Matvei Berman

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Matvei Davidovich Berman (10 April 1898 - 7 March 1939) was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and head of the Gulag system from 1932 to 1937.

Berman joined the Cheka in 1918, and was later promoted to chief of the Cheka in Glazov. He then led the OGPU in Central Asia. In this capacity he worked to develop the Gulag system, a system of prison camps for political prisoners in which they were subjected to forced labour and most died from starvation, freezing or being killed by other inmates. Berman was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1933 for his work on the gulags, and became deputy head of the NKVD in 1936.

In August 1937, Berman was sacked during the Great Purge. He was expelled from the Communist Party in December and arrested the next day on suspicion of terrorism. He was convicted by the Supreme Court of the USSR and shot on 7 March 1939.