Internal affairs of the Soviet Union: fifteen ministers instead of one

Totalitarian nihilism

Acts of Nikita the Wonderworker. On January 13, 1960, by a decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs was abolished. Its main functions (the fight against crime and the protection of public order, the execution of punishments, the leadership of the internal troops, the investigation of economic crimes, as well as the fire brigade) were transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Union republics.

After the notorious “cold summer of 1953”, such a decision, in fact, can be considered quite consistent. But it was this decision that became the second step on the way to the deep penetration of criminals into power. Corruption, which has been fundamentally impossible as an all-encompassing phenomenon for decades, will soon become the norm in the USSR.

In addition, the rejection of the centralized management of internal affairs instantly gave wings to the local MVDs, once completely controlled by Moscow. But the most terrible consequence was the immediately revived practice of protecting national-Russophobic groups by the local police.

They began to cover up and persecute the adherents of Soviet internationalism literally everywhere and from top to bottom. If we evaluate the decision made on the direct instructions of the first secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Nikita Khrushchev, in a broader context, then we will have to recognize it as an integral part of the Khrushchev general line.

And it consisted in leveling, and as a result, consisted in bringing to zero the administrative and regulatory functions of the central apparatus of the Soviet state and the CPSU. Apparently, the “totalitarian regime” was clearly not to the liking of Khrushchev and his inner circle.

Of those who had experience of communicating and working with Khrushchev, practically none of the top party leadership dared to speak out directly against. Only the last Minister of the Union Ministry of Internal Affairs Nikolai Dudorov actively objected under Khrushchev. An experienced apparatchik, a graduate of the Mendeleev Institute, who worked for many years in construction and industry, he understood quite well what this kind of decentralization would lead to.

Nikolai Dudorov could have been the last Minister of Internal Affairs if the department had not been restored under Brezhnev

Khrushchev considered Dudorov one of his most loyal associates and did not forgive him for direct resistance. Nikolai Pavlovich was promptly expelled from the party Central Committee, having been appointed only director of the Glavmospromstroymaterialy department at the Moscow City Executive Committee.

Already in 1972, when they began to forget about Khrushchev, 65-year-old Dudorov was altogether fused into pensioners of union significance, and he began to prepare his memoirs for publication: “Fifty Years of Struggle and Labor.” There, among other things, it was noted both the growth of separatist sentiments in the departments of the Union republics after 1956, and the fact that Moscow preferred not to react to this.

The republican authorities were all the more silent. And Dudorov’s memoirs were never published …

The abolition of the union law enforcement body was preceded by an appeal by the heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the union republics to Moscow regarding the advisability of greater autonomy of these bodies from the union center. Such appeals became especially frequent in the late 1950s, after the massacre of an anti-party group. At the same time, the rapid growth of the influence of the ruling national elites of the union republics on the Kremlin began a little earlier – in the second half of the 1950s, almost immediately after the memorable XX Congress of the CPSU.

In accordance with the line of this congress, the Khrushchev party elite took an accelerated course towards expanding the “autonomy” of the union authorities and their structures. This was almost the main condition for these elites to support the anti-Stalinist, and, in fact, anti-Soviet course of the Khrushchevites.

It is worth recalling that it was on the eve of the 20th Congress of the CPSU that the rule that had been in force since the end of the 1920s, according to which local leaders of Russian nationality were to be the second secretaries of the Central Committee of the Union republics and regional committees of national autonomies, was canceled.

It must be remembered that Khrushchev and his accomplices were clearly, and sometimes even deliberately were clearly afraid of the “ghost of Beria.” And above all, a new attempt to overthrow the Khrushchev leadership by law enforcement agencies. That also predetermined the dissolution of the allied Ministry of Internal Affairs. As a result, the ruling ethnic clans began to “crush” the all-union structures.

Who was afraid of the ghost of Beria

The main target of the influence of these elites was primarily the all-union law enforcement agencies. Apparently, such a course was chosen in order to “secure” in the event of investigations into economic machinations and, moreover, anti-Soviet actions in the same republics. It is characteristic in this connection that in the “anti-party group” under the leadership of Molotov, Malenkov and Kaganovich there was not a single representative from the power structures of the union republics.

Moreover, it was the first secretaries of the local Central Committees who were the first to oppose the decision of the same group to resign Khrushchev, which never happened then. The republican leaders immediately saluted Khrushchev, and they most harshly criticized the Molotov group at the well-known plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU in June 1957.

The consequences were not long in coming. Allied “cops” actively took up the increase in indicators. In the period from 1960 to 1964, compared to 1956-59, there was an impressive 20% increase in the number of people convicted of anti-Soviet activities and agitation in all union republics, with the exception of the RSFSR.

At the same time, most of the convicts in that register were Russian and Russian-speaking, and the largest number was in the republics of the Transcaucasus and the Baltic States. It was impossible to dispute the groundlessness of such accusatory articles in the union center, due to the fact that the union Ministry of Internal Affairs had recently been abolished.

After the liquidation of a single union ministry, all union republics hurried to adopt new editions of the Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes. And this, of course, strengthened not only the legal, but also the administrative-political “remoteness” of the national regions from Moscow. But no one paid any attention to the fact that 25 percent more defendants were convicted for violations in the economic sphere in the same years.

Andrei Shcherbak, Associate Professor at the Higher School of Economics, in his study “Fluctuations of Soviet Ethnicity Policy” (2013) rightly noted that “during the Khrushchev and Brezhnev rule, the” golden age “of ethnic institutional development began. Representatives of the ethnic intelligentsia in those periods received the widest possible opportunities for activities in various fields. ”

Andrey Shcherbak, Associate Professor of HSE

However, in the same period, the first shoots of nationalism were clearly visible. Most clearly, according to A. Shcherbak, “they were expressed in the desire of local elites to influence the policy of the union center to a greater extent and, accordingly, to limit its interference in the internal affairs of the national republics. This is what has happened since the Khrushchev period. “

Is it worth now to prove that Khrushchev somehow indulged Russophobia in a very internationalist way? It quite officially began with the notorious Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Armed Forces of September 17, 1955 “On the amnesty of Soviet citizens who collaborated with the occupiers during the Great Patriotic War in 1941-1945.”

It was with this decision that nationalist sentiments in the localities began to grow. Then, quite logically, the creation of underground anti-Soviet organizations in the union republics followed. And in parallel, their autonomy, or rather, independence in domestic politics, expanded. Two absolutely synchronous processes “from above” and “from below” aimed at the systemic destruction of the Soviet state have practically merged into one.

The Union Ministry of Internal Affairs in the status of the Ministry of Public Order Protection (MOOP) of the USSR was recreated only on July 26, 1966, by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The MOOPs of the Union republics were immediately subordinated to him.

And on November 25, 1968, all these departments were returned to their former name – the Ministry of Internal Affairs, with the restoration of the functions of the aforementioned union department. However, the “independence” of law enforcement agencies and the governing structures of the Union republics in general, once sanctioned by Khrushchev, was practically not suppressed in the Brezhnev and subsequent periods.

For many years after Khrushchev, the union center still depended to the maximum extent on the loyalty of the leadership of the still fraternal republics …

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