Secret Police Headquarters, Moscow

NKVD.JPG

Secret Police Headquarters

One of the most symbolic – and controversial – buildings in central Moscow is the former headquarters of the Soviet Union’s People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, known as the NKVD. The building, left one in the photograph, served at the end of the 19th century as an office for Russian insurance company. After the revolution Cheka, the first secret police of the Soviet Union, took the place over, and converted it into a headquarter of horrors for the illegal interrogations, purges and the Gulag. It was in use through all the different titles of the Soviet state security apparatus, like KGB. During the glasnost period it was suggested that the building should be converted into a museum of political repression. This never happened, and the Russian security service FSB still accomodates it. The Victory Day was approaching at the time of this photo, and that is why the huge red star is standing on the traffic island – in the same place where the statue of Felix Dzerzhinsky, the architect of political repression in the Soviet Union, stood for decades.

 

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