Activities of the NKVD of the Far East in the fight against crime in the second half of 1945

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Abstract


This article examines the causes and conditions of the aggravation of the criminal situation in the Far East in the second half of 1945 and the historical experience of local NKVD (People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs) bodies in maintaining law and order under the conditions of the Soviet-Japanese war and the first post-war period. Based on the analysis of the documentation of the NKVD departments of Primorye and Khabarovsk territories, including internal administrative documents (orders, plans, etc.), as well as materials of primary party organizations (minutes of party meetings, certificates, memos, etc.), the author draws conclusions about the development of the criminal situation in the region, and discusses the NKVD’s ways and directions to ensure law and order. Studying the stated problems, it was possible not only to state the presence of negative dynamics in the number and severity of criminal manifestations, but also to establish that the criminal crisis of the second half of 1945 was caused by the imposition of new socio-economic and political factors (including the amnesty for prisoners, the relocation of large masses of troops, the Soviet-Japanese war, the placement of prisoners of war, demobilization) on the already difficult criminal situation that had developed during the Great Patriotic War. The study largely confirmed the fact repeatedly noted in historiography about the impact of “personnel starvation” and problems of material support on the effectiveness of the NKVD in the war and post-war period. The archival documents show that the main ways to normalize the operational situation in the Far East region were measures concerning organizational work and operational-search activities, as well as control-methodical and administrative measures. The author concludes that the measures taken allowed the NKVD of the Far East to reverse the explosive growth of serious street crime by the end of 1945. However, this success was only partial - the overall level of criminal activity in the region continued to remain at a fairly high level for several post-war years.


Full text / tables, figures

Table 1. The number of bandit groups and their members liquidated in the Far East from June 1941 to 1944

Region

Time period

Gang groups
eliminated

Total number of gang
members identified

Of them

killed

arrested

Primorskii
Region

The second
part of
1941

1

26

26

1942

95

95

1943

11

397

27

370

1944

10

35

2

33

Khabarovsk
Region

The second
part of
1941

3

22

13

9

1942

31

263

17

246

1943

15

94

5

89

1944

22

82

1

81

Source: State Archives of the Russian Federation (GARF). F. Р-9478, op. 1, d. 493, l. 1–3; d. 274, l. 1.

 

Table 2. Information about criminal crime in Khabarovsk for the first half of 1945 (registered/disclosed)

 

January

February

March

April

May

June

Serious types
of crime

3/2

2/0

5/4

0/0

2/2

0/0

Theft
of all kinds

108/100

130/124

143/138

134/123

137/124

152/139

Other crimes

20/18

15/15

12/12

13/13

16/15

10/10

Total

131/120

147/139

160/154

147/136

155/141

162/149

Source: State Archives of the Khabarovsk Territory (GAKhK). F. P-513, op. 1, d. 21, l. 6–7.
Note: The number of disclosed crimes includes information about those disclosed in the reporting month from among those committed earlier.

About the authors

Alexander V. Zhadan

Vladivostok branch of Far East legal institute Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia

Author for correspondence.
Email: awzhadan252@mail.ru
21, Kotelnikova St., Vladivostok, 690087, Russia

Ph.D. in History, Senior Lecturer

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