TL's History of the Ch.K.-OGPU-NKVD-KGB

Copyright © 1998, 2000 by Comrade TL

First posted 981023
Updated 000107
last minor change y10418

We offer a chronology and discussion of Cheka-NKVD-KGB history by guest contributor T.L. TL's perspective is more sympathetic to Stalin than many. Avidly interested in both the KGB and agronomist Trofim Lysenko, TL would be grateful to hear more information from others at this E-mail address:

---The NKVD existed from 1917. It is not that the CheKa changed names to GPU then OGPU and then NKVD, nor did the NKVD become the KGB as most people think. The NKGB, MGB-then-to-be -KGB existed along side the NKVD. The NKVD became the MVD when the NKGB became MGB.

---"N.K." stands for Narodnyi Komissariat, People's Commissariat, "M" stands for Ministry. A People's Commissar became a Minister. There were many NKs. The "V.D." stands for Vnutrennykh Del, meaning Internal Affairs. They are initials. References to Narkom____ is same as NK: NARodnyi KOMissariat. The "NarKoms" (plural) are referred to as Narkomats. SOVnarkom - Soviet NK, Council of People's Commissars. Therefore, a Narkom would be a contraction for a People's Commissar.

---The VeCheKa, CheKa for short, (initials standing for Vserossykaya Chrezvychainaya Komissiya or the short version: CheKa, came into being FROM the Voenno Revolyutsionnyi Komitet (Military Revolutionary Committee, some books on this call this organization MRC.) or the initials for that, VRK. In 10/26/17, VRK had supreme state power. (Che is a letter in Russian, Ka is like our "K," and Ve like our "V." Hence: Ve Che Ka. Short: CheKa or ChK.)

---12/5/17, STATE VRK was abolished with power going to the People's Commissariats, or NKs! There were many NKs, not just of Internal Affairs.

---12/24/17 The PROVINCIAL VRKs were abolished and given to the local Soviets. Soviet means Council. Council of Peoples Commissars would be "Sov Nar Kom" - Sovnarkom.

---APART from this, the embryonic NKVD and Militias existed in 1917. The NKVD was established 10/26/17 along with the other NKs. Their first Commissar was Rykov. He resigned 11/4/17. What this NKVD was, was a replacement for the Ministry of the Interior, though it was written of under that name (causing much confusion!) On 11/1917, G.I. Petrovsky headed it.

---On 12/1917, VeCheKa formed and they took over the function of the VRK which was originally an organization of the Executive Committee of Petrograd Soviet and Soldiers Deputies and from 10/29, affiliated with All Russian Central Executive Committee of 2nd Congress of Soviets or VTsIK. The VRK and VeCheKa are continuous and VRK was pro-Bolshevik. In 10/27/17 a Commissar's Bureau was created in the VRK, Latsis was in charge. Rykov was in charge of Internal Affairs. They also had the Red Guard with them.

---Dzerzhinsky was in the Collegium OF THE NKVD but due to being too busy, left it. Dzerzhinsky was the head of the VeCheKa or CheKa in 10/28/18.

---The NKVD was a PURELY Bolshevik organization. The VeCheKa was only partly under its control and was also a MULTI-party organization at that time, PRESUMABLY pro-Bolshevik, but it was ATTACHED TO the Sovnarkom (Council of People's Commissars).

---There was even a Collegium meeting on 11/14/18 where Petrovsky, Tikhomirnov and Unschlicht were there for the NKVD, Dzerzhinsky was there for the CheKa and Latsis was there for both. This meeting was to get cooperation between the two organizations, CheKa and NKVD, as there was a time when it was CheKa VERSUS the NKVD and NKYu (Narodnyi Komissariat Yustitsy - People's Commissariat for Justice). ---1/16/19, Dzerzhinsky succeeded Petrovsky as NKVD and CheKa coordinator and Commissar though they remained as two separate organizations.

---1/23/22 The CheKa was REORGANIZED (not just renamed) and became the GPU (State Political Administration) and was integrated into the NKVD, directed by the NKVD of which the GPU was a part. 2/6/22 decree was issued for this. This was a time after the Civil War. The GPU had new duties of which Dzerzhinsky was put in charge: set up all of the economic sector Narkomats (NK's) and the CheKa was directly involved in cooperating with the various Soviets (Councils) in these economic institutions.

---7/1923, Under new USSR Constitution, NKVD remained a republic level RSFSR Commissariat devoid of Union Status. 7/7/23 A.G. Beloborodov became People's Commissar.

