N arodnyy K om m issa r ia t Vnutrenniakh Del (NKVD) The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs, or NKVD, existed from July 1934 to March 1946. It was the overarching secret police and intelligence agency with which Soviet premier Josef Stalin (q.v.) prosecuted the purges (q.v.) of the mid-1930s. Under the direction of Lavrenty Beria (q.v.) from 1938, the NKVD incorporated both the internal affairs machinery and the state security organs. The latter were removed from the NKVD briefly from February to July 1941, and formed into the separate People’s Commissariat for State Secu rity (NKGB), under a Beria henchman, Vsevold N. Merkulov.