Nikolai Ivanovich Yezhov (May 1, 1895 – February 4, 1940) was a Jewish Bolshevik secret police official born in the town of Marijampolė, Lithuania. At the time half the population was Jewish but he took on a “Russian” name like most Bolshevik Jews. Appointed by Yagoda as Head of the NKVD, Yezhov participated in the first Five-Year Plan to starve Ukrainian peasants to death and intensify the terror. In 1937 and 1938 alone at least 1.3 million were arrested and 681,692 were shot for ‘crimes against the state’. The Gulag population swelled by 685,201 under Yezhov, nearly tripling in size in just two years, with at least 140,000 of these prisoners (and likely many more) dying of malnutrition, exhaustion and the elements in the camps (or during transport to them).