The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (Наро́дный комиссариа́т вну́тренних дел: Naródnyy komissariát vnútrennikh del; Russian pronunciation: [nɐˈrod.nɨj kə.mʲɪ.sə.rʲɪˈat ˈvnut.rʲɪ.nʲɪx̬ dʲel]), abbreviated NKVD (НКВД listen ), was the interior ministry of the Soviet Union.

People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs
Народный комиссариат внутренних дел
Naródnyy komissariát vnútrennikh dyél
NKVD emblem
Agency overview
Formed10 July 1934; 87 years ago (10 July 1934)
Preceding agencies
Dissolved15 March 1946; 75 years ago (15 March 1946)
Superseding agencies
Type  Secret police
  Intelligence agency
  Law enforcement
  Border guard
  Prison authority
JurisdictionSoviet Union
Headquarters11-13 ulitsa Bol. Lubyanka,
Moscow, RSFSR, Soviet Union
Agency executives
Parent agencyCouncil of the People's Commissars
Child agencies

Established in 1917 as NKVD of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic,[1] the agency was originally tasked with conducting regular police work and overseeing the country's prisons and labor camps.[2] It was disbanded in 1930, with its functions being dispersed among other agencies, only to be reinstated as an all-union commissariat in 1934.[3]

The functions of the OGPU (the secret police organization) were transferred to the NKVD in 1934, giving it a monopoly over law enforcement activities that lasted until the end of World War II.[2] During this period, the NKVD included both ordinary public order activities, as well as secret police activities.[4] The NKVD is known for its role in political repression and for carrying out the Great Purge under Joseph Stalin. It was led by Genrikh Yagoda, Nikolai Yezhov and Lavrentiy Beria.[5][6][7]

The NKVD undertook mass extrajudicial executions of untold numbers of citizens, and conceived, populated and administered the Gulag system of forced labour camps. Their agents were responsible for the repression of the wealthier peasantry, as well as the mass deportations of entire nationalities to uninhabited regions of the country.[8][9] They oversaw the protection of Soviet borders and espionage (which included political assassinations), and enforced Soviet policy in communist movements and puppet governments in other countries,[10] most notably the repression and massacres in Poland.[11]

In March 1946 all People's Commissariats were renamed to Ministries, and the NKVD became the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD).[12]