The Soviet Security Service and its Treatment of Novelists During the 1930s

Chapter 1a: The Soviet Political Police in Ukraine


In the last chapter, it became clear that the administration and management of the Soviet political police during the 1930s was a complex matter, with different forces exerting multiple pressures on the institution at different points in time. These included the actors that we might expect such as Stalin and other members of the Soviet government, who led the legal change of the political police, or the leaders of the political police including Menzhinsky and Yezhov, who may have used the agenda of the political police to further their own agenda. There were also some unexpected figures in the picture, notably the Soviet press who commented openly on wrongdoing within the political police. As a result of the interventions of these different influences, and other events taking place throughout the 1930s, the narrative of the activities of the political police in the 1930s was not linear, rising to a terrible climax towards the end of the decade, but an ad hoc situation that – behind closed doors – was often characterised by confusion and turmoil.

In this chapter, the focus is drawn a little more narrowly, away from Stalin and from the top of the Soviet hierarchy in general, instead concentrating more on the layer of regional command, and the specific activities and evolution of the Soviet political police in Ukraine during the 1930s. The purpose of this focus is two-fold. First, it allows insight into the running of local branches of the political police. In the last chapter, a pattern emerged of an institution that was in flux, a great deal more than might be expected. This pattern was replicated – amplified, even – in the Ukrainian context. Throughout the 1930s, the work of the Ukrainian political police came under sustained criticism from its own senior staff. Questions were asked persistently about the working methods of agents, about the role of the management and other operational issues. Minutes of meetings demonstrate that it was not just operational matters that came under scrutiny, but general questions on the fight against foreign spies, on the response to the Ukrainian famine and the relationship between the NKVD and other organs of the state. [ALSO add conclusions about the later 1930s here??] Taken together, these factors all indicate that the political police were not an institution with total control over every aspect of Soviet society, but one that was characterized by doubts – and sometimes debate – on the part of the management and by change and upheaval on the part of the staff. Furthermore, the change that took place within the political police was not always for the better, it was not always a case of a poorly functioning organisation remodeling itself into a more efficient organization, but could be repetitive and counter-productive. Reforms were regularly introduced, but it is a matter of interpretation as to how successful they were.

The focus on one Soviet republic is illuminating in that it demonstrates how difficult it is to discuss the repressions of the 1930s as a phenomenon that took place in the USSR, because the terror was experienced in such different ways throughout the federation. As with an examination of any Soviet republic, it is interesting to note how decisions taken at national level were interpreted at local level, and assess the level of independence that individuals within the political police had to interpret these decisions in ways that suited them. However, what is clear about Ukraine is that the particular circumstances and events that took place in that republic, through the 1920s and into the 1930s, had a massive effect on the way that the terror took place there. For example, the terror had such a dramatic effect on the political elite that for some months the whole of Ukraine functioned without any government. This was quite different from how the terror was experienced in other Soviet republics.

This chapter will begin with an analysis of the Ukrainian political police in the early part of the 1930s, looking at the particular challenges that they faced at this point. The chapter will then move chronologically through the decade, looking at primary evidence from the files of the SBU in Kyiv, to the great terror of the late 1930s and beyond. [Another sentence or two of detail about what this chapter is saying?]

Ukraine in the 1930s

In the early decades of the Soviet Union, there were particular characteristics that were unique to Ukraine, and influenced the direction that the repressions during the 1930s took. Ukraine had a unique geopolitical significance as a border nation, sitting between the Russian republic on one side and Poland on the other, as well as being the largest of the non-Russian minorities that made up the Soviet Union.[1] While Ukraine experienced something of a resurgence in its national culture during the 1920s, the fact of its size coupled with its geographic position meant that by the 1930s, many within the Soviet leadership had grown anxious about the situation. What if Ukrainians grew too fond of their own culture and customs, to the exclusion of Soviet ways? And what if spies from the capitalist west were to pass over its border with Poland, and exploit the spirit of Ukrainian nationalism in order to undermine the Soviets? This suspicion resulted in a very particular experience of the repressions of the 1930s for Ukrainians, which was arguably more acute than in some other regions.

Inextricably linked to these questions of identity and Ukraine’s role within the Soviet Union, Ukraine also suffered a terrible famine in the early years of the 1930s, a disaster of such magnitude that all aspects of Ukrainian life were touched in some way by it. The Ukrainian political police were heavily involved with every aspect of these appalling years.

The revival of Ukrainian culture during the 1920s was no accident. The Bolsheviks, fearing that the divisions inflamed by the Civil War would damage the future of the Soviet Union, introduced a policy known as Korenizatsiia – ‘indigenisation’ or ‘nativisation’ – in each of the Soviet minority republics in 1923. This policy, which had been controversial since the Bolsheviks first discussed it just after the October Revolution, was aimed at undermining potentially threatening nationalist movements within the many different republics and territories of the Soviet Union, by permitting a certain amount nationalist activity. Terry Martin described it as: ‘… a strategy aimed at disarming nationalism by granting what were called the “forms” of nationhood.’[2] Another scholar of the policy puts it more bluntly: in the case of Ukraine, the policy was put in place to ‘win over’ a hostile, mainly rural population.[3]

In Ukraine, the policy got off to a shaky start, and it was not until Stalin sent Lazar Kaganovich to the republic in 1925 that things began to shift. Kaganovich oversaw the ‘Ukrainianisation’ of the party, including measures that would ensure that all party documents were henceforward published in Ukrainian, and that the children of party members were educated via the medium of Ukrainian. Likewise, party members were ordered to study the language. Kaganovich set up meetings with members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia and chatted to them in Ukrainian, and in 1927 he addressed that year’s party congress in Ukrainian too.[4] While Russian was still taught in all schools, Ukrainian became the language of public discourse, from street signs to books and even film subtitles.[5] Ukrainian culture was also widely supported, with party members taking classes in Ukrainian studies.[6]

However, by the early 1930s this policy of placing Ukrainian language and culture at the centre of Ukrainian life was reversed. These concessions to Ukrainian nationhood were now judged as too great a threat to the future of the Soviet state.[7] This measure would have far-reaching repercussions for many thousands of Ukrainian citizens. Cruelly, those who had been responsible for implementing party policy in the 1920s now became the target of those who had initiated the strategy. Teachers, academics, writers – all became the focus of the campaign against the dangerous ‘nationalist deviation’ and many were arrested.[8]

How did this implementation and reversal of the policy of Ukrainianisation have an impact on the course of the political repressions in Ukraine in the 1930s? Although the Soviet intelligentsia often found themselves at the sharp end of investigations by the political police in the 1930s, in Ukraine the intelligentsia became synonymous with nationalism – and the Soviet authorities perceived nationalism as the most severe threat to its existence in the region. Therefore, the persecution of the Ukrainian intelligentsia became a particular feature of the Ukrainian terror.

Another section of society that suffered unimaginable adversity during this period was the Ukrainian peasantry, millions of whom died in a catastrophic famine in the early 1930s. During the 1980s, Ukrainian diaspora in the United States began to campaign for an investigation into the famine that took place in the 1930s. This sparked a raft of research from both Ukrainian historians and their counterparts abroad,[9] which established the main facts of the famine: during the latter part of 1932, and throughout 1933, millions of peasants died from a famine that resulted from problems with the grain harvest. While those problems were also happening in other rural regions of the Soviet Union, Ukraine, exceptionally fertile as it was, suffered acutely during this famine, which followed quickly on the heels of the collectivisation of agriculture. What is also clear is that while the famine was ongoing, grain from the region of Ukraine was still being exported, leading some to see the famine as a man-made phenomenon. [REFS here]

This tragic chapter in Soviet history is probably one of the most contentious areas of Soviet history and still provokes serious debate within the scholarly community and also within Ukraine’s contemporary political discourse.[10] Sensitive questions, such as whether the famine can be described as genocide, are still being debated. Even the question number of people who died during the Ukrainian famine is not settled, with estimates ranging from 3-4 million up to around 10 million. A central thread of debate within this discussion focuses on what exactly Stalin’s role was.[11] While these debates continue, what is clear and central for the purposes of this chapter is that the role of the OGPU in policing the peasantry changed the dynamics of the political repression that took place in Ukraine. While in many other areas of the Soviet Union, the bulk of the arrests took place in the second half of the decade, this was not so in Ukraine. As we shall see, the OGPU’s monitoring of the peasantry in the 1920s was just a prelude to the early wave of arrests for political crimes, with nearly 75,000 people arrested by the political police in 1932, and nearly 125,000 arrested the following year. In the years 1934-1936, although arrests reached the tens of thousands, they were nowhere as high as in these two years.[12] These events shaped Ukraine during this period, and as we shall now see, they would also have a great impact on the Ukrainian political police over the coming decade.

The Ukrainian political police in the early 1930s

The slogan of the Bolsheviks during the revolution was ‘Peace! Land! Bread!’ Turning those emphatic promises into reality was never going to be easy, but perhaps the most difficult item on the list was the last: bread. This was especially tricky as it hinged on the Bolsheviks being able to create a relationship of trust with the Soviet peasantry. This was a hugely difficult task, and went beyond the practical difficulties of organising agriculture along collective lines, to the heart of the paradox of the Bolshevik victory. How would the new ruling Marxist revolutionary party take control of a largely peasant society? How would the proletariat cement the Bolsheviks’ victory while working alongside the peasantry and their values which were so far removed from those of the Bolsheviks? Early attempts to coax the peasantry into co-operation were a disaster as the famine experienced in the Soviet Union between 1921-1922 forcefully demonstrated.

For Ukraine, one of the most important grain-producing areas of the Soviet Union, the relationship between state and peasant overshadowed every aspect of life in that region from the revolution until the outbreak of World War Two. This relationship was monitored, and to some extent manipulated by, the Ukrainian political police. Throughout the 1920s, the peasantry and the OGPU circled each other warily. During this time, the peasantry tested the boundaries of the reality of the new Soviet state would mean for them. In return, the OGPU devoted a large proportion of time and energy to ascertaining what the peasantry were thinking and how they were reacting to the Soviet leadership and their policies. As a result, the O/GPU became the arbiter between the peasantry and the Soviet leadership, via the svodki (reports) that they wrote in order to keep the leadership updated with developments in the mood of the peasantry.

At first, these reports seem to have been quite balanced. They noted that the peasantry were deeply unhappy with the current situation, but attributed this outpouring of negative feeling to external factors. Hugh D. Hudson Jr argues that up until the mid-1920s, the svodki ‘focused on the concrete economic and social situation and attributed the displeasure of the peasantry to genuine economic and fiscal problems including an almost unbearable tax burden…’ However, Hudson notes that with the change of leadership of the OGPU after the death of Dzerzhinskii, and under the influence of his replacement Iagoda, the reports written by the OGPU took on a more political tone: ‘peasant unrest was now explained simply by the influence of kulaks.’ Hudson argues that actual reports in the files of the local OGPU demonstrate that the local political police knew that the picture they painted for the central leadership was greatly simplified: ‘reports from the local secret police as late as 1928 demonstrate the Central OGPU had to have known better.’ [13] This, Hudson contends, signifies that the decision to identify the peasantry as ‘an inherently socially dangerous population’ had been taken centrally, and enacted with the help of the political police.[14]

In Moscow, the subject of how the Soviet state should engage with the peasantry – or not – had been discussed all the way through the 1920s. It was only in 1929 that Stalin finally started to resolve the question, announcing in December of that year at the Conference of Marxist Agronomists his policy of the ‘elimination of the kulak as a class’. Lynne Viola has written that this announcement was followed with a series of measures that were implemented with great speed, including the exile of thousands of Ukrainian families to the far north west of the Soviet Union, in the region of Arkhangelsk and its surroundings. This planned exile, at first an almost hopeful scheme in which ‘wooden Donbas’ would be created in the northern region in order to exploit the potential timber industry there, was an unmitigated calamity on all fronts. While just over 100,000 people had been exiled there, sufficient housing had failed to materialise for many of them, and the proposed jobs in the timber industry only provided work for a quarter of them. Nearly 40,000 people had run away. A further 21,213 people had died.[15] Viola is emphatic on the ad hoc nature of the way that this plan took shape, and sees fault both with central and local institutions: ‘Bureaucratic confusion and administrative chaos characterized this most momentous policy, as the center drew up increasingly intricate plans that bore little relation to regional realities not to mention feasibility.’[16]

As the 1930s began, and while the scrutiny of the peasantry continued, the OGPU opened another campaign that would also have an impact on Ukraine. This time the focus of suspicion was the Red Army, and specifically the military specialists employed there. These specialists were there to fill the gaps in areas where there was a shortage of technical know-how in the Red Army, but because of their connections to Russia’s imperial past they were often viewed with distrust by their political masters. By 1930, these misgivings had grown so strong that only one course of action was possible. The name of the campaign carried out by the OGPU was Operation Vesna, in which thousands of military specialists were discharged from the Red Army and then arrested. The campaign took place in Moscow and Leningrad, and one further location: Ukraine. Those specialists who were arrested were suspected of allegiance to monarchist or White counter-revolutionary groups. While Moscow and Leningrad were targets because of the concentration of military academies there, it seems that Ukraine was included in the campaign simply because of its geographical location.[17]

All this suspicion of Ukraine by the OGPU as a likely centre for anti-Soviet activity was not without foundation. There certainly were anti-Soviet agents working in Ukraine. Henryk Józewski was a Ukrainian of Polish heritage, who had grown up in Kyiv. Józewski saw the Bolshevik revolution as an opportunity to return the nation of Ukraine to something resembling the old Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, reaching from Warsaw to Kyiv – or at least an independent Ukraine, which would be of strategic benefit to an independent Poland.[18] In these hopes, he found common ground with the man who would become independent Poland’s first Chief-of-State Józef Piłsudski. Józewski, who also worked as a successful oil painter and created scenery for Polish theatrical productions, was head of a branch of political intelligence based in Kyiv during 1919 where he undertook ‘diversionary action’ against the Red Army and worked to recruit Bolshevik agents.[19] Józewski continued to work for Piłsudski through the 1920s as a politician and, as an artist, seemed to recognise the power of cultural politics, believing that Poland could endear itself to its Ukrainian neighbours through the espousal of Ukrainian culture.[20] In this combination of intelligence work and making art he was not alone – apparently many in the intelligentsia had aspirations to apply themselves in a more political role, and officers of the Second Department made clear their cultural credentials when they complained that their free tickets to the theatre were too far from the stage.[21]

So, as the 1930s got underway, the Soviet political police were playing a central role in the events of Ukraine. They were heavily involved with the peasantry, and as Oleg Khlevniuk argues, played a central role in the repression that led to the massive famine: ‘The destruction of independent peasant farms, the imposition of the collective farming order, as well as the Stalinist policy of accelerating the pace of building socialism on the whole—none of this would have been possible without the use of large-scale repressions. These repressions were varied in nature and implemented by numerous party and state structures. Nevertheless, the nucleus of this punitive system was the OGPU…’[22]

The OGPU also wary of the threat from Polish intelligence, who had identified national culture as a possible route to persuade the Ukrainian intelligentsia to frame Poland as a sympathetic neighbour. While the urban intelligentsia and the rural peasantry were quite polarised in Ukraine after the revolution, the common thread that tied them together was the OGPU. Illiteracy was very high among the Ukrainian rural population, with more than half of the total population of Ukraine recorded as illiterate in survey of 1926. The picture was further complicated by the fact that those who were literate were split between Russian, Ukrainian and other minority languages. Depending on whether they lived in the city or not, between 56.8 and 69.1 per cent of those who were literate could only read Ukrainian.[23] According to George Liber, the Bolsheviks believed that the split between the mainly Russian-speaking cities and the majority Ukrainian speaking villages could be healed through the policy of Ukrainianisation, and this was another reason why the policy was seen as so important in the 1920s.[24] The policies focusing on prioritising the Ukrainian language were seen as a risk, but one that had to be taken if the urban proletariat and the peasantry were to become more equal.

If Dzerzhinskii’s death and the arrival of Iagoda as OGPU chief had provoked a change in the OGPU’s attitude towards the Ukrainian peasantry, that was nothing by comparison to the changes in the leadership of the Ukrainian OGPU in the early 1930s. The leadership of the Ukrainian OGPU in the 1930s was literally at odds with itself, and the political leadership of Ukraine was not much better. Vsevolod Balitskii, who had headed the organisation, was recalled to Moscow at the end of 1931 to become a deputy to Menzhinskii. In his place, Stanislav Redens became the head of Ukraine’s OGPU. However, after Stalin wrote to Kaganovich criticising Redens as leader, Balitskii found himself back in Ukraine a year later, now working as the OGPU special plenipotentiary in Ukraine. Balistskii returned short reports on the activities of the Ukrainian OGPU to the Central Committee every ten days, and was in closer personal contact with Stalin than his counterpart Redens.[25] 

Two months later, in December 1932, three more special plenipotentiaries with close links to Stalin arrived in Ukraine: Molotov, as head of the Extraordinary Grain Procurement Commission, Kaganovich and Pavel Postyshev. These three were supposedly there to direct Ukraine’s leaders, however, Yuri Shapoval suggests that they had come to Ukraine believing that they would find there an anti-Soviet resistance that must be repressed.[26] Throughout 1932, the OGPU worked to repress Ukrainian kulaks, overseen by both Postyshev and Balitskyi. Ultimately, all this activity was for nothing – the grain delivered by Ukraine by the end of 1932 was still only just above half what it was supposed to be, plunging the republic into a desperate famine, and the Soviet government made it clear that they were extremely displeased.[27]

Rather than retreat at this point, the response from Postyshev and Balistskyi was simply to push harder. Grain confiscation and mass arrests continued throughout the republic, but Balitskyi made it clear that this agricultural disaster was part of a wider nationalist plot, which he described thus: ‘a single thoroughly developed plan to organize an armed uprising in Ukraine by the spring of 1933, with the goal of toppling the Soviet government and establishing a capitalist state, the so-called Ukrainian Independent Republic.’[28]

Here once again, the OGPU were the link between the peasantry and the intelligentsia – as their attention turned to the group who had planned the famine, they returned to the question of Ukrainian nationalists, and because of the situation in Ukraine, where language, culture, nationalism and education had all become part of the great project in the 1920s, for the OGPU it was now a short jump to the intelligentsia, who had put their hopes in the resurgence of Ukrainian culture, promised by Kaganovich and the Soviet government in the 1920s. This position was underlined by the suicides in the summer of 1933 of two prominent members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia, first the writer Mykola Khvyl’ovyi and then former People’s Commissar of Education Mykola Skrypnyk.[29] [O. Palko article on Khvylovyi important here as Shapoval makes out that Khvylovyi is a sort of Ukrainian martyr, but Palko sees a more nuanced view of the writer: not someone who fits into the ‘either/or’ paradigm of either a Bolshevik or a nationalist, but more complex than that  – print out on my desk]

The events of the early 1930s in Ukraine had clearly been a disaster, and the OGPU were heavily involved at all levels with every aspect of the events. Debate may still be had over the intentions of the Soviet leadership with regard to the Ukrainian famine, but what is clear is that chaos within the machinery of the OGPU had an impact on this period. It is perhaps unsurprising that by 1934, the Soviet leadership decided to abolish the organisation altogether, and take the functions of the political police into the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, in Russian called the Narodnii komissariat vnutrennyx del’ or NKVD for short. This USSR-wide, high-level, bureaucratic shift formally took place in July 1934, and had structural, functional and legal implications for the political police.

An examination of documents from the files of the OGPU and the NKVD during 1934 confirms that transformation of the political police was taking place in Ukraine. Puzzlingly, however, this change does not coincide with the actual date of the transfer of duties from the OGPU to the NKVD. Reports from a city to the south-west of the capital Kyiv, then named Vinnitsa and now known as Vinnytsia, demonstrate that change was already sweeping through the OGPU as early as January of 1934. [If not returning to V in 1937 section, outline events of the 1937-8 at this point]. A report on the work of agents written nearly six months before the handover to the NKVD on 14 January 1934, explains that the department has spent the last two months piloting measures to improve the work of agents in the city and throughout the surrounding regions.[30]  

The report refers to the need to create ‘concrete leadership’, and discusses the process of identifying the most valuable agents in the division. It also contains a break down of the state of work by department, allowing a glimpse of the extent of the change that was taking place at this point. In the 1st Department, the work of the agents is described as having ‘intensified’ recently. The most valuable agents in the department have been selected and encouraged to communicate more effectively with the operatives, ‘in order to raise the quality of… work’. To further aid the department, all agent work is now carried out according to a planned calendar.[31]

The report goes on to detail some of the work of the most valuable agents, including an unlikely candidate named as Agent Brovar. Despite having spent 10 years in a camp for counter-revolutionary activity, Brovar’s work now involves reporting on ‘the mood of Ukrainian chauvinist elements’ at his place of work, the Vinnitsa State Typography. Interestingly, Brovar also works by night as a proofreader for ‘Bolshevist Pravda’. Another of Brovar’s colleagues, Agent Vateran, has a background as a chemical engineer and has also worked as a border guard; however, his work for OGPU is to shed light on those who seek to steal technical intelligence.[32]

The report also gives details of the changes happening within the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Departments as well. It is apparent that some 16 members of the network of informers have been purged from the 2nd Department.[33] Both the 2nd and 3rd Departments have made commitments to better internal communication. Furthermore, the 2nd and 3rd Departments are both determined to aid the Regional Apparatus (Raiapparat) of the GPU (State Political Directorate); the 2nd Department in assisting with the recruitment of new agents,[34] and the 3rd Department by making a study of all the valuable agents of the Regional Apparatus.[35]

Although this report from January 1934 is over 20 pages long, and contains much detail on the work of the Vinnitsa OGPU, it is followed up by a second report on the restructuring of work of special agents from the same division, written in April 1934. This report, which is more strongly worded and addressed to the Chairman of the Ukrainian political police, is a response to a directive from Ukrainian State Political Directorate (GPU) and the OGPU Special Department. It begins with a list of ‘very serious defects’ identified in the work of the political police in this region. The defects fall under five broad headings, and include use of under-qualified operatives, lack of discipline and initiative, a divide between the most qualified operatives and the rest of the staff, and even ‘failures in appearance’. Problems in management are also acknowledged, including another reference to the failure to provide ‘concrete leadership’.[36]

This list is followed by a catalogue of measures that the report states will constitute a ‘radical restructuring of the work of agents’. There is a heavy emphasis on changes of practice within the leadership of the division, including a commitment to the management working much more closely with operatives, and taking responsibility for the most ‘serious’ part of the work done by the division.  As for changes in the work of the agents themselves, there are plans for them to submit daily reports about their activities.[37] The report closes with another list of commitments to ‘consolidate’ the changes already made, including recruiting new agents, promoting those who are deemed most promising, and the screening of all agents.[38]

Contrast these reports from Vinnitsa in early in 1934 with a set of reports that were made in August of 1934, after the abolition of the OGPU and the transfer to the NKVD had been made. These files make regular reference to the changes that are taking place within the political police in this year. However, they also give an insight into the more general issues and challenges that the senior staff within the Ukrainian NKVD are wrestling with at that point. The files are the result of a series of meetings held throughout August 1937 ???DATE. Vsevelod Balitsky, who was then the head of the NKVD in Ukraine, was present at all of them, along with a couple of other members of senior staff. Most of the meetings were held on consecutive days in August, suggesting that the NKVD leadership in Ukraine perceived a compelling need for a wide-ranging survey into the affairs of the political police at this point.

Balitsky was the son of an accountant, and had been a member of the communist party since 1915. He had worked in the political police since 1918, working for most of that time in Ukraine, and had risen to the position of OGPU Plenipotentiary by the summer of 1934. On the 15th of August, he took up a new post as the head of the Ukrainian NKVD, a position that he would remain in until May of 1937.[39] Balitsky’s new role in the NKVD illustrates that the change from OGPU to NKVD did not necessarily signify a clean slate – plenty of staff that had worked for the OGPU would continue their work in similar roles in the NKVD.

Balitsky was clearly keen to make changes – and be seen to be making changes – as he attended his first meeting about the future of the NKVD before he has technically taken up his new role within the organisation, on 7 August 1934 (although perhaps he is attending in some other capacity, as his signature is at the bottom of the document next to the word ‘Chairperson’). Minutes from this meeting, headed ‘Meeting at the Narkom [People’s Commissariat] for Internal Affairs USSR[40] on the questions of the construction of the NKVD’ indicate that at this point a great deal of building work was taking place – at least three new buildings are in the pipeline for the Ukrainian NKVD by 1935, with a budget of 13m rubles being spent on building work in that year alone in Kyiv.[41]

Once Balitsky had planned out the necessary building work to facilitate the work of his staff, he almost immediately began to figure out exactly how well the NKVD was functioning at this point, and identify areas of weakness and how to address them. On 22 August, he had a meeting with the Odessa Oblast Administration, at which a wide range of issues were discussed. [ADD IN DETAIL HERE SPR 13 – P 12-17]

On 27 August 1934, Balitsky attended another meeting, this time of the Kiev Oblast Administration, to discuss ‘questions on the work of the Kiev Oblast Administration of the NKVD’.[42] Again, there is a slight change of tone and of emphasis in this report, outlining changes that have been made within the political police during the year, but also discussing the work that they have carried out, and examining the broader issues and challenges of the year. The format of the report is a series of statements from various members of staff, and the tone is set by the first testimony from an agent simply referred to as Comrade Rozanov – presumably this is Alexander Borisovich Rozanov. Like Balitsky, Rozanov had joined the ranks of the NKVD in 1918, and like Balitsky had been head of the Kiev Oblast OGPU up until 10 July 1934. After a five-day hiatus, he had been named as the new head of the Kiev Oblast NKVD.[43]

Rozanov gives a quick survey of the work of the OGPU/NKVD in 1934, which kicked off with ‘a number of major cases’, before the attention of the political police switched to carrying out a major purge against counter-revolutionary elements in the city of Kyiv.  During this purge, some 25,000 people were exiled from Kyiv, with a further 18,000 removed to beyond the 50-kilometre zone.[44]

The next task for Rozanov and his team in 1934 appears to have been dealing with the changeover from the OGPU to the NKVD. At this point he explains that they ‘began a period of immediate reform of the work of agents… Orders from Com.[rade] IAGODA and Com. BALITSKY were studied at… meetings…’ The orders from Iagoda (then head of the NKVD) and Balitsky inevitably brought change, including a review of the agents working in the raions, starting to try and resolve issues with the management of agents, and a number of other ‘immediate changes’, including the use of agents working undercover.[45]

In a clear demonstration of how the specific events of Ukraine influenced the policy and practice of the political police, Rozanov then moves on to quite a different subject: that of the famine that had taken place in Ukraine during the previous years. As he introduces the topic, Rozanov’s tone seems to change a little, indeed he almost delays a little before coming to his central point. He begins by introducing the topic, saying: ‘I want to dwell on issues related to the village.’ Then he comes to the point: ‘As we all know, the year 1933… was very severe and we had mass cases of famine [goloda].’ Rozanov continues for a couple more sentences on the broader picture – discussing the harvest and the numbers of beetroot that were planted in 1934 – before coming to the question specifically connected with the activities of the political police. Once again, his tone almost seems hesitant as he makes his point: ‘I want to particularly touch on one question, connected with the village.’ Finally, he comes to the point: ‘This question of mass exclusions from the collective farms. Lately we have noted mass exclusions from collective farms for violation of internal regulations, and very often they exclude poor people, who did not work badly on the collective farm. This year 30,000 people were excluded from collective farms in Kiev Oblast. I believe that this phenomenon should be considered [zadumat’siya].’[46]

The tone is muted (and the last word a little ambiguous in translation) but the shift is clear. Rozanov is calling for an end to the policies enacted against Ukraine’s rural population, and the fact that he has to do so in such a low-key language only serves to illustrate what a sensitive topic this remains. However, Rozanov has one more point to add on this question, and seems to suggest that the situation is not yet fully resolved: ‘I want to note… increased counter-revolutionary activity of the clergy in the village. This greatly complicates our work in the village.’[47] Is this comment a genuine observation about the clergy? Or a way to leave the door open for possible future reprisals against the rural population? It is hard to say, but it strikes a jarring note after the relatively conciliatory statement that directly precedes it.

The meeting then proceeds with statements from other members of the staff. Comrade Alexandrovsky comments that there have been ‘significant shifts’ in the work of the Kiev Oblast Special Department. He also goes on to express his concerns that although ‘considerable work’ has been done on searching for German spies on Soviet territory he has fears about spies from other nations, specifically Poland: ‘I want to emphasize that Polish work is given insufficient attention.’ He goes on to suggest his remedy for the situation: ‘I think the Kiev Regional Administration [Oblupravenniyu] more than any other need to look for a link between the Germans and the Polish, about which Com.[rade] Balitsky spoke at the last meeting.’ [48]

Comrade Krivets, who was also present at the Odessa meeting, had an eventful 1934. He began the year as the Deputy Head of the Dnepropetrovsk OGPU. From March to July 1934, he had taken up a post as Deputy Head of the Economic Management subdivision of the OGPU (tasked with fighting economic counter-revolutionary activity including sabotage, economic espionage, abuse of power and bribery). When the switchover to the NKVD takes place, Krivets took on the very same role but now as head of the Economic Department of the NKVD.[49] At this meeting, Krivets sticks to his economic brief, making some minor points about industry in Kiev (‘Industry in Kiev is small …’) and then going on to mention the provision of food, saying: ‘About bread – there is not enough information about the fight against speculators in both city and village.’ This remark, the only other time that the food situation is mentioned during this meeting, is both short and direct – a contrast to the earlier remarks made by Rozanov. Krivets also registers his concerns about methods of working within the institution itself, specifically problems of: ‘inconsiderate attitude towards valuable agents’. He ends ominously saying: ‘With this attitude, the agency will not work.’[50]

Comrades Bukshpan and Katsnelson also make points about general administrative problems within the NKVD. Bukshpan (not much bio detail available) reports problems in the relationship between the NKVD and the Procurator, stating: ‘I want to draw the attention of Com. Rozanov, that recently there is a number of conflicts with the Procurator Com. Shriftov, who is behaving wrongly. The Apparatus of the UCO Regional Admin does not inform com. Rozanov about all these conflicts, due to which there is no proper response to the behavior of the Procurator.’[51]

The year 1934 was a year of great change for the Soviet political police. The reports from the first half of the year confirm that those within the political police are aware of major problems within the organisation, both on the part of agents and managers. These reports are something of a puzzle. Written well before the OGPU was abolished, they nevertheless suggest new measures to be implemented a few months before the transfer from OGPU to NKVD is to take place. It could be interpreted that these changes were made in anticipation of the more substantial changes that would inevitably accompany a major reorganisation. However, the documents make no reference to the coming reorganisation of the political police, and so it is also possible that these changes were made without the knowledge of any possible changes in the future. In which case, they look like a rather futile, even wasteful, exercise, in which any change made would soon be superceded by a new wave of intensive change.

Although there was a great deal of change within the Ukrainian political police, there was also some continuity, mainly in terms of personnel. Vsevelod Balitsky held on to his post as head of the NKVD after the reorganisation, as did many of his regional senior staff.

***Bit of a bridge, fill in what happens between early 1930s and start of great terror?

The Ukrainian NKVD in the later 1930s

Did the upheaval that took place within the NKVD during the earlier years of the 1930s continue into the time of the great terror? It did continue, however, it is important to bear in mind the wider context during these years. For, by the end of the 1930s, it was not just the political police who had suffered violent transformation. Many of Ukraine’s political institutions by this point were engulfed in a similar level of chaos.

The onset of political turbulence in Ukraine seems to date from the summer of 1936, when the trial of old Bolsheviks Zinoviev and Kamenev prompted the arrest of a handful of party bureaucrats. But it was not until the new year that real changes began. In January, the Soviet leadership in Moscow issued a decree that signaled what was to come – it was titled ‘On the unsatisfactory Party leadership of the Kiev obkom and deficiencies in the work of the Ukrainian Central Committee’. Days later, Kaganovich arrived in Kiev to begin the process of replacing most of the Ukrainian party leadership, including the head of the Kiev obkom and most of the Ukrainian Central Committee.[52] These major changes were echoed over the coming months in similar purges of the Ukrainian Sovnarkom and other departments, as well as newspapers and radio stations.

Whether by accident or design, by the beginning of 1938 these purges rendered Ukrainian government almost impossible, as so many individuals had been purged that there simply weren’t enough to carry out the work that was necessary: ‘By the beginning of 1938, the Ukrainian Politburo, Central Committee and Sovnarkom had practically ceased to exist as a result of the repressions. The republican People’s Commissariats were unable to function normally.’[53]

It was of course Khrushchev who was sent by Stalin to restore order, as he recalls in his memoirs: ‘In 1938 Stalin called me in and said: “We want to send you to Ukraine, so that you can head up the party organisation there. Kosior is being transferred to Moscow to be Molotov’s first deputy chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars…’ [54] Khrushchev recalls expressing doubts about his own suitability for the post, but he went nevertheless, and by the summer of 1938 the Ukrainian Politburo and Central Committee were once again operational.

Against this background, the operations of the NKVD during the period do not appear to be quite as contradictory as they did in the earlier years of the 1930s, in fact they fit a very similar pattern. However, at the centre of the Ukrainian NKVD, greater change was underway. Balitsky, who had been chief of the NKVD in Ukraine since its inception, was dismissed on 11 May 1937. His replacement did not take up his post until 14 June 1937, leaving the whole Ukrainian organisation without a leader for over a month. When he did finally arrive, the new leader, I.M. Leplevsky, only lasted in the position for a mere seven months, before he too was replaced. This time the handover was immediate, with A.I. Uspensky taking up his position on the very day that Leplevsky left.[55]

The level of general chaos surrounding the NKVD during this period is further underscored by the intervention of the central head of the organisation, Nikolai Yezhov. It has been argued that the Ukrainian NKVD during the great terror worked fairly independently,[56] however, Yezhov made regular appearances whether in person or via the various documents by and through which the terror was formally detailed.

Yezhov initially approved the Ukrainian NKVD’s estimates of how many people were to be executed and how many were to be exiled. Throughout the autumn and winter of 1937, Yezhov and Leplevsky were in fairly regular contact over the increases in the numbers of those to be purged. But then in early 1938, after well over 150,000 arrests had been made in Ukraine, Yezhov decided that the work of the Leplevsky was too ‘rough and clumsy’, and he was edged out in favour of the head of the NKVD in the Orenburg oblast, A. Uspensky. [57]

This was not the only change that would have significance for the Ukrainian NKVD around this time. In the same period, Khrushchev was appointed first secretary in Ukraine, and in February of 1938, Yezhov himself arrived in Kiev to oversee Uspensky’s activities, and to initiate a new wave of arrests, announcing that a further 30,000 people were to be executed.[58]

What evidence do we have that change was taking place throughout the rest of the NKVD in Ukraine during these years? It seems that structurally, the organisation underwent considerable change during this period, as historians Zolotarov and Stepkin have suggested: ‘[In]… 1937-1938 the organizational structure of the NKVD, in the centre, and in the field is constantly changing…’[59]

This is not unexpected, as change was a feature of the organisation of the central Soviet-wide NKVD throughout the later 1930s. In fact, the operational divisions of the whole of the NKVD are reorganised twice in 1938, first in March and then later in September. In the first reorganisation in March, four new divisions are added to the existing 12. The first new division was responsible for monitoring military organisations, including the police, fire brigade and the offices were new army recruits would enlist. The second was the department for defense industry. The third was a general department for industry, and the fourth was a department to oversee trade and agriculture. These changes might seem to be explained by the necessity to prepare for war. However, the reorganisation also saw responsibility for special operations shift from the Fifth Division of the GUGB NKVD to the 2nd Department of the NKVD, and the responsibility for six other divisions shift from the GUGB NKVD to the NKVD, including Transport and Communications, the Foreign Department, Accounting and Registration, the Special Department in charge of encryption, and the Prison department.[60] Then, a mere six months later, another major reorganisation occurs, in which responsibility for every major department is once again switched.

While a reorganisation taking place in September might just about seem plausible, as this was the time when the purges were starting to wind down, and two months before Yezhov was removed from his position as head of the NKVD, the earlier reorganisation in the spring took place while the great terror was still in full swing. The very fact that two reorganisations took place in the same year suggests a high degree of internal upheaval, and must have resulted in operatives attempting to become familiar with a new field of work at high speed.

Not that these changes, which took place in the central administration, made themselves felt all over the Soviet Union. In the Donetsk NKVD, change took place on a slightly different schedule. For example, in Donetsk, the structure of the political police was more or less unchanged from January 1937 until June 1938, during which time it was divided into twelve departments, although the 6th Department (Transport) was disbanded in August 1937, after the creation of a centralized Rail-Transport Department of the Ukrainian NKVD, which bypassed entirely the local offices.[61]

At first glance, this change might not seem so important, after all, it is only the transport department and one that we might more closely associate with the delicate work of security operatives, such as Special Operations or the Secret Political Department.  On closer inspection, it is clear that actually this centralized transport department were far more significant than the name of the department suggests. It seems that the de facto operations of this department encompassed a far broader sphere than simply transport. They were in fact responsible for some of the most important aspects of security at this point, including counter-intelligence, and had the power to arrest and try their suspects, as Zolotarev and Stepkin make clear in their investigation of the Donetsk NKVD:

‘DTO GUGB NKVD was essentially the department of operative-territorial security, having in its composition operative, counter-intelligence, secret-political and special departments, and independently conducting arrests, investigations and execution.’[62]  

In this situation, we see an even greater level of confusion. The NKVD had been divided up into several departments for several reasons: to spread responsibility evenly, to allow its workers to specialize in one field, and to avoid one department becoming overly powerful. The fact that in reality one department out of the 12 had in its hands such a great deal of power, and that this power had been authorised in August 1937, just as the Great Terror got underway, suggests that something had gone wrong. It is as if an almost informal structure needed to be created to continue the work that needed to be done. The fact that this department was centralized and able to bypass the local bureaucracy seems to suggest a desperate desire to act without scrutiny. The fact that it was created in August 1937 suggests an organisation where decisions were made very quickly, perhaps even spontaneously. This is not an organisation in which the terror has been planned meticulously, months or even years ahead. It is an organisation where expediency, tempered with fear, is the key motivation for staff, and unsurprisingly this leads to chaos throughout the NKVD during this time.

