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K.G.B National Security Agency of Soviet Union

Executive Summary

Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti was a Russian translation of Committee for State Security, commonly abbreviated as KGB. The Committee for State Security (KBG), was the Soviet Union national Security agency that existed between 1954 and 1991. However; it is notable that the Republic of Belarus also uses the abbreviation KGB in its contemporary State Security. This paper will be focusing on the Soviet Union KGB that functioned between 1954 and 1991, a point of clarification rather. The Soviet Union KGB of that time was constituted of an internal security and intelligence organ and a secret police organization. In 1983, it was reported in a magazine that KGB was the most effective organization in the world in terms of gathering information on security matters (Christopher, A. and Vasili, M, 2005). The organization was known to operate both illegal and legal espionage residencies, targeting states in which the legal resident could spy from the Soviet embassy, and secluded with diplomatic immunity from possible prosecutions of those discovered. This paper delves into the case of KGB, its development, organization structure, functions and achievements, and the possible challenges it faced that may have led to its disbandment later in 1991.

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Introduction

The background establishment of KGB was done in the year 1954, following the restructuring of the police apparatus. In the 1980s, KGB was “a highly effective and centralized security institution” in the Soviet Union. Its controls were implemented and managed by Politburo, headquartered in Moscow. This paper looks into the history and development of KGB, its preliminary organization structure, functions and achievements, and the possible challenges it faced that may have consequently led to its disbandment later in 1991(Edward, A, 2004).

Literature Review

Historical account of KGB dates back to the 1920s, commencing with the establishment of Cheka, a temporary organization that was established to consolidate on the rule of Bolshevik State. The establishment of Cheka was “to defend the Revolution of October and the nascent of the state of Bolshevik from its enemies, particularly the White Army monarchist” (Christopher, A & Vasili, M,2000). In struggling to retain its regime, Bolshevik Concealed a counter-revolution with a domestic terror and an international deception plan. This scope of “foreign intelligence operations” accelerated the creation of Cheka, “the precursor to the First Chief Directorate of the KGB” (Christopher, A, & Vasili, M, 2005).

Cheka was in 1922 renamed as “the State Political Directorate – OGPU” which was to expand the Soviet espionage both nationally and at an international operation scale. Stalin was appointed the head of OGPU and was given Nikolai Vlasil as his personal bodyguard (Christopher, A, 2005). The move of appointing Stalin as the head of the state security directorate (OGPU) impacted significantly into the operations, performance and direction of OGPU in the 1930s. Stalin with his conspiracy fantasies mismanaged the organization, culminating into the establishment of KGB.

Came 1941, under a new leadership of Beria Lavrentiy, OGPU was renamed NKGB, which implied, the People’s Commissariat for State Security. NKGB was an integral part of NKVD and it helped the State “recovered from the Great Purge of the 1930s” during the reign of Stalin. Unwisely still, and just like in the case of OGPU of Stalin, the People’s Commissariat for State Security (NKGB) “continued pondering to Stalin’s conspiracy fantasies, as it penetrated deep into the West” (Edward, A, 2004). This was again changed by Vyacheslav Molotov “centralized the intelligence agencies, reorganized NKGB calling it KI to stand for “Komitet Informatsii”, translated into English would be, the “Committee of Information”. The Committee of Information (KI) ceased to exist when “Molotov incurred Stanlis disfavor”. The contribution of KI to the Soviet Union intelligence was, however, “reliant on illegal residents” (Christopher, A, 2005).

With the expectations of taking over the leadership of USSR after Stalin, the ambitious Soviet Minister of Internal affairs, Lavrentiy Beria, “merged the MGB and MVD after the death of Stalin’s in 1953” (Edward, A, 2004). As a result of the actions undertaken by the Soviet’s Minister of Internal affaires, “the presidium anticipated a coup detat and immediately, Lavrentiy Beria was eliminated and charged with treason of activities that were rendered illegal in the State politics, and the violation of the political party act. He was executed and MGB was separated from MVD and renamed KGB in 1954 (Christopher, A, 2005).

The Organizational Structuring

Originally, KGB was designated as the state committee of Council of Ministers. This came to change when on the July of 1978; a new law was passed that altered KGB status. The change also affected other several state committees of the time. This made the committee to be chaired by a member of the Council of Ministers approved by the law passed (Christopher, A, 2005).

