The State Political Directorate (also translated as the State Political Administration) (GPU) was the intelligence service and secret police of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) from February 6, 1922 to December 29, 1922 and the Soviet Union from December 29, 1922 until November 15, 1923.

Chronology of the Soviet

"State security organs"
(Russian:  organov Gos(ugarstvennoy)bezopasnosti)

Emblema KGB.svg
1917-1922 Cheka under SNK RSFSR
1922-1923 GPU under NKVD RSFSR
1923-1934 OGPU under SNK USSR
1934-1941 NKVD USSR
1941-1943 GUGB NKVD USSR
1943-1946 NKGB USSR
1946-1953 MGB USSR
1953-1954 MVD USSR
1954-1978 KGB under SM USSR
1978-1991 KGB USSR
1991 MSB (Inter republican security service) of the USSR
1991 TsSB (Centra intelligence service) of the USSR
1991 Committee of protection of the USSR state boarder


The official designation in line to the native reference is:

  • Русский: = Государственное политическое управление (ГПУ) при Нарoдного комиссариaтa вну́тренних дел (НКВД) РСФСР
  • tr =Gosudarstvennoe politichseskoe upravlenie (GPU) pri Harodnovo komissariata vnutrennikh gel (NKVD) RSFSR – (GPU pri NKVD RSFSR)
  • English: = State Political Directorate (also State Political Administration) under the People's Commissariat of interior affairs of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RFSR)


Formed from the Cheka, the original Russian state security organization, on February 6, 1922, it was initially known under the Russian abbreviation GPU—short for "State Political Directorate under the NKVD of the RSFSR" (Russian: Государственное политическое управление при НКВД РСФСР, Gosudarstvennoye politicheskoye upravlenie under the NKVD of the RSFSR"). Its first chief was the Cheka's former chairman, Felix Dzerzhinsky.


Internal security

On paper, the new agency was supposed to act with more restraint than the Cheka. For instance, unlike the Cheka, it didn't have the right to shoot suspected "counter-revolutionaries" at will. All those suspected of political crimes had to be brought before a judge in normal circumstances.[1]

Foreign intelligence

The 'Foreign Department' of the GPU was headed by a former Bolshevik and party member, Mikhail Trilisser.[2] The Foreign Department was placed in charge of intelligence activities overseas, including espionage and liquidation of 'enemies of the people'. Trilisser himself was later liquidated by Joseph Stalin during the Great Purge in 1940.


With the creation of the USSR in December 1922, a unified organization was required to exercise control over state security throughout the new union. Thus, on November 15, 1923, the GPU left the Russian NKVD and was transferred into the all-union Joint State Political Directorate, also translated as "All-Union State Political Administration". Its official name was "Joint State Political Directorate under the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR" (Russian: Obyedinyonnoye gosudarstvennoye politicheskoye upravleniye under the SNK of the USSR, Объединённое государственное политическое управление при СНК СССР), or OGPU (ОГПУ).


Badge Political Military
none Cотрудник
Red Armyman
RA OR5- Otdelkom 1919v2.svg Агент 3-го разряда
Agent third category
Командир отделения
Squad commander
RA Pomkomzvoda 1919.svg Агент 2-го разряда
Agent second category
Помощник командира взвода
Assistant platoon commander
RA OR8-Starshina 1919v1.svg Агент 1-го разряда
Agent first category
Старшина роты, батареи, батальона, дивизиона
First Sergeant of company, battery, battalion
RA Komzvoda 1919.svg Сотрудник особых поручений
Employee with special assignments
Командир взвода
Platoon commander
RA A-AF F1-2-K4 1935.svg Нач. оперативного пункта
Head of operative point
командир роты (полуэскадрона)
Company commander (Commander of half-squadron)
30 Нач. отдела инспекции; Пом. нач. адм.-следственной части
Leader of inspection department; Assistant head of investigative unit
командир батальона (эскадрона)
Battalion commander (Squadron commander)
RA OF5-Kompolka 1919v1.svg Пом. нач. отделения; Уполномоч. отдела предварительного дознания; Нач. адм.-следственной части
Assistant departemental leader ; Plenipotentiary of preliminary investigation department; Head of investigative unit
командир полка
Regimental commander
RA Kombrig 1919.svg Военрук инспекции
Military director of inspection
Командир бригады
Brigade commander
RA Nachdiv 1919.svg Нач. отделения ГПУ
Head of GPU branch
начальник и комиссар дивизии
Chief and commissar of division
RA Komandarm 1919.svg Зам. нач. отдела ГПУ
Assistant head of GPU department
Командир корпуса; Зам. нач. штаба войск ГПУ
Corps commander; Assistant chief of staff for GPU troops
RA Komfronta 1919.svg Нач. отдела ГПУ
Head of GPU department
Зам. Пред. ГПУ — Нач. штаба войск ГПУ
Deputy chairman of GPU - Chief of staff of GPU troops

See also


External links