Uspenskiy, Aleksandr Ivanovich

(1902–1940)
   Uspenskiy joined the Cheka at 18 and rose quickly. In January 1938 he was appointed by Nikolai Yezhov as head of the Ukrainian NKVD, and over the next 10 months he carried out a merciless purge of the Communist Party and the local organs of the NKVD. Sensing Yezhov’s fall in November 1938, Uspenskiy faked his suicide and disappeared in hope of finding a sanctuary. He was captured five months later following an intense manhunt, tried, and convicted of treason on 27 January 1940. He was shot the next day. His wife was executed for her role in his flight. Uspenskiy’s fate reflects how the rolling purges of the late 1930s impacted on the NKVD. Even successful provincial NKVD chiefs were sacrificed at the whim of Stalin’s policy. Information from the Russian archives suggests that only 23 of 120 senior NKVD officers appointed by Yezhov survived his fall.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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