Mikhail Kedrov

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Mikhail Sergeevich Kedrov (24 February 1878 – 28 October 1941) was a Russian communist politician and head of the military section of the Cheka.

Kedrov was appointed head of the Special Section in September 1918. In May 1920 he was placed in charge of the Northern region after the defeat of the White Army in the area, and immediately closed down Russia's oldest monastery and converted it into a labour camp, the first of the Soviet gulags. He also set up an extermination camp in Kholmogory where he carried out the mass executions of former White officers. According to a report from the regional Cheka leader Zinovi Katsnelson:

The Kholmogory camp was organized by Kedrov, I repeat Kedrov, secretly, and exclusively for the mass liquidation of the white officers ... No prisoners were held there. They were brought only for liquidation.

Even by the standards of the Cheka Kedrov was considered exceptionally brutal. He regularly killed schoolchildren and White officers with such ruthlessness that he had to be placed under the care of a psychiatrist. He is believed to have killed thousands of people and was eventually sacked from his position after he was discovered plotting to massacre the population of the city of Vologda.

In March 1939 Kedrov and his son Igor signed a letter to Stalin condemning Lavrentiy Beria and alleging that he was a foreign agent. Both of them were arrested under Beria's orders the following month. Unusually he was acquitted when placed on trial but was still kept in custody. When Russia was invaded by the Germans during World War II Kedrov was evacuated to a nearby village, where he was shot alongside several other prisoners.