An English-language exploration of Joseph Stalin's relationship with, and manipulation of, the Soviet political police. It follows the changing functions, organization and fortunes of the political police and security organs from the early 1920s until Stalin's death in 1953. It includes translations of more than 170 documents from Soviet archives.
Vladimir Khaustov, a professor at the Federal Security Service Academy of Russia, is a recognized authority in the history of organs of state security. David Shearer specializes in Soviet and twentieth-century European history and is the author of Policing Stalin's Socialism: Repression and Social Order in the Soviet Union, 1924-1953.