SMERSH (Russian: СМЕРШ) was an umbrella organization for three independent counter-intelligence agencies in the Red Army formed in late 1942 or even earlier, but officially announced only on 14 April 1943. The name SMERSH was coined by Joseph Stalin. The main reason for its creation was to subvert the attempts by German forces to infiltrate the Red Army on the Eastern Front.The official statute of SMERSH listed the following tasks to be performed by the organisation: counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism, preventing any other activity of foreign intelligence in the Red Army; fighting "anti-Soviet elements" in the Red Army; protection of the front lines against penetration by spies and "anti-Soviet elements"; investigating traitors, deserters and self-harm in the Red Army; and checking military and civil personnel returning from captivity.
The organisation was officially in existence until 4 May 1946, when its duties were transferred back to the MGB. The head of the agency throughout its existence was Viktor Abakumov, who rose to become Minister of State Security in the postwar years.
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