Translator’s Note: The NKVD [Internal Security] Troops – existed in one form or another – from 1918-1991. Elements of these troops tried to defend the USSR from the corruption of Gorbachev – but were overcome and disarmed by military units prepared to destroy the Socialist Revolution. Throughout their history, however, NKVD Troops dedicated themselves to the protection of the Socialist Revolution (and thereby the ‘rights’ of the people) for decades before the Revolution was ‘betrayed’. As the NKVD protected the Socialist Revolution their reputation is often attacked by both Western and (modern) Russian historians antagonistic toward a) Socialism, and b) the Soviet Union. I have focused this article on the history of the NKVD Troops from their inception in 1918 to their victory in 1945. Indeed, whilst Joseph Stalin was alive – no civil unrest was recoded – but as soon as Khrushchev took power a number of riots broke-out all over the USSR that had to be put-down by the NKVD Troops. Although Western historians (citing no evidence) state these riots were the product of the Soviet Authorities ‘acting illegally’ at the local level – the reality is that many thousands of ordinary Soviet people took to the streets to show their discontent at Khrushchev’s attempted character assassination of Joseph Stalin in 1956! This bizarre outpouring of capitalist-friendly lies from Khrushchev shocked many in the USSR and led to riots in such places as:
Mass riots in Novorossiysk in 1956
Mass riots in Grozny in 1958
Uprising in Temirtau 1959
Mass riots in Krasnodar in 1961
Riots in Beslan in 1961
Mass riots in Murom 1961
Mass riots in Novocherkassk in 1962
Mass riots in Nalchik 1968
Rescuing genuine history from the fabrications of the bourgeois is not always an easy task – but it is an important task! The lies must be identified, explained and removed so that the genuine historical narrative is revealed. The NKVD Troops were recruited from the cream of the Soviet population. These individuals were truly sons and daughters of the Socialist Revolution! ACW (9.1.2021)
After the 1917 Great Socialist October Revolution, the issue of organizing internal security arose sharply in the RSFSR. The creation of state bodies was required that could combat (and prevent) both the counter-Revolutionary movement – whilst carrying-out the fight against reactionary and bourgeois crime in the territories under its control. Lenin – as a means to protect the Revolution (and the People) – established the first armed detachments (between January-March, 1918) under the authority of the Cheka (or the ‘Protection of the Revolution Police’) and emergency commissions, for active duty. Later, in March 1918, the local detachments of the People’s Commissariats were united into the Combat Detachments of the Cheka. In the RSFSR the issue of reorganizing the escort service was being resolved. For this purpose, by order of the People’s Commissar for Military Affairs of the RSFSR (dated April 20th, 1918), the previously existing escort guard was reorganized. To control it, the Main Inspection of the Convoy Guard was created under the People’s Commissariat of Justice of the RSFSR.
On June 13th, 1918, by order of the People’s Commissariat for Military Affairs, all armed detachments in the capital (and in the provinces) were united into the Cheka Corps with its headquarters in Moscow. In May 1919, by the decree “On auxiliary troops”, the Internal Security Troops of the Republic (VOKHR) were created, which included all auxiliary troops that were at the disposal of economic departments – which included the People’s Commissariat for Food, etc. By the same decision, the Headquarters of the Cheka was renamed into the Headquarters of the VOKHR, and in June – to the Main Directorate of VOKHR Troops. VOKHR sectors for territorial responsibility were created: Moscow, Kursk, Petrogradsky, Vostochny and Kiev, etc. On September 1st, 1920, the Labour and Défense Council adopted a resolution on the creation of the Internal Service Troops (VNUS). These included the troops of the VOKHR, Guard Troops, Railway Défense Troops, Railway Militia and Water Militia, etc.
On September 17th, 1920, the Council of Labour and Défense, by its Resolution, equated all employees of the Cheka with the Servicemen of the Red Army. On January 19th, 1921, all units and detachments of the Cheka were transformed into a special force of soldiers – the military arm of the Cheka. On February 6th, 1922, the Cheka was abolished and the State Political Administration (GPU) was created under the better-known title ‘NKVD of the RSFSR’.
