Ministry of Internal Affairs (Soviet Union)

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Badge of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD; Russian: Министерство внутренних дел СССР) was a government ministry in the Soviet Union. The MVD, a successor agency to the NKVD, was established in March 1946. Unlike the NKVD, except a period of about 12 months, from mid-March 1953 until mid-March 1954, the MVD did not include units (agencies) concerned with secret (political) activity, that function being assigned to the Ministry of State Security (MGB), from March 1954 the KGB.

History

The Ministry of Internal Affairs was created on the basis of the USSR′s People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) on 15 March 1946, when all the People′s Commissariats were transformed into ministries. On 15 March 1953, the MGB was incorporated into the MVD,[1][2] and a year later the State Security agency was established as a separate state committee, the KGB.

The MVD was originally established as a union-republic ministry with headquarters in Moscow, but in 1960 the Khrushchev leadership, as part of its general downgrading of the police, abolished the central MVD, whose functions were assumed by republic ministries of internal affairs. Then, in 1962 the MVD was redesignated the Ministry for the Preservation of Public Order (Министерство охраны общественного порядка (МООП); Ministerstvo okhrany obshchestvennogo poriadka — MOOP). This name change implied a break with the all-powerful MVD created by Beria, as well as a narrower range of functions. The changes were accompanied by increasing criticism of the regular police in the Soviet press for its shortcomings in combating crime.[3]

Following Khrushchev's ouster, Brezhnev did much to raise the status of the regular police. In 1966, after placing one of his proteges, Nikolai A. Shchelokov, in the post of chief, Brezhnev reinstated MOOP as a union-republic ministry. Two years later, MOOP was renamed the MVD, an apparent symbol of its increased authority. Efforts were made to raise the effectiveness of the MVD by recruiting better-qualified personnel and upgrading equipment and training. Brezhnev's death, however, left the MVD vulnerable to his opponents, Andropov in particular. Just a month after Brezhnev died, Shchelokov was ousted as its chief and replaced by the former KGB chairman, Vitalii Fedorchuk. Shchelokov was later tried on corruption charges. A similar fate befell Brezhnev's son-in-law, Iurii Churbanov, who was removed from the post of first deputy chief in 1984 and later arrested on criminal charges. After bringing several officials from the KGB and from the party apparatus into the MVD, Andropov sought to make it an effective organization for rooting out widespread corruption; Gorbachev continued these efforts.[3]

In January 1986, when Fedorchuk was retired, Aleksandr V. Vlasov was appointed the chief of the MVD. Vlasov had no background in the police apparatus. In September 1988, Vlasov became a candidate member of the CPSU Politburo, and the following month he was replaced as chief of the MVD by Vadim V. Bakatin.[3]

Interior minister Boris Pugo was one of the main organizers of the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt; when the coup failed, he killed himself.[4] He was replaced by Viktor Barannikov,[4] who acted as the last interior minister of the Soviet Union.

Functions and Organization

The MVD had a wide array of duties. It was responsible for uncovering and investigating certain categories of crime, apprehending criminals, supervising the internal passport system, maintaining public order, combating public intoxication, supervising parolees, managing prisons and labor camps, providing fire protection, and controlling traffic. Until early 1988, the MVD was also in charge of special psychiatric hospitals, but a law passed in January 1988 transferred all psychiatric hospitals to the authority of the Ministry of Health.[3]

Internal Security

As a union-republic ministry under the Council of Ministers, the MVD had its headquarters in Moscow and branches in the republic and regional government apparatus, as well as in oblasts and cities. Unlike the KGB, the internal affairs apparatus was subject to dual subordination; local internal affairs offices reported both to the executive committees of their respective local Soviets and to their superior offices in the MVD hierarchy.[3]

The MVD headquarters in Moscow was divided into several directorates and offices. The Directorate for Combating the Embezzlement of Socialist Property and Speculation was established in the late 1960s to control such white-collar crime as embezzlement and falsification of economic plan records. The Criminal Investigation Directorate assisted the Procuracy, and on occasion the KGB, in the investigation of criminal cases. There was a separate department for investigating and prosecuting minor cases, such as traffic violations, and the Maintenance of Public Order Directorate, which was responsible for ensuring order in public places and for preventing outbreaks of public unrest.[3]

The members of the militsiya (uniformed police), as part of the regular police force, were distinguished by their gray uniforms with red piping. The duties of the militsiya included patrolling public places to ensure order and arresting persons who violated the law, including vagrants and drunks. Resisting arrest or preventing a police officer from executing his duties was a serious crime in the Soviet Union, punishable by one to five years' imprisonment. Killing a policeman was punishable by death.[3]

The Office of Visas and Registration was charged with registering Soviet citizens and foreigners residing in each precinct of a city and with issuing internal passports to Soviet citizens. Soviet citizens wishing to emigrate from the Soviet Union and foreigners wishing to travel within the Soviet Union had to obtain visas from this office. The Office of Recruitment and Training supervised the recruitment of new members of the militsiya, who were recommended by work collectives and public organizations. The local party and Komsomol bodies screened candidates thoroughly to ensure their political reliability. Individuals serving in the militsiya were exempt from the regular military draft.[3]

List of ministers

Source:[5][6]

References

  1. ^ Закон СССР от 15.03.1953 о преобразовании министерств СССР
  2. ^ Закон СССР от 15.03.1953 О внесении изменений и дополнений в статьи 70, 77 и 78 Конституции (Основного Закона) СССР
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Zickel, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. Ed. by Raymond E. (1991). Soviet Union : a country study ; research completed May 1989 (2. ed., 1. print. ed.). Washington, DC: US Gov. Print. Off. pp. 780–782. ISBN 0844407275.
  4. ^ a b Clines, Francis X. (24 August 1991). "AFTER THE COUP: YELTSIN IS ROUTING COMMUNIST PARTY FROM KEY ROLES THROUGHOUT RUSSIA; HE FORCES VAST GORBACHEV SHAKE-UP; Soviet President Is Heckled By the Republic's Parliament". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Governments of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 1917-1964". Archived from the original on 28 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Governments of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 1964-1991". Archived from the original on 28 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
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