the Great Purge under Joseph Stalin. It was led by Genrikh Yagoda, Nikolai Yezhov, and Lavrentiy Beria.
The NKVD undertook mass extrajudicial executions of citizens, and conceived, populated and administered the Gulag system of forced labour camps. Their agents were responsible for the repression of the wealthier peasantry.They oversaw the protection of Soviet borders and espionage (which included political assassinations), and enforced Soviet policy in communist movements and puppet governments in other countries, most notably the repression and massacres in Poland to crush opposition and establish political control.
In March 1946 all People's Commissariats were renamed to Ministries. The NKVD became the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD).
After the Russian February Revolution of 1917, the Provisional Government dissolved the Tsarist police and set up the People's Militsiya . The subsequent Russian October Revolution of 1917 saw a seizure of state power led by Lenin and the Bolsheviks, who established a new Bolshevik regime, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR). The Provisional Government's Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), formerly under Georgy Lvov (from March 1917) and then under Nikolai Avksentiev (from 6 August [ O.S. 24 July] 1917) and Alexei Nikitin (from 8 October [ O.S. 25 September] 1917), turned into NKVD (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) under a People's Commissar. However, the NKVD apparatus was overwhelmed by duties inherited from MVD, such as the supervision of the local governments and firefighting, and the Workers' and Peasants' Militsiya staffed by proletarians was largely inexperienced and unqualified. Realizing that it was left with no capable security force, the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR established (20 December [ O.S. 7 December] 1917) a secret political police, the Cheka , led by Felix Dzerzhinsky. It gained the right to undertake quick non-judicial trials and executions, if that was deemed necessary in order to "protect the Russian Socialist-Communist revolution".
The Cheka was reorganized in 1922 as the State Political Directorate, or GPU, of the NKVD of the RSFSR.In 1922 the USSR formed, with the RSFSR as its largest member. The GPU became the OGPU (Joint State Political Directorate), under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR. The NKVD of the RSFSR retained control of the militsiya, and various other responsibilities.
In 1934 the NKVD of the RSFSR was transformed into an all-union security force, the NKVD (which the Communist Party of the Soviet Union leaders soon came to call "the leading detachment of our party"), and the OGPU was incorporated into the NKVD as the Main Directorate for State Security (GUGB); the separate NKVD of the RSFSR was not resurrected until 1946 (as the MVD of the RSFSR). As a result, the NKVD also took over control of all detention facilities (including the forced labor camps, known as the GULag) as well as the regular police. At various times, the NKVD had the following Chief Directorates, abbreviated as "ГУ"– Главное управление, Glavnoye upravleniye.
|Chronology of Soviet|
|1917–22|| Cheka under SNK of the RSFSR |
(All-Russian Extraordinary Commission)
|1922–23|| GPU under NKVD of the RSFSR|
(State Political Directorate)
|1923–34|| OGPU under SNK of the USSR |
(Joint State Political Directorate)
|1934–46|| NKVD of the USSR|
(People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs)
|1934–41|| GUGB of the NKVD of the USSR|
(Main Directorate of State Security of
People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs)
|1941|| NKGB of the USSR|
(People's Commissariat of State Security)
|1943–46|| NKGB of the USSR|
(People's Commissariat for State Security)
|1946–53|| MGB of the USSR|
(Ministry of State Security)
KI MID of the USSR
|1946–54|| MVD of the USSR|
(Ministry of Internal Affairs)
|1954–78|| KGB under the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union |
(Committee for State Security)
|1978–91||KGB of the USSR|
(Committee for State Security)
|1991||MSB of the USSR|
(Interrepublican Security Service)
|1991||TsSB of the USSR|
(Central Intelligence Service)
|1991||KOGG of the USSR|
(Committee for the Protection of
the State Border)
Until the reorganization begun by Nikolai Yezhov with a purge of the regional political police in the autumn of 1936 and formalized by a May 1939 directive of the All-Union NKVD by which all appointments to the local political police were controlled from the center, there was frequent tension between centralized control of local units and the collusion of those units with local and regional party elements, frequently resulting in the thwarting of Moscow's plans.
During Yezhov's time in office, the Great Purge reached its height from the years 1937 and 1938 alone, at least 1.3 million were arrested and 681,692 were executed for 'crimes against the state'. The Gulag population swelled by 685,201 under Yezhov, nearly tripling in size in just two years, with at least 140,000 of these prisoners (and likely many more) dying of malnutrition, exhaustion and the elements in the camps (or during transport to them).
On 3 February 1941, the 4th Department (Special Section, OO) of GUGB NKVD security service responsible for the Soviet Armed Forces military counter-intelligence,consisting of 12 Sections and one Investigation Unit, was separated from GUGB NKVD USSR.
The official liquidation of OO GUGB within NKVD was announced on 12 February by a joint order No. 00151/003 of NKVD and NKGB USSR. The rest of GUGB was abolished and staff was moved to newly created People's Commissariat for State Security (NKGB). Departments of former GUGB were renamed Directorates. For example, foreign intelligence unit known as Foreign Department (INO) became Foreign Directorate (INU); GUGB political police unit represented by Secret Political Department (SPO) became Secret Political Directorate (SPU), and so on. The former GUGB 4th Department (OO) was split into three sections. One section, which handled military counter-intelligence in NKVD troops (former 11th Section of GUGB 4th Department OO) become 3rd NKVD Department or OKR (Otdel KontrRazvedki), the chief of OKR NKVD was Aleksander Belyanov.
After the German invasion of the Soviet Union (June 1941), the NKGB USSR was abolished and on July 20, 1941, the units that formed NKGB became part of the NKVD. The military CI was also upgraded from a department to a directorate and put in NKVD organization as the (Directorate of Special Departments or UOO NKVD USSR). The NKVMF, however, did not return to the NKVD until January 11, 1942. It returned to NKVD control on January 11, 1942, as UOO 9th Department controlled by P. Gladkov. In April 1943, Directorates of Special Departments was transformed into SMERSH and transferred to the People's Defense and Commissariates. At the same time, the NKVD was reduced in size and duties again by converting the GUGB to an independent unit named the NKGB.
In 1946, all Soviet Commissariats were renamed "ministries". Accordingly, the Peoples Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) of the USSR became the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), while the NKGB was renamed as the Ministry of State Security (MGB).
In 1953, after the arrest of Lavrenty Beria, the MGB merged back into the MVD. The police and security services finally split in 1954 to become:
In 1935–1945 Main Directorate of State Security of NKVD had its own ranking system before it was merged in the Soviet military standardized ranking system.
The main function of the NKVD was to protect the state security of the Soviet Union. This role was accomplished through massive political repression, including authorised murders of many thousands of politicians and citizens, as well as kidnappings, assassinations and mass deportations.
In implementing Soviet internal policy towards perceived enemies of the Soviet state ("enemies of the people"), untold multitudes of people were sent to GULAG camps and hundreds of thousands were executed by the NKVD. Formally, most of these people were convicted by NKVD troikas ("triplets")– special courts martial. Evidential standards were very low: a tip-off by an anonymous informer was considered sufficient grounds for arrest. Use of "physical means of persuasion" (torture) was sanctioned by a special decree of the state, which opened the door to numerous abuses, documented in recollections of victims and members of the NKVD itself. Hundreds of mass graves resulting from such operations were later discovered throughout the country. Documented evidence exists that the NKVD committed mass extrajudicial executions, guided by secret "plans". Those plans established the number and proportion of victims (officially "public enemies") in a given region (e.g. the quotas for clergy, former nobles etc., regardless of identity). The families of the repressed, including children, were also automatically repressed according to NKVD Order no. 00486.
The purges were organized in a number of waves according to the decisions of the Politburo of the Communist Party. Some examples are the campaigns among engineers (Shakhty Trial), party and military elite plots (Great Purge with Order 00447), and medical staff ("Doctors' Plot"). Gas vans were used in the Soviet Union during the Great Purge in the cities of Moscow, Ivanovo and Omsk
A number of mass operations of the NKVD were related to the persecution of whole ethnic categories. For example, the Polish Operation of the NKVD in 1937–1938 resulted in the execution of 111,091 Poles.Whole populations of certain ethnicities were forcibly resettled. Foreigners living in the Soviet Union were given particular attention. When disillusioned American citizens living in the Soviet Union thronged the gates of the U.S. embassy in Moscow to plead for new U.S. passports to leave the USSR (their original U.S. passports had been taken for 'registration' purposes years before), none were issued. Instead, the NKVD promptly arrested all the Americans, who were taken to Lubyanka Prison and later shot. American factory workers at the Soviet Ford GAZ plant, suspected by Stalin of being 'poisoned' by Western influences, were dragged off with the others to Lubyanka by the NKVD in the very same Ford Model A cars they had helped build, where they were tortured; nearly all were executed or died in labor camps. Many of the slain Americans were dumped in the mass grave at Yuzhnoye Butovo District near Moscow. Even so, the people of the Soviet Republics still formed the majority of NKVD victims.
The NKVD also served as arm of the Russian Soviet communist government for the lethal mass persecution and destruction of ethnic minorities and religious beliefs, such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, Greek Catholics, Islam, Judaism and other religious organizations, an operation headed by Yevgeny Tuchkov.
During the 1930s, the NKVD was responsible for political murders of those Stalin believed to oppose him. Espionage networks headed by experienced multilingual NKVD officers such as Pavel Sudoplatov and Iskhak Akhmerov were established in nearly every major Western country, including the United States. The NKVD recruited agents for its espionage efforts from all walks of life, from unemployed intellectuals such as Mark Zborowski to aristocrats such as Martha Dodd. Besides the gathering of intelligence, these networks provided organizational assistance for so-called wet business,where enemies of the USSR either disappeared or were openly liquidated.
The NKVD's intelligence and special operations (Inostranny Otdel) unit organized overseas assassinations of political enemies of the USSR, such as leaders of nationalist movements, former Tsarist officials, and personal rivals of Joseph Stalin. Among the officially confirmed victims of such plots were:
Prominent political dissidents were also found dead under highly suspicious circumstances, including Walter Krivitsky, Lev Sedov, Ignace Reiss and former German Communist Party (KPD) member Willi Münzenberg.
The pro-Soviet leader Sheng Shicai in Xinjiang received NKVD assistance in conducting a purge to coincide with Stalin's Great Purge in 1937. Sheng and the Soviets alleged a massive Trotskyist conspiracy and a "Fascist Trotskyite plot" to destroy the Soviet Union. The Soviet Consul General Garegin Apresoff, General Ma Hushan, Ma Shaowu, Mahmud Sijan, the official leader of the Xinjiang province Huang Han-chang and Hoja-Niyaz were among the 435 alleged conspirators in the plot. Xinjiang came under soviet influence.
During the Spanish Civil War, the NKVD ran Section X coordinating the Soviet intervention on behalf of the Spanish Republicans.NKVD agents, acting in conjunction with the Communist Party of Spain, exercised substantial control over the Republican government, using Soviet military aid to help further Soviet influence. The NKVD established numerous secret prisons around the capital Madrid, which were used to detain, torture, and kill hundreds of the NKVD's enemies, at first focusing on Spanish Nationalists and Spanish Catholics, while from late 1938 increasingly anarchists and Trotskyists were the objects of persecution. In 1937 Andrés Nin, the secretary of the Trotskyist POUM and his colleagues were tortured and killed in an NKVD prison in Alcalá de Henares.
Prior to the German invasion, in order to accomplish its own goals, the NKVD was prepared to cooperate even with such organizations as the German Gestapo. In March 1940, representatives of the NKVD and the Gestapo met for one week in Zakopane, to coordinate the pacification of Poland; see Gestapo–NKVD conferences . For its part, the Soviet Union delivered hundreds of German and Austrian Communists to the Gestapo, as unwanted foreigners, together with their documents. However, many NKVD units were later to fight the Wehrmacht, for example the 10th NKVD Rifle Division, which fought at the Battle of Stalingrad.
After the German invasion, the NKVD evacuated and killed prisoners. During World War II, NKVD Internal Troops units were used for rear area security, including preventing the retreat of Soviet Union army divisions. Though mainly intended for internal security, NKVD divisions were sometimes used at the front to stem the occurrence of desertion through Stalin's Order No. 270 and Order No. 227 decrees in 1941 and 1942, which aimed to raise troop morale via brutality and coercion. At the beginning of the war the NKVD formed 15 rifle divisions, which had expanded by 1945 to 53 divisions and 28 brigades.A list of identified NKVD Internal Troops divisions can be seen at List of Soviet Union divisions 1917-1945. Though mainly intended for internal security, NKVD divisions were sometimes used in the front-lines, for example during the Battle of Stalingrad and the Crimean offensive. Unlike the Waffen-SS, the NKVD did not field any armored or mechanized units.
In the enemy-held territories, the NKVD carried out numerous missions of sabotage. After fall of Kyiv, NKVD agents set fire to the Nazi headquarters and various other targets, eventually burning down much of the city center.Similar actions took place across the occupied Byelorussia and Ukraine.
The NKVD (later KGB) carried out mass arrests, deportations, and executions. The targets included both collaborators with Germany and non-Communist resistance movements such as the Polish Home Army and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army aiming to separate from the Soviet Union, among others. The NKVD also executed tens of thousands of Polish political prisoners in 1940–1941, including the Katyń massacre.On 26 November 2010, the Russian State Duma issued a declaration acknowledging Stalin's responsibility for the Katyn massacre, the execution of 22,000 Polish POW's and intellectual leaders by Stalin's NKVD. The declaration stated that archival material "not only unveils the scale of his horrific tragedy but also provides evidence that the Katyn crime was committed on direct orders from Stalin and other Soviet leaders."
