Internal affairs 2

Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs

The Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del (MVD) (МВД or Министерство внутренних дел) was the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Imperial Russia, later USSR, and still bears the same name in Russia. The Ministry is headquartered in Moscow.

Russian Empire

Created by Alexander I on 28th March, 1802 in the process of government reforms to replace the aging colleges of Peter the Great, the MVD was one of the most powerful governmental bodies of the Empire, responsible for the police forces and Internal Guards and the supervision of gubernial administrations. Its initial reponsibilies also included penitentiaries, firefighting, state enterprises, the state postal system, state property, construction, roads, medicine, clergy, natural resources, and nobility; most of them were transferred to other ministries and government bodies by the mid-1800s.


As organs of the central government there were further, the ispravniks, chiefs of police in the districts into which the governments were divided. These were nominated by the governors, and have under their orders in the pincipal localities commissaries (stanovoi pristav). Ispravniki and stanovoi alike are armed with large and ill-defined powers; and, since they are for the most part illiterate and wholly ignorant of the law, they have proved exasperating engines of oppression. Towards the end of the reign of Alexander II, the government, in order to preserve order in the country districts, also created a special class of mounted rural policemen (uryadniks, from uriad, order), who, armed with power to arrest all suspects on the spot, rapidly became the terror of the countryside. Finally, in the towns every house is provided with a detective policeman in the person of the porter (dvornik), who is charged with the duty of reporting to the police the presence of any suspicious characters or anything else that may interest them.

Secret police

In addition to the above there was also the secret police, in direct subordination to the ministry of the interior, of which the principal function is the discovery, prevention and extirpation of political sedition. Its most famous development was the so-called Third Section (of the imperial chancery) instituted by the emperor Nicholas I in 1826. This was entirely independent of the ordinary police, but was associated with the previously existing Special Corps of Gendarmes, whose chief was placed at its head. Its object had originally been to keep the emperor in close touch with all the branches of the administration and to bring to his notice any abuses and irregularities, and for this purpose its chief was in constant personal intercourse with the sovereign.

Following the growth of the revolutionary movement and assassination of Tsar Alexander II, the Department of State Police inherited the secret police functions of the dismissed Third Section and transferred the most capable Gendarmes to the Okhrana. In 1896 the powers of the minister were extended at the expense of those of the under-secretary, who remained only at the head of the corps of gendarmes; but by a law of 24 September 1904 this was again reversed, and the under-secretary was again placed at the head of all the police with the title of undersecretary for the administration of the police.

By World War I, the Department had spawned a counter-intelligence section. After the February Revolution of 1917, the Gendarmes and the Okhrana were disbanded as anti-revolutionary.

Soviet era

Having won the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks disbanded the tsarist police forces and formed all-proletarian Workers' and Peasants' Militsiya under NKVD of the Russian SFSR.

In March 1946, all of the People's Commissariats (NK) were redesignated as Ministries (M). The NKVD was renamed the MVD of the USSR, along with its former subordinate, the NKGB which became the MGB of the USSR. The NKVDs of Union Republics also became Ministries of Internal Affairs subordinate to MVD of the USSR.

Secret police became a part of MVD after Lavrenty Beria merged the MGB into the MVD in March 1953. Within a year Beria's downfall caused the MVD to be split up again; after that, the MVD retained its "internal security" (police) functions, while the new KGB took on "state security" (secret police) functions.

In his efforts to fight bureaucracy and maintain 'Leninist principles', Nikita Khrushchev, as the Premier of the Union, called for the dismissal of the All-Union MVD. The Ministry ceased to exist in January 1960 and its functions were transferred to the respective Republican Ministries. The MVD of the Russian SFSR was renamed the Ministry for Securing the Public Order in 1962.

Leonid Brezhnev again recreated the All-Union Ministry for Securing the Public Order in July 1966 and later assigned Nikolay Shchyolokov as Minister; the RSFSR Ministry was disbanded for the second time, the first being at the creation of the NKVD of the Soviet Union. The MVD regained its original title in 1968.

Another role of the reformed MVD was to combat economic crimes, that is to suppress private business which was largely prohibited by socialist law. This fight was never successful due to the pervasive nature of the black market.

By the mid-1980s, the image of the people's militsiya was largely compromised by the corruption and disorderly behaviour of both enlisted and officer staff (the most shocking case was the robbery and murder of a KGB operative by a gang of militioners stationed in Moscow Metro in 1983). Many high-ranking MVD officers, including the Minister himself, were revealed to be routinely bribed by illegal shadow business and criminals.

Russian Federation

The Russian MVD was recreated as the MVD of the Russian SFSR in 1990, following the restoration of the republican Council of Ministers and Supreme Soviet, and remained when Russia gained independence from the Soviet Union. It currently controls the Militsiya, the State Road Inspection Service (GAI), and the Internal Troops. Since the disbanding of the Tax Police, it also investigates economic crimes.

The long-time additional duties of the Imperial MVD and NKVD, such as the Firefighting Service and Prisons Service, were recently moved to the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Justice respectively. The last reorganization abolished Main Directorates inherited from the NKVD in favour of Departments. The current minister of internal affairs in Russia is Rashid Nurgaliyev.

The MVD Central Administration

1. Criminal Militia Service - the Criminal Investigations Department

  • Main Office for Criminal Investigation
  • Main Office for Combating Economic and Tax Crimes
  • Main Office for Combating Organized Crime
  • Office for Operational Investigation Information
  • Co-ordination Office of Criminal Militia Service

2. Public Security Service - The Uniformed Militia

  • Main Office for Public Order Maintenance
  • Main Office of State Road Safety Inspection - the Highway patrol or GAI
  • Main Office of the Interior for Restricted Facilities
  • Main Office of Interdepartmental Security Guard Service
  • Co-ordination Office of Public Security Service

3. Federal Migration service

  • Main Office of the Interior for Transport and Special Transportation
  • Office for Passports and Visas
  • Migration Control Office
  • External Labour Migration Department
  • Legal Office
  • Office for Crisis Situations
  • Office for Resource Provisions
  • Finance and Economy Office

4. Logistical Service

  • Office for Material and Technical Support
  • Finance and Economy Department
  • Medical Office
  • Office for Communication and Automation
  • Office for Capital Construction
  • Co-ordination Office of Logistical Service
  • General Services Office

5. Independent Divisions

  • Office of Affairs - the Secretariat
  • Main Office for Internal Security -Internal affairs
  • Control and Auditing Office
  • Internal Troops General Headquarters
  • MVD Inquiry Committee
  • Forensic Expertise Center
  • Main Office for Organization and Inspection - The MVD Inspector General
  • Main Office for Special Technical Actions - (Special operations) : OSNAZ, OMON , SOBR/OMSN
  • Main Office for (Special) Investigations - Special branch
  • National Central Bureau for Interpol
  • Mobilization Training Office
  • Main Center for Information
  • Main Legal Office
  • Office for International Co-operation
  • Office for Information Regional Contacts


See also



  • Ronald Hingley, The Russian Secret Police, Muscovite, Imperial Russian and Soviet. Political Security Operations, 1565-1970
  • Dominic Lieven (ed.), The Cambridge History of Russia, Volume II: Imperial Russia, 1689-1917, Cambridge University Press (2006), ISBN 978-0521815291.

External links

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