Ivan Nikishov

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Ivan Fedorovich Nikishov (also Nikishev) (Russian: Иван Фёдорович Никишов; 1894 – August 5, 1956) was a Russian general of the NKVD and director of Dalstroy.


Nikishov was born in 1894 the son of a peasant and joined the Communist Party in 1919.[1] He entered a career in the NKVD and became its head for Azerbaijan in 1937, where he directed the purges. In 1938 and 1939 he was the head of the NKVD at Khabarovsk.[2]

In 1940 Nikishov was appointed director of the Dalstroy organization.[2] At Magadan he divorced his wife and married the commandant of the women's camp, Alexandra Gridassova (rus.). The couple established a life of luxury in the Siberian wilderness replete with servants, cooks, chauffeurs, and a cultural brigade for entertainment.[3] Nikishov increased the gold production from the Kolyma mines. His difficulties in securing supplies for his operation were solved when the Lend-Lease program went into effect; he could divert cargo delivered to Magadan for services in the Gulag.[4] Ships of the Dalstroy fleet were sent to the United States for overhaul and repair for their duty to transport prisoners to the Gulag.[5] In 1944, Nikishov and NKVD general Goglidze were successful in presenting to the impressionable Henry A. Wallace, the American Vice President, a sanitized version of the Dalstroy enterprise.[6]

Investigations for abuse of state funds and debauchery were initiated and he retired in 1948.[7] He died in his bath in 1956.[7]

Nikishov was a candidate member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1939 to 1952.[2]




  1. ^ Tzouliadis, ibid. page 379–80
  2. ^ a b c Ukraine 33 list of Soviet Communists
  3. ^ John Morton Blum. From the Morgenthau Diaries: Years of Crisis, 1928-1938. Houghton Mifflin (1959). pp. 69–70. 
  4. ^ Tzouliadis, ibid. pages 207-8
  5. ^ Martin J. Bollinger. Stalin's Slave Ships. Praeger (2003). pp. 60–61, 89. 
  6. ^ Tzouliadis, ibib. pages 219–225
  7. ^ a b Tzouliadis, ibid., page 320