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Military everyday life of the Soviet militia, and what they were responsible for in the Great Patriotic guards of order
Military everyday life of the Soviet militia, and what they were responsible for in the Great Patriotic guards of order

During the Great Patriotic War, the police were entrusted with tasks that went far beyond their traditional functions. In the harsh wartime, work on the protection of law and order was combined with the identification of fascist saboteurs, the protection of important objects from artillery attacks, and the evacuation of the population and enterprises. Little is known about the exploits of Soviet militiamen during the war years. Meanwhile, enthusiastic historians have unearthed many facts about the exemplary heroism of employees of the internal affairs bodies, shown in the most difficult time for the Soviet Union.

Broad responsibilities: front and city

Troops of the NKVD

The reformatting of the usual structure of the militia began immediately with the attack on the Soviet Union by Nazi Germany. On July 20, 1941, the People's Commissariats of Internal Affairs and State Security merged into the NKVD. Following on from operatives, investigators and firefighters, who then also entered the NKVD, they formed rifle divisions. Some were mobilized in the first months of the war, many others were recorded by volunteers who formed the backbone of the people's militia.

As for the new duties of the militia, their circle has expanded significantly. The law enforcement officers were entrusted with the fight against desertion, looting, work with alarmists and provocateurs. The militiamen were now responsible for the safety of defense-economic points, the suppression of embezzlement during the evacuation of goods, and the organization of the evacuation of the population. In addition, the police assisted the NKVD authorities in identifying enemy agents, implementing orders and orders regulating a special regime in martial law. For example, the directive of July 7, 1941 ordered the personnel of the militia to be ready at any time and in any situation, independently or together with army units, to carry out combat missions. The work related to army tactics concerned the elimination of sabotage groups, the destruction of enemy parachute assault forces and regular enemy units.

Women in the militia

Woman traffic controller

By November 7, 1941, a good half of the militiamen were at the front. They were partially replaced by women. And only over time, the commissioned soldiers returned to the internal affairs bodies. By 1943, the militia personnel had been updated by 90 percent at the expense of people who were not fit for combat service. For example, in military Stalingrad, the weaker sex made up about 20% of the personnel. Women mastered military affairs, mastered weapons, the basics of first aid, learned the theory of police service. For example, in Moscow alone, 1,300 women who had previously served in state institutions and organizations were admitted to the police in several months. On the eve of the Great Patriotic War, this figure was 138, and during the war years it grew to four thousand. Many of them have been promoted to leadership positions. Thousands of others worked as district police officers, ordinary police officers, carried out operational work in the criminal investigation apparatus and fought against embezzlement.

Borders and capital

Police work with street children

In the border regions of the USSR, militiamen, together with the Red Army, fought against the advancing Germans.Their control was also placed on the fight against enemy paratroopers, rocket signalmen, who gave light signals during Nazi air raids and directed the enemy to strategic targets. In the front-line areas, the militia was transferred to a barracks position, creating operational groups to confront enemy agents. For the entire period of the war, vacations were canceled, the border police brigades were reinforced with volunteer social activists, and the police formed groups to assist the extermination battalions.

The police service in the Soviet capital was particularly difficult. Moscow law enforcement officers were responsible for outposts on highways around the city, controlling all entrances and exits. The personal militia of Moscow and the region did not know either sleep or rest. The defenders of law and order made a huge contribution to the defense of Moscow from enemy aircraft. In one night, from 21 to 22 July 1941, the capital was attacked by 250 German aircraft, but by joint efforts the attack was repulsed, 22 enemy aircraft were eliminated. For the defense of Moscow from Hitler's aviation, the personnel of the city militia were given special gratitude. And those who distinguished themselves by the supreme spetsukaz were awarded orders and medals. Among other vivid examples of militia valor is the defense of the Brest Fortress, in which ordinary militiamen also took part.

Bandits and disarming the population

Moscow policemen

With the heat of military passions, the crime situation inside the country also worsened. In 1942, the crime rate rose by 22 percent against the background of the pre-war period. And this figure steadily went up. The first decline was outlined only in the middle of 1945. Taking advantage of the difficult situation, deserters and criminals armed themselves and strayed into numerous gangs. During the months of the state of siege in Moscow, the NKVD officers seized over 11 thousand units of pistols and machine guns. According to the stories of the detective veterans, even traditionally unarmed petty thieves and swindlers acquired firearms then. What can we say about the big gangs. It was often necessary to carry out entire military operations against such people. So, in 1942, a group of hundreds of people who committed at least 100 grave crimes were hunted in Tashkent. An NKVD brigade was sent to liquidate, successfully completing a difficult task. Operations of this level were carried out in 1943 in Novosibirsk, in 1944 in Kuibyshev.

Checks in the besieged city

The Soviet militia had to spend a lot of time and effort on disarming the civilian population. Even during the war, an incredible amount of weapons remained in civilian hands, which were simply picked up from the battlefields. The Nazis gradually retreated, and the policemen examined area after area. By April 1944, 8357 machine guns, 257 790 rifles, 11 440 machine guns, about 56 thousand revolvers with pistols, and over 160 thousand grenades were officially withdrawn from the population. And this unaccounted arsenal was far from complete, and the police work to identify with the subsequent seizure continued for many years.

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