Stalin's Secret Police
A history of the CHEKA, OGPU, NKVD, SMERSH & KGB: 1917–1991
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The infamous KGB of Cold War renown was the successor to a series of equally lethal state security agencies that date from the early days of the Russian Revolution: the Cheka, OGPU, NKVD and MVD. Stalin s Secret Police begins by describing the harsh state security used by the despotic Tsars from the time of Ivan the Terrible. The author then examines the Cheka, the first post-revolutionary organization charged with combating counter-revolution, whose methods were so ruthless that the early Bolshevik government abolished the organization in 1922. After taking control of the Communist Party in 1923, Stalin used the newly formed OGPU to implement mass deportations of the kulaks (wealthy peasants). Stalin s Secret Police then charts Stalin s use of the renamed NKVD to carry out the purges of the 1930s, where most of the Soviet dictator s political rivals were prosecuted in notorious show trials: millions were arrested and ended their lives in Gulags (forced-labor camps), while countless others were executed. But this was not the end of secret police terror: after World War II, many thousands of Cossacks and White Russians who had fought for the Nazis faced a similar fate. Following the death of Stalin in 1953, the final incarnation of the Soviet secret police, the KGB, became an agency for spreading Soviet influence throughout the world. Illustrated with 120 photographs, Stalin s Secret Police is a lively and accessible history of secret police oppression in the Soviet Union from 1917 to the early 1990s.