Open main menu

Main Administration for Affairs of Prisoners of War and Internees

The Main Administration for Affairs of Prisoners of War and Internees[note 1] (Russian: Главное управление по делам военнопленных и интернированных НКВД/МВД СССР, ГУПВИ, tr. GUPVI, GUPVI NKVD SSSR/ MVD SSSR) was a department of NKVD (later MVD) in charge of handling of foreign civilian internees and POWs in the Soviet Union during and in the aftermath of World War II (1939–1953).

It was established within NKVD under the name "Administration for Affairs of Prisoners of War and Internees (UPVI) in September 1939 after the Soviet invasion of Poland. The qualifier "main" was added in January 1945.

The legal foundation was the Sovnarkom Decree of July 1, 1941 "Regulations about Prisoners of War" ("Положение о военнопленных"), which was updated by the September 29, 1945 "Regulations about the Labor Use of Prisoners of War" (Положение о трудовом использовании военнопленных).[5]

In many ways the GUPVI system was similar to GULAG.[6] Its major function was the organization of foreign forced labor in the Soviet Union. The top management of GUPVI came from GULAG system. The major noted distinction from GULAG was the absence of convicted criminals in the GUPVI camps. Otherwise the conditions in both camp systems were similar: hard labor, poor nutrition and living conditions, high mortality rate.[7]

Another noted distinction was that GUPVI was a major source of recruitment of future communist activists for communist states, such as GDR and People's Republic of Poland, as well as various "democratic committees" of Japanese, Austrians, etc.[7][8][9] Significant efforts were channeled into " ideological reforging" (идеологическая перековка) of the laborers, and numerous clubs, libraries, local radio stations were created.[9]

In total, during the whole period of the existence of GUPVI there were over 500 POW camps (within the Soviet Union and abroad) which imprisoned over 4,000,000 POWs.[10]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Numerous translations of the name of the department have appeared in English sources including "Chief Administration for POW and Internee Affairs",[1] "Main Directorate for POW and Internee Affairs",[2] "Main Administration for the Affairs of Prisoners of War and Internees",[3] and "Main Administration of Prisoners of War and Interned Personnel".[4]


  1. ^ The Gods Left First.
  2. ^ Archives of the Communist Party and Soviet State: Fond 89: Communist Party ...
  3. ^ Against Their Will.
  4. ^ Cars for Comrades.
  5. ^ "POW in the system of the forced labor in the USSR", Modest Kolerov, Otechestvennye Zapiski, no. 3, 2003
  6. ^ Karner, Stefan, Im Archipel GUPVI. Kriegsgefangenschaft und Internierung in der Sowjetunion 1941-1956. Wien-München 1995. ISBN 978-3-486-56119-7 (book review, English) (in German)
  7. ^ a b "Internment: A Form of Soviet Repression of Poles and Polish Citizens" Archived 2014-12-13 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  8. ^ "GUPVI Archipelago", an article in Arguments and Facts, no. 49, December 2004
  9. ^ a b Japanese POV in Krasnoyarsk Krai, by M. Spiridonov
  10. ^ a b c d e f g MVD of Russia: An Encyclopedia (МВД России: энциклопедия). 2002. p. 541. ISBN 5-224-03722-0.
  11. ^ Petrov, Nikita. "18". GULAG.


  • Sharkov, Anatoli, GUPVI Archipelago: Prisoners of War and Internees on the Territory of Belarus: 1944--1951(in Russian) (2003), Minsk, Belarus, ISBN 985-463-094-3 (Online excerpt[permanent dead link]) (in Russian)
  • Maksim Zagorulko (ed.) (2005) "Regional Structures of the USSR NKVD/MVD GUPVI, 1941-1951: Reporting and Informational Documents" (Regionalnye Struktury GUPVI NKVD-MVD SSSR, 1941-1951 : Otchetno-Informatsionnye Dokumenty; Региональные структуры ГУПВИ НКВД - МВД СССР. 1941 - 1951: Военнопленные в СССР. 1939 - 1956: Документы и материалы. Отчетно-информационные документы. Т. 5: Кн. 2) ISBN 5-9233-0421-X (in Russian)