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Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov
Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov
Allegiance Soviet Union Flag of the Soviet Union.svg
Service GUKR
Rank Colonel General
Born 1894
Died 18 December 1954
Cause of
Firing Squad

Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov (Russian: Виктор Семёнович Абакýмов) ( (1894 - 1954), (Colonel General), was a high level Soviet security organs official, from 1943 to 1946 the head of GUKR (Chief Counterintelligence Directorate) well known as SMERSH by the USSR People's Commissariat of Defense, and from 1946 to 1951 minister of State Security or MGB (ex-NKGB). Abakumov was a notoriously brutal official who was known to torture prisoners with his own hands.

Abakumov, was born in 1894 in Moscow (according to some sources - 1896 or 1908). He joined Soviet security organization (then Joint State Political Directorate under SNK of the USSR) in 1932, and started working in the Economics Department (EKO) in one of the OGPU Moscow field district office. In 1933 he was transferred to OGPU Moscow Hq, (Lubyanka) to the Economics Directorate (EKU-OGPU).
In 1934 after the reorganization of security aparatus (the OGPU was joint to NKVD as a GUGB), Abakumov started his work in a 1st Section of Economics Department (EKO) by the Main Directorate of State Security of NKVD. Then on the first of August 1934 he was transferred to The Chief Directorate of Camps and Labour Colonies well known as GULAG, where he served to 1937, mainly as operative officer in 3rd Section of Security Department of GULAG of the NKVD. In April 1937 Abakumov was moved to 4th Department (OO) of GUGB of the NKVD where he was serving to March 1938. After the next reorganization of NKVD structure in March 1938, he became assistant to the chief of the 4th Department in the 1st Directorate of the NKVD, and then from September 29 to November 1st 1938 he fulfilled duties of assistants of Pyotr Fedotov, he was the head of the 2nd Department (Secret Political Dep – or. SPO) of GUGB of the NKVD, and next, to the end of 1938, he was working in SPO GUGB NKVD as a head of one of the Sections. Abakumov had survived the great purge, by participating in it. He executed each order without scruples, probably saving him from facing an execution squad himself.

Near the end of December 1938 Abakumov was moved from Moscow to Rostov, where soon he became the head of UNKVD of Rostov Oblast, (the head of local NKVD Office). He came back to Moscow Hq in February 12, 1941 as a Senior Major of State Security and, after the reorganization and creation of the new NKGB, he became one of the deputies of Lavrentiy Beria who was the People's Commissar for Internal Affairs (head of the NKVD). On July 19, 1941 he become the head of Special Department (OO) of the NKVD which was responsible for Counterintelligence and internal security in the RKKA (Red Army). In this position after the attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union and the defeats experienced by the Red Army, on Stalin's order he led the purges of RKKA commanders accused for betrayal and cowardice. In 1943 for some time (from April 19 to May 20, 1943), Abakumov was a one of Stalin’s deputies when he held the post of People's Commissar of Defence of the USSR.
In April 1943 when Chief Counterintelligence Directorate of the People's Commissariat of Defence of the USSR (or GUKR NKO USSR) better known as SMERSH was created, Abakumov was put in charge of it, in the rank of Commissar 2.nd rank of State Security, and he held a title of vice-Commissar of Defense. In 1946, Stalin appointed Abakumov Minister for State Security (MGB). Although the ministry was under the general supervision of Beria, Stalin hoped to curb the latter's power.In this capacity he was in charge of the 1949 purge known as the "Leningrad Affair," in which the Politburo members Nikolai Voznesensky and Aleksei Kuznetsov were executed.

At the end of 1951 an MGB employee, Mikhail Ryumin bypassed Abakumov and went directly to Stalin to report what became known as the Doctor's Plot. As a result Abakumov was arrested and even Beria was in danger.[1] With Stalin's death in March 1953, the Doctor's Plot unravelled. Ryumin was arrested, tried, and executed. Abakumov, however, was not set free; he was eventually tried for his role in the Leningrad Affair and shot on 18 December 1954.[1]


  1. ^ a b Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The GULAG Archipelago. Harper & Row(1973). pp. 157–9.  


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