Ministry of Internal Affairs
Министерство внутренних дел СССР
Ministerstvo vnutrennih del SSSR
Badge of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

Ministry of Internal Affairs headquarters in Moscow
Agency overview
Formed15 March 1946; 78 years ago (1946-03-15)
Preceding agency
Dissolved26 December 1991; 32 years ago (1991-12-26)
Superseding agencies
JurisdictionSoviet Union
HeadquartersZhitnaya St. 16, Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
55°43′51″N 37°36′50″E / 55.73083°N 37.61389°E / 55.73083; 37.61389
Minister responsible
  • Minister of Interior
Child agencies

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR (MVD; Russian: Министерство внутренних дел СССР (МВД), romanizedMinisterstvo vnutrennikh del SSSR) was the interior ministry of the Soviet Union from 1946 to 1991.

The MVD was established as the successor to the NKVD during reform of the People's Commissariats into the Ministries of the Soviet Union in 1946. The MVD did not include agencies concerned with secret policing unlike the NKVD, with the function being assigned to the Ministry of State Security (MGB). The MVD and MGB were briefly merged into a single ministry from March 1953 until the MGB was split off as the Committee for State Security (KGB) in March 1954. The MVD was headed by the Minister of Interior and responsible for many internal services in the Soviet Union such as law enforcement and prisons, the Internal Troops, Traffic Safety, the Gulag system, and the internal migration system. The MVD was dissolved upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991 and succeeded by its branches in the post-Soviet states.


See also: Chronology of Soviet secret police agencies

Chronology of Soviet
security agencies
1917–22 Cheka under Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR
(All-Russian Extraordinary Commission)
1922–23 GPU under NKVD of the RSFSR
(State Political Directorate)
1920–91 PGU KGB or INO under Cheka (later KGB) of the USSR
(First Chief Directorate)
1923–34 OGPU under SNK of the USSR
(Joint State Political Directorate)
1934–46 NKVD of the USSR
(People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs)
1934–41 GUGB of the NKVD of the USSR
(Main Directorate of State Security of
People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs)
1941 NKGB of the USSR
(People's Commissariat of State Security)
1943–46 NKGB of the USSR
(People's Commissariat for State Security)
1946–53 MGB of the USSR
(Ministry of State Security)
1946–54 MVD of the USSR
(Ministry of Internal Affairs)

KI MID of the USSR
(Committee of Information under Ministry
of Foreign Affairs)

1954–78 KGB under the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union
(Committee for State Security)
1978–91 KGB of the USSR
(Committee for State Security)
1991 MSB of the USSR
(Interrepublican Security Service)
1991 TsSB of the USSR
(Central Intelligence Service)
1991 KOGG of the USSR
(Committee for the Protection of
the State Border)

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR was created on 15 March 1946 from the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), the interior ministry of the Soviet Union since 1934, when all the People's Commissariats (the Soviet equivalent to a government ministry) were rebranded and transformed into the Ministries of the Soviet Union. The main change was the removal of secret police functions, as the responsibilities of the Main Directorate of State Security of the NKVD were transferred to the new Ministry of State Security (MGB) as a completely separate ministry.

On 15 March 1953, the MGB was incorporated into the MVD, re-creating a structure similar to the NKVD, but just under a year later on 13 March 1954 the MGB's functions were again transferred to a separate state committee, the Committee for State Security (KGB).[1][2]

The MVD was originally established as a union-republic ministry with headquarters in Moscow, but in 1960 the Soviet leadership under Nikita Khrushchev, as part of its general downgrading of the police, abolished the central MVD, whose functions were assumed by republic ministries of internal affairs. In 1962 the MVD was re-designated the Ministry for the Preservation of Public Order (Министерство охраны общественного порядка (МООП); Ministerstvo okhrany obshchestvennogo poriadka — MOOP). This name change implied a break with the all-powerful MVD created by Lavrentiy Beria, as well as a narrower range of functions. The changes were accompanied by increasing criticism of the regular police, the militsiya, in the Soviet press for its shortcomings in combating crime.[3]

