Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov


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(b. 1895, d. 1939?).

Head of Soviet Secret Police Born in St Petersburg, he joined the Bolsheviks in April 1917 and took part in the Russian (October) Revolution of 1917. During the Russian Civil War, he was a political commissar in the Red Army. He then worked for the Communist Party's Central Committee, becoming a member in 1934. Yezhov became the head of the NKVD as People's Commissar for Internal Affairs in 1936. In this capacity, he led Stalin's terror campaign. By this time a drug addict, he became the most feared man in the Soviet Union after Stalin. The Great Purges are also known as the Yezhovshchina. Briefly a member of the Politburo from 1937, he was dismissed from the NKVD and replaced by Beria in December 1938. He was arrested in March 1939 and probably executed soon afterwards.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Politics.

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