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used by NKVD agents. Curiously, this painting was approved by Stalin's censorss.]]

The NKVD, or Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del (Народный комиссариат внутренних дел)—People's Commisariat for Interior Affairs, was the name for the state security in the USSR (that included political and secret police) in one of the stages of its development.

The NKVD was created in early 1918 to handle policing and internal affairs. However, it did not obtain state security functions until it took over the OGPU in July 1934. State security functions were then handled by the NKVD's GUGB ("Glavnoe Upravlenie Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti" or Main Directorate of State Security). On 8 February 1941, the Special Sections of the NKVD (responsible for counter-intelligence in the military) were given to the Army and Navy (NKO and NKVMF) where they became the SMERSH (from Smert' Shpionam or "Death to Spies"). In April 1943, GUGB was removed from NKVD and renamed NKGB.

During World War II, NKVD units were used for rear area security, including halting deserters. On "liberated" territory the NKVD and NKGB carried out mass arrest and deportations, at times forcibly resettling entire populations (650,000+ Crimean Tatars, Chechens, Ingush, and others) or significant parts (Lithuanians, Poless) to Central Asia and Siberia. In 1946, the NKVD was transformed into the MVD. The MVD in turn evolved into the KGB.

For a list of the leaders of the Soviet political police from 1917 to 1991, see KGB.

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