COMMUNISTS: The Comrade Generals

The Soviet Union's all-embracing police system had its origin about 35 years ago as an extraordinary emergency commission, called the Cheka, to combat sabotage and counter-revolutionary activities, In the civil war it became a kind of battle gendarmerie empowered to execute Whites and waverers in the Red army. With the end of the civil war, the Cheka switched its attention back to civil affairs, but it never loosed its hold on the army. The system of commissars and political instructors, which extends down through the army command to company level, is Chekist, and popularly called so, though the official...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!