On November 15th, 1923, in connection with the formation of the USSR, a decree was adopted on the reorganization of the GPU (under the NKVD of the RSFSR) into the United State Political Administration (OGPU) under the SNK of the USSR, a little later enshrined in Chapter IX “On the United State Political Administration” of the first Constitution of the USSR of 1924 – the basic law of the State. During this period, which came after the Civil War, the young Soviet State solved problems in the fight against crime and the protection of State borders. In July 1924, the Convoy Guard was reassigned from the OGPU to the control of the People’s Commissariats of Internal Affairs of the Union Republics. In August 1924, the Labour and Défense Council issued a decree “On the formation of the USSR Convoy Guard and on the organization of the Central Administration of the Convoy Guard in Moscow.” According to this decree, the Convoy Guard acquired the status of an independent ‘special force’. On the territory of Central Asia and in Kazakhstan, the troops of the Convoy Guard, together with Border Guard troops and Units of the Red Army, for a long time participated in the fight against the Basmachi reactionaries.
On October 30th, 1925, the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR, in the decree “On the Convoy Guard of the USSR”, created the Central Administration of the USSR Convoy Guard – which is directly subordinate to the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR. The issues of manning the Convoy Guard, as well as its material and technical supply were entrusted to the organs of the People’s Commissariat for Military and Naval Affairs. The organizational and staff structure of the escort teams was reorganised to reflect those used in the military structure of the Red Army (platoon, company, battalion, regiment). In this order, the troops of the Convoy Guard were brought together in 2 divisions and 6 separate Brigades with total personnel numbering 14,802 people. On December 1st, 1931, it was decided to transfer all the departmental paramilitary Guards of Industrial Complexes to the jurisdiction of the OGPU. It was tasked with protecting the objects (depending on the defence significance) previously guarded by the militia forces and the newly formed military units of the OGPU – this was designed to ‘unite’ security under one command structure and eliminate the separate and disparate militarized guard units during 1932.
On December 4th, 1931, the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR entrusted the OGPU troops with the protection and defence of railway facilities. The NKPS rifle guard units were reorganized into military units guarding railway structures. Thousands of trained NKPS rifle guards continued to serve in the OGPU, including in command positions. For example, N.V. Vasiliev – the future Soviet military leader, lieutenant general (1944), who served in the protection of the NKPS of the USSR from 1923 to 1932 and colonel of the NKVD of the USSR N.V. Solodov – as well as many others.On July 10th, 1934, the Central Executive Committee of the USSR decided to create an All-Union People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD). By the same decree, the OGPU Troops were divided into border and internal security of the NKVD of the USSR.
With the beginning of the process of dispossession and collectivization, hotbeds of social tension began to emerge throughout the USSR, ranging from small protests to mass riots up to armed resistance to the authorities. In this regard, the workload on the NKVD [Internal Security] Troops which carried-out the transportation and resettlement of a large numbers of people across the country dramatically increased. In this regard, in August 1934, the personnel of the Convoy Guards were increased by 20,000 soldiers. For this period, the management of the convoy divisions was stationed in Moscow, Kharkov, Samara and Novosibirsk… In addition, the management of individual brigades of Convoy Guards was stationed in Rostov, Leningrad and Tashkent. On October 16th, 1935, the Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR adopted a regulation on the passage of service by the command and command personnel of the border and internal security of the NKVD serving throughout the USSR. According to this provision, all servicemen of the internal security and border guards were divided into command and command personnel, for which a system of military ranks was established.
In 1937, the Main Directorate of the Border and Internal Security (GUPVO NKVD) was renamed as the Main Directorate of the Border and Internal Troops of the NKVD of the USSR (GUPVV). On April 20th, 1938, the number of NKVD troops, including military units of convoy troops, was established – as 28,800 recruits. On February 2nd, 1939, within the Main Directorate of the Border and Internal Troops – 6 separate departments were created as part of the NKVD of the USSR:
Main Directorate of Border Troops
Main Directorate for the Protection of Railway Structures
Main Directorate for Protection of Particularly Important Industrial Enterprises
Main Directorate of Convoy Troops
General Directorate of Military Support
Main Military Construction Directorate
On September 1st, 1939, the law “On universal military service” was adopted. For the first time, it was stated in the law that the Internal Troops were an integral part of the Armed Forces of the USSR. On November 20th, 1939, by order of the NKVD of the USSR, the “Regulations on the convoy troops of the NKVD of the USSR” were adopted. It stipulated the tasks of escorting persons in custody and the procedure for carrying out external protection of individual prisons. The same Regulation set the tasks of the Internal Troops in wartime for the escort and protection of prisoners of war.
