Ministry of Internal Affairs (Russia)

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation (MVD; Russian: Министерство внутренних дел [МВД], Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del) is the interior ministry of Russia.

Ministry of Internal Affairs
of the Russian Federation
Министерство внутренних дел Российской Федерации
Ministerstvo vnutrennikh del Rossiyskoy Federatsii
Ministry emblem
Ministry flag

Ministry headquarters in Moscow
Agency overview
Formed8 September 1802
Preceding agencies
JurisdictionPresident of Russia
HeadquartersZhitnaya St. 16, Yakimanka, Moscow, Russia
55°43′51″N 37°36′50″E / 55.73083°N 37.61389°E / 55.73083; 37.61389
Employees907,630 (2012)
Annual budget1192.2 billion roubles (FY 2011)[citation needed]
Minister responsible
Child agencies

The MVD is responsible for law enforcement in Russia through its agencies the Police of Russia, Migration Affairs, Drugs Control, Traffic Safety, the Centre for Combating Extremism, and the Investigative Department. The MVD is headquartered in Zhitnaya Street 16 in Yakimanka, Moscow. Vladimir Kolokoltsev has been the Minister of Internal Affairs since 2012.



Russian Empire (1802-1917)


The first interior ministry (MVD) in Russia was created by Tsar Alexander I on 28 March 1802. The MVD was one of the most powerful governmental bodies of the Empire, responsible for the police forces and Internal Guards, and the supervision of gubernial administrations. Its initial responsibilities also included prisons, firefighting, state enterprises, the state postal system, state property, construction, roads, medicine, clergy, natural resources, and nobility; most of them were transferred to other ministries and government bodies by the mid-19th century.[citation needed]



As the central government began to further partition the countryside, the ispravniks (chiefs of police) were distributed among the sections.[1] Serving under them in their principal localities were commissaries (stanovoi pristav). Ispravniki and pristav alike were armed with broad and obscurely-defined powers which, combined with the fact that they were for the most part illiterate and wholly ignorant of the law, formed crushing forces of oppression.[2] Towards the end of the reign of Alexander II, the government, in order to preserve order in the country districts, also created a special class of mounted rural policemen (uryadniks, from uriad, order), who, in a time without habeas corpus, were armed with power to arrest all suspects on the spot.[2] These uryadniks rapidly became the terror of the countryside. Finally, in the towns of the rural countryside, every house was provided with a "guard dog" of sorts, in the form of a porter (dvornik), who was charged with the duty of reporting the presence of any suspicious characters or anything of interest to the police.[2]

Secret Police


In addition there was also the secret police, in direct subordination to the ministry of the interior, of which the principal function was the discovery, prevention, and extirpation of political sedition. Its most famous development was the so-called Third Section (of the imperial chancery) instituted by Emperor Nicholas I in 1826. This was entirely independent of the ordinary police, but was associated with the previously existing Special Corps of Gendarmes, whose chief was placed at its head. Its object had originally been to keep the emperor in close touch with all the branches of the administration and to bring to his notice any abuses and irregularities, and for this purpose its chief was in constant personal contact with the sovereign.[2]

Following the growth of the revolutionary movement and the assassination of Emperior Alexander II, the Department of State Police inherited the secret police functions of the dismissed Third Section and transferred the most capable Gendarmes to the Okhrana. In 1896 the powers of the minister were extended at the expense of those of the under-secretary, who remained only at the head of the corps of gendarmes; but by a law of 24 September 1904 this was reversed, and the under-secretary was again placed at the head of all the police with the title of under-secretary for the administration of the police.[2]

By World War I, the department had spawned a counter-intelligence section. After the February Revolution of 1917, the Gendarmes and the Okhrana were disbanded as anti-revolutionary.[citation needed]

Soviet era (1917-89)

A 1970s- or 80s-vintage GAZ-24 Volga, in the period squad car livery, installed as a monument in front of the Nizhny Novgorod Main Directorate for Road Traffic Safety headquarters

Having won the October Revolution, the Bolsheviks disbanded the tsarist police forces and formed an all-proletarian Workers' and Peasants' Militsiya under the NKVD of the Russian SFSR. After the establishment of the USSR, there was no Soviet (federal) NKVD until 1934.[citation needed] In March 1946, all of the People's Commissariats (NK) were redesignated as Ministries (M). The NKVD was renamed the MVD of the USSR, along with its former subordinate, the NKGB which became the MGB of the USSR. The NKVDs of Union Republics also became Ministries of Internal Affairs subordinate to MVD of the USSR.[citation needed]

Secret police became a part of MVD after Lavrenty Beria merged the MGB into the MVD in March 1953. Within a year Beria's downfall caused the MVD to be split up again; after that, the MVD retained its "internal security" (police) functions, while the new KGB took on "state security" (secret police) functions.[citation needed]

In his efforts to fight bureaucracy and maintain 'Leninist principles', Nikita Khrushchev, as the Premier of the Soviet Union, called for the dismissal of the All-Union MVD. The Ministry ceased to exist in January 1960, and its functions were transferred to the respective Republican Ministries. The MVD of the Russian SFSR was renamed the Ministry for Securing the Public Order in 1962.[citation needed] Leonid Brezhnev again recreated the All-Union Ministry for Securing the Public Order in July 1966, and later assigned Nikolai Shchelokov as Minister; the RSFSR Ministry was disbanded for the second time, the first being at the creation of the NKVD of the Soviet Union. The MVD regained its original title in 1968.[citation needed] Another role of the reformed MVD was to combat economic crimes, that is, to suppress private business which was largely prohibited by socialist law. This fight was never successful, due to the pervasive nature of the black market.[citation needed]

By the mid-1980s, the image of the people's militsiya was largely compromised by the corruption and disorderly behaviour of both enlisted and officer staff (the most shocking case was the robbery and murder of a KGB operative [ru] by a group of militsiya officers stationed in the Moscow Metro in 1980).[citation needed]

Russian Federation (1990–present)


Organizational changes


The Russian MVD re-formed as the MVD of the Russian SFSR in 1990, following the restoration of the republican Russian Council of Ministers and the Supreme Soviet of Russia. It continued in its functions when Russia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. As of 2017 the Ministry controlled: the Politsiya (formerly Militsiya), the General Administration for Traffic Safety, and the Federal Drug Control Service.

