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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 11, 1939

CONCERNING THE WORK OF THE NKVD SPECIAL DEPARTMENTS

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    The Politburo describes the work of the NKVD Special Departments, which are charged with fighting counterrevolution, espionage, and other anti-Soviet activity in the Red Army, Navy, and NKVD. To accomplish these tasks, the Special Departments organize an apparatus of informers and conduct searches and seizures.
    "Concerning the Work of the NKVD Special Departments ," January 11, 1939, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGASPI F.17 op. 162, d. 21, l. 82. Translated by Gary Goldberg. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121875
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[handwritten: from Minutes Nº 64

Politburo decisions for 5 January - 1 February 1939]

[…]

from 11 January 1939

52. Concerning the work of the USSR NKVD Special Departments

1. NKVD Special Departments are charged with special tasks in fighting counterrevolution, espionage, sabotage, wrecking and any sort of anti-Soviet activity in the Workers' and Peasants' Red Army, the Navy, and the NKVD border and internal troops.

2. The Special Departments of the NKVD accomplish these tasks by:

a) organizing an apparatus of informers in the army, navy, and among the civilian population having direct contact with military units, institutions, the supply apparatus, and individual servicemen;

b) conducting investigations of cases of counterrevolution, espionage, sabotage, treason, and wrecking in the RKKA and Navy, the NKVD troops, and among the above civilian population, and through the execution of  searches, arrests, and seizures in connection with this.

3. The Special Departments of military districts (of armies) coordinate arrests of enlisted and junior command personnel of the RKKA with the Military Councils of the districts. Arrests of mid-level, senior, and the highest command staff of the RKKA are coordinated by the Special Department of the USSR NKVD with the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense.

4. A USSR NKVD Special Department of the army and fleet is being organized in the Main Directorate of State Security of the USSR NKVD for the management of the Special Departments of the NKVD and the performance of the tasks entrusted to the Special Departments through the central apparatus of the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense, the People's Commissariat of the Navy, and the USSR NKVD Main Directorate of the Border Troops and Internal Troops.

5. USSR NKVD Special Departments of districts, independent armies, and fleets directly subordinate to the USSR NKVD Special Department are created in locations where the headquarters of military districts, independent armies, and fleets are located.

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