Badge of a Foremost Worker of the Department of Correctional
Labor Camps (OITK) of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic,
Brass, enamel, 30.6 x 25.1 mm.
In very fine condition. The enamel is well preserved overall
having only minor surface buffing and light scratches, no
chips or flaking. Some of the original gloss is still
present along the edges. The details of the wreath and
hammer & sickle emblem are well preserved. Traces of
original gilt finish are still visible on the reverse around
the screw post.
It is not clear if the screw post is original: the other
specimens we've seen didn't have the screw post base. It
does however appear to be of the period and it's not
entirely unlikely that the screw post was applied in this
manner by the manufacturer. The screw plate is likewise of
the period and although it is quite loose due to the worn
threads of the screw post, it still holds reasonably well
near the base of the screw.
This extremely uncommon badge is one of the only Soviet
awards with direct reference to correctional labor. Judging
by the standard practices of the time, it probably could be
awarded not only to an MVD prison guard but also to one of
the "reformed" prisoners who cooperated with the authorities
(the latter were contemptuously referred to as "suki" or
bitches by the rest of prison population).