The NKVD from 1936-1938 is infamous as the instrument by which Stalin "purged" the Communist Party, Soviet military and generally anyone who spoke out in opposition to his regime - including some who were quite innocent of the fabricated charges made against them. Stalin gave the NKVD the same powers of arrest, trial and execution that the now subordinate OGPU once had (see No. 5 in decree below). Their main and most feared concept was the troika or three man "extrajudicial" system which was charged with the duty of taking some of the burden off of the standard Soviet judicial system at the time by means of trying those arrested by the infantry units of the NKVD. History has shown that it is unlikely that anyone brought before a troika received anything remotely near a fair trial and were often simply executed in accordance with the "speedy trial" mandate.
The following is a translation of the decree from the Central Executive Committee of the USSR which transformed the NKVD on July 10, 1934 and was originally published in the Soviet Union's official newspaper, Izvestiya:
- Chief Administration of Security of the State.
- Chief Administration of Workers' and Peasants' Police.
- Chief Administration of Security of frontiers and of order in the country.
- Chief Administration of Fire Defense.
- Chief Administration of Correctional and labor camps and labor settlements.
- Chief Administration of Civil Acts.
- Internal Administrative and Economic Department.
5. To abolish the judicial commission of the OGPU.
6. The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs and its local departments are to hand over the papers regarding criminal offenses which are investigated by them, after the investigation has been completed, to the courts in correspondence with their jurisdiction and in accordance with the existing legal procedure.
7. Documents relating to cases investigated by the Department of Security of the State in the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, are to be handed over to the Supreme Court of the USSR, and the papers relating to such crimes as treason, espionage and the like, are to be handed over to the Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the USSR or to the Military Tribunals according to their jurisdiction.
8. To form a special Council attached to the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs of the USSR which, in accordance with its Statute, shall have power to issue orders regarding administrative deportation, exile, imprisonment in correctional and labor camps for a term not exceeding 5 years and deportation outside the confines of the USSR.
9. To instruct the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs of the USSR to present the Statute of the Pan [All]-Union People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs to the Council of People's Commissariat of the USSR for confirmation.
President of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR, M. Kalinin Secretary of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR, A. Enukidze*
|Nikolai Yezhov, Head of NKVD|
|Genrikh Yagoda, head of NKVD|