Since the disbanding of the Russian Tax Police Service in 2003, the MVD also investigates economic crimes.[3] Two long-time units of the Imperial MVD and NKVD, the Russian Firefighting Service and the Federal Prisons Service, transferred to the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations in 2001 and to the Russian Ministry of Justice in 2006, respectively. The last reorganization abolished Main Directorates inherited from the NKVD in favour of Departments. In 2012, career police officer Vladimir Kolokoltsev became the Minister of Internal Affairs in Russia.[4]

On 5 April 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian Internal Troops, OMON (the Special Purpose Mobility Unit), and SOBR (SWAT) forces to form the basis of the newly created National Guard of Russia, and these close to 200,000 public order, special police, and internal troop forces previously under the command of the MVD were reassigned to the Security Council of Russia.[4] In turn and on the same day, the Federal Drug Control Service and the Federal Migration Service merged into the MVD, and are now known as the Main Directorate for Drugs Control and the Main Directorate for Migration Affairs, respectively.[5][6]


Anna Politkovskaya

In 2006, investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya was murdered.[7] Six years later, the former head of surveillance at Moscow’s main Internal Affairs Directorate was found guilty of organizing her murder by tracking her movements and giving a gun to the killer.[7]

In December 2019, Distributed Denial of Secrets listed a leak from Russia's Ministry of the Interior, portions of which detailed the deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine, at a time when the Kremlin was denying a military presence there.[8] Some material from that leak was published in 2014, about half of it was not, and WikiLeaks reportedly rejected a request to host the files two years later, at a time when Julian Assange was focused on exposing Democratic Party documents passed to WikiLeaks by Kremlin hackers.[9][10][11][12]


Irina Slavina

The founder and editor of the independent news site Koza.Press, known professionally as Irina Slavina, was harassed by law enforcement for years.[13] On October 2, 2020, she committed suicide by self-immolation outside a regional Ministry of Internal Affairs building, writing on Facebook, “For my death, please blame the Russian Federation.”[13]

In September 2023, Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs decided to have an appeal by imprisoned opposition leader Alexey Navalny challenging his 19-year prison sentence on extremism charges held by a court behind closed doors, and the appeal was dismissed.[14] Supporters of Navalny said he was being silenced for criticizing President Vladimir Putin's government.[14] In 2020 Navalny was poisoned in Russia with the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok.[14]

Telecommunications service providers are required to grant the Ministry of Internal Affairs 24-hour remote access to their client databases, including telephone and electronic communication and records, enabling the Ministry to track private communications and internet activity without the users' knowledge.[13][7] The law permits authorities to monitor telephone calls in real time.[7]


Current Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev
Interior ministers
Minister Start year End year
Viktor Yerin 1992 1995
Anatoly Kulikov 1995 1998
Sergei Stepashin 1998 1999
Vladimir Rushailo 1999 2001
Boris Gryzlov 2001 2003
Rashid Nurgaliyev 2004 2012
Vladimir Kolokoltsev 2012

See also





  1. ^ From Catherine II's time to that of Alexander II, these chiefs of police were put in power by the ruling nobility. This was changed after the Emancipation reform of 1861.
  2. ^ a b c d e Phillips, Walter Alison (1911). "Russia" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 876.
  3. ^ Vytovtov A.E. "Revisiting the Concept of Economic Crimes in Russian Criminal Legislation", East-Siberian Institute of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, Issue: Vol 16, No 4, pp. 374-78 (2023)
  4. ^ a b "Russia: Domestic Politics and Economy," September 9, 2020.
  5. ^ "ФМС и ФСКН переподчинены Министерству внутренних дел". 5 April 2016.
  6. ^ Galleoti, Mark. "Putin's new National Guard – what does it say when you need your own personal army?". Ukrainian Policy. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d "Russia". U.S. Department of State.
  8. ^ Shane, Scott (25 January 2019). "Huge Trove of Leaked Russian Documents Is Published by Transparency Advocates (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  9. ^ McLaughlin, Jenna. "WikiLeaks Turned Down Leaks on Russian Government During U.S. Presidential Campaign". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  10. ^ "Ukraine conflict: Hackers take sides in virtual war". BBC News. 20 December 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  11. ^ "Ukrainian cyber troops hack into the servers of Russian Federation: Evidence of Russian military actions revealed". (English). 15 December 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  12. ^ Poulsen, Kevin (24 January 2019). "This Time It's Russia's Emails Getting Leaked". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  13. ^ a b c "Custom Reports: Russia".
  14. ^ a b c "Russian court upholds Navalny's 19-year prison sentence". I24news. 26 September 2023.

Further reading

  • Ronald Hingley, The Russian Secret Police, Muscovite, Imperial Russian and Soviet. Political Security Operations, 1565–1970
  • Dominic Lieven (ed.), The Cambridge History of Russia, Volume II: Imperial Russia, 1689–1917, Cambridge University Press (2006), ISBN 978-0-521-81529-1.