MALINOVA-TZIAFETA O.Yu. Control by the Special Services (OGPU-NKVD): Foreign Specialists and Representatives of Non-Titular Nations in the Trust ‘Vodokanalizatsiya’ (1918 – First Half of the 1930s)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2021.5.10

Olga Yu. Malinova-Tziafeta

Candidate of Sciences (History), Researcher,

Friedrich–Alexander University Erlangen–Nuremberg,

Bismarkstrasse 12, 91054 Erlangen, Germany

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3922-8091


Abstract. Introduction. This article deals with foreign workers and specialists in the ‘Vodokanalizatsiya’ trust in Leningrad. The trust was involved in the design, construction and operation of water supply and sewerage – the most important systems for the modernization of urban space. Obviously, the attitude towards foreigners could have its own specifics in relation to other enterprises, since the trust did not belong to the most important industrial branches. So, in particular, the so-called Secret Section with a number of secret departments or the Special Bureau, a kind of branch of the OGPU-NKVD, are gradually beginning to play an increasingly important role in the management of this enterprise.

Methods and materials. The article is based on materials from the Central State Archives of St. Petersburg, ‘Vodokanalizatsiya’ trust, and one of the secret departments. Analysis. Through the Special Bureau in the late 1920s – 1930s new principles of interaction with employees were introduced. The Special Bureau paid special attention to the so-called “former people”, representatives of non-titular peoples of the USSR and, of course, foreigners. All this took place under conditions of an acute shortage of skilled labour in Leningrad.

Results. Thus, the interests of the economic development of the state came into conflict with other interests, which in literature are designated to be “ideological” and are rarely analysed in detail. In the course of this analysis, it was possible to establish that the foreigners were not too closely associated with ideology. On the contrary, education of labour discipline and counteraction to sabotage, as well as domestic and foreign political events, came to the fore. The secret branch of the trust did exercise control over the work of its employees and, if necessary, could directly contact the police or the OGPU-NKVD. Apparently, there were no obvious problems with foreigners at the enterprise, however, there was noticeable observation of a preventive nature. Thus, the role of the OGPU-NKVD in the development of Soviet industry in the 1930s is studied using the example of the ‘Vodokanalizatsiya’ trust.

Key words: water infrastructures, urban history, Stalinism, OGPU, NKVD, industry, industrialization, “war scare” of 1927, right terrorism, foreign experts, foreign policy of the USSR.

Citation. Malinova-Tziafeta O.Yu. Control by the Special Services (OGPU-NKVD): Foreign Specialists and Representatives of Non-Titular Nations in the Trust ‘Vodokanalizatsiya’ (1918 – First Half of the 1930s). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2021, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 126-138. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2021.5.10.

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Control by the Special Services (OGPU-NKVD): Foreign Specialists and Representatives of Non-Titular Nations in the Trust ‘Vodokanalizatsiya’ (1918 – First Half of the 1930s) by Malinova-Tziafeta O.Yu. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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