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Ivan Fedorovich Nikishov (also Nikishev) (Russian: Иван Фёдорович Никишов; 1894 – August 5, 1956) was a Soviet NKVD Lieutenant General and director of Dalstroy.



Nikishov was born in 1894 the son of a peasant in Varkino, in the Saratov Governorate of the Russian Empire (now Volgograd Oblast). He joined the Communist Party in 1919.[1] He entered a career in the NKVD and became its head for Azerbaijan in 1937, where he directed the purges. In 1938 and 1939 he was the head of the NKVD at Khabarovsk.[2]

In 1940 Nikishov was appointed director of the Dalstroy organization.[2] At Magadan he divorced his wife and married the commandant of the women's camp, Alexandra Gridassova (rus.). The couple established a life of luxury in the Siberian wilderness replete with servants, cooks, chauffeurs, and a cultural brigade for entertainment.[3] Nikishov increased the gold production from the Kolyma mines. His difficulties in securing supplies for his operation were solved when the Lend-Lease program went into effect; he could divert cargo delivered to Magadan for services in the Gulag.[4] Ships of the Dalstroy fleet were sent to the United States for overhaul and repair for their duty to transport prisoners to the Gulag.[5] In 1944, Nikishov and NKVD general Goglidze were successful in presenting to the impressionable Henry A. Wallace, the American Vice President, a sanitized version of the Dalstroy enterprise.[6] On 20 January 1944, he was awarded the title Hero of Socialist Labour for increasing the production of raw materials in Dalstroy.[7]

Investigations for abuse of state funds and debauchery were initiated and he retired in 1948.[8] He died in his bath in 1956.[8]

Nikishov was a candidate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1952.[2]



  1. ^ Tzouliadis (2008), pp. 379–380
  2. ^ a b c Ukraine 33 list of Soviet Communists
  3. ^ Blum (1959), pp. 69–70
  4. ^ Tzouliadis (2008), pp. 207–208
  5. ^ Bollinger (2003), pp. 60–61, 89
  6. ^ Tzouliadis (2008), pp. 219–225
  7. ^ "Ivan Nikishov". (in Russian).
  8. ^ a b Tzouliadis (2008), p. 320


  • Blum, John Morton (1959). Years of Crisis, 1928–1938. From the Morgenthau Diaries. 1. Houghton Mifflin.
  • Bollinger, Martin J. (2003). Stalin's Slave Ships: Kolyma, the Gulag Fleet, and the Role of the West. Praeger. ISBN 9780275981006.
  • Tzouliadis, Tim (2008). The Forsaken. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-59420-168-4.