Orders of the Minister of the Interior from the year 1989

Introductory Notes :: Ministry of the Interior

As of the end of WWII, the Ministry of the Interior (Ministerstvo Vnitra – MV) in Czechoslovakia was built up as a power instrument of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ); between 1945-1989, the Minister of the Interior was without exception a member of the Party. The KSČ’s goal was to unify all security and intelligence services of the state and get them under their control under the umbrella of the Ministry of the Interior. They succeeded in this as early as 1945, with the establishment of the National Security Corps (Sbor národní bezpečnosti – SNB). Section “Z” of the Ministry directed the State Security Service (Státní bezpečnost – StB) and intelligence, exclusively servicing the KSČ.

After February 1948, the Ministry of the Interior was divided into two independent groups: Security, directed by J. Pavel, and Interior Administration (Vnitřní správa), in whose competence remained the traditional civilian-administrative activities (management of national committees, federal and assembly matters, state symbol concerns, archiving, etc.). Within the first group, security matters, and especially state-security, gained ever greater dominance, and the Ministry of the Interior gradually became a police ministry responsible for terror and repression against the population (in October 1948, the Ministry was already assigned the task of enforcing the law on forced labor camps, for example). Between 1950-53, the security services became independent under the Ministry of National Security (MNB), which took over Military Counterintelligence in 1951 from the competence of the Ministry of National Defense, and further acquired the newly established Border Guard Service (Pohraniční Stráž). The Ministry of National Security additionally incorporated the Correctional Services Administration (Správa nápravných zařízení) and the Interior Guard Service (Vnitřní stráž), established in 1952.

In 1953, the MV and MNB were merged back into one Ministry of the Interior, at which time Civil Defense (Civilní obrana) was added to the existing security services. In light of the fact that the headquarters and commands of all security services, whose employees were for the most part servicemen of the SNB or MV Armed Forces, were a part of the Ministry, it gradually became a unique military body, over which the Minister was the highest commander. His subservience to the premier of the government was merely a formality – the KSČ Central Committee (UV KSČ) apparatus ran the Ministry.

The MV existed in this form until 1968, when in the context of the federal re-organization of the state, the Federal Ministry of the Interior (FMV) of the ČSSR was created, with authority over the headquarters of all security services and republic ministries – Czech and Slovak. The new FMV was charged in particular with authority over Public Security (Veřejná bezpečnost – VB), in addition to its civil-administrative responsibilities.

After November 1989, the greatest organizational changes took place in the FMV, resulting in the dissolution of the StB (1990), the SNB (1991), and the creation of the Federal Police Corps outside of the Ministry’s structures. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Democracy (Úřad na ochranu ústavy a demokracie – UOUD), originally a part of the FMV, became independent in 1991, and continued its work under the name Federal Security Information Service (Federální bezpečnostní informační služba – FBIS). The Intelligence Service, however, remained a part of the FMV, renamed as the Office for International Relations and Information (Úřad pro zahraniční styky a informace – UZSI), keeping its records and archives, as well as very important records and archives from Counterintelligence and surveillance and intelligence-technical units. After the division of Czechoslovakia and the demise of the FMV, these units moved to the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, which thus acquired vast information and executive power.

Excerpted from Encyklopedie špionáže ze zákulisí tajných služeb, zejména Státní bezpečnosti (Encyclopedia of Espionage from Behind the Scenes of the Secret Services, Especially the State Security Service). Milan Churaň and Co. Nakladatelství Libri, Prague, 2000.

Web Project: The Events of 1989 in Czechoslovakia

 

Orders of the Minister of the Interior of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (MV ČSSR) from the year 1989 (in Czech only):