|Photo from Wikimedia Commons|
Above is a grainy photo from 1921 of the members of the Cheka Presidium which included (from left) Yakov Peters, Jozef Unszlicht, A. Ya Belensky, the infamous Felix Dzerzhinsky and Vyacheslav Menzhinsky. As can be seen by the names, not everyone was of strict Russian origin. Dzerzhinsky, himself, was of Polish noble origin. Many people were welcomed by the Bolsheviks in the first couple decades after the October Revolution so long as they were in idealistic agreement with the new Soviet regime. There were many who came from what is now called the UK, the US and numerous countries bordering the Soviet Union. At the very outset of the construction of the Cheka and its agents, there was no specific uniform and many of the new recruits simply wore black tunics to emulate the ones almost always worn by Dzerzhinsky himself (see photo above). There are rumors that the Checkists in 1917 wore more or less what they pleased with an armband - if they wanted to be identified - while design decisions and manufacturing of a more universal uniform were being carried out.
[Note: Many of the following photos were contributed by a very active and knowledgeable member of the Soviet Military Awards Page Forum: http://soviet-awards.com/forum/ (and in the column on the right side of this page. This is an invaluable forum filled with an enormous amount of information and rare photographs. In order to see the photos so many of the members are talking about, registration is required - which is free of charge). This member goes by the moniker "slava1stclass" which are the transliterated words for the Order of Glory, 1st class and was one of the highest awards given to the rank and file soldiers. Officers were ineligible to receive any of the three classes of this award which were given mostly during WWII. He has been kind enough to lend his photos anonymously and I extend my gratitude.]
If a photo did not come from him, it will be noted as such.