Letter from Dimitrov to M. Frinovsky about the conditions of political émigrés in the USSR seeking to secure residency permits.
To comrade FRINOVSKY.[i]
Recently, when issuing residence permits to foreigners, the Department of Visa and Registration of foreigners has been requiring that they present [their] national passports. As a result, a significant number of political émigrés are unable to obtain documents to stay in the USSR. Without Soviet documents, the political émigrés lose their jobs and apartments: they are fired from work and denied registration in the houses where they dwell. Thus, they find themselves in an extremely difficult situation.
The majority of the political émigrés came illegally, without national passports. Others had national passports, but they have expired.
Until now, the political émigrés, who have not taken Soviet citizenship and who had no national passports, received residence permits through the CC MOPR of the USSR and through the ECCI.
As is known, the ECCI Secretariat firmly carries out the policy of returning the political émigrés to their countries, or sending them to other countries abroad. However, since it requires time and significant preparation, it is essential during this period to secure legal residence in the USSR for these political émigrés. There are also political émigrés who cannot be sent abroad without risking their lives due to their health situation or given the character of their sentences (i.e., capital punishment).
Based on the above facts, we ask you to resolve this problem in such a way as to retain the policy of issuing documents for political émigrés which had existed until recently, i.e., to issue residence permits to those political émigrés without national passports for whom an appeal would be filed by the CC MOPR of the USSR and the ECCIís Cadres Department.
2 March 1938
RGASPI, f. 495, op. 73, d. 60, l. 24.
Original in Russian. Typewritten.
[i] Mikhail Frinovsky was deputy Peopleís Commissar of Internal Affairs from October 1936. Until April 1937, he was also head of the Main Board of Frontier and Internal Guards of the NKVD of the USSR. He was Ezhovís associate in organizing the mass repression. On 3 February 1940, he was convicted and shot.