On March 4th, 1941, the Directorate of Operational Forces of the NKVD of the USSR was created. In the pre-war years, the Internal Troops guarded 135 State facilities. They also carried out convoy duties to 156 judicial institutions and served on 176 railway routes. As of January 1st, 1940, the number of personnel of the Convoy Troops reached 34,295 people (1 division, 9 brigades, 2 separate regiments and 2 schools for junior command personnel). In 1941, the NKVD Convoy Troops Directorate was disbanded and merged with the NKVD Internal Troops Directorate. The main tasks of this department are: participation in hostilities, guarding reception centres for prisoners of war, guarding trains, escorting prisoners.
The Great Patriotic War (1941-1945)
The number of internal troops at the beginning of the wa
By the summer of 1941, the NKVD internal troops included 173,900 people, of which:
operational formations – 27 300 people
troops for the protection of railways – 63,700
troops for the protection of especially important state enterprises – 29 300
escort troops – 38,200
in military schools and other institutions of the internal troops – 15,400
With the beginning of the war, mobilization was carried out and the personnel of the NKVD internal troops reached 274,000 people. On June 22nd, 1941, one of the first formations of the NKVD to engage in a battle with the enemy was the 132nd Separate Convoy Battalion from the garrison of the Brest Fortress.
Mobilization of NKVD troops to the front
By a government decree of June 29th, 1941, it was planned to form 10 rifle and 5 mountain rifle divisions from the NKVD troops and transfer them to the active army. Subsequently, the task changed: it was necessary to form 15 rifle divisions in a reduced composition. In total, 23,000 were allocated from the internal troops for their staffing, and 15,000 from the border troops. After a short training, all divisions were sent to the armies of the Reserve, Northern and Western fronts. In August 1941, by decision of the State Défense Committee, 110,000 Servicemen were sent to the front from the NKVD troops. In mid-1942, an additional 75,000 were sent. At the end of 1942, the Army of the NKVD Troops (AVNKVD) was formed from the Servicemen of the border and internal troops, consisting of 6 divisions, renamed on February 1, 1943 into the 70th Army.
The divisions were formed according to the territorial principle:
from the border troops – the Far Eastern, Transbaikal and Central Asian divisions
from operational troops – the Ural and Stalingrad divisions
from the troops for the protection of railways – Siberian Division
For the entire war period, the NKVD transferred 29 divisions from its composition to the active army.
In total, 53 divisions and 20 brigades of the NKVD took part in the hostilities.
Particularly distinguished formations of the Internal Troops in the Great Patriotic War:
1st Special Purpose Motorized Rifle Division of the Internal Troops of the NKVD – Battle of Moscow
2nd Special Purpose Motorized Rifle Division of the Internal Troops of the NKVD- Battle of Moscow
21st Motorized Rifle Division of Internal Troops of the NKVD of the USSR – Défense of Leningrad
10th Infantry Division of Internal Troops of the NKVD of the USSR – Battle of Stalingrad
12th Rifle Division of the Internal Troops of the NKVD of the USSR – Battle for the Caucasus
290th separate rifle regiment of internal troops of the NKVD – Novorossiysk Operation
287th Rifle Regiment of Internal Troops of the NKVD – Défense of Voronezh
Contribution of the Internal Troops to the Victory
Internal troops – during the hostilities in the Great Patriotic War – destroyed and captured 217,974 enemy soldiers and officers.
Captured or destroyed: 377 tanks, 40 aircraft, 45 armoured vehicles, 241 cars, 656 guns, 525 mortars, 554 machine guns and many other types of equipment and weaponry.
