SMERSH (Russian: СМЕРШ, acronym of СМЕРть Шпионам, SMERt' SHpionam; "Death to spies") was umbrella name for 3 independent counter-intelligence agencies in the Red Army formed in late 1942 or even earlier, but officially founded on 14 April 1943. The name SMERSH was coined by Joseph Stalin. The pretext for its creation was to subvert the attempts by German forces to infiltrate the Red Army.

Official statute of SMERSH listed following tasks to be solved by this organization:

  • Counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism, preventing any other activity of foreign intelligence in Red Army;
  • fighting "anti-Soviet elements" in Red Army;
  • protection of front line against penetration by spies and "anti-Soviet elements";
  • investigating traitors, deserters and self-harm in Red Army;
  • checking military and civil personnel returning from captivity.

. The organisation was officially in existence until 4 May 1946, when its duties were transferred back to NKGB. The head of the agency throughout its existence was Viktor Abakumov, who rose to become Minister of State Security in the postwar years.

Read more about SMERSHOther Activities, Organization, Methods

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