Yagoda, Genrikh (Grigoryevich) biographical name
(born 1891, Lodz, Pol., Russian Empiredied March 15, 1938, Moscow, Russia, U.S.S.R.) Soviet politician. A leader of the Cheka secret police (1920–24) and its successor, the OGPU (1924–34), and a close associate of Joseph Stalin, he organized the Soviet's forced-labour camps from 1930 and became a member of the Communist Party's Central Committee in 1934. As head of the Commissariat of Internal Affairs, or NKVD, he prepared the first of the purge trials (1936). In 1937 he was replaced as police chief by Nikolay Yezhov and himself became a victim of the widespread purges. Accused of being a member of a Trotskyite conspiracy intent on destroying the Soviet Union through sabotage, he was convicted, sentenced to death, and executed.
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