NKVD

(NARODNIY KOMMISSARIAT VNUTRENNIKH DEL)
   The People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs, the NKVD, was formed on 10 July 1936 from the OGPU. It included all the organs of repression and intelligence of the Soviet government in one department, as well as directorates for railroad and installation security and the forced labor camps of the gulag system. In 1941 the NKVD had 379,000 personnel. During the purges of the 1930s, the NKVD accumulated tremendous power to arrest, interrogate, try, and execute suspected enemies of the people. To the Soviet people of the 1930s, the NKVD was synonymous with terror.
   With the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the NKVD was divided into the NKGB (People’s Commissariat of State Security) and the NKVD. During the Great Patriotic War, Joseph Stalin ordered the NKVD’s military role expanded, and NKVD units served along with the Red Army in major defensive battles. By 1943 more than 500,000 people were serving in the NKVD Internal Troops in infantry divisions and regiments. According to a recent study of Soviet order of battle in the war, the NKVD had command of a small army of 53 infantry divisions and nine independent rifle brigades. NKVD units also were used as “blocking formations,” which were situated in the rear of Red Army formations to prevent retreat, panic, and desertions.
   Following the defeat of Nazi Germany, the NKVD played the leading role in the suppression of nationalist forces in the Ukraine and the Baltic States. In 1946 the NKVD was transformed by Stalin into the MVD (Ministry of Internal Affairs).

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

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