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The NKVD Children's Reception Shelters as Part of the Soviet Effort to Combat Child Vagrancy (1941–1945)

Student: Elena Maksyuta

Supervisor: Liudmila Novikova

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: History (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2020

The Soviet Union faced the problem of a steep increase in the number of homeless and neglected children at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. To overcome the problem, the state used various state institutions: police, orphanages and children labour colonies. Children`s reception shelters were part of the state system to combat child homelessness and vagrancy since the first decades of the Soviet rule. They were the first places where minors collected in the street were taken to. These shelters were responsible for the further distribution of children to orphanages, children’s colonies or back to their families. This paper discusses the activity of children`s reception shelters during the Great Patriotic War. Using the archival sources, which reveal the influence of war conditions on children`s reception shelters, this paper argues that the war greatly aggravated the state’s struggle against child homelessness. In that period when the number of homeless and neglected children greatly increased, shelters were overcrowded far beyond their capacity and experienced severe problems with the provision children with food and clothing.

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