267 servicemen of the Internal Troops were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
Also, the Internal Troops were assigned the task of radio countermeasures to the enemy.
In November 1942, the field directorates of the special service and the radio station “Osnaz” were reassigned to the Internal Troops from the GRU General Staff of the Red Army. Separate special divisions, central and separate radio stations of the NKVD were formed with the tasks of reconnaissance of the air, radio interception, encrypted correspondence and its preliminary processing from radio networks and radio outlets of the enemy. Also, in December 1942, by decision of the State Défense Committee, radio divisions were formed as part of the Internal Troops, to jam enemy radio stations. On the basis of units of the Internal Troops, sabotage detachments and military instructors were trained to be thrown behind enemy lines into partisan detachments. To recruit partisan detachments, 1000 border guards and soldiers of the Internal Troops, including 95 commanders, were allocated.
In October 1941 – formed from the very beginning of the war – Troops of the Special Group of the NKVD was formed into Separate Motorized Rifle Brigade of special purpose NKVD (OMSBON), in October 1943 it became a separate detachment of special purpose NKGB USSR (UNON). During front-line battles and operations behind enemy lines during the war years, the NKVD Internal troops achieved 1400 derailment of enemy echelons – capturing equipment, ammunition and fuel, etc., over 300 destroyed railway tracks and highway bridges, about 700 km of disabled cable and telegraph communication lines, about 350 blown up industrial enterprises and warehouses, about 150 destroyed tanks, armoured vehicles and more than 50 aircraft, over 130,000 killed enemy soldiers and officers, including about 90 liquidated prominent representatives of the Nazi occupiers and more than 2,000 fascist agents and accomplices of the enemy. In addition, about 50 guns, mortars and machine guns, more than 850 rifles and machine guns, over 20 tanks, self-propelled guns and tractors, more than 100 motorcycles and bicycles were captured as trophies.
Over 20 OMSBON/OOOON fighters were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.
By a decree of the Council of People ‘s Commissars of the USSR of June 24, 1941, the Internal Troops were entrusted with the function of protecting the rear of the fronts and armies. In the second half of 1941 alone, the Internal Troops detained 685,629 people. Of them were:
1001 spies and saboteurs
1019 henchmen and accomplices of the enemy
The tasks assigned to the NKVD Internal Troops were:
carrying out garrison service in the liberated cities
providing assistance to the NKVD in the removal of fascist agents, traitors and their accomplices
elimination of enemy paratroopers, reconnaissance and sabotage groups, bandit formations and small enemy groups
maintaining public order and the wartime regime.
On December 4, 1941, the State Défense Committee entrusted the USSR NKVD Troops for the protection of railways with the protection of station and linear railway structures, cargo, cash desks and escorting wagons with the most important cargo. In this regard, the rifle guard of the NKPS in the amount of 33,320 people was abolished, and the personnel of the guard of draft age, weapons, vehicles and military equipment were transferred to the troops of the NKVD of the USSR.
Participation of Internal Troops in mass resettlements
In the initial and final stages of the war, the Internal Troops were used for the massive resettlement (deportation) of peoples who, by decision of the USSR leadership, were considered accomplices of the enemy. For this purpose, in a short time, huge masses of people on ethnic grounds were exported from the western and central regions of the USSR to the eastern regions (Siberia, the Kazakh SSR and Central Asia). All movements, escorting and protection of the deported contingent were assigned to the Internal Troops of the NKVD.
Examples of such mass deportations are:
Deportation of Germans to the USSR in 1941 – 446 480 people
Deportation of the Pontic Greeks in the period from 1942 to 1949 – 15,000 people
Deportation of Chechens and Ingush in 1944 – 496,000 people
Deportation of Meskhetian Turks in 1944 – 115,000 people
Deportation of Crimean Tatars in 1944 – 183,155 people
The deportation required the participation of significant forces of the Internal Troops of the NKVD. For example, for the deportation of the Chechens and Ingush, a grouping of Internal Troops with a total strength of 100,000 servicemen was required.
Russian Language References: