Government office for directing the bodies of state administration, security forces (police in modern-day terminology) and intelligence services. In democratic countries, the security forces and particularly the intelligence services are subject to independent control by parliament.
In a Communist state, the Ministry of interior is an important tool for control and maintaining the totalitarian power. The Ministry of interior therefore logically becomes one of the first targets which Communist parties strive to gain in their struggle for political power. It is no coincidence that the Czechoslovak minister of interior in the years 1945-1989 was a representative of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia.
Gaining full control of the Ministry of interior namely enables a further penetration and control of the repressive forces of the state and their utilisation in the struggle for power and the efforts for its maintenance. Criminalisation of the opposition is one of the basic tenets of Communist regimes. Security forces - in the case of Czechoslovakia it was the National security corps (composed of the Public security and the State security) - enable the Communists to suppress any opposition, to fabricate political trials and other artificially created cases, to atack representatives of the opposition in exile, to subject representatives of the opposition to pressure to emigrate etc. In their efforts to maintain control, the security forces utilised all possible (imaginable) forms of repression against real and potential adversaries, including preventive intimidation of society. Proportinately, the influence of the security apparatus on society in the totalitarian Communist regime grew (or, in times of political crises, it temporarily fell).
Next to the security forces, the Ministry of interior also has a civil administration section. It deals with the steering of civil administration bodies (national committees), issues of association and gathering of persons, archiving, issuance of identity documents, citizen record keeping etc. These sections too are utilised by the State security for confronting the opposition (e.g. the issuance of travel passports and foreign travel permits etc.).
The security forces are particularly important for the functioning of the Communist state. The Ministry of interior takes on the role of coordinator, contractor and controller of individual operations. During the entire period of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, the Ministry of interior represented the Communist party‘s tool for repressions and terror against its own citizens. Nevertheless, in this system, even the minister of interior was answerable to the respective department of the Central committee of the Communist party.
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