Ignatiev, Semyon Dmitrevich

   Following Viktor Abakumov’s arrest in 1951 by Joseph Stalin, Ignatiev was appointed minister of state security to supervise the arrest, interrogation, trial, and execution of Stalin’s enemies within the Communist Party and the police. In Stalin’s last days, Ignatiev supervised the preparation of the Doctors’ Plot, which was meant to implicate senior members of the political leadership and initiate a massive political purge. Stalin repeatedly insisted that Ignatiev torture prisoners to make them confess, threatening Ignatiev with death should he fail. Immediately following Stalin’s death, Ignatiev ensured a rapid transfer of power to Stalin’s successors. Within hours of the leader’s death, he ended the counterintelligence investigations of Stalin’s subordinates and had some of the interrogators arrested. Ignatiev was dismissed from his post as minister of state security on 2 June 1953 “for deception of the Party and Government, gross violations of Soviet legality, and dishonest conduct.” However, for his decisions in the last hours of Stalin’s life to end the witch hunt, his life was spared. He was demoted and transferred to the party apparatus in the provinces, where he worked for the next two decades.
   See also Beria, Lavrenty; Ryumin, Mikhail.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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