KGB

   / Komityet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti
   The Committee for State Security, most commonly known by its Russian language acronym KGB, was the Soviet Union’s premier secret police, internal security, and espionage agency. Established in 1954 out of the NKVD and other Stalin-era security services, the organization controlled many aspects of life in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) until its demise in the immediate wake of the 1991 August Coup, which had been perpetrated by several highranking members of the organization including KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov.
   The KGB’s responsibilities were subsequently divided between the newly created Inter-republican Security Service, the Central Intelligence Service, and the Committee for Protection of the State Border. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, these organizations underwent further reforms and division of responsibilities; in 1995, Boris Yeltsin clearly delineated the lines between domestic security and foreign spying by creating the FSB and the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation. However, these organizations are deeply influenced by the culture and organization of their predecessor, the KGB. Abroad, the KGB ran a massive international spy ring of ideological sympathizers, as well as paid informants and agents. Within the Eastern Bloc, the agency carefully monitored opposition to local Communist Party and Soviet domination, often infiltrating anti-Soviet organizations. At home, the security agency was charged with suppressing ideological subversion and “counterrevolution,” which included disinformation campaigns and the monitoring and censoring of dissidents, national minority leaders, and anti-Communist activists.
   Despite its fearsome reputation, the agency maintained a high level of prestige and commanded a great deal of political influence in the late Soviet period. Many observers noted that the KGB was the only major state institution that was not afflicted by the corruption that had become rampant by the mid-1980s. The KGB proved a valuable ally for Mikhail Gorbachev during his rise to power and early years of reform. By the late 1980s, however, Gorbachev’s move toward democratization (demokratizatsiia) soured relations with the KGB’s leadership. While the military aspects of the KGB’s spy programs were toned down under Gorbachev’s “New Thinking” in foreign relations, the agency ratcheted up its industrial espionage, creating a legacy that influenced policy under both Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, the latter a former KGB agent himself.
   See also United States.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • KGB — 〈Abk. für den〉 sowjetischen Geheimdienst (1946 1991) [<russ. Komitet Gossudarstwennoj Besopasnosti „Komitee für Staatssicherheit“] * * * KGB [kage be:], der; [s] [Abk. von russ. Komitet Gosudarstvennoj Bezopasnosti = Komitee für… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • KGB — the KGB the secret police of the former USSR …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • KGB — Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti (the State Security Committee for countries in the former Soviet Union) Short Dictionary of (mostly American) Legal Terms and Abbreviations …   Law dictionary

  • KGB — sigla ES russo Komitét Gosudárstvennoj Bezopásnosti, comitato per la sicurezza dello stato, servizio di spionaggio sovietico …   Dizionario italiano

  • KGB — national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 to 1991, attested from 1955 in English, acronym of Rus. Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti Committee for State Security …   Etymology dictionary

  • KGB — (izg. kagebȇ) DEFINICIJA krat. pol. pov. ideol. u bivšem SSSR u sovjetska tajna policija i vladina organizacija za špijunažu i kontrašpijunažu ETIMOLOGIJA rus. Komitet Gosudar stvenoj Bezopasnosti …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • KGB — KGB, der; [s] <russisch> (Geheimdienst der Sowjetunion) …   Die deutsche Rechtschreibung

  • KGB — or K.G.B. abbrev. [Russ K(omitet) G(osudarstvennoj) B(ezopasnosti), Committee of State Security] the security police and intelligence agency of the Soviet Union, formed in 1954 …   English World dictionary

  • KGB — For other uses, see KGB (disambiguation). Committee for State Security Комитет государственной безопасности Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti …   Wikipedia

  • KGB — 55° 45′ 31″ N 37° 37′ 32″ E / 55.7587, 37.6256 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • KGB — Comité para la Seguridad del Estado Комитет государственной безопасности El emblema del escudo y la espada del KGB. Información …   Wikipedia Español

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