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As per the constitution of the Soviet Union, 1977, the Council of Ministers had the responsibility of coordinating and directing the ministers and the state committees in their work, this was inclusive of the KGB committee. KGB was, however, given more independence as compared to the other Soviet Union government organs. It functioned under a high degree of autonomy far from the Council of Ministers and almost equivalent to the Supreme Soviet whose operations were principally based on formal authority, and which was also over the other State organs like Council of Ministers.

The powers of KGB only changed later in 1989 when the Soviet State lowered its powers than that of the Supreme Soviet, making it practically powerless in operation. The Committee for State Security “was a union of republic state committee responsible for the control of the corresponding state committee of a similar name in 14 None Russian States” (Christopher, A, 2005). However, “in the Soviet Union, there was no separate KGB, as the Oblast KGB administrations in the Russian Republic was subordinated directly to the central KGB offices in Moscow” (Edward, A, 2004).

According to John Barron, KGB had a wide range interconnection of networks in its special departments and in all its major government enterprises, institutions, and factories which were generally constituted of one or more representatives of the Committee for State security (John, B.1974). The functions of the KGB networked institutions were “to ensure that there was strict observance of security regulations and to monitor on the political opinions among its employees”. The special departments were responsible for recruiting informers who could assist in the operations of the organization (John, B.1974).

An extensive but separate department was established in the State’s defense institutions and the armed. Amy Knight notes that Even though the union republic agency was effective enough in its performance, “the KGB was highly centralized and was controlled rigidly from the top, with the KGB central staff keeping a close watch over the operations of its branches, leaving the latter minimal autonomous authority over policy or cadre selection” (Amy, K, 1990, The KGB- Police and Politics in the Soviet Union). KGB activities were independent of those of the local government and it was never engaged in the operations of the Committee of State for security. There organization was highly centralized. This was evident based on the fact that “its regional branches were not subordinate to the local soviets” (Amy, K, 1990, The KGB- Police and Politics in the Soviet Union).

KGB organization was managed directed by a chairman, “formally appointed by the Supreme Soviet and was actually selected by the Politburo”. This recruitment criterion was applied in the selection of both the chairman and the vice-chairmen, followed by several other chairmen, up to about six of them.

Internal Control and the Organization roles

Being a State Committee operating at a ministerial level, KGBS is therefore designed to function based on “the statutes confirmed by the Council of Ministers, that set forth in legal terms the KGB’s powers and duties” (Amy, K, 1990, The KGB- Police and Politics in the Soviet Union). Different from many other government ministerial agencies, the statutes of KGB has was never published, and there were no books or journals of administrative laws that were authored on KGBs functions and responsibilities (Richard, C, 2009).

Generally, the tasks and responsibilities of the State committee for security was defined on the basis of our major principles. These were inclusive of the exposure and investigation of economic and political crimes committed by citizens, the struggle against foreign agents and spies and the safeguarding of State borders and the secrets of the state from strangers(Richard, C,2009. The State Committee for security (KGB) was also responsible for the preventive duties that were geared towards eliminating the causes of either the ordinary or the political crimes. This would imply that KGB was designed to deal with crimes of extreme levels, potentially dangerous for the normalized co-existence of the State (Richard, C, 2009).

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From the Western estimations, the KGBs manpower featured somewhere between 490,000 and 700, 000, as per the year 1986. Literature records indicate that there existed no publications of estimates on how KGB conducted its management budget (Richard, C,2009). It has only been held that the personnel as many as they could be received services and support from other independent institutions and from the military. Some sources providing information on the structural details of the organization also failed to give clear and précised detailed as to how exactly was KGB managed financially (Richard, C, 2009). The available information have concentrated much on the functions and organization of the State Committee for security then, but becomes problematic addressing the budgetary paradigm that was used (Michael, G, 2009).

The First Directorate chief was “responsible for the intelligence-gathering activities and foreign operations”. The directorate was further divided into different fields of operation that included “operational services, management of agents, intelligence analysis and gathering of the scientific, technological” (Michael, G, 2009). The second in rank of responsibilities was the “Second Chief Directorate”. He was in charge of the Soviet Union’s internal control focusing on the citizens and the foreigners that were living in the country. These were inclusive of both the tourists and the diplomats. At the third place of responsibilities was “the Third Chief Directorate-Armed Forces”.This was to deal with the surveillance of the State’s political affairs and to monitor on the military intelligence. There were also the fourth, fifth and the sixth chief directorates holding different responsibilities under KGB organization (Michael, G,2009).

In addition to the six chiefs of the directorate, there was “Border Troops directorate” in charge of the sea borders and the lands that fall under the territory of the Soviet Union State. A plethora of other agencies like department of personnel, department of technical support staff, department of finance and administration, secretariat department, party committee and the department of archives all constituted the organization (Michael, G, 2009).

Party Control

KGB was generally subordinated to the Council of Ministers. And although its police security was perceived as a government of its own rather than an institutional party, the agency was regarded to be a crucial organ that had to maintain a close supervision and control over its operations. This informs us that KGB basically took care of its own control and supervision.

It’s additionally important to note that the body that offered policy directives was Politburo headquartered in Moscow. Going by the assertions of the Western specialist, “the state and legal department of the central committee secretariat”, politburo was the driving vehicle of KGB under which all the organizational departmental activities were coordinated, including the matters to do with defense, security and legal affairs(Michael, G,2009).

Personnel Policy

In ensuring that the overall needs for the state security was accomplished, the KGB “party personnel policy” was designed. Apart from helping implement the objects and strategies of the organizations with the aim of establishing an effective and functional security agency for the State, the personnel policy “prevented the police from becoming too powerful and therefore threatening to the party leadership” (Christopher, A. and Vasili, M, 2005).

KGB was presented with some heavy task of implementing two goals, that is, focusing of the efficiency and well-being of the organizational party, and monitoring on the police security not to supersede the organizational strengths and powers (Michael, G,2009).. To do this, KGB conducted intensive recruitment programs, in which case, the personnel policy as was stated required that all the candidates recruited must have met some educational prerequisites, acquired certain levels of experience and at least passed an interview prior to their employment into the system (Michael, G,2009).

KGB Domestic security

In enforcing for the domestic security, the Committee of State Security formulated “a number of domestic Security functions basically concerned with the internal securities matters”. The functions that were sanctioned by the constitutional law of the Soviet Union State. The law allowed that KGB in exercising its domestic security operations could arrest, prosecute or investigate any party or individual that has been victimized of either economic or a political crime (Christopher, A. and Vasili, M, 2005). The Committee was also assigned the duty of “investigating into censorship and propaganda, aimed at protecting the secrets of the State and its military agencies” (Michael, G, 2009).

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It was empowered by the law of the State “to uncover and to investigate certain political crimes set forth in the Russian Republic’s code of criminal procedures and criminal codes of other republics” (Christopher, A. and Vasili, M, 2005). In respect to “the State’s code of criminal procedure in the Republic of Russia that was implemented in 1960”, KGB committee had the mandated “to investigate on political crimes, propaganda, espionage, terrorism, anti-soviet agitation, sabotage, divulgence of state secret affairs, illegal entries into the state, illegal exits from the stare and smuggling”. This listing may not have been exhausted (Christopher, A, 2005).

Conclusion

The Committee for State Security (KBG) was Soviet Union national Security agency that existed between 1954 and 1991. It is, however, notable that the Republic of Belarus also uses the abbreviation KGB in its contemporary State Security. This paper has focused on the Soviet Union KGB that functioned between 1954 and 1991. The Soviet Union KGB of that time was constituted of an internal security and intelligence organ and a secret police organization. The Committee of State for security was known to function either illegally or legally in “its espionage residencies”, targeting states in which the legal resident could spy from the Soviet embassy, secluded with diplomatic immunity from possible prosecutions. This paper has generally discussed the case of KGB, its development, organization structure, personnel policy, functions and responsibilities, and the RGB domestic security.

Works Cited

Amy, K.The KGB – Police and Politics in the Soviet Union: Unwin Hyman. 1990. ISBN 0-04-445718-9.

Christopher, A & Vasili, M. The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West: Gardners Books. 2000. ISBN 0-14-028487-7

Christopher, A. The World Was Going Our Way: The KGB and the Battle for the Third World. Basic Books. 2005. ISBN 0-465-00311-7

Edward, A. U.S. politics Today.2nd Edition. Manchester University Press: Manchester.2004.

Michael, G. Countries and Concepts. Politics, Geography and Culture. 11th Edition. Pearson Upper Saddle River, N.J. 2009.

John, B. KGB. The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents. Reader’s Digest Press. 1974. ISBN 0-88349-009-9

Richard, C. & Robert, M. Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. Enigma Books.2009. ISBN 978-1-929631-75-9

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