KGB Agent; Tasks; Organization; Notable KGB Operations; Directors, Agents of the KGB; NKVD


KGB - mission KGB Agent

The KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti, or The Committee for State Security) was the name of the main Soviet external security and intelligence agency, as well as the main secret police agency from March 13, 1954 to November 6, 1991. The KGB's domain was roughly that of the American CIA and the counterintelligence division of the FBI.

In March of 1953, Lavrenty Beria united the MVD and MGB into one body, the MVD. Within a year, Beria was executed and the MVD was split up. The reformed MVD retained its internal security functions while the new KGB took on external security functions. The KGB was subordinated to the Council of Ministers. On July 5, 1978 the KGB was renamed the "KGB of the USSR" with the KGB Chairman given a seat on the council.

See Also:
CIA Central Intelligence Agency Mossad Israel Intelligence Agency KGB NKVD CIA Sex Spy World Intelligence_Agencies_List NSA National Security Agency United States US Secret Service Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Canadian Security Intelligence Service MI6 Military Intelligence 6 -British Secret Intelligence Service SIS MI-5 Kim Philby Soviet Spy Gestapo

The KGB was dissolved due to the participation of its chief, Colonel General Vladimir Kryuchkov, in the August 1991 coup attempt designed to overthrow Mikhail Gorbachev. He used many of the KGB's resources to aid the coup attempt. Kryuchkov was arrested, and General Vadim Bakatin was appointed Chairman on August 23, 1991 with a mandate to dismantle the KGB. On November 6, 1991 the Russian KGB officially ceased to exist, though its successor organization, the Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti, or FSB, is functionally extremely similar to the KGB. Belarus is the only post-Soviet society where the successor organization continues to be called the KGB. Belarus is also where one of the founders of the KGB, Felix Dzerzhinsky — who was born in a town now within Belarusian territory — remains a national hero.

Table of contents
1 Tasks and Organization
2 Notable KGB Operations
3 Organization
4 Agent Directors (Heads) of the KGB or equivalent

Tasks and Organization
Its tasks were external espionage, counter-espionage, liquidation of anti-Soviet and counter-revolutionary formations within the USSR, and guarding the leaders of the party and state. Unlike Western intelligence agancies, the KGB was (theoretically) not interested in learning enemy intentions, only their capabilites. Intentions were political decisions based on Marxist theory and the personal whims of the leadership.
In its espionage role, the KGB was mostly reliant on human intelligence, unlike their western counterparts, who relied far more on imagery intelligence (IMINT) and signals intelligence. Using ideological attraction, the Soviets were successful in recruiting a number of high level spies. Most notable are the KGB successes in gathering US atomic secrets, and the Cambridge Five, especially Kim Philby in the UK. This ideological method of conversion failed after the 1956 crushing of the Hungarian uprising. Instead, the KGB was forced to rely on blackmail and bribery for most of its agent defectors. This still achieved notable succeses, such as CIA mole Aldrich Ames and FBI mole Robert Hanssen, but far fewer than earlier.

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Notable KGB Operations
Alger Hiss is alleged to have been a KGB spy, but there is no hard evidence.
Robert Hanssen provided the KGB with information on U.S. counterintelligence efforts through his job at the FBI.
Aldrich Ames was a KGB mole within the CIA.
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed by the United States for providing information on the US's atomic programs to the KGB.

James Jesus Angleton, head of CIA counter-intelligence, reportedly lived in deathly fear that the KGB had moles in two key places: CIA counter-intelligence and FBI counter-intelligence. With those two moles in place, the KGB would have control or awareness of all U.S. efforts to catch KGB spies, and could protect their assets by safely redirecting any investigation that came close, or at least provide sufficient warning; also, counter-intelligence had the job of vetting foreign sources of intelligence, so moles in that area were in a position to give a stamp of approval to double agents against the CIA. With the capture of Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, it appears that Angleton's fears, deemed paranoid at the time, were well-grounded.
The KGB occasionally conducted assassinations, mainly of defectors.

