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NKVD & Defense Industry

The bodies of internal affairs of the USSR (OGPU-NKVD) were the second most important customer and consumer of products of the military industry after the War Department. For example, in 1936 the total cost of ordering the NKVD for weapons and military equipment was 158.9 million rubles in prices 1926/27; for 1937, the order value was planned in the amount of 120.7 million rubles.

The order of 1936 included: 8 patrol ships, 95 sea boats, 46 patrol boats, 30 armored vehicles, 10 BT-7 tanks, 4650 air bombs, 13 field guns, 30 anti-aircraft guns, 50 thousand sniper rifles, automatic and small-caliber rifles as well as pistols, grenades, cars and trucks, tractors and buses, optical instruments and searchlights, finally, 1,550 tons of barbed wire.

The relationship of the NKVD with the military industry was not limited to the customer and the contractor. At all military-industrial enterprises and design bureaus, special units of the NKVD carried external protection, and the first departments subordinated to the territorial departments of the NKVD carried out various regime functions connected with the protection of state secrets.

As of November 5, 1936, the total number of NKVD guards at industrial enterprises of defense significance was set at 40,857 people. Providing parts of the NKVD with barracks, guards and other premises was the responsibility of the respective people's commissariats and directors of enterprises. According to the “Provision on protection and mode of admission to enterprises guarded by parts of the NKVD of the USSR”, the commander of the part of the NKVD guarding the company was subordinated to the security and combat training services of all other types of company security . The “position” obliged the directorate of the enterprise to the fact that “the production area should be enclosed with fences 2.5–3 meters high, reinforced on top with several strands of barbed wire”.

After the abolition in 1934 of the TsKK-NK RKI, the functions of controlling the work of the military industry were concentrated in two bodies: the Soviet Control Commission of the SNK of the USSR and the Economic Directorate (ESC) of the NKVD, and the functions of the latter were at the same time audit and investigative. Employees of the territorial departments of the EKU NKVD carried out a systematic check of the financial and economic activities of factories with defense orders, as well as the condition of equipment, tools, quality of semi-finished products, the implementation of the process of technical control, etc.

On the facts of violations of the technological process and other shortcomings of the work of the military-industrial enterprises of the EKU NKVD, there were “special messages” for the service station and the Defense Committee of the SNK of the USSR. For example, 1935–1936. The following special reports were received by the Defense Commission: “On the unsatisfactory work of artillery plants” dated November 21, 1935, “On the threatening situation in individual chemical plants, due to the accumulation of finished explosive products” on January 14, 1936, “On the unsatisfactory setting of metering , protection of parts and finished military products at the Tula Arms Plant "of December 28, 1935," On design defects of the IP-1 aircraft (Grigorovich design) manufactured by Plant No. 135 of October 28, 1935".

The operational-Chekist administration of the OGPU-NKVD periodically carried out "measures to clean the factories of the military and aviation industry from counter-revolutionary and anti-social elements". For example, only in March, April and May 1933, they “cleaned” 11,934 people, of whom 74% were workers, 7.4% were engineers and technicians. Of this number, 10,854 people were dismissed from their jobs, and 1,080 people were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. Since the labor turnover in the military industry, especially in the military chemical plants, was very high, the operational-KGB directorate’s work on “cleaning plants” seemed to be enough.

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Page last modified: 04-11-2018 17:55:57 ZULU