Litvin (1892-1938), Mikhail Iossifovich

27 February, 2009


Born in the lake Baïkal region, Litvin was one of Ezhov's closest collaborators.

Previously a typography-worker, he became a member of the Social Democratic Party in 1917 and entered the Cheka in 1920, for one year. He was then active in the trade unions and met Ezhov when working in Kazakhstan and almost never left him. He was brought to Moscow by Ezhov in 1931 and was one of the first nominees for the new post of People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs in 1936. Ezhov gave his protégé responsibility for the cadre resources of the Commissariat (until may 1937), a very important sector. At this time he was also elected a member of the First Supreme Soviet of the USSR, December 1937. Litvin went on to head the Secret Political Department of the NKVD (the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs), and was then nominated head of the Leningrad regional NKVD on January 20, 1938. By November 12, 1938, as Ezhov’s star was fading, he was ordered to come back to Moscow. However, after a morning telephone call to his boss, he understood only too well what was waiting for him and committed suicide on the evening of the same day (Jansen Petrov, 2008: 179).


Jansen, Marc Petrov, N. V., 2002, Stalin's Loyal Executioner: People's Commissar Nikolai Ezhov, 1895-1940, Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press.

Jansen, Mark Petrov, Nikita, 2008, Stalinskij pitomec — Nikolaj Ežov, [Stalin’s protégé: Nikolaj Ežov], Moscow: Rosspen Fond pervogo prezidenta Rossii B. N. El'cina. This book is the Russian version, slightly expanded, of the former reference.

Petrov, N. V. Skorkin, K. V., 1999, Kto rukovodil NKVD: 1934-1941, spravochnik [Who headed the NKVD: 1934-1941, a handbook], Moscow: Zvenija.

Zalesskij, K. A., 2000, Imperija Stalina: biograficheskij entsiklopedicheskij slovar [The Empire of Stalin: a biographical dictionary], Moscow: Veche.

Cite this item

Nérard François-Xavier, Litvin (1892-1938), Mikhail Iossifovich, Mass Violence & Résistance, [online], published on: 27 February, 2009, accessed 17/05/2021,, ISSN 1961-9898
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