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The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, abbreviated NKVD from its Russian name, was the interior ministry of the Soviet Union, during a part of the era of Stalin, from 1934 to 1946. It is most known for its secret police functions and participation in mass killings under Communist regimes.


The NKVD contained the regular, public police force of the Soviet Union, and other interior ministry agencies, but is better known for the activities of the Gulag and the Main Directorate for State Security (GUGB), which eventually became the Committee for State Security (KGB). It conducted mass extrajudicial executions, ran the Gulag system of forced labor camps, suppressed underground resistance, conducted mass deportations of entire nationalities and Kulaks to unpopulated regions of the country, guarded state borders, conducted espionage and political assassinations abroad, was responsible for influencing foreign governments, and enforced Stalinist policy within communist movements in other countries.

By the time Beria took charge of the NKVD in 1940 hardly a single individual from the original list remained alive. On Stalin’s order, most of the purgers were – in time – themselves purged, thereby leaving no witnesses to incriminate the top political leaders. In November 1935 NKVD agents were assigned military ranks, like those in the Red Army. Yagoda, the head of the NKVD, was the only official to receive the highest SS (State Security) rank of marshal-general, the others received “general” ranks, i.e., SS Commissar of the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd ranks. The following individuals initiated and conducted the Great Purge from 1936 to 1938, but by 1941 only two of the original purgers still remained alive and Stalin was at liberty to replace the NKVD leadership with Beria’s Georgian mafia. [...] To sum up the ethnic origins of the original 37 NKVD generals of 1935, the enforcers of Communism, we find that 19 were Jews, 10 were Russians, 4 Latvians, 2 Poles, and 2 Georgians. In percentages, Jews represented 51% of the total complement, while Russians made up 27%. At the same time, during this period in Soviet history, Jews constituted less than 2% of the total population of the USSR while Russians, including Ukrainians and White Russians, made up more than 80% of the population.[1]

Jews and the NKVD

See Jews and Communism and the section on "Russia" in Jewish influence. Jewish influence in the NKVD, at least regarding the highest positions, was reduced during the Great Purge.


  • Under the revolutionary regimes of Lenin and the early Stalin the former majority population of Eastern Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, White Russians) in their own country were dispossessed and put under the jurisdiction of the prerevolutionary minority peoples (Jews, Georgians, Latvians, Poles, and Armenians). The October Revolution differed substantially from earlier Western revolutions as, for example, when Frenchmen were pitted against Frenchmen in the French Revolution or when Englishmen fought against fellow Englishmen in the American Revolution for the purpose of improving conditions for the less fortunate. In Russia in 1917, international misfits provided much of the leadership for that revolution as part of a world conspiracy to bring down all other governments that did not accept the dictatorial teaching of Karl Marx and his disciples. – Sergei Semanov, 2012, The Russian Club: Why the Jews Will Not Win.[2]

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