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Soviet Integration : Political Police

It is impossible to understand the nature of the Soviet Union without looking at its political police. Like all dictatorships in the world, the Soviet regime could not have survived without resorting to repressive means such as the Cheka, which later became the KGB.

From 1919, Lenin created, to fight the “counter-revolution”, the infamous “Tchéka” (acronym referring to “Extraordinary Commission”). This organization quickly obtained substantial prerogatives and powers of investigation, arrest and even judgment concerning people considered dangerous for the new regime. This Commission was first attached to the NKVD (“People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs”).

When the USSR was founded, the choice was made, in 1924, to introduce this body directly into the Constitution as an Institution in its own right. Thus, from 1924 to 1936 there existed in the USSR the “OGPU” which is an acronym which could be translated as “Unified Political Governance”. The article that establishes the OGPU clearly states that this body is intended to fight against the "counter-revolution" at all levels of the Union and that is why a GPU is organized at all levels of the Union. Considering that any desire for independence from the Union would have been considered a “separatist, nationalist and bourgeois” element, it would have been immediately crushed on the spot under the direction of the local GPU. In addition, the 1924 Constitution provided that the President of the OGPU was part of the Union Government and had one vote in the Council.

If there was no Unified Ministry of Internal Affairs between 1924 and 1936, it was because the OGPU played the role of "policeman of the Union", maintaining the cohesion of the whole through the use of repression. In 1936 however, Stalin dissolved the OGPU and transferred all its agents under the direction of the new NKVD of the Union. His suspicion of the secret services will also make him shoot several NKVD Commissioners during his rule.

It was in 1954 that Khrushchev and his allies created the KGB (“State Defense Committee”). It will carry out intelligence missions abroad and repression within the Union. But it must be strongly emphasized that the objective of the KGB was never to defend the state in the classical sense of the term, but to defend the Party and its hold on power. The KGB's slogan was : “Loyalty to the Party is loyalty to the Motherland”, clearly showing the confusion that reigned in the USSR between the State and the purely political body that the party was supposed to be.

Viktor Suvorov will say this: “From the very first moment of the emergence and until the very last day of the existence of the communist dictatorship, the main task of the secret police of the Cheka - GB was to protect the dictatorship from internal enemies - that is, of its own people.” Taking up the symbolism inherited from the Cheka, the OGPU and the NKVD, the emblem of the KGB was the shield and the sword, the idea being that the KGB was the shield of the Party and its weapon of attack against its enemies, both inside and out.

Historical research work was carried out following the opening of the KGB archives by Viktor Suvorov. He thus succeeded in demonstrating that the KGB, contrary to what many think, was not an organization devoted to espionage and the search for information abroad (this mission was in fact the responsibility of the GRU and of the SVR, the intelligence services of the army) but indeed to repression.

Thus, while the GRU carried out, for example, operations to obtain crucial information in the event of a conflict between the two superpowers, the KGB was tasked with all matters that could interfere with the Party's monopoly, such as, for example, the surveillance of Solzhenitsyn, living in exile abroad.

So if we combine the political monopoly of the Communist Party with the repressive policy of the KGB for the benefit of this Party, we realize that the whole constitutional and legal structure of the USSR was nothing but a deception intended for propaganda. Policy was decided in the Kremlin, which never hesitated to eliminate anyone who stood in its way.

As Stalin said, the nomenklatura (the Party) was a chivalrous order at the service of the sovereign and if we push his analogy further, the USSR was only a feudal entity subject to a single center of power. Moreover, American intelligence always spoke of the decision-making center of the USSR with a simple name: the “Center”. This “Center” dictated everything and decided everything. A state within a state, the CPSU was in fact the embodiment of the centralized state, heir to the tsarist tradition which governed through institutions that were supposed to be federal and international.

We can also add that if the USSR was strongly integrated into the iron fist of a handful of reigning men in the Kremlin, it was for them the only way to keep control of the situation because Lenin and Stalin had opened in sort of a pandora's box in 1917 by allowing the declarations of independence of the Republics. An iron fist more often proves a weakness in the system than its strength. If the European states are integrating into a regional entity today, it is of their own volition. Admittedly, the integration is less strong than it was in the USSR, but at least it is desired. The USSR on the other side forced peoples into an integration dictated in a hierarchical and authoritarian way, knowing that at the first opportunity, everyone would leave the Union under construction.


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