Following Khrushchev's ouster in 1964, his successor Leonid Brezhnev did much to raise the status of the regular police. In 1966, after placing one of his proteges, Nikolai Shchelokov, in the post of chief, Brezhnev reinstated MOOP as a union-republic ministry. Two years later, MOOP was renamed the MVD, an apparent symbol of its increased authority. Efforts were made to raise the effectiveness of the MVD by recruiting better-qualified personnel and upgrading equipment and training. Brezhnev's death in 1982, however, left the MVD vulnerable to his opponents, Yuri Andropov in particular. Just a month after Brezhnev died, Shchelokov was ousted as its chief and replaced by the former KGB chairman, Vitaly Fedorchuk. Shchelokov was later tried on corruption charges. A similar fate befell Brezhnev's son-in-law, Yuri Churbanov, who was removed from the post of first deputy chief in 1984 and later arrested on criminal charges. After bringing several officials from the KGB and from the CPSU apparatus into the MVD, Andropov sought to make it an effective organization for rooting out widespread corruption; Mikhail Gorbachev continued these efforts.[3]

In January 1986, when Fedorchuk was retired, Aleksandr Vlasov was appointed the chief of the MVD despite having no background in the police apparatus. In September 1988, Vlasov became a candidate member of the CPSU Politburo, and the following month he was replaced as chief of the MVD by Vadim Bakatin.[3]

Interior minister Boris Pugo was one of the main organizers of the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt, and when the coup failed, he killed himself.[4] Pugo was replaced by Viktor Barannikov,[4] who acted as the final interior minister of the Soviet Union. The MVD was effectively dissolved upon the dissolution of the Soviet Union on 26 December 1991, though its branches in the various Soviet republics have survived as the interior ministries of the now-independent Post-Soviet states.

Functions and organization

The MVD had a wide array of duties related to the internal functions and security of the Soviet Union. It was responsible for uncovering and investigating certain categories of crime, apprehending criminals, supervising the internal passport system, maintaining public order, combating public intoxication, supervising parolees, managing prisons and labor camps, providing fire protection, and controlling traffic. Until early 1988, the MVD was also in charge of special psychiatric hospitals, but a law passed in January 1988 transferred all psychiatric hospitals to the authority of the Ministry of Health.[3]

Internal security

As a union-republic ministry under the Council of Ministers, the MVD had its headquarters in Moscow and branches in the republic and regional government apparatus, as well as in oblasts and cities. Unlike the KGB, the internal affairs apparatus was subject to dual subordination: local internal-affairs offices reported both to the executive committees of their respective local Soviets and to their superior offices in the MVD hierarchy.[3]

The MVD headquarters in Moscow was divided into several directorates and offices:[5]

Educational institutions under the MVD

List of ministers

See also: NKVD § People's Commissars



  1. ^ Закон СССР от 15.03.1953 о преобразовании министерств СССР
  2. ^ Закон СССР от 15.03.1953 О внесении изменений и дополнений в статьи 70, 77 и 78 Конституции (Основного Закона) СССР
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Zickel, Raymond E. (1991). Soviet Union: A Country Study; research completed May 1989 (2. ed., 1. print. ed.). Washington, DC: US Gov. Print. Off. pp. 780–782. ISBN 0844407275.
  4. ^ a b Clines, Francis X. (24 August 1991). "After the Coup: Yeltsin is Routing Communist Party From Key Roles Throughout Russia; He Forces Vast Gorbachev Shake-up; Soviet President Is Heckled By the Republic's Parliament". The New York Times. Archived from the original on Dec 22, 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  5. ^ Zickel, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. Ed. by Raymond E. (1991). Soviet Union : a country study ; research completed May 1989 (2. ed., 1. print. ed.). Washington, DC: US Gov. Print. Off. ISBN 0844407275. pages 783-784 - "The MVD headquarters in Moscow was divided into several directorates and offices [...]."
  6. ^ "Governments of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 1917-1964". Archived from the original on 28 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Governments of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 1964-1991". Archived from the original on 28 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2017.

Further reading