Agent Organization
The KGB was organized into directorates. Some of the main directorates were:

The First Chief Directorate (Foreign Operations) was responsible for foreign operations and intelligence-gathering activities.
The Second Chief Directorate was responsible for internal political control of citizens and foreigners within the Soviet Union.
The Third Chief Directorate (Armed Forces) controlled military counterintelligence and political surveillance of the armed forces.
The Fifth Chief Directorate also dealt with internal security. Originally created to combat political dissent, it took up some of the tasks previously handled by the Second Chief Directorate.
The Seventh Directorate (Surveillance) handled surveillance, providing equipment to follow and monitor the activities of both foreigners and Soviet citizens.
The Eighth Chief Directorate was responsible for communications. It dealt with monitoring foreign communications and was also responsible for the cryptological systems used by KGB divisions, transmission to KGB stations overseas, and the development of communication equipment
The Ninth Directorate (Guards Directorate) provided guards for principal Party leaders and their families, and major government facilities in the Soviet Union.

Directors of the KGB or equivalent

All-Russian Extraordinary Commissary against the Counterrevolution and Sabotage, or Cheka, the Bolshevik-era equivalent to the KGB
Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinksiy 1917 - 1922
Main Political Department (GPU)
Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinksiy 1922 - 1923
Joint Main Political Department (OGPU)
Feliks Edmundovich Dzerzhinksiy 1923 - July 1926
Vyacheslav Rudolfovich Menzhinskiy July 1926 - May 1934
OGPU merged into the NKVD in July 1934
Peoples Commissary for State Security (NKGB)
Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov February 1941 - March 1946
Ministry of State Security (MGB)
Vsevolod Nikolayevich Merkulov March 19 1946 - May 7 1946
Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov May 7 1946 - July 14 1951
Sergey Ogoltsov July 14 1951 - August 9 1951
Semyon Denisovich Ignatiyev August 9 1951 - March 5 1953
MGB merged into MVD March 5 1953
Committee for State Security (KGB)
Ivan Aleksandrovich Serov March 13 1954 - December 8 1958
Aleksandr Nikolayevich Shelepin December 25 1958 - November 13 1961
Vladimir Yefimovich Semichastniy November 13 1961 - May 18 1967
Yuri Vladimirovich Andropov May 18 1967 - May 26 1982
Vitaliy Vasilyevich Fedorchuk May 26 1982 - December 17 1982
Viktor Mikhaylovich Chebrikov December 17 1982 - October 1 1988
Vladimir Aleksandrovich Kryuchkov October 1 1988 - August 22 1991
Leonid Nikolayevich Shebarshin August 22 1991 - August 23 1991 (Acting)
Vadim Viktorovich Bakatin August 23 1991 - October 22 1991


The NKVD, or Narodnij Kommisariat Vnutrennih Del - People's Commisariat for Interior Affairs, was the name for the political police in the USSR in one of the stages of its development.
The NKVD was created in early 1918 to handle policing and internal affairs. However, it did not obtain state security functions until it took over the OGPU in July 1934. State security functions were then handled by the NKVD's GUGB ("Glavnoe Upravlenie Gosudarstvennoe Bezopasnosti" or Main Directorate of State Security). On 8 February 1941, the Special Sections of the NKVD (responsible for counter-intelligence in the military) were given to the Army and Navy (NKO and NKVMF) where they became the SMERSH (from Smert' Shpionam or "Death to Spies"). In April 1943, GUGB was removed from NKVD and renamed NKGB.

During World War II, NKVD units were used for rear area security, including halting deserters. On "liberated" territory the NKVD and NKGB carried out mass arrest and deportations, at times sending entire populations (650,000+ Crimean Tatars, Chechens, Ingush, and others) to Central Asia. In 1946, the NKVD was transformed into the MVD. The MVD in turn evolved into the KGB.

The organization and responsibility of the NKVD was similar to Nazi Germany's Gestapo.

Leaders of Soviet political police 1917 - 1991
1917 - 1918 Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinskiy
1918 - 1918 Yakov Hristoforovitch Peters
1918 - 1926 Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinskiy
1926 - 1934 Vyatcheslav Rudolfovitch Menzhinsky
1934 - 1936 Genrikh Grigoryevitch Yagoda
1936 - 1938 Nikolay Ivanovitch Yezhov
1938 - 1945 Lavrenty Pavlovitch Beria

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