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V. F. Nekrasov, Apparat TsK KPSS v pogonakh i bez. Nekotorye voprosy oborony, gosbezopasnosti, pravookhranitel’noi deiatel’nosti v TsK KPSS (40-e – nachalo 90-x godov XX veka)

Moskva, Kuchkovo Pole, 2010, 383 s.
Nikolai Mitrokhin
Bibliographical reference

V. F. Nekrasov, Apparat TsK KPSS v pogonakh i bez. Nekotorye voprosy oborony, gosbezopasnosti, pravookhranitel’noi deiatel’nosti v TsK KPSS (40-e – nachalo 90-x godov XX veka), Moskva, Kuchkovo Pole, 2010, 383 s.

Index terms

Countries :

Soviet Union

Research Fields :

History
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Dedication

Pipss.org is grateful to Hillary Evans who translated this book review from Russian into English

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  • 1 For example, he was the chief editor of the encyclopedia « MVD Rossii » published in Moscow in 2002
  • 2 For examples, see Beria : Konets kar’eri, V. Nekrasov (Ed.), Moskva, Polizdat, 1991 ; Trinatsat’ «  (...)
  • 3 He compiled the following works with documents retrieved from “classified” files: « Vnutrennie vois (...)

1Vladimir Filipovich Nekrasov was an instructor for the Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Department of Administrative Organs of the Central Committee of the CPSU and wrote this impressive-looking book with the huge red coat of arms of the Soviet Union. For the older generations of researchers on the Soviet Union, he was probably most famous for writing a series of sensational, historical stories of the NKVD, MGB, and Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) both during, and post-perestroika. Nekrasov is known as the official historian of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and modern Russia1. At least two dozen volumes on the history of law enforcement that he either authored or co-authored in the last 40 years are displayed in a mini home museum2. Among those displayed are numbered publications from the 1960’s and 1980’s3.

2In the book The Central Committee of the CPSU in and out of Uniform, Nekrasov adopts a new genre, since his previous works had largely been based on archival documents. De facto, the book is a memoir of his own work in the Department of Administrative Organs, and in the Department of Military Organs of the Committee of Party and State Control. In addition to his own experiences, he includes a collection of recorded interviews with his former colleagues, fragments of memories, and some documents from his own archives. Among the latter are mainly lists of collaborators of the Department of different years accidentally saved.

3In the first chapter, the author attempts to systematically explain the structure and work of the Department of Administrative Organs, but in reality the chapter is limited to a brief informative description of the department structure (perhaps partly transferred from the archive inventory of RGASPI, where the author learned and cited several documents on the organizational structure of the department in 1948), and to the biographies of its leaders.

4The Department of Administrative Organs of the Central Committee of the CPSU existed from 1948 to 1988 and engaged in the implementation of policy for some categories of « people in uniforms », but not all. In the sphere of responsibility of the department were the KGB, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Justice organs, the prokuratura, the army, the civil defense, DOSAAF and the civil aviation. Each of these areas in the department, had their own sectors. Only the courts, the organs of justice and the prokuratura were controlled by the same sector. The control over the army (Air Force, Navy, Air Defense, Ground forces and missile forces) was managed by two sectors.There was always a department head, whose subordinate was an assistant manager, who oversaw and reported on the other several sectors. The head himself personally supervised sector KGB. The department also had a secretariat to organize documents and verify the technical staff of the department.

5The most valuable part of the book is an extremely detailed recollection of memories from not only Nekrasov himself, but also 13 of his colleagues. These colleagues come from nearly every sector of the department, albeit in an uneven way. Members of the Ground forces sector are outnumbered in the list of respondents, but part of the sectors (DOSAAF, Civil Aviation, Prosecutors, Courts and Justice) are only represented by one person. No representatives from the KGB agreed to share memories and experiences, for which the author has publicly announced his disappointment. The wealth of the memories is remarkable.

6Despite this, and the fact that respondents were incited by the author to answer to questions such as, « Why did the Soviet Union and the Communist Party Collapse? », « Does that reflect our personal shortcomings?“, « Has Socialism left the country permanently, or temporarily? », « If you could go back to your days at the Central Committee and do anything differently, what would it be? » (p. 134), the testimonies collected are unique for researchers of the Brezhnev’s period. A non-expert may also be able to find in them its share of thoughts, information and quotes.

7Almost each of the former collaborators of the Department is proud to have promoted an initiative which appeared useful to him socially and can congratulate the chief he elected.

8Ivan Potapov, Ground Forces Sector Chief, was popular for many years. In general (albeit it with far less unanimity), employees of the department positively evaluated and rated their chief, Nikolai Savinkin, in the years 1964-1987. After working in the Department, almost all of the informants went to high positions – mainly as deputies on staff, political education leaders, major arms of the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, or for other Ministries.

