In the United States, every citizen has a social security number for income purposes. It's a 9-digit number. This began in 1935, though I was surprised to learn from wikipedia that until 1986, most people only got their number around the age of 14. Today, everyone gets it at birth.

Did the Soviets also give everyone a ID number? Was it a 9-digit number? 10-digit? A 7-character alphanumeric sequence?

I searched for this on wikipedia's Passport System in the Soviet Union, because I know they used internal passports. I looked at both the English and Russian versions of the article, but could not find examples of ID numbers.

I did of course also google images and found this:

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The first entry appears to be a birth date because I see the number "1946". There is a printed number, "I-T3 No. 681711". However, a 6-digit number can have at most 10^6 = 1 million unique entries. The USSR around the time of the war had 170 million people, and around 1990, around 290 million people. So a 6-digit number is nowhere near enough to hold that many unique ID numbers. You would need a minimum of a 9-digit number.

This makes me think the internal passports were not issued to everyone, only certain people of whom there could only be a million or less. But then, the "I-T3" could be part of it?

(Edit: It's actually I-TЭ, where Э is the 30th letter in the Russian Alphabet. TЭ is a district code. The I is a roman numeral but as of yet I don't know what it really means.)

Is there some ID document given to everyone, that gives you a unique ID number? I looked at birth certificates too but came up emtpy.

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    @fdb no, 1946 is the date until which the passport is valid. It is issued in 1941. – Anixx Oct 11 '17 at 12:48
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    There's a reason for that. The Social Security number was not supposed to be an identification. It was simply a record locator for your social security benefits, which your employer pays into as you work, and then get you paid out of after you retire. Children didn't need one because children didn't work as employees. – T.E.D. Oct 11 '17 at 16:33
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    Don't forget that till the 1960's the rural population was not even isssued internal passports (without which one could not permanently reside in a town of any size), being effectively serfs of their local kolkhoz. I doubt anyone bothered to issue them global id numbers, as opposed to local records. – Felix Goldberg Oct 12 '17 at 7:43
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    @Felix Goldberg after the revolution of 1917 the internal passports were abolished because they were viewed as a factor LIMITING movement and oppressive. They were slowly re-introduced since 1930s, starting from city population but existence of a passport was never a factor in the right to travel. You are repeating propaganda. – Anixx Oct 12 '17 at 14:13
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    @Anixx I am repeating propaganda. Now, that's a good one. – Felix Goldberg Oct 13 '17 at 7:08

The passport number included two parts, the series number and its proper number. This would allow for enough unique numbers. The passport number though would be changed if passport is re-issued or lost.

The unique identification of a person in the USSR was their name, date and place of birth.

People also had their birth certificate, which was numbered, but again, the number would change if it is lost.

There was no taxpayer number in the USSR, contrary to the answer by Danila Smirnov.


"I-ТЭ № 681711" includes also the issue series ID - the "I-TЭ" part (which in this case consists of a roman numeral from I to XXXIII and the issue region code (two cyrillic letters), by the way, so it is not "I-T3"). This way, while a single series can't have more than 1 million passports, you can have multiple series, which gives us 33 million passports per region (in 1939 USSR consisted of 138 regions). This ID number is unique only to the document, not to its holder! When the passport is reissued, one is required to register the new ID with all relevant institutions.

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    There was no ИНН in the USSR. It is issued to people since 1999, to firms since 1993. – Anixx Oct 11 '17 at 12:21
  • @Anixx Indeed, I guess I was confused by ИННs issued for Soviet passport holders in the 90s. Deleted that part of the answer. – Danila Smirnov Oct 11 '17 at 13:56
  • Thanks. I did not realize it could have been a "Z" or "Э". Can you explain what the roman numeral I to XXXIII is for? – DrZ214 Oct 11 '17 at 20:35
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    @DrZ214 I think it was simply for obfuscation, to prevent forgery. Series number was pretty fluid, even region codes changed often (and often there were several codes simultaneously assigned to one region, especially to the ones with large population) - for example, in Moscow during 1979 were issued passports with series XXII-МЮ, and during 1988 - I-СБ, so it could be easily checked if passports of a series were issued during a given period at a given location. – Danila Smirnov Oct 12 '17 at 6:21
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    @DrZ214 It is Э – Anixx Oct 12 '17 at 14:07

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