Mass operations of the People's Comissariate of Internal Affairs (NKVD) were carried out during the Great Purge and targeted specific categories of people. As a rule, they were carried out according to the corresponding order of the People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Nikolai Yezhov.
National operations of the NKVD
The operations of this type in this period targeted "foreign" ethnicities (ethnicities with cross-border ties to foreign nation-states), unlike nationally targeted repressions during World War II.
On November 17, 1938 a joint decree No. 81 of Sovnarkom USSR and Central Committee of Communist Party of the Soviet Union Decree about Arrests, Prosecutor Supervision and Course of Investigation and the subsequent order of the NKVD undersigned by Lavrentiy Beria cancelled most of NKVD orders of mass type (but not all, see, e.g., NKVD Order no. 00689) and suspended implementation of death sentences, signifying the end of the Great Purge ("Yezhovshchina").
Joseph Stalin's Assassination
KGB chief Lavrentij Beria feared Stalin's next purge. Like his predecessor KGB/NKVD chief Yezhov who was executed by Stalin, Beria knew he would be next, so he had him poisoned. It’s known that on the night of February the 28 1953, Stalin drank "fruit juice" (diluted Georgian wine). Poison, in the form of the tasteless blood thinner warfarin (rat poison) was slipped in Stalin’s drink and caused stomach and brain hemorrhaging. One things is for sure: doctors were not called entire day on purpose to make sure the poison works and Stalin could not be saved. Eventually a doctor was called to help him but from far away place. His death was recorded at 9:50 p.m., ironically exactly to the minute of signing Katyn execution orders of Polish POWs and Polish Intelligentsia in 1940. Stalin was laid to rest in the Lenin Mausoleum but was reburied in darkness in a simple grave behind Kremlin Wall during night without any fanfare on Halloween 1961, ironically on the eve of All Saints Feast, holiday he banned
Upon Stalin’s death, Beria (also responsible for Katyn Massacre), with his network of spies and contacts, seemed poised to take over. But he fatally underestimated his opponent Khrushchev who eventually took over and executed Beria and 6 of his accomplices for treason on December 23 1953. Because he was not rehabilitated, Beria's grave remains secret to this day.
- ^ Vadim Rogovin "The Party of the Executed" (1997) ISBN 5-85272-026-7, Chapter 1: "Mass Operations" (in Russian)
- ^ Snyder, Timothy (2012). Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. Basic Books. p. 81. ISBN 978-0465002399.
- ^ "Ukraine: Secret service publishes Stalin files".
- ^ Eric J. Schmaltz. "Soviet "Paradise" Revisited: Genocide, Dissent, Memory and Denial" (PDF). GRHS Heritage Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 18, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
- ^ Н.Охотин, А.Рогинский, Москва. Из истории "немецкой операции" НКВД 1937-1938 гг.Chapter 2
- ^ Will Englund (November 12, 2012). "Greeks of the steppe". Washington Post. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- ^ Björn M. Felder: Lettland im Zweiten Weltkrieg. p. 72.
- ^ Pohl, J. Otto (1999), Ethnic Cleansing in the USSR, 1937-1949, Greenwood, page 13-14