In all of the evidence of that is available about the NKVD in Ukraine during the 1930s, there is in fact only one space in which logic and order reign, and this is in the files that were kept of the investigations and interrogations that took place during these years. In the files, everything is orderly, meticulous, and tidy – arguments progress from one point to the next with clarity and precision. They are in fact a complete contrast to the swirling incoherence that characterises the real world. In reports compiled in the summer of 1937, only weeks before the Great Terror was formally launched with the NKVD’s order number 00447 at the end of July and following the arrest of Marshal Tukhachevsky and five other prominent Soviet military leaders that signaled the start of a massive purge of the Soviet army, there are many examples of this ordered tone and approach.

From the records of the Donetsk regional NKVD emerges the case of Frolov (no first name given), who is under investigation for being a member of various counter-revolutionary groups. He admits that he first became a member of such a group in 1929, at the Red Army Infantry School in Vladikavkaz, where he became involved in a ‘right-wing counter-revolutionary group’, as well as denouncing the policies of collectivization and industrialization in a meeting. A few years later, in Odessa, Frolov is associated with counter-revolutionary group based in another educational establishment. This time the group is made up largely of Trotskyites, and has been carrying out ‘active Trotskyite work’ among the students of the college. Frolov has given the names of those who he colluded with in Odessa, and they include the school director, a man named Feldman, another Professor Maleev who is a professor of the history of the trade unions, and Professor Petrov, a professor of the history of Leninism. Finally, in the 1937, Frolov has been found to be part of yet another counter-revolutionary organisation is Kramatorsk. The investigation is continuing, and the priority is to identify other members of this organisation.[63]

Many of the other cases in the file follow the same pattern. A suspect is identified, or comes forward to identify himself (and most of those under investigation in this particular file are male). He admits membership of a counter-revolutionary group, and goes on to name a small group of co-conspirators. Most of those named, if not all, are usually identified as Trotskyites. One case in the file, under investigation by the Dnepropetrovsk NKVD, stands out as slightly different from this format. This is the case of the Andrei Yakovlevich Budny, the 2nd Secretary of the Zaporozhye Gorkom.

While Budny’s crime is similar to the rest, his testimony is notable for the difference in the calibre of people that he denounces. Instead of the circle of conspirators centred around one local institution, Budny accuses people far beyond his local sphere, and seemingly unconnected to his personal or professional life. They are in fact a rather impressive bunch: Mikhailov, the current head of construction on the Palace of the Soviets in Moscow, Grando (Sp pls chk), his deputy, and another man who is head of an aviation factory. Later on in his testimony, Budny also names Schifman who is apparently working on the construction of the Palace of the Soviets and two students. Later in his testimony, Budny does then go on to name a handful of people based more locally in Dnepropetrovsk as well.  However, what is interesting here is that the link between Budny and the first lot of counter-revolutionaries that he has named is not clear. There is nothing in Budny’s evidence to suggest a link, nor is any explanation offered by any of the officers working on the case.

– Cross reference: what was happening in the construction of the PotS at this point? Seems like it had just got underway? If it had, does this suggest a political purpose for the fingering of Mikhailov and his colleagues? And would one denounciation from the file of the 2nd secretary of a local Gorkom be enough to suggest a wrong-doing? I just mean, why?


The NKVD in Ukraine during the 1930s was an organisation that was subject to a level of bureaucratic turbulence. This did not take one form, but many. The NKVD underwent reform, and was subjected to high levels of criticism from within its own ranks for a wide range of operational failings. It suffered interference from its political masters and from its own central leadership in Moscow. As the Great Terror got underway, it proved itself to be a highly effective organisation, arresting thousands in the space of a few months, however, even this action took place against a background of turmoil within the organisation, including meaningful intervention from Yezhov that included the removal of the head of the Ukrainian NKVD, as well as reorganisation of the various departments of the NKVD itself and the formulation of ad hoc arrangements to make sure that the arrests that were needed actually happened.

Yet when we turn to the documentary records of the period, where we might expect to see some reflection of these improvised or fragmentary methods, what we find is calm and measured. Meetings are painstakingly minuted, despite the criticisms contained therein. Testimonies of suspects, arrested en masse and at great speed, are detailed and, in a fashion, they make sense. While we may be skeptical about the truth of their strikingly similar confessions, the testimonies have their own narrative structure that hangs together reasonably well. While the subject of the documents may be the shortcomings of the NKVD itself, or the perceived threats to the Soviet Union in the form of counter-revolutionaries and Trotskyites, the manner of their documentation does not speak of panic or chaos. The pages themselves are neat and tidy, either type-written or in fine copperplate handwriting. Occasionally, a sentence or paragraph has been crossed through with a pencil, or highlighted with a rippling line in the margin. There are sometimes a few words written in the margin too, but there does not appear to be any attempt to contradict or reinterpret any of the points made in these documents. What is written here is a solid and stable account of the work of the NKVD, something that might just have been rather reassuring for those who wrote it.

In order to get a better understanding of this internal world of the NKVD, it is useful to examine a cross section of these files in more detail. In the next chapter, the interrogation files of several Ukrainian writers are scrutinized. The advantage of looking at the files of writers is that while they often follow the pattern of other interrogation files, they are also more detailed. The question of why this was will be explored in the next chapter, along with a detailed analysis of exactly what was unique about the interrogations of Ukrainian writers.

  • Just as J Harris argument – state was strong but perceived it was weak – the NKVD was effective but did not necessarily see itself that way?

It is clear that the great terror played a very important role in the situation, with personnel from the political institutions themselves being purged, which in turn led to further upheaval within these organisations. However, it is also clear that it is not just the great terror that is driving the growing chaos in Ukraine. As with the events of 1934, the action begins a little earlier than we might expect. While the terror got underway on 30 July 1937, with the issuing of NKVD Order No.00447, the first indications of the

Section on individual agents at this time?

– plenty of material in the files on this? See 0015-0017 file – lots of agents listed with short biographies.

[1] Kuromiya, H, ‘Report to Congress: Commission on the Ukrainian Famine (Book Review)’, Harvard Ukrainian Studies, Vol 15 (1), 1991, p231. Is this right?

[2] Martin, T, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, Cornell University, 2001, p3.