9Nekrasov’s book is not only unique for its significant amount of information on the activities of one of the most secret departments of the Central Committee, but also because it was the first of its kind. Hopefully it will not be the last in this thematic collection of memoirs. Post-Soviet reality is that employees coming from the most closed and secret institutions tend to be much more ready to remember and publish memories than other « normal » spheres of Soviet society. An example of that are the numerous and very detailed works from the history of the Soviet the nuclear industry, closed cities, and of certain types of weapons.

  • 4 From 2006-2008, he was supported by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, and from 2008-2012 by the Deutsche (...)

10Staff of the Department of Administrative Organs ended up matching the trend. In a survey given to employees of the Central Committee of the CPSU between the 1950s and the1980s4, I was faced with the phenomenon of mass-production of printed memoirs, which is published with negligible circulation for the circle of former colleagues and family members - it never made it to the book stores.

  • 5 V. Abolentsev, I po sovesti, i po zakonu, Moskva, 2007.
  • 6 A. Sukharev, Po zovu pravdy. Zapiski General’nogo prokurora SSSR, Voronezh, Kvarta, 2011.
  • 7 I na zemle ostavit’ dobryi sled (Khronika sem’i Paninykh), I.G. Panin (Ed.), Moskva, Khudozhestvenn (...)

11Former employees of the Administrative Department are no exception. Apart from Nekrasov, several former members of the Department (Prokuratura, courts and justice Sector – V. Abolentsev5, Sukharev6, Ground Forces sector – N. Grebenkin, Panin7) published their testimonies about their work in the Central Committee of the CPSU.

  • 8 N. Grebenkin, Do krutogo povorota i posle, Moskva, Granitsa, 2011.

12Of these, Nikolas Grebenkina’s memories are the most interesting. In addition to the inevitable arguments within this genre on the liability of Mikhail Gorbachev and the "democrats" for the collapse of the Soviet Union, a significant part of the arguments have very detailed accounts on a career army political officer, as well as an unusually coherent description of the scope of the typical department instructor. For example, separate chapters are dedicated to the missions (kommandirovki) and the work with letters8.

  • 9 Smysl’ zhizni, N. Grebenkina, V.V. Kazharskogo, I.G. Panin (Eds.), Moskva, Krasnaia Zvezda, 2010.
  • 10 L. Ostasheva, Staroe zerkalo, Kniga vtoraia, Moskva, Pravda Press, 2004. This book is a central par (...)

13Books of such staff in the department as I. Potapov (a collection of memories of colleagues9), a MVD instructor sector and S. Ostashev (his biography written by his wife)10 have also been published. In all likelihood, other memoirs will appear in the next few years. Future academic research on the Department will have a lot to work on.

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Notes

1 For example, he was the chief editor of the encyclopedia « MVD Rossii » published in Moscow in 2002.

2 For examples, see Beria : Konets kar’eri, V. Nekrasov (Ed.), Moskva, Polizdat, 1991 ; Trinatsat’ « zheleznikh » narkomov. Istoriia NKVD-MVD from A.I. Rykova to N.A. Shchelokova, 1917-1982, V.Nekrasov – Moskva, Versty, 1995.

3 He compiled the following works with documents retrieved from “classified” files: « Vnutrennie voiska v bor’be s burzhyaznym natsionalisticheskim podpol’em na zakliuchitel’nom etape Velikoi otechestvennoi voiny i v pervye poslevoennye gody », Army General I.K. Yakovlev (Ed.), Moskva, Glavnoe upravlenie vnutrennikh voisk, 1986. Vnutrennie voiska, 1945-1960, Dokumenty and materialy Moskva, Voenizdat, 1989.

4 From 2006-2008, he was supported by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, and from 2008-2012 by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

5 V. Abolentsev, I po sovesti, i po zakonu, Moskva, 2007.

6 A. Sukharev, Po zovu pravdy. Zapiski General’nogo prokurora SSSR, Voronezh, Kvarta, 2011.

7 I na zemle ostavit’ dobryi sled (Khronika sem’i Paninykh), I.G. Panin (Ed.), Moskva, Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 2012.

8 N. Grebenkin, Do krutogo povorota i posle, Moskva, Granitsa, 2011.

9 Smysl’ zhizni, N. Grebenkina, V.V. Kazharskogo, I.G. Panin (Eds.), Moskva, Krasnaia Zvezda, 2010.

10 L. Ostasheva, Staroe zerkalo, Kniga vtoraia, Moskva, Pravda Press, 2004. This book is a central part of a trilogy written by Ostasheva, but I do not know the names of the other two parts.

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References

Electronic reference

Nikolai Mitrokhin, « V. F. Nekrasov, Apparat TsK KPSS v pogonakh i bez. Nekotorye voprosy oborony, gosbezopasnosti, pravookhranitel’noi deiatel’nosti v TsK KPSS (40-e – nachalo 90-x godov XX veka) », The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies [Online], Issue 14/15 | 2013, Online since 11 March 2013, connection on 26 March 2017. URL : http://pipss.revues.org/4019

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About the author

Nikolai Mitrokhin

Bremen University

By this author

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Copyright

CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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