In the time period of 1921-1953, i.e. over 33 years, in the USSR 3.8 million people committed political crimes (counter-revolutionary activities) and were convicted. Of these, about 700 thousand were sentenced to death (death penalty) people.

Prisoners and convicts between 1921 and 1953.

Certificates issued by the Special Department of the USSR Ministry of the Interior on the prisoners and convicts of the KGB structures (Cheka – OGPU – NKVD) in the time period of 1921-1953.

11 December 1953

  • According to the Cheka – OGPU, 1921-1929 period brought cases.

    * No information

  • According to the OGPU – NKVD, 1930-1936 period brought cases.

  • According to the NKVD, 1937-1938 period brought cases.

  • According to 1939-1953 period brought cases.

    Signature: I.O. The acting manager Colonel Pavlov of the Special Department of the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs.

    GA of the Russian Federation. F. 9401. Op. 1. D. 4157. L. 201-205. Original. Manuscript. On the certificates there are litters: “Letter sent to Malenkov and Khrushchev No. 26 / K from 5.1.54.” The letter index “K” means that this letter was signed by the Minister of the Interior of the USSR, S. N. Kruglov. For more details, see National Archives. 1992. № 2. P. 20-31.

  • Final table

    Note: The total amounts for all items do not cover the period from 1921 to 1953, since there are gaps in the reports.


  • Cheka – the initialism for the first of a succession of Soviet secret police organizations.
  • OGPU – The Joint State Political Directorate (also translated as the All-Union State Political Administration and Unified State Political Directorate) was the secret police of the Soviet Union from 1923 to 1934. Its official name was “Joint State Political Directorate under the Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR”
  • NKVD – The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, was the interior ministry of the Soviet Union.
  • MVD – The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation is the interior ministry of Russia.
  • BK – The Military Collegium of the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union was created in 1924 by the Supreme Court of the Soviet Union as a court for the higher military and political personnel of the Red Army and Fleet. In addition it was an immediate supervisor of military tribunals and the supreme authority of military appeals.
  • B/T – military tribunal.
  • OC – Special Council of the USSR NKVD
  • NKVD troika – or Special troika were institutional commissions of three persons who issued sentences to people after simplified, speedy investigations and without a full trial. These commissions were employed as instruments of extrajudicial punishment introduced to supplement the Soviet legal system with a means for quick execution or imprisonment.
  • Article 58-10 – Anti-Soviet and counter-revolutionary propaganda and agitation: at least 6 months of imprisonment.