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Nikolai Yezhov
Николай Иванович Ежов
People's Commissar for Water Transport
In office
8 April 1938 – 9 April 1939
Preceded by Nikolay Pakhomov
Succeeded by None (position abolished)
People's Commissar for Internal Affairs
In office
26 September 1936 – 25 November 1938
Preceded by Genrikh Yagoda
Succeeded by Lavrentiy Beria
People's Commissar for State Security
In office
27 January 1937 – 25 November 1938
Candidate member of the 17th Politburo
In office
12 October 1937 – 3 March 1939
Member of the 17th Secretariat
In office
1 February 1935 – 3 March 1939
Personal details
Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov

(1895-05-01)May 1, 1895
St. Petersburg, Russian Empire
Died February 4, 1940(1940-02-04) (aged 44)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Citizenship Soviet
Political party Communist Party of the Soviet Union
Spouse(s) Antonia Titova (1919-1930)
Yevgenia Feigenberg (1930-1938; her death; 1 child)
Children Natalia Nikolaevna Yezhova, later Natalia Khayutina (adopted)
Nickname(s) Russian: Ежевика (Blackberry)
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Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov (May 1, 1895 – February 4, 1940) was the leader of the Soviet secret police called NKVD. He worked for Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938, during the Great Purge.

He joined the Bolsheviks in April 1917, a few months before the October Revolution. He was known as a determined loyalist of Joseph Stalin, and in 1935 he wrote a paper in which he argued that political opposition must eventually lead to violence and terrorism; this became in part the ideological basis of the Purges. He became head of the NKVD in early 1937, after the dismissal of Genrikh Yagoda. Under Yezhov, the purges reached their height, with roughly half of the Soviet political and military establishment being exiled or shot, along with hundreds of thousands of others, suspected of disloyalty or wrecking.

Eventually, Stalin dismissed Yezhov from his post in November 1938, demoting him to the post of Commissar of Water Transport; less than a year later, Yezhov was arrested and put on trial for excesses committed during the Purges. In his defence, Yezhov said that he regretted only that he had not punished enough counter-revolutionaries. He was found guilty and probably executed in secret in 1940.

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