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1932 Chekist Badge w/ Doc & Photo

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I have been quite fortunate in finding some early Chekist items in my travels. I believe that this badge is uncatalogued and unknown in the west. I hope that the number on the reverse, "N 41", is visible in the photo. On its face, this is the 1932 10-Year Jubilee Badge of the Trans-Caucasus Cheka-GPU. Likely very, very few survive today.

The document, dated Oct. 30, 1932, refers to it as an Excellence Badge for 10 Years of the ChK-GPU ZCFSR, awarded to Comrade Ilia Georgievich Kipiani, chief of the Trans-Caucasus Region Border Guard Special Service. (NB: I welcome better translations than my own, so feel free.) It is specifically numbered to the badge, N 41. Kipiani is a fairly common Georgian name, typically from the Migrelian region that also gave us L. Beria. They could hardly not have been acquainted.

Although numbered, the badge has no hallmark. That is not unusual. Early badges from the Soviet Trans-Caucasus Region and Soviet Georgia were often commissioned and made in Tbilisi. Tbilisi has been an art and jewelry center for centuries.

Photo and reverse to follow.


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... And here is a studio portrait of Comrade Kipiani, standing and armed with what appears to be a Luger. I believe the Broomhandle Mauser was the standard-issue Cheka weapon of the day, when they were available. Perhaps officers were allowed to, or had to, provide their own sidearm.

I love period photos, especially attributed ones. Note that while neither wears a medal, badge or other device, each is displaying a wristwatch, worn over his shirt sleeve. I have seen that before. Watches must have been signs of status -- not to mention useful tools if you are a state security officer -- and you couldn't hide status under a sleeve, could you? Of course, status in the Cheka could and would get many officers murdered.

The 10-Year Jubilee Badge of Club Dynamo also came with this small group. Lord knows, there are a lot of Club Dynamo badges, probably hundreds of them over the years. However, this is the only example of this early variant that I have come across. It is silver, in three parts, two rivets, three colors of enamel and the X appears to be solid gold. It has an MMD hallmark.

Regards to all,


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Nice find indeed. Would this badge have been awarded as a MVD award?

* * * * *

Although Soviet state security is a fascinating field, I am by no means knowledgeable regarding it. As I understand it, the Imperial MVD died a violent death during and right after the revolution. It, and the Okhrana, were replaced by the Cheka-GPU. If I'm not mistaken -- and I welcome correction -- the modern MVD was reconstituted out of the NKVD in 1946 when Narkomats gave way to Ministries.

So, a Chekist-GPU award, but not MVD ... I think.

Just my two cents, and worth every penny.


Edited by Chuck In Oregon
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