NKVD units were also used to repress the prolonged partisan war in Ukraine and the Baltics, which lasted until the early 1950s. NKVD also faced strong opposition in Poland from the Polish resistance known as the Armia Krajowa.
After the death of Stalin in 1953, the new Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev halted the NKVD purges. From the 1950s to the 1980s, thousands of victims were legally "rehabilitated" (i.e., acquitted and had their rights restored). Many of the victims and their relatives refused to apply for rehabilitation out of fear or lack of documents. The rehabilitation was not complete: in most cases the formulation was "due to lack of evidence of the case of crime". Only a limited number of persons were rehabilitated with the formulation "cleared of all charges".
Very few NKVD agents were ever officially convicted of the particular violation of anyone's rights. Legally, those agents executed in the 1930s were also "purged" without legitimate criminal investigations and court decisions. In the 1990s and 2000s (decade) a small number of ex-NKVD agents living in the Baltic states were convicted of crimes against the local population.
The extensive system of labor exploitation in the Gulag made a notable contribution to the Soviet economy and the development of remote areas. Colonization of Siberia, the North and Far East was among the explicitly stated goals in the very first laws concerning Soviet labor camps. Mining, construction works (roads, railways, canals, dams, and factories), logging, and other functions of the labor camps were part of the Soviet planned economy, and the NKVD had its own production plans.[ citation needed ]
The most unusual part of the NKVD's achievements was its role in Soviet science and arms development. Many scientists and engineers arrested for political crimes were placed in special prisons, much more comfortable than the Gulag, colloquially known as sharashkas . These prisoners continued their work in these prisons, and later released, some of them became world leaders in science and technology. Among such sharashka members were Sergey Korolev, the head designer of the Soviet rocket program and first human space flight mission in 1961, and Andrei Tupolev, the famous airplane designer. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was also imprisoned in a sharashka, and based his novel The First Circle on his experiences there.
After World War II, the NKVD coordinated work on Soviet nuclear weaponry, under the direction of General Pavel Sudoplatov. The scientists were not prisoners, but the project was supervised by the NKVD because of its great importance and the corresponding requirement for absolute security and secrecy. Also, the project used information obtained by the NKVD from the United States.
The agency was headed by a people's commissar (minister). His first deputy was the director of State Security Service (GUGB).
Note: In the first half of 1941 Vsevolod Merkulov transformed his agency into separate commissariat (ministry), but it was merged back to the people's commissariat of Interior soon after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. In 1943 Merkulov once again split his agency this time for good.
Andrei Zhukov has singlehandedly identified every single NKVD officer involved in 1930s arrests and killings by researching a Moscow archive. There are just over 40,000 names on the list.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation is the interior ministry of Russia.
SMERSH was an umbrella organization for three independent counter-intelligence agencies in the Red Army formed in late 1942 or even earlier, but officially announced only on 14 April 1943. The name SMERSH was coined by Joseph Stalin. The formal justification for its creation was to subvert the attempts by Nazi German forces to infiltrate the Red Army on the Eastern Front.
The State Political Directorate (GPU) was the intelligence service and secret police of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) from February 6, 1922, to December 29, 1922, and the Soviet Union from December 29, 1922, until November 15, 1923.
Genrikh Grigoryevich Yagoda was a Soviet secret police official who served as director of the NKVD, the Soviet Union's security and intelligence agency, from 1934 to 1936. Appointed by Joseph Stalin, Yagoda supervised arrests, show trials, and executions of the Old Bolsheviks Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev, climactic events of the Great Purge. Yagoda also supervised construction of the White Sea–Baltic Canal with Naftaly Frenkel, using penal labor from the GULAG system, during which 12,000–25,000 laborers died.
Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov was a Soviet secret police official under Joseph Stalin who was head of the NKVD from 1936 to 1938, during the height of the Great Purge. Yezhov organized mass arrests, torture and executions during the Great Purge, but he fell from Stalin's favour and was arrested, subsequently admitting in a confession to a range of anti-Soviet activity including "unfounded arrests" during the Purge. He was executed in 1940 along with others who were blamed for the Purge.
An index of articles related to the former nation known as the Soviet Union. It covers the Soviet revolutionary period until the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This list includes topics, events, persons and other items of national significance within the Soviet Union. It does not include places within the Soviet Union, unless the place is associated with an event of national significance. This index also does not contain items related to Soviet Military History.
Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov was a high-level Soviet security official from 1943 to 1946, the head of SMERSH in the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense, and from 1946 to 1951 Minister of State Security or MGB (ex-NKGB). He was removed from office and arrested in 1951 on fabricated charges of failing to investigate the Doctors' Plot. After the death of Joseph Stalin, Abakumov was tried for fabricating the Leningrad Affair, sentenced to death and executed in 1954.
The First Main Directorateof the Committee for State Security under the USSR council of ministers was the organization responsible for foreign operations and intelligence activities by providing for the training and management of covert agents, intelligence collection administration, and the acquisition of foreign and domestic political, scientific and technical intelligence for the Soviet Union. The First Chief Directorate was formed within the KGB directorate in 1954, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union became the Foreign Intelligence Service. The primary foreign intelligence service in Russia and the Soviet Union has been the GRU, a military intelligence organization and special operations force.
There were a succession of Soviet secret police agencies over time. The first secret police after the October Revolution, created by Vladimir Lenin's decree on December 20, 1917, was called "Cheka" (ЧК). Officers were referred to as "chekists", a name that is still informally applied to people under the Federal Security Service of Russia, the KGB's successor in Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Vsevolod Nikolayevich (Boris) Merkulov was the head of NKGB from February to July 1941, and again from April 1943 to March 1946. He was a leading member of what was later derisively described as the "Beria gang".
"Traitor of the Motherland family members" was a term in Article 58 of the Criminal Code of RSFSR. The amended Article dealt with the criminal prosecution of wives and children of all people who were arrested and convicted as "traitors of the Motherland" in the Soviet Union during Stalinist purges of the 1930s and later. The practice of automatically convicting wives and children was a base element of the Great Purge. It introduced a new category of inmates: the family members of a person who was recognized as a "Traitor of Motherland"; some Soviet labor camps were designated specifically to this category.
The Main Directorate of State Security was the name of the Soviet most important security body within the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD) USSR. At the time of its existence, which was from July 10, 1934 to February 3, 1941, the GUGB reflected exactly the Secret Operational Directorate within OGPU under Council of People's Commissars, which operated within OGPU structure from 1923 to 1931/32. An intelligence service and secret police from July 1934 to February 1941, it was run under the auspices of the Peoples Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD). Its first head was first deputy of People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, Commissioner 1st rank of State Security Yakov Agranov.
The MGB, an initialism for Ministerstvo gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti SSSR, was the name of the Soviet state security apparatus dealing with internal and external security issues: secret police duties, foreign and domestic intelligence and counterintelligence, etc. from 1946 to 1953.
The Federal Protective Service, or the Federal Guard Service of the Russian Federation, official name in English Federal Guard Service of the Russian Federation, is a federal government agency concerned with the tasks related to the protection of several high-ranking state officials, mandated by the relevant law, including the President of Russia, as well as certain federal properties. It traces its origin to the USSR's Ninth Chief Directorate of the KGB and later Presidential Security Service (SBP) led by KGB general Alexander Korzhakov.
Military counterintelligence of the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was controlled by the nonmilitary Soviet secret police throughout the history of the USSR.
Sergei Nikiforovich Kruglov was the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Soviet Union from December 1945 to March 1953 and again from June 1953 until January 1956. He held the military rank of Colonel General. He was involved in several brutal actions of the Soviet security forces. These actions occurred in the 1940s and were carried out alongside his comrade-in-arms General Ivan Serov.
Pyotr Vasilyevich Fedotov was long time Soviet security and intelligence officer, head of counterintelligence in NKVD/NKGB and head of foreign intelligence as the deputy chairman of the Committee of Information.
The Joint State Political Directorate was the intelligence and state security service and secret police of the Soviet Union from 1923 to 1934.
The People's Commissariat for State Security or NKGB, was the name of the Soviet secret police, intelligence and counter-intelligence force that existed from 3 February 1941 to 20 July 1941, and again in 1943, before being renamed the Ministry for State Security (MGB).
Directorate of Special Departments within NKVD USSR. rus. Управление Особых Отделов при НКВД СССР, (UOO) was an organization created in 1941 to conduct military counterintelligence under one command. The UOO was created in order to take back control from the retreating Red Army after German invasion of the USSR, and to counter German espionage efforts in the Soviet Armed forces. The principle tactic used by the UOO on Red Army personnel was intimidation.
See also: Bibliography of Stalinism and the Soviet Union § Violence and terror and Bibliography of Stalinism and the Soviet Union § Terror, famine and the Gulag