History and structure - NKVD (Soviet Union), People's Commisariat for Internal Affairs, Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del.
After the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks dissolved the old police and sought the creation of Workers and Peasants' Militsiya under the supervision of the NKVD of the RSFSR. However, the NKVD apparatus was overwhelmed by functions inherited directly from the Imperial MVD, such as the supervision of the local governments and firefighting, and the new proletarian workforce was largely inexperienced.
Realizing that it was left with no capable security force, the Council of People's Commissars of the Russian SFSR created a secret political police, the Cheka, led by Felix Dzerzhinsky. It gained the right to undertake quick non-judicial trials and executions, if that was deemed necessary in order to "protect the revolution".
The Cheka was reorganized in 1922 as the State Political Directorate or GPU of the NKVD of the Russian SFSR. Upon the formation of the Soviet Union in 1923, the GPU was transformed into the OGPU (Joint State Political Directorate), under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR. The NKVD of the RSFSR retained control of the militsiya, as well as various other responsibilities.
In 1934, the OGPU was incorporated into the newly-created NKVD of the USSR, becoming the Main Directorate for State Security; the NKVD of the Russian SFSR ceased to exist and was not resurrected until 1946 (as the MVD of the RSFSR). As a result, the NKVD also became responsible for all detention facilities (including the forced labor camps, known as the Gulag) as well as for the regular police.
Other NKVD departments dealt with:
general police functions and criminal investigations (militsiya);
intelligence and overseas special operations (Inostrannyi Otdel);
personal security for high officials,
and other related tasks.
At various times, the NKVD had the following Chief Directorates, abbreviated as "ГУ" - главное управление:
ГУРКМ - рабоче-крестьянская милиция, of workers' and peasants' militsiya
ГУПВО - пограничная и внутренняя охрана, of border and internal guards
ГУПО - пожарная охрана, of fire guards
ГУШосдор - шоссейные дороги, of highways
ГУЖД, железные дороги, of railways
ГУЛАГ - GULAG
ГЭУ - экономика, of economics
ГТУ - транспорт, of transport
ГУВПИ - военнопленных и интернированных, of POWs and interned persons
On February 3, 1941, the Special Sections of the NKVD (responsible for counter-intelligence in the military) became part of the Army and Navy (RKKA and RKKF, respectively). The GUGB was removed from the NKVD and renamed the NKGB. Following the outbreak of World War II, the NKVD and NKGB were reunited on July 20, 1941 and counter-intelligence was returned to the NKVD in January 1942. In April 1943 it was again transferred to the Narkomat of Defence and Narkomat of the Navy, becoming SMERSH (from Smert' Shpionam or "Death to Spies"); at the same time, the NKVD was again separated from the NKGB.
In 1946, the NKVD was renamed the MVD and the NKGB was renamed the MGB. Following yet another merger with the MVD in 1953, after the arrest of Lavrenty Beria the Chekist forces were finally removed from the MVD in 1954 to finally become the KGB. According to the 1996 radio documentary by the Russian Service of the Radio Liberty the MGB was reduced in its role from ministry to committee because of the fear of the communist leaders of the role the MGB might play if the purges would resume. The police force was finally split into two independent agencies:
MVD (Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del; Ministry of the Interior), responsible for the criminal police, correctional facilities and fire rescue.
KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti; Committee of State Security) - responsible for the political police, counter-intelligence, intelligence, personal protection and confidential communications.
The 20th Communist Party of the Soviet Union Congress in 1956, and the "Personality Cult" speech, has finalized the role the two agencies would play until the breakup of the Soviet Union.
NKVD Organization in 1939
Since its creation in 1934, the People's Commisariat for Internal Affairs of the USSR underwent many organizational changes; between 1938 and 1989 alone, the NKVD's structure changed 3 times.
People's Commissar for Internal Affairs - Lavrenty Beria
First Deputy and the head of Main Directorate of State Security (GUGB) - Vsevolod Merkulov
for NKVD troops – Ivan Maslenikov
for Militsiya – Vasyli Chernyshov
for Staff - Sergei Kruglov
Secratariats and apparati
NKVD Secretariat - Stepan Mamulov
Secretariat of Special Council of the NKVD – Vladimir Ivanov
Special Technical Bureau - Valentin Kravchenko
Special Bureau – Pyotr Scharia
NKVD Inspection Group – Nikolai Pavlov
Special Plenipotentiary – Aleksei Stefanov
Secretariat of the First Deputy for GUGB Task - Vsevolod Merkulov
Inspection Group - Vsevolod Merkulov
Special Secretariat - Vasyli Chernyshov
Section for Organization of Labor Force - Vsevolod Merkulov
Permanent Technical Committee - ?
Section for Repair Work – Pyotr Vainschtein
Supply Section – M. Mituschyn
Department of Railroad Transportation and Water - ?
Directorates and departments
Main Directorate of State Security (GUGB) - Vsevolod Merkulov
1st Special Department – Leonid Baschtakov
2nd Special Department – Evgeny Lapishin
3rd Special Department – Dmitry Shadrin
4th Special Department – Mikhail Filimonov
5th Special Department – Vladimir Vladimirov
Department of Mobilization – Ivan Scherediega
Department of Staff - Sergei Kruglov
The Chief Directorate of Economics (GEU) - Bogdan Kobulov
The Chief Directorate of Transportation (GTU) – Solomon Milshtein
The Chief Directorate of Prision (GTU) – Aleksandr Galkin
The Chief Directorate of Administration (AChU) – J.Schumbatov
The Chief Directorate of Archive (GAU) – Yosif Nikitynsky
The Chief Directorate of fire guards (GUPO) – Nikolay Istomin
The Chief Directorate of Militsiya (GURKM) – Pavel Zujev
The Chief Directorate [or Administration] of Corrective Labour Camps and Colonies (GULAG) - Vasyli Chernyshov
The Chief Directorate of Highways (GUShOSDOR) - Vsevolod Fedotov
Directorate of Kremlin Commander - Nikolai Spyrydonov
The Chief Directorate of Border Troops (GUPW) - Grigori Sokolov
The Chief Directorate of NKVD Troops for Railroad Protection - Aleksandr Guliev
The Chief Directorate of NKVD Troops for Escort - Vladimir Sharapov
The Chief Directorate of NKVD Troops for Protection of Industrial Enterprise - I. Kozik
The Chief Directorate of NKVD Operative Troops - P. Ariemyev
The Chief Directorate of Military Provision - Aleksandr Wurgaft
The Chief Directorate of Military Construction - Ivan Luby
Directorate for Prisoners of War - Pyotr Soprunienko
Directorate for Construction in the Far East - Ivan Nikishev
Main Fanacial Department - Lazar Bierienzon
Main Department for Civil Status - Fyedor Sokolov