The next instrument of Soviet state security after the bloody run of the Cheka/ OGPU was the All-Union People's Commissariat of Home Affairs (NKVD) (1934). The NKVD existed as a Russian police unit earlier, but is function as the Soviet security agency only began in 1934. At this time the NKVD was given the sole responsibility for law enforcement and state security, although the military had foreign intelligence/espionage functions. All Union was the Soviet term for national and differentiated agencies from organizations established in individual republics. The NKVD was in part an attempt to create a more coherent organizational structure. It included the Main Agency of State Security (GUGB) which was essentially the OGPU with a new name. Incorporated into the agency was the central agency of Militsia (police), the border and internal guards, and the fire guards. By this time, as a result of both Lennin's and Stalin's policies, the Gulag had grown in the form of labor camps to huge dimensions sqauandering the lives of millions of totally innocent Soviet citizens. A unit of the NKVD was responsible for operating these camps. They also over saw internal deportations. Millions were incarcerated in the Soviet Gulag, many of who did not survive. [Solzhenitsyn] Criminals were among those sentenced to the Gulag, but most were wholely innocent victims, convicted of trumped up political charges. The NKVD had three three commanders (Genrikh Yagoda, Nikolai Yezhov, and Lavrentiy Beria. All three were thenselves consumed by the Soviet system. The first two by order of Stalin hoping to shift blames for mass murder to his henchmen. which is primarily why he chose Yagoda who was Jewish. Soviet sociery was all too willing to blame Jews. Beria was shot after Stalin died by the Sovier leaders fearing he was about to use the NKVD to move against them. The NKVD is best know for the Great Terror ordered by Stalin. NKVD units were given quotas. Many overfilled their quotas to demonstrate their loyalty to Stalin. The NKVD palayed an important tole in World War II, commiting more atrocities, this time not only in the Soviet Union, but Eastern Europe as well. The Great Purgges was only one of the many MKVD crimes. The NKVD at Stalin's order conducted mass extrajudicial executions of countless Soviet citizens. Their primary procedure was to torture people arrested until they receive absurd cionfessions. The NKVD administered the Gulag system of forced labor camps which they filled with people arrested , most for no reason. The NKVD was responsible for the repression of the better-off peasantry (meaning the best farmders in the country), as well as the mass deportations of entire nationalities to sparsely inhabited regions of the country where many died because of the primitive conditions. They were resoinsible for border protection and espionage. Tosh included political assassinations--which continues to be a Russian specialty. They nforced Soviet policy in communist movements around the world as well as in puppet governments, mostly in Eastern Europe. The NKVD was especially vicious in Poland, because of that country's burning desire for independence and adherence to the Catholic Church. The horific Katyn Masaccre is only one part of Soviet actions in Poland. The horrendous regime in North Korea is a NKVD artifact, but notably not China. After this, the NKVD was repaced wuth the KGB which significantly, but did not end terrible abuses.
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander. Gulag Archepeligo. Solzhenitsyn decribes the operation of the Gulag in chilling detail. He received the Nobel Prize for his ground breaking work.
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