[3] Pauly, M, Breaking the Tongue: Language, Education and Power in Soviet Ukraine, 1923-1934, University of Toronto Press, 2014, p3.

[4] Martin, T, The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, Cornell University, 2001, p85.

[5] Martin, T, p88.

[6] Martin, T, p90.

[7] Yekelchyk, S, Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation, Oxford University Press, 2007, p114.

[8] Yekelchyk, S, Ukraine: Birth of a Modern Nation, Oxford University Press, 2007, p114.

[9] Kulchytskyi, S.V, ‘Holodomor in the Ukraine 1932-1933: An Interpretation of the Facts’, in Joack, Jannsen & Comerford (ed.s) Holodomor and Gorta Mór: Histories, Memories and Representations of Famine in Ukraine and Ireland, Anthem Press, 2014, p20.

[10] See for example, Kasianov, H, ‘Holodomor and the Politics of Memory in Ukraine After Independence’ in Joack, Jannsen & Comerford (ed.s) Holodomor and Gorta Mór: Histories, Memories and Representations of Famine in Ukraine and Ireland, Anthem Press, 2014, pp167-188.

[11] See for example, Kuromiya, H, ‘Debate: The Famine of 1932-1933 Reconsidered’, Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 60, No. 4, June 2008, pp663-675.

[12] Vasiliev, V, The Great Terror in the Ukraine, 1936-1938, in Ilic, M (ed), Stalin’s Terror Revisited, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, p141.

[13] Hudson, Hugh D. “The Kulakization of the Peasantry The OGPU and the End of Faith in Peasant Reconciliation, 1924-1927.” Jahrbücher Für Geschichte Osteuropas, vol. 60, no. 1, 2012, p57.

[14] Ibid (Hudson), p52.

[15] Viola, Lynne. “The Other Archipelago: Kulak Deportations to the North in 1930.” Slavic Review, vol. 60, no. 4, 2001, p752.

[16] Ibid [Viola] p734.

[17] Whitewood, Peter, “Reorganization and Crisis in the Red Army.” The Red Army and the Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Soviet Military, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 2015, p27-28.

[18] Snyder, Timothy. “Prologue: Interrogations” Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine, Yale University Press, 2005, p4.

[19] Ibid [Snyder], p6.

[20] Ibid [Snyder], p64.

[21] Ibid [Snyder], p27.

[22] Khlevniuk, Oleg, and Marta D. Olynyk. “Comments on the Short-Term Consequences of the Holodomor.” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, vol. 30, no. 1/4, 2008, p152.

[23] Liber, George. “Language, Literacy, and Book Publishing in the Ukrainian SSR, 1923-1928.” Slavic Review 41, no. 4 (1982): p677.

[24] Ibid [Liber] p673.

[25] Shapoval, Yuri, and Marta D. Olynyk. “The Holodomor: A Prologue to Repressions and Terror in Soviet Ukraine.” Harvard Ukrainian Studies, vol. 30, no. 1/4, 2008, p100.

[26] Ibid [Shapoval], p101.

[27] Ibid [Shapoval] p103.

[28] Ibid [Shapoval] 105.

[29] Ibid [Shapoval] p109.

[30] Archives of the Slyuzhba bezpeki Ukraini (Security service of Ukraine) hereafter SBU, F.16, Op.01, Spr30

[31] SBU, F.16, Op.01, Spr.15, p.33

[32] SBU, F.16, Op.01, Spr.15, p.34

[33] SBU, F.16, Op.01, Spr.15, p.37

[34] SBU, F.16, Op.01, Spr.15, p.43

[35] SBU, F.16, Op.01, Spr.15, p.47

[36] SBU, F.16, Op.01, Spr.15, p.21-22

[37] SBU, F.16, Op. 01, Spr.15, p.21-22

[38] SBU, F.16, Op. 01, Spr.15, p.28

[39] Petrov, N & Skorkin, K, Spravochnik,

[40] Confusingly, in this case, USSR stands for Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, rather than the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (in Russian: YCCP).

[41] SBU, F.16, Op. 01, Spr.15, p.9

[42] SBU, F.16, Op. 01, Spr. 13, p.20

[43] Petrov, N & Skorkin, K, Spravochnik:

[44] SBU F.16, Op. 01, Spr. 13, p.20

[45] SBU F.16, Op. 01, Spr. 13, p.20

[46] SBU F.16, Op. 01, Spr. 13, p.21

[47] SBU F.16, Op. 01, Spr. 13, p.21

[48] SBU F.16, Op. 01, Spr. 13, p.22

[49] Petrov, N & Skorkin, K, Spravochnik:

[50] SBU F.16, Op. 01, Spr. 13, p.23

[51] SBU F.16, Op. 01, Spr. 13, p.24

[52] Vasiliev, V, ‘The Great Terror in the Ukraine, 1936-1938’, in Ilic, M (ed), Stalin’s Terror Revisited, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, p142.

[53] Vasiliev, V, ‘The Great Terror in the Ukraine, 1936-1938’, in Ilic, M (ed), Stalin’s Terror Revisited, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, p143.

[54] Khrushchev, S, (ed.), Memoirs of Nikita Khrushchev – Vol 1: Commissar, 1918-1945, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004,

[55] Petrov & Skorkin, Kto rukovodil NKVD 1934-1941: Spravochnik, Moskva, 1999, accessed online:

[56] Vasiliev, V, The Great Terror in the Ukraine, 1936-1938, in Ilic, M (ed), Stalin’s Terror Revisited, Palgrave Macmillan, 2006, p148.

[57] Vasiliev, V, 2006, p149-150.

[58] Vasiliev, V, 2006, p150.

[59] Zolotarev, V, Stepkin,V, ChK-GPU-NKVD v Donbasse : Liudi i dokumenty 1919-1941, Donetsk, 2010, p33.

[60] Uslovnye oboznacheniya osnovnykh operativnykh otdelov NKVD SSSR v 1936—1941 gg in Petrov & Skorkin, Kto rukovodil NKVD 1934-1941: Spravochnik, Moskva, 1999, accessed online: [28 April 2017]

[61] Zolotarev, V, Stepkin,V, ChK-GPU-NKVD v Donbasse : Liudi i dokumenty 1919-1941, Donetsk, 2010, p33-34.

[62] Zolotarev, V, Stepkin,V, ChK-GPU-NKVD v Donbasse : Liudi i dokumenty 1919-1941, Donetsk, 2010, p35.

[63] SBU, F.16, Op.1, Spr. 109, p51-52.