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The People's Commissariat for State Security (Russian: Народный комиссариат государственной безопасности) or NKGB, was the name of the Soviet secret police, intelligence and counter-intelligence force that existed from February 3, 1941 to July 20, 1941, and again from 1943 to 1946, and then renamed into the Ministry for State Security, or MGB.


Separate administration

On February 3, 1941, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, separated the large Main Directorate of State Security (or GUGB) section from the People's Commisariat for Internal Affairs (or NKVD) and transformed it to separate administration in order to improve functions of Soviet security organs. The new administration was called People's Commissariat for State Security (or NKB).

NKGB tasks

Based on NKVD and NKGB directive number 782/B265M from March 1, 1941, the NKGB tasks were:

  • Conducting intelligence activities abroad.
  • Battling espionage (on both front, counter and offensive), sabotage and terrorist acts organized by foreign Special Services on USSR territory.
  • Penetration and liquidation of anti-Soviet partys and counter-revolutionary organizations.
  • Overseeing ideology in Soviet society.
  • Protection of high party and government officials.

1941 organization

The first head of NKGB was Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov who became People's Commissar of State Security. His first deputy was Ivan Serov, then Commissar 3rd rank of State Security, and two deputies, Bogdan Kobulov and Mikhail Gribov.

People's Commissariat for State Security Organization for February 1941

Changes 1941/1943

The Soviet security organization was merged during July 1941, after the Axis invasion with the NKGB returned to NKVD as GUGB. During 1943, Main Directorate of State Security (or GUGB), was demerged to separate administration NKGB.
The causes behind these reorganizations have not been fully explained.

These particular organizational changes were never explained to the end, perhaps they had something to do with Soviet occupation of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, eastern Poland, part of Romania (Bessarabia and northern Bukovina), and its nations. Suddenly the number of apprehensions, deportations, executions and Gulags has grown, that required reorganization of structures and boost of man power in security administration.
(...) Shock caused after German aggression and fast progress of their army, has driven Soviet government to organize security organs under one command.
(...) Soviet victory in Stalingrad have made prospect of recovery war losses, that was the reason for secondary separation of Soviet security forces.


1943 organization

People's Commissariat for State Security organization from 1943 to 1946

From commissariats to ministries

In 1946, other changes followed. Existing People's Commissariats were renamed as "ministries." People's Commisariat for Internal Affairs (or NKVD) was renamed Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del) or MVD, and the People's Commissariat for State Security was renamed Ministry for State Security (Ministerstvo Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti) or MGB.

See also


  1. ^ Dziak, John (1988). Chekisty : a history of the KGB. Lexington Books. ISBN 066910258X.  
  • Piotr Kołakowski - NKWD i GRU na ziemiach Polskich 1939-1945 - (Kulisy wywiadu i kontrwywiadu) - Dom wydawniczy Bellona Warszawa 2002 - (NKVD and GRU on Polish soil 1939-1945 [Intelligence counter-intelligence series] Warsaw, 2002)
  • Norman Polmar, Thomas B Allen - Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage 1997


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