---1/31/24 three categories of People's Commissariats established:

Then, the GPU was renamed the OGPU and was lifted out of the Republic level NKVD and attached to the Sovnarkom USSR.

Please note this time period. OGPU was lisfted out of the NKVD.

---In reading anything about the time, one notices "People's Commissar" for - Agriculture, Education, etc. always the NK prefix on their title. This all related to Dzerzhinsky's organizational ability and tied to the NKVD and the CheKa.

---In 1926 Menzhinsky was the official head of the OGPU but it is known that he was in the background and that Yagoda was really the brains behind all that went on.

---In 1934, all of this was reorganized UNDER the NKVD, not renamed: reorganized. The central core of that OGPU reappeared in the NKVD as the Main Administration of State Security and was called the GUGB. Yagoda was the officially the head; then in 1936, Yezhov; then in 1938, Beria.

Note important time span of 10 years where the OGPU was detached from the NKVD - and now was put into the NKVD as the GUGB! The is important.

---In 1941 a SEPARATE NKGB (GB standing for State Security) was established using that GUGB central core while police duties not directly involving "state security" were left to the NKVD. In 1946, the NKVD name was changed to MVD and the NKGB name changed to the MGB. Under Khrushchev in 1954, the MGB was reorganized as the KGB under the Council of Ministers, i.e., reduced in status from a ministry to a committee while still remaining very powerful. The NKVD-MVD still existed though few ever heard about it: the Special Psychiatric Hospitals were under the MVD, e.g. This MVD, the former NKVD, is apparently so secretive that a famous man such as Dr. Snezhnevsky of the Pavlov school is not even mentioned in any Who's Who! (Lysenko can be found mentioned in there, however.) One can also find out the names of the successive KGB leaders after 1954 but not for the MVD!

Source: Early CheKa & NKVD "The CheKa, Lenin's Political Police" By: George Leggett NKVD vs. KGB "Beria, Stalin's First Lieutenant" By: Amy Knight Felix Dzerzhinsky: By A. Tishkov; Felix Dzerzhinsky, a Biography: by N. Belskaya

First Additional: Specifically, 2/3/41 NKVD L.P. Beria and 2/3/41 NKGB V.N. Merkulov then again 7/30/41 both into NKVD, L.P. Beria.

Then: April 1943 NKVD L.P. Beria, April 1943 NKGB V. N. Merkulov and April 1943 SMERSH V.S. Abakumov.

Then: January 1946 NKVD into MVD S.N. Kruglov, and 10/18/46 NKGB and SMERSH into MGB V.S. Abakumov, and beginning of 1952, MGB S.D. Ignatiev (& Ryumin)*.

Then: 3/15/53 MVD and MGB both into MVD L.P. Beria; from July 1953 S.N. Kruglov.

Then: 3/13/54 KGB I.A. Serov; 12/9/58, A.N. Shelepin; 11/13/61 V.Y. Semichastny; 5/18/67 Y.V. Andropov.

And: 3/13/54 MVD S.N. Kruglov; 2/1/56 N.P. Dudorov. But 1/13/60 dissolution of the MVD as a federal ministry. Reduced, 7/18/66, to a Federal Republican Ministry for the Maintenance of Public Order; 9/18/66 N.A. Shchelokov.

Then: 11/28/68 MVD again, N.A. Shchelokov. KGB still headed by Andropov.

* Ignatiev (Khrushchev's favorite, by the way, was against Beria), was old and sick, Ryumin was the real person behind him; similarly, from 7/1926 Menzhinsky was in charge of the OGPU but it is known that he also was only a figure head; Yagoda was the real force behind the scenes and when he came to head the organization, he already had a large network of his people in place.

Source first additional info: The Soviet Secret Police, the Uses of Terror, Borys Lewytzkyj (Boris Levytsky). "Beria, Stalin's First Lieutenant" By: Amy Knight, for power struggles with Khrushchev against Beria.

Second Additional: A picture does form. The OGPU was very much, with Yagoda (not Menzhinsky who stayed in the background) on the side of the Right Opposition against peasant collectivization beginning not later than 1928.

Stalin knew this and it was an ongoing thing with Yagoda. In July 1934, the OGPU was abolished and its functions were transferred to a new All Union, NKVD. In May 1934, Yagoda was appointed head. However, the central core of that OGPU reappeared in the NKVD as the Main Administration of State Security, called the GUGB.

In addition, the NKVD controlled the militia (regular cops), border and internal troops, labor camps (GULAG), and fireguards. Further additions to its power made it an even more formidable concentration of power than the OGPU had been before. However, in February 1941, when the separate NKGB was formed, it was established from that same core of GUGB! In September of 1953, the special board Judicial Body of the NKVD-MVD was abolished by an unpublished decree. Most of the economic sections under NKVD control were stripped away and given to other agencies. These were institutions that Dzerzhinsky had set up, under Lenin's consultation, to ENSURE that the Soviet Union remained Socialist! More and more NKVD agents were executed, though not as publicly as Beria and his top people, and many NKVD agents fled abroad or were stuck abroad due to these moves. The NKVD-MVD became very small, hardly anyone knew it still existed. The KGB which was formed of those same OGPU - GUGB people that were NOT purged along with Yagoda, they became big and very powerful.

The NKVD had not been on totally friendly terms with the VeCheKa which was curbed after the Civil War by making it into the GPU and then the OGPU. Most of the OGPU was purged by Yezhov who was specifically given the job OF purging the Right Oppositionists in the OGPU group that were incorporated into the NKVD, but the remaining members who were not purged were that same GUGB that later became the NKGB -and later the KGB under Khrushchev! It was notably Khrushchev that declared a "Beria Gang" in 1953 when he went after Beria and his top people and castrated the NKVD (renamed MVD), removed them from their policing of ECONOMIC INSTITUTIONS, and gave the KGB total power after pulling a coup d 'etat and executing all the top NKVD men, including Beria. Later, more and more NKVD personnel were quietly executed and thousands of them fled the USSR due to this. This was the same GUGB group that SHOULD HAVE been executed with Yagoda for Right Opposition plotting, facts of which are ALL ABOUT economics! And with such men in power under Khrushchev, who later trashed Stalin openly, they put into effect exactly what the Right Opposition wanted to keep way back then which is what they were at odds with Stalin about, namely, state capitalism!

Who and what were the links between the Bukharinites of the right and the Trotskyites of the Left? YAGODA's group was the network link.

Source second additional info: The Soviet Secret Police (Simon Wolin and Robert M. Slusser).

Dzerzhinsky was with Stalin throughout, even when Lenin was alive. Menzhinsky, 1926-1934, was never a real head of the OGPU but just a figurehead: Yagoda was the man with the power during Menzhinsky's rule and he was definitely with Bukharin, some of his people with Trotsky. Yezhov was a newcomer, what one might call a New Stalinist NKVD Man, but he lacked experience. Beria was a Stalin man throughout. Ignatiev was not and he was also a figurehead with Ryumin having the real power. Both were enemies of Beria, friends of Khrushchev's faction and invented the Doctor's Plot, convincing Stalin. They also tended to try to turn Stalin against Lysenko, though there is only a HINT of this. It would not be too easy to turn Stalin against a man whose collective farm fields, visible to all, were full of wheat and other foods used to feed people! Yuri Zhdanov failed when he tried. The military would have many profits to gain if agriculture was using chemicals: which Lysenko opposed totally. With Khrushchev at the helm, he ordered Malenkov to direct Lysenko to use chemicals and plant corn, which Lysenko was also opposed to due to the Soviet lack of Corn Belt. Lysenko tried to get the peasants to mix the chemicals with natural dung, but it was too much work and Lysenko complained that his methods were NOT being used. Lysenko wrote Khrushchev and warned about this adventure. Lysenko was fired in 1956 and the corn adventure was taken up by Vavilov's old colleagues, Shmalthausen, Zavadovsky and Zukovsky! Both corn and chemicals ended up ruining the land, which necessitated the USSR buying wheat from the USA. Khrushchev also privatized the Machine and Tractor; the privatization lead to profiteering and corruption as a norm. By the time Brezhnev got in, there were two economies in the USSR: one was State Capitalist and the other was black market underground. There was no turning back; the system was ruined. Communism defeated itself. It was only a matter of time for Gorbechov and Yeltzen to finish the job. What analysts seem to forget, having amnesia, is that the capitalist West had the best land at its disposal (after removing the American Indians from it...) and they had SLAVES that worked as slaves and earned the West those mega profits.

Next came sweat shops which, in the West, lead to socialist-like revolutions here and there, including the one in the USSR. Dzerzhinsky was superb. Even in the CIA archives (available from interlibrary loan in libraries in USA!) Dzerzhinsky is beyond reproach; letters from his own diary are collected. Yezhov is a shadowy figure, but the otherwise slanderous Medvedev even has nice things to say about Yezhov. POOR Yezhov - he was inexperienced in a field of vultures. Beria was superb, he was NOT heading the NKGB or NKVD during these last days but was superb in the Atomic Bomb project in the USSR. Dzerzhinsky suffered emotionally when his own trusted men turned against him. One group tried to arrest him, another betrayed him and days later, he died of heart attack or stroke. Dzerzhinsky said this was a thankless job, extremely stressful, and he was educated and experienced. Yezhov plainly cracked under the pressure, to the end yelling that he did not "get" the oppositionists or did not get the right ones. He could not ferret them out. It's not too hard to do this on hindsight.

How did Khrushchev do what he did? Stop looking at the top people and look at the smaller people who made the ideas of Marx, Lenin and Stalin into deeds. For instance, without Dzerzhinsky, Lenin's ideas could NOT have been made into a reality. Dzerzhinsky, the name itself, represents tens of thousands of CheKa and NKVD heroes, small people, and FANATICAL communists, PURISTS for the cause. The same goes for Yezhov despite his faults and failures and the same goes for Beria who was SUPERB through WWII for Stalin and SUPERB in the Atomic Bomb project for Stalin. These people made Communism, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, possible. Moreover, the Yagoda group that was always with Bukharin, they are the ones who made Khrushchev's traitorous actions possible, along with the army itself.

WHY would an army or military HATE the NKVD? Simple: for the same reason that the military has always BEEN the enemy of The People and always been what the imperialist powers used to create fascism. The NKVD, they were PEOPLE'S COMMISSARS. Yes, the Red Army won WWII, but would they have fought like that WITHOUT the NKVD watching them to MAKE SURE they fought? The Red Army USED TO BE Trotsky's pals. They are the ones who helped Khrushchev murder Beria and his top people and destroy the ECONOMIC-political POLICE, the NKVD. Compared to our U.S. Agencies: State Security is comparable to State Police. However, Internal Affairs are what is called in to investigate DIRTY COPS. The comparison is loose, but the point is made.

Dzerzhinsky often printed things (available to read) about the types of people that GOT INTO his CheKa and the need to purge the organization, especially at first. The archives are filled with details about the unknown and early NKVD complaining against the corruption in the CheKa and this kept up leading finally TO Yezhov being ordered to clean house. He did not get them all and Stalin obviously did NOT suspect. Stalin was NEVER IN IT for the money: no one, not even his worst enemies, ever would say this against him. The whole Yezhov purge was all about the Bukharinites and in this, Yagoda's schemes were discovered. Contrary to this being just some kind of Soviet or Stalinist propaganda or "fake" show trial info, this information is in the CIA Archives and is not hard to get! Keep in mind, the U.S. Ambassador Davies was there and some of the American (non political) people teaching Soviets how to use the new industry were there to tell Davies that there was fishy stuff going on, like sabotage. Davies was there and there would be NO reason for him to lie about this TO HIS OWN PEOPLE.

Summary: Tracing it back, Lenin had some very rich, powerful people with him, people with big connections to international banking organizations. Those people were not just "those people" one or two or three of them. They had their own networks just as bankers have them, connections. Right and Left SRs absolutely did traitorous actions during Dzerzhinsky's time; Dzerzhinsky was very lenient and most of these people did not get eliminated. They hid, submerged, and showed up later. Yagoda was submerged for years, the real power behind Menzhinsky. These things that led to the Yezhovshchina go back in time, back to networks of people from Western bought-off Mensheviks to Tsarists to the SRs against the Bolsheviks, groups who never were eliminated or even discovered. Yezhov didn't discover them all, either. Beria was another story. The man was, like Dzerzhinsky, brilliant and he was very educated in a top type of Polytechnic University. He was from a patriarchal and macho culture and he had a network of his own people working for him. He never did anything anti-Communist or anti-Stalin, but it seems more like he regarded Stalin as "The Boss" and behaved more like a syndicate person would behave. Calling it a gang is misleading: the revolutionaries of the USA could also be called a gang, so could the USA's Founding Fathers. Likewise, the thing that led to Khrushchev's coup d'etat goes back in time, straight back to the GUGB and those in opposition to the NKVD-Soviet control of the economic sector: under which the Stalinist economy BOOMED.

And to anyone thinking this is revisionism: keep in mind that without the near extermination of the South, Central and North American Indians, and without the enslavement of millions of blacks, and without the sweat shop labor which was often worse than slavery, the glorious capitalist West could never have been a reality either: the West got a HUGE jump start at the expense of perhaps a billion people. At least the peoples of the USSR did it themselves.

End post.

More articles by TL, including a link to her "Red Comrades" site.

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