KGB

The KGB (Russian: Комитет государственной безопасности (КГБ), tr. Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti, IPA: [kəmʲɪˈtʲet ɡəsʊˈdarstvʲɪn(ː)əj bʲɪzɐˈpasnəsʲtʲɪ] (listen)), translated in English as the Committee for State Security, was the main security agency for the Soviet Union from 13 March 1954 until 3 December 1991. As a direct successor of preceding agencies such as the Cheka, GPU, OGPU, NKGB, NKVD and MGB, it was attached to the Council of Ministers. It was the chief government agency of "union-republican jurisdiction", carrying out internal security, intelligence and secret police functions. Similar agencies operated in each of the republics of the Soviet Union aside from the Russian SFSR, with many associated ministries, state committees and state commissions.

Committee for State Security
CSS USSR
Комитет государственной безопасности
КГБ СССР
Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti
KGB SSSR

Lubyanka Building in 1985
Agency overview
Formed13 March 1954; 67 years ago (1954-03-13)
Preceding agencies
  • Cheka (1917–1922)
  • GPU (1922–1923)
  • OGPU (1923–1934)
  • NKVD (1934–1946)
  • NKGB (February–July 1941/1943–1946)
  • MGB (1946–1953)
Dissolved3 December 1991
Superseding agencies
  • Inter-Republican Security Service (MSB) (1991)
  • Central Intelligence Service (TsSR) (1991)
  • Committee for the Protection of the State Border (KOGG) (1991)
TypeState committee of union-republican jurisdiction
JurisdictionCentral Committee
& Council of Ministers
(1954–1990)
Supreme Council
& President
(1990–91)
Headquarters2 Bolshaya Lubyanka Street
Moscow, Russian SFSR
MottoLoyalty to the party – Loyalty to the motherland
Верность партии — Верность Родине
Agency executives
Child agencies
  • Foreign intelligence:
    First Chief Directorate
  • Internal security:
    Second Chief Directorate
  • Ciphering:
    Eighth Chief Directorate
    Chief Directorate of Border Forces

The agency was a military service governed by army laws and regulations, in the same fashion as the Soviet Army or the MVD Internal Troops. While most of the KGB archives remain classified, two online documentary sources are available.[1][2] Its main functions were foreign intelligence, counter-intelligence, operative-investigative activities, guarding the state border of the USSR, guarding the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Soviet Government, organization and security of government communications as well as combating nationalist, dissident, religious and anti-Soviet activities.

On 3 December 1991, the KGB was officially dissolved.[3] It was later succeeded in Russia by the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and what would later become the Federal Security Service (FSB). Following the 1991–1992 South Ossetia War, the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia established its own KGB, keeping the unreformed name.[4] In addition, Belarus established its own national security agency in 1991, the State Security Committee of the Republic of Belarus